NOAC 2006
Arrowmen | Contingent Leaders | Parents | Professionals | Staff
October 23, 2021
NOAC 2006 - Tools for Communication

Tools for Communication

In addition to your physical meetings, you can utilize as many alternate forms of communication as necessary to keep in touch with your group.

Phone Calls and E-mails
Calendars
Orientation Packets and Meeting Handouts
Paper Mailings
Lodge Web Sites, Newsletters and E-mail Lists
Contingent Rosters and Phone Trees


Phone Calls and EMails

Both of these modes of communication will be incredibly helpful, but for best effect they should also be used as a pair. Phone calls can’t give as much information as quickly as printed media, and people often receive a lot of email that they don’t always identify as important. Therefore, the successful contingent leader should combine both methods. Every time an email is sent to the entire contingent containing an attachment or any special information, a calling tree should be used to notify members that they need to check their email for an important message. Including the phone calls will also help the contingent leader and youth members to get to know each other better. Combining these important emails with the planned phone calls two weeks before a contingent meeting will make the process simpler and keep phone costs of time and money to a minimum. When deadlines are approaching for fees or online registrations, an email and phone call should also be used together to give each participant a double reminder.

Coordinating calls and emails is very important to keeping this duo working properly. Calling trees should be constantly updated, both parental and contingent. Proper calling trees are discussed in more detail a little later. However, emailing can also be simplified by using an email list or web group. These can be created for free at various trustworthy web sites and will provide a single email address for contingent leaders to address their informative messages. These email lists and groups are also easy to maintain and refine as changes become necessary.

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Calendars

Before your first contingent meeting in the winter, make a calendar of important dates to give to each participant and their parents. Make sure to include each of the monthly meetings participants will need to plan for, as well as, all deadlines for fee payments. National deadlines for activity and class registration can also be listed here to make sure they won’t be problems later. Once complete, this calendar needs to be given to the participants as soon as they register, and any updated versions should be sent out as soon as possible, along with updated rosters and phone trees.

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Orientation Packets and Meeting Handouts

At the first contingent and parent meetings, a great deal of information must be handed-out in order to get the preparation process started. It is important to have as much information ready as possible for these initial meetings because it will get tougher to get further information out later. Documents at this time should include:

There's a lot to hand out, but all of it is important to starting the contingent on the right track.
Handouts may be necessary at later meetings, so take care to make it as accurate and understandable as possible. Also remember to make plenty of copies and always keep at least a master set of everything to ensure absent participants or families can still receive the information.

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Paper Mailings

Thankfully cheap electronic methods of communication should reach most members of a contingent, and handouts at meetings will make sure physical copies of necessary documents are distributed. However, proper attention and respect should be paid to participants who cannot receive email, who are difficult to call, or who may miss contingent meetings. In some cases, mailing these participants documents that might be otherwise sent electronically or handed-out is the only way to get the information in their hands. While it carries some expense, if mailings are used only for a few special cases, they should be easily used in conjunction with emails. Make sure to ask registering participants if they will need to have information mailed to them. Then, as emails are sent to the rest of the group, make sure to send the paper mailings as well to those who need them. With early notice and a small amount of effort, participants without email or internet access can stay just as informed as their brethren.

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Lodge Web Sites, Newsletters, and EMail Lists

After NOAC has been promoted in the lodge and contingent’s membership is known, these tools for lodge communication have little use to the NOAC contingent. Because contingents have such unique needs for when and what to communicate to a select group of lodge members, contingent leadership should make efforts to make their own routes of communication like a separate email list and calling tree. Unfortunately, use of a common and more public forum like lodge web pages or email lists will often attract well-meaning, but largely uninformed, lodge members to distract the contingent’s progress with unnecessary commentary. Many people have attended a NOAC and might feel they have sufficient expertise on the event to interject their opinion and comments to the contingent. However, every NOAC trip is unique and old methods and information provided by such members, often adults, will most likely only confuse first-time participants and generally get in the leadership’s way. Separate communications will avoid all of this mess.

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Contingent Rosters and Phone Trees

Making phone calls to remind contingent members of upcoming meetings and dates takes coordination. By setting up a calling tree, the contingent leadership can make sure every participant is contacted without making the contingent leader and adviser call everyone personally. Delegating just a handful of trustworthy youth participants as calling assistants will lighten the leadership’s load immensely.

In order for the contingent to keep informed and for the tree to keep working, distribute updated contingent rosters and phone trees regularly. It might be a good habit to give new versions out two weeks before every monthly meeting. This way the calling assistants can use the most updated versions when they call everyone two weeks in advance to remind them of an upcoming meeting. It also might be helpful to maintain a separate parental phone tree for both the pre-NOAC period and also to contact parents for large updates during an event, such as a delay on the trip home.

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