[Stc_presidents-discuss] Program Manager Idea Sharing

President STCNE president at stcnewengland.org
Thu Jul 2 20:08:34 UTC 2015

Hi, Ben.

I guess what follows meets your request for innovative program ideas. It
also responds to Richard Mateosian's question about how to get people to
contribute ideas. [Go get a beer or a coffee, it's long!]

We combined our end-of-year meeting, which I described as a celebration in
our promotions, with a short brainstorming session. We met in a private
room at a pub and had a buffet dinner. The timing was relaxed, I felt, but
actually everything that I describe happened between 6:00 and 8:30. I was
amazed when I saw the time at the end!

This was our schedule:

1. Opening remarks, welcoming and giving the structure of the evening --
very brief.
2. Giving of certificates to volunteers who are not council members. The
certificates listed the recipient's types of participation, and the
recipient also randomly pulled a plastic "medal" out of a small basket and
read it aloud. The medals came from a party shop; each one said something
like Excellent! Super! Great Job! They clearly were intended for children.
I thought people would enjoy them, and they did. There was a cheer every
time a recipient read their "medal" aloud.
3. Brainstorming about future activities, Patty Gale led this activity. She
provided an overview of our types of activities, showed how last year's
activities fit into the different types, and then she explained that we
would like people's thoughts about activities for the coming year. She had
big sheets of paper on the walls with varioius headings, and people wrote
ideas on them. It was very, very productive. Patty is a genius, in my
opinion, and it was a terrific way to get feedback. I'd say the whole thing
lasted 20-25 minutes.
4. Giving of certificates and medals to council members. Much cheering!
5. Giving of the Landers-Carbrey award to an outstanding council member. He
was speechless, couldn't believe it, and I think he was very touched.
6. Partying!

For an additional write-up, go to our news site:


Oh, one other thing. About half the attendees were not receiving anything.
I emailed them ahead of the evening and asked if they would be willing to
read citations aloud. When the people who had said yes arrived, I gave them
a strip of paper with a citation on it for one of the recipients. I told
everyone that it would be too boring if Patty and I were the only ones
talking, so I'd asked some participants to read the citations. Then, when I
called the name of the recipient and the person came up to receive the
award, the reader also came up. I had the reader give his or her name, and
the reader then read the citation.

People had fun with it, making humorous, impromptu remarks. The atmosphere
was relaxed. The people who read got a moment in the spotlight; they got a
tiny taste of being involved; everyone seemed to have fun, and everyone
else in the room learned the reader's name as well as the recipient's name.
It worked well.

As for our September program, I haven't set one up yet. I have no VP and so
am responsible for lining up speakers for the year. I've got someone in
mind who would be terrific . . .


On Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM, Ben Woelk <ben.woelk at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would like to connect with whoever is planning programs for your
> communities with the goal of getting us to share effective practices,
> innovative program ideas, and strategies for overcoming challenges we may
> face.
> I'm working on setting up a forum/wiki, but I'd like to get the
> conversations started. Please contact me at this email address or
> programs at stc-rochester.org
> What are you all doing for kickoff events?
> Thanks!
> --
> Ben Woelk, CISSP
> Author of *Shockproofing Your Use of Social Media: Staying Safe Online
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