Tips on Planning Outreach Programs

Outreach programs can consist of a speaker with a motivational message and information, or presenters who use entertainment (theater, magic, juggling, storytelling) as a means of presenting their message. Outreach programs can also include hands-on workshops.

THESE EXPERIENCES ARE MULTI-PURPOSE 
  • They are educational.
  • Expose campers to live performances, many for the first time.
  • Teach appropriate audience behavior.
  • Offer an opportunity to experience a range of performance arts such as Theater, Dance, and Music.
  • Provide an opportunity to learn about various cultures and reflect on historical events through performances and concerts.
  • Reinforce social/behavioral messages that have greater impact than traditional materials. Examples include anti-smoking, anti-bullying and character education topics.
  • Introduce young people to a world of experiences, which can be an ongoing source of learning and enrichment throughout their lives.
 
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PLANNING YOUR OUTREACH PROGRAM
A) Get input from counselors and campers for themes.

B) To save money, presenters offer discounts if more than one show is booked. You may be able to partner with other camps, libraries or recreational centers in your area.

C) Make sure that the show is age appropriate.

D) Appropriate size of the audience.

E) Does the camp have to provide equipment or staff? Should be included in contract.
 

HOW TO PREPARE THE CAMPERS FOR APPROPRIATE AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR
A) Campers will be more interested and have a greater understanding of the performance if they are prepared ahead of time. Ask the presenter if they have materials that counselors can present to their campers prior to the program. If not, prepare the counselor with a short description of the program and they can prepare their campers.

B) Reminding your campers of the following simple instructions can help them develop a better sense of courtesy and etiquette as audience members:

Respect: Being a great audience member requires respect for the performers and fellow campers. No candy or gum. The crinkling of wrappers is distracting to the rest of the audience and the performers.

Listening: The audience is an important part of the show. Their reactions and behavior affect the performance, as the people on stage can hear and see them. It is important not to talk during the show unless asked to participate. However, laughing and applauding at appropriate times is encouraged.

Stay Seated: Once seated, they should avoid standing or getting out of their seats because this distracts others and can block their view.

The End: When the performers come out for the final bow, the audience thanks them with applause. Campers should stay in their seats until the counselor guides them out.

C) As with any learning experience, there should be follow up activities. See if the performers offer any suggestions for post-performance activities or visit their website for possible suggestions.