As a leader responsible for organizing and running programs that enrich your community such as swimming lessons, day camps, art classes, and sports, you know that planning, setting up and wrapping up each session has a big effect on the next. Ensuring your transitioning from one session to the next in the best way can be overwhelming.
That's where the End-of-Session Checklist comes in—a crucial tool for wrapping up sessions efficiently and leaving a lasting impact for the next.
This checklist has you covered for ALL the aspects of your session, including staff, facility, participants and debrief sections. With this, you’ll be sure that the team of people you rely on are taken care of and ready to go, or ready to transfer knowledge, your facilities are reset and safe, you’ve shown how much you value and learned from those who join in your programming, and you’ve done the reflection required to move forward even better.
With the help of your team and this checklist, there’s no doubt this transition will be the best yet!
A.K.A. the backbone of your programming... What would you do without them? So, before everyone is packed up for the session, make sure you spend some time with them reflecting on processes, their development and making sure you give them the credit and appreciation they deserve!
- Team Feedback: Gather the staff for a post-session meeting to discuss successes, challenges, and areas for improvement. Encourage open communication and teamwork. There are no bad ideas!
- Staff Training Needs: Identify any training needs based on the session's outcomes to enhance staff skills and ensure professional development. Let the team weigh-in on what they’d like to learn more about or practice more often.
- Schedule Evaluation: Review the staff schedule for the session to identify any inefficiencies or adjustments needed for better coordination. Get inspiration from colleagues at other organizations for new ideas on how to set up the schedule.
- Acknowledgment and Appreciation: Recognize and appreciate your team! Plan a dinner or give them tokens of appreciation so they know how much you value their contribution to making the session a success.
- Handover Notes: If relevant, ensure proper handover notes are prepared and communicated to staff members who may be taking over moving forward or if staff members are swapping responsibilities.
Making sure your physical workplace and the environment enjoyed by your participants is up to par for the next session as part of your wrap up is just the thing needed to ensure that it kicks off without a hitch.
- Safety Inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection of the facilities, including equipment, to address any potential safety hazards before the next session. If possible, bring in an external expert for a fresh perspective.
- Resource Inventory: Take stock of supplies, materials, and equipment, making a note of items that need replenishment or replacement. In addition, consider any new equipment that might elevate your staff’s ability to do execute their responsibilities and boost participant experience.
- Facility Maintenance: Schedule any required repairs or maintenance to keep the activity area in excellent condition for the upcoming session. If you have time where your facility is closed between sessions, try and book the repairs for then!
- Storage Organization: Properly store all activity-related items to ensure easy access and prevent clutter in the facility. You might want to include any new staff for the upcoming session in this process, it’s a great way for them to get a lay of the land!
- Cleanliness Check: Ensure the facilities are thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and ready for the next session. This can include staff and volunteers as well as external specialized companies.
At the end of the day, they are the reason you do what you do. Making sure they feel heard and that they have a positive lasting impression of that last session is key to them coming back and giving positive referrals.
- Feedback Collection: Gather feedback from participants through surveys, discussions, or suggestion boxes to understand their perspectives and identify areas of improvement. This also helps them feel involved in the evolution of your organization and will foster engagement in new initiatives that were built through this feedback loop.
- Progress Assessment: Evaluate individual participant progress based on set objectives and provide personalized feedback to help them track their development. This is particularly important when it comes to parents because they just love hearing as many details as they can about their little ones.
- Engagement Strategies: Analyze participant engagement levels during the session and brainstorm strategies to enhance engagement in the future. This means looking at attendance statistics such as individual participation as well as patterns of busiest and slowest days of the week.
- Participant Recognition: Recognize participants' achievements and efforts, fostering a positive and encouraging environment. This might look like planning a member appreciation dinner or an awards night to give your participants the spotlight for the evening!
- Communication with Parents/Guardians: Send session summaries, progress reports, and upcoming schedules to parents or guardians to keep them informed and engaged.
A crucial step before moving forward from any program, project or initiative is looking back at the big picture. What can you learn from your experience that will help you be better for the future? That’s where the “debrief” part of the checklist comes in.
- Session Review: Reflect on the overall success of the session and gather insights to inform the planning of the next one. If you’ve done this after previous sessions, you can look for trends season-over-season or year-over-year. If you haven’t, why not start now?
- Goal Setting: Define clear and achievable objectives for the upcoming session, aligning them with the broader goals of the activity. This can be done for your entire program, yourself and for your staff!
- Lesson Plan Adjustments: Revise lesson plans based on participant feedback, staff input, and any changes in goals or requirements. Maybe participants want to spend more time on practice rather than theory or muscle strength instead of cardio!
- Activity Innovation: Brainstorm and introduce new activities or learning methods to keep sessions fresh and engaging. There are new trends and interests every year, consider incorporating them into your programming to stay current.
- Timely Communication: Set up a communication plan to inform all stakeholders about the details and expectations of the upcoming session well in advance. Get them booked before they consider other options, this is key to helping you fill your spots for the session to come.
A little extra organization goes a long way!
By implementing this comprehensive end-of-session checklist, you will be able to ensure that each session is managed effectively, and that participants, staff, and facilities are more than adequately prepared for future success. Wishing you a happy end-of-session wrap up!