Fun & LearningSmart Planning: The Secret to a Fun Festival
Fun is an essential element of every USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival. In order to plan a successful event, you’ll need to know:
- What’s the age group? How experienced/inexperienced are they? Is your Festival basically a regatta format, or Introduction to sailing? Or both?
- Who’s your target audience? Junior programs, camps with sailing. Introducing sailing to nonsailing families? Scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, general day camps.
How do you get them to the event? Send event flyers and preregistration info out one month in advance. Then follow up by phone, calling head instructors, program directors and parents of the kids. Line up junior programs to staff an activity. Encourage them to wear shirts from their club.
- Is the event also a regatta? Fun activities “are included” in racing entry fee. Give racing kids a Competitor Card (laminate neon cards, attach sunglasses-keepers): Lets them into fun stuff and is racer’s lunch ticket. Makes them feel special. Allow time for racing kids to do fun activities (like while they wait for awards ceremony)!
- Activities Schedule should be publicized well ahead. Half-hour segments are realistic.
Stick to your schedule, to avoid disappointing the kids.
Activities, Games, Skills
Here are some terrific kid-tested ideas for all ages:
Tube a Doo
Things to Remember
- Kids must be accompanied by parent/instructor; clarify with everyone before event
- Invite the whole family
- Group the activities in a central place, possibly under a tent
- Signs are helpful – BIG ones are best
- Staff every activity; rotate often; use local experts to demo and judge
- T-shirts (included or for sale?) – Shirts & goodie bags all look alike. Tell kids to keep track of their own stuff.
- Food and drink (preferably juices and water) are important; selling minimizes waste
- Music adds to the fun
- Take pictures – and give them out at awards ceremony – great mementos for kids!