[Organizers] Ottawa contra - newcomer handout and stickers

Emily Addison via Organizers organizers at lists.sharedweight.net
Sat May 6 11:16:43 PDT 2017

Hi fellow shared weight members,

Sharing a bit of information on two new initiatives we're trying at Ottawa
Contra to retain newcomers/convert them to regulars. (This is a big focus
for us right now.)

*Newcomer handout:*
A few months ago on the listserve, I mentioned that Ottawa Contra was
working on a newcomer flyer... I finally have a PDF copy to share!  This
has been in the works for over a year so it's great to have it done and out
in our community.

Just as a bit of background, our goal wasn't to replace all the community
support from the reular dancers, messaging from the caller and organizer
(announcements etc)... instead our goal was to have a handout that would
provide that bit more of encouragement and information that might bring
back the brand new folks and get them to stick with it. We aren't trying to
teach newcomers what contra dancing is (moves etc) but about how to become
part of the community, that it's worthwhile to stick with it, etc. We hand
the newcomer handout at the door along with the second dance free card.

In particular, I wanted to thank Luke Donforth.... our committee referred
to docs from lots of other communities and we got input from a fair number
of callers.  However, Luke did an amazing job at editing the messaging in
the handout... better than our whole committee all combined!

The handout's only been out for two dances so hard to tell what people
think quite yet but we're happy.

*Newcomer stickers:*
This are going over VERY well. We have smiley stickers about an inch wide -
different colours for folks to choose from.  They can add this to their
sticky name tag (have a little note to this effect on the name tag table).
We have also started doing a short announcement at the very start of the
dance welcoming everyone with special messaging especially for the
newcomers.  As part of that, we tell newcomers about the smiley stickers
and that if they want to self-identify, experienced folks will particularly
look for them. Our experienced folks already look for beginners but this
way, the newcomers are VERY easy to spot and the stickers remind
experienced folks in a fun way.  And some beginners seem to feel more
confident self-identifying while others don't need to use the stickers if
they don't want.  It's been a real win for beginners and experienced folks,
adding to the welcoming environment.

Always keen to hear more ideas about welcoming and including newcomers!!!

:) Emily
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