Well, actually it should be called an “Usie”, let me show you how it can work!
Most of the ideas that I share in this blog have been things that I have done in the past, some of which are making a “come back” this fall.
A side note here—most of the time “graduation” is a “four letter word” for me. I love working with junior high and high school students, and JUST when I am really enjoying them as “people” and not just kids, they graduate and leave! I HATE that.
However, there is ONE advantage to it, you can bring back ideas and great music every 4 years and “all things have become new” again. I say all of that say, don’ be afraid to recycle ideas back again. Likely, with a new coat of paint on them, they can be effective and work again.
Sorry for my “Squirrel!” moment—from time to time I chase rabbits, too! If you are a regular reader of this blog you already know that!
Back to the NEW idea. This year on opening day I am going to be very intentional to take a Selfie—or “Usie” with all the new 9th graders coming into the high school choir. I will simply have my iPhone and take the pictures just as I am meeting them for the first time. For one thing, it gives me a reason to talk to all the first time choir members.
That will help me remember their names, since Joel, a new music staff member, directs the junior high choir, I don’t know the 8th graders like I used to.
Further, if there are any new sophomores, juniors, or seniors who I haven’t seen in choir before, I will take their picture as well. For the first day, that is probably the most that I can do.
It is my ultimate goal to get to the whole choir, and that might be possible for you on your opening day. That would be the BEST variation on this idea. Do an Usie with everyone!
I will quickly e mail the picture to my office computer with the caption of their name under the picture. That way I will hear them say it, and then get to write it. This will aid my memory of their name—something that is a real challenge for me.
Then, on Monday I will download all of the pictures to a flash drive and take them up to my local Walgreens. You can also do this same thing directly by sending the pictures on -line to the Walgreens nearest to you.
I am choosing to use the flash drive idea so that I can do a little editing of the pictures FIRST if I need to.
Walgreens will print the picture on a 5 X 7 greeting card. They charge $1.99 for this service in Houston, and that is likely comparable in your area. They also have mailing envelopes that FIT that 5 X 7 included with the greeting card.
Here in Houston it takes them a very short time (less than an hour) to make all the cards.
Then, on Monday afternoon, the day after our first rehearsal, I am going to write inside each of the cards a personal greeting, something like this: _____________ (student’s name), I really enjoyed getting to meet you at Sonlight last Sunday.
Then I will add any personal thing that I can remember from our conversation, like, I am so glad that you are also singing in Stratford’s choir, or I had heard Joel talking about how much fun you were to have in Heartlight last year, etc. Make the comments personal and unique to them. This is not the time for a “form letter”
Finally, I will end with a statement about the great times we will have this year in Sonlight.
So, for approximately $2.50 (including postage) I can make a permanent “connection” with all the new kids coming into choir. This picture will be in addition to the one that we take of everyone during the fellowship time that follows choir. More on that in another blog.
Although I have not done this before, I am convinced that it will help foster a new and continuing relationship with new kids coming in to choir. Don’t be surprised if you have parents tell you that their daughter or their son (less likely) has put the Usie card up on their mirror in their room.
You may be asking, how does THIS idea fit in to recruiting and advertising? Here is how that works, one of the best business marketing tools is anything that helps you keep your “customers” coming back. This idea will help keep the new students connected to you and to the choir.
I firmly believe that this idea will help solidify at least one or two more return visits to choir. By then, I hope that they are hooked on the idea of spending their Sunday afternoons with us each week.
I will keep you posted on how this idea works.