10 Ways to Communicate Expectations

It’s a new year, which is always a great opportunity to renew commitments to personal and professional goals, and to hit the reset button on the things that have been dragging us down.

One of these areas at your Club might be behavioral expectations. When expectations are explained, reinforced, and followed, everything at the Club can run more smoothly, and programs and activities can achieve their maximum effects. But the last thing you want to do is sit down and lecture youth on the rules. Here are 10 ideas for communicating behavioral expectations to get your creativity flowing!

  1. Assembly

Assemblies are normally held Club-wide and done at the beginning of the day before youth break down into program areas. It is a time where all youth come together in a common area (gym, multi-purpose room, etc.) with staff to prepare for the day’s activities. Assemblies serve as a great tool to reiterate expectations, share upcoming events, and promote programs. They should be fun and light so that youth look forward to them daily. Assemblies are also a great opportunity to recognize members in front of their peers.

Boys & Girls Club staff can download the Program Basics Assemblies Playbook on BGCA.net. It includes tons of ideas, templates, and staff reflection tools.

  1. Bulletin Board

Staff should have at least one bulletin board in every program space. These boards can be used to share expectations, highlight special events, and recognize members. Involve your youth in creating and maintaining these boards. Change them often so they remain up to date. Consider using monthly themes so your board becomes the best in the Club.

Get lots of inspiration by browsing the bulletin boards tag!

  1. Creative Jingle or Chant

Create a song or chant using Club expectations. This makes it easier for members to remember and also makes them more fun. Don’t be afraid to repurpose popular songs or commercial jingles.

  1. Repeat After Me

This technique works well when teaching new expectations to younger youth. Simply say each expectation and ask youth to repeat it back to you. This allows you to make sure youth KNOW each expectation. Repeat the exercise often.

  1. Scavenger Hunt

Write expectations on individual index cards, one expectation per card, with clues as to the location of the next card. Instruct youth to look around your area for expectations. Once youth have found each expectation they should work to put them in order and post to a poster board.

  1. Membership Handbook

Youth and their guardians should be aware of Club rules and guidelines prior to signing up for membership. Create a membership handbook that clearly outlines your policies and procedures. Review these policies on a regular basis and revise when necessary. Require both guardians and youth to sign and date the expectations.

  1. Expectation Scramble

Print your program/Club expectations. Cut these into segments and mix them up. Divide youth into small groups and give each group the mixed up program expectations. Have members work in teams to unscramble the expectations. The team that unscrambles them the fastest wins! Be sure to review the final unscrambled expectations with everyone at the end.

  1. Program Agreements

Sometimes individual programs or specialized clubs require their own set of agreements (Keystone, Torch Club, a cooking club, etc.). These agreements should be created with youth and communicated to both youth and their guardians. Program agreement forms are an easy and effective way to communicate these expectations. Always require both youth and guardians to sign and date the agreements.

  1. Choreograph Expectations

Work with youth to create movements to match each Club expectation. Make this fun so youth can easily remember. This can be done either in program areas or have youth leadership present the choreographed expectations in an assembly.

  1. Member Orientation

As new members join the Club, it is recommended that they participate in a member orientation. This should include a tour of the Club, introduction of staff, and communication of Club policies and procedures. We recommend involving Club youth in this process, preferably a youth that is of similar age of the new member joining your Club. Also consider a mandatory orientation for guardians as well.

How do you communicate behavioral expectations at your Club? What creative ideas do you use to keep “housekeeping” light and fun? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org to share!


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