Sean Herberts

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  • in reply to: Getting the word out #3508
    Sean Herberts
    Participant

    I know that the teens at the Cahokia High School site of the Gateway cafes had a “marketing committee” that was responsible for getting the word out. I don’t know if they ended up hanging the posters or if their teachers did, but they did initially develop strategies for flier placement based on high-traffic areas as part of one YLT planning meeting. If you have kids attending from multiple schools, it may also help to identify and send fliers electronically to some enthusiastic STEM teachers and administrators there. Just be sure to make your fliers black/white printer friendly – the schools usually don’t mind printing as long as it doesn’t have to be in color.

    Some other ideas:

    • Marketing by having all YLT members wear Teen Cafe shirts for a few days before the event
    • Having YLT members (again, potentially members of a marketing committee) announce the event one week and a few days in a row before the morning announcements at their school
    • Teens in Cahokia hosted a table at lunch advertising the event. Your teens could even give away cheap candy to people who listened to their pitch and walked away with information
    • Having parents of teens attending the cafe provide email or a number to be texted at if they would like to hear about future events. I believe that there are free mass texting services online that do not reveal your phone number – I’d need to look into that again
    • Setting up a raffle or randomly selecting teens that sign up to receive information or “like” your facebook page

    I hope that these helped!

    Sean Herberts
    Participant

    I’ve noticed the same thing in my previous work with the St. Louis node (Cahokia, specifically) and in my work as a STEM elective teacher. Out-of-meeting (or classroom) work often ranks at a lower level of priority when measured against other academic work, clubs, and family/social obligations.

    My solution involved accomplishing everything in the meetings that I could. At Cahokia, we would have “planning meetings” about one month prior to a cafe where we would begin planning and “follow-up meetings” closer to the cafe where work could be presented and/or finished. These meetings took place right after school to encourage teen involvement and give us a nice window of time for finishing work. Adults took on some of the responsibilities that students couldn’t, such as purchasing and setting up venues, so the event planning committee just had to provide a budget with links to what they wanted to have purchased (decorations, door prizes, etc.) and supply a ranked list of potential venues. The other committees usually accomplished their work during the meetings without a problem. This included making scientist introductions and closing remarks, determining food and beverage choices, and designing flyers. I brought a laptop from the STEM Center and e-mailed the results to the site champions, who had teens distribute them in the schools.

    The teens also proposed and started an “Internal Communications” committee that was in charge of checking in with other committees to see what they had or had not accomplished, making sure that the work of individual committees was harmonious with that of other committees, and sharing their reports to the adult leaders. I’m not sure how successful this committee was, but it seemed like a good idea.

    Offering praise is a good idea, and I wonder if there is some way to build in incentive for fulfilling commitments – something like a “member of the month” award or a YLT reward raffle tied to some sort of small prize for each cafe.

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