Saturday, 16 April 2016

Face to face chats + texting = increased participation

March 2016 Intermediate girls softball team at the
Auckland Inter-Zone tournament, Rosedale Park, Albany

How do you get more children playing sport?  How do you get whanau support?  How do you find good volunteers?

There are a couple of ways that have been effective so far:

1. Face to face chats
2. Texting

In this digital day and age of multiple social media networks, it's the face to face conversation with someone, that is still engaging and effective.  Texting a volunteer or whanau directly, is what I also find is successful.

I'm fortunate, that in my role, I'm able to walk around and be available to chat with students, families and the local community.  My office is located in a handy place that's near the main school and hall entrance, the toilets and the office reception area.  It's the central location of our school where I see lots of students and whanau - it's the opportunity to 'catch up' with them.

Face to face chats with students is basically having a chat with individuals to see if they'd be interested in playing a sport, what sport etc.  I listen and try to 'read' their reactions, their body language and what they're trying to say.  Then I offer options that they'd possibly be interested in or offer solutions to what hinders them from playing.  I chat to them about the benefits for them, encourage them to 'have a go' and invite them to 'join in' anytime.  I leave the conversation to say that I'm available to chat more about it, to go away and think about it and to contact me anytime (whether I'm out at a practice on the field somewhere or by leaving a note in my office mail box or by email).

The texting form of communication is so good too.  There's always someone who has forgotten to give their parents the newsletter or they'd missed watching P.E.N.N, or they'd forgotten what the coach had said or they can't even remember what day it was today...

By texting a parent or whanau member directly, they'd receive the most recent news, given friendly reminders and are informed about any changes.  By being accessible by mobile phone (99.8% of adults I imagine, have one) is very helpful for parents so they get answers straight from the adult in charge.  It's also a good way to gage what support is needed, an opportunity to be encouraging and positive in all circumstances and most importantly, a favourable time to share how great their kid is.

It would be interesting to see how much more we can engage our students and community when the sport site is updated...

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