Team Management for Children's Activities
Once you have your team together, you have to use them wisely! Learn how to run good meetings, create a budget and timeline, and be a good team leader below.
Propose a regular schedule for Children's Team meetings and discuss it with your team members. How often would you like to meet? Where and for how long? Do your volunteers have potential scheduling conflicts? Do they need childcare?
Once you have a few loyal volunteers recruited, it's time to get down to work. Here are some topics that you might want to address at your first Children's Team meeting:
- Personal introductions
- Review the playspace project
Discuss the overall project vision, as well as the community-build model. Emphasize the potential for a spirited, broad-based effort!
- Review your team's goals and strategies
How does your team fit into the big picture? What are some ways to get children involved? Discuss your team's responsibilities, timeline and budget.
- Brainstorm children's activities
Open up the floor to creative ideas...the sky's the limit!
- Brainstorm community resources and personal connections
It's not what you know, it's who you know! Ask people on your team whether they have friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors who can offer a particular skill or business contact. You may be surprised at the response!
- Delegate team tasks
It's a good idea to assign team members to one of your four main tasks-
- Arranging childcare during meetings, events and fundraisers
- Approaching potential activity sponsors (individuals, businesses)
- Working with potential activity partners (schools, non-profits)
- Coordinating logistics (volunteers, supplies) for Design Day and the build
- Set specific goals for your next meeting
How will you measure progress? Before you go, agree on a time for your next meeting and create specific deadlines for each of the four main tasks.
Budget and timeline
How much money you spend on children's activities is entirely up to you and your team...you're limited only by your imagination and your ability to solicit donations! Talk to your co-chair(s) and Fundraising Captain about whether project funds will be set aside for children's activities, and then use the chart below to estimate your team's expenses. Remember that the Food Team is responsible for meals and snacks, and remember your goal of getting every item donated - it's possible to arrange fantastic children's activities without spending a dime!
Use this budget worksheet to get started.
KaBOOM! strongly recommends setting a series of small, tangible goals at the outset of a project. If your co-chair(s) haven't confirmed build date(s) as of yet, work with the entire planning committee to agree on an ideal timeline. Then work backward to fill in Children's Team tasks such as fundraisers and activity planning. Here's a sample timeline for your team; feel free to create your own (and add as many activities as you want)!
Managing large tasks
Use this checklist, broken into five parts, to plan for what lies ahead. It'll make it easier to assign tasks to each of your teammates.
As a project leader, you can't do everything alone. A large part of your job will be to motivate, instruct, advise and help your team members as they implement your plan. Remember that delegating responsibility usually enhances a project, because jobs get done by people who have a special skill in that area. It also helps everyone practice their management skills and get more out of the project.
- Delegate complete jobs rather than portioning out small tasks
Team members aren't there to do your "busy work"! If you put your trust in them, they'll rise to the occasion and give you a more creative, thoughtful response.
- Clarify the job before delegating
Make very clear your expectations, the job's priority, the deadline, who can help them, and how this task fits into the big picture.
- Give help when requested
And not before then! It's important to step back, resist the urge to micromanage, and let your team members do their work. (But be there in a pinch.)
Repeat what you've heard to make sure you understood. Pay attention to non-verbal behavior (gestures, posture, tone of voice). Put yourself in their shoes.
- Take notes
At every meeting, it's important to record what was accomplished, what new goals or deadlines were set, and who said what.
- Set an agenda, and agree upon meeting procedures
What topics will be discussed? Who will speak and in what order? Having fair and consistent "ground rules" will keep people focused during lengthy meetings.
- Set time limits
Meetings tend to go on until someone stops them. Let people know how much time they have to speak, and stick to it.
Check in with your team members on a regular basis to make sure that you're all moving forward. Here are a few questions to gauge your progress:
Review of recent activities
- How many children have been involved in the playspace project so far? Are you meeting your goals in this area?
- How much money has been raised through children's fundraisers? Are you meeting your goals in this area?
- Has there been adequate childcare during meetings and fundraisers?
- What have you learned that will help you in the future?
- Are there upcoming learning, safety or fundraising activities for children?
- What still needs to be done to make these successful?
Activities for the playground build
- Are there enough activities planned to fill each hour of the build?
- Will there be separate activities for children of different ages?
- How many potential sponsors or donors have been contacted? What was their response? Did your team members follow up? Have confirmation letters been sent?
- Which supplies still need to be secured?
- Will children be involved in the ribbon-cutting ceremony? If so, how?
- How many children are you expecting for the day(s) of the build?
- How old do children have to be to participate?
- How will children be registered? All children must be signed in and out by their parent or guardian. For your liability and their safety, it's very important that each family consents to the day's activities. You may also want children's parents to sign a photo release waiver for their children so that you can take photos of the activities. See a sample form here.
- How many volunteers has your team recruited for the build to supervise the children's activities? Will you need to recruit additional volunteers?
- How many tents, tables and chairs are needed for children's activities? (This information needs to be relayed to your Logistics Captain.)
- Will you need to physically separate the children's activities area from the construction site to ensure safety? Will they be held inside, or in an area partitioned off with safety fencing?
- Has your team coordinated children's food service with the Food Captain?
- Have you set up a system for determining food allergies and other special needs?
- Is your donor list up-to-date with appropriate contact information?
- Is there a plan to publicly recognize donors and involve them in the build?
- Are your team members still excited about the build?
- Do they need a break or a special reward? (Keep reminding them of the important work they're doing!)
Tip: A build for all seasons
Every team needs to have a back-up plan in case of rain or other extreme weather. If Mother Nature throws a curve ball, your first task is to stay positive! Good attitudes are contagious, especially with children. The other secret is to plan ahead: Is there an indoor location nearby where you can stage activities? Which activities will work well indoors, and which ones will have to be postponed? Do you need extra supplies (e.g. videos, sleeping mats) if you're stuck inside all day?