Contributed by Lauren Waiss | Northwood University DECA, MI
At the annual Michigan Collegiate DECA State Career Development Conference, students participated in a tie blanket craft with glowing reviews post-conference. The event was such a huge success that state leadership is looking towards re-implementing the strategies at play into future years’ events.
A few things to consider:
Logistics are important!
When hosting a large community service project like this one, make sure you have all the logistics figured out! All the things that go into planning the event make sure all the little aspects are figured out before the event. Everything from securing materials, having instructional sheets available, writing scripts for verbal directions and thinking through how to facilitate the formation of small groups was meticulously considered.
Consider what the average attendee wants to do.
Take a step back and put on the shoes of the average DECA member attending your event. Ask yourself these questions:
- How long should the ideal event take?
- How much direction and structure is needed?
- At what point does it become micromanaging?
Keeping the members at the forefront of your mind throughout the planning process is arguably the most important thing!
To get the members into appropriately sized groups while still encouraging them to meet new people, we implemented a match-game strategy to help form small groups. Before the conference, we printed off DECA-themed photos onto blank index cards. Just before the event, members were to pair up with someone they knew, then their pair would get an index card. Once all the pairs had index cards, their goal was to find the other pair that had the match to their card. This made a group of 4, which was the perfect size for the activity. In their group, members completed the tie blanket.
This was a great success in getting the conference attendees to interact with each other and still complete the task at hand! This strategy can be adjusted to fit the group sizes you need, but it was a great way to get students comfortable (having someone they knew in their group) while still interacting with new people, too!