After the draft is completed you will run into a couple of major issues. The first is what to do with people who have been drafted but then never show up ever again. You can learn more about how we deal with this issue by taking a look at the blog post titled Phase 6: Improving Squads. The second issue that is a much more pleasant one to deal with is what do you do when new kids start coming to youth events but don’t have a squad. Here is how we handle that…
There are three vitally important things that we have to have in order to place students on squads in a way that makes sense. First, you have to get good info on students the very first time they come to a youth event. We have tried numerous means of trying to get this information, but have learned that getting a student to fill out the “classic” paper version of a visitor form works best for us. We tried getting them to submit info on a couple of iPads when they come, but that gets aggravating when you have several new students all show up on the same night for the first time. So, when a new students shows up we hand them a small clip board with a half page sheet of paper on it that asks for the info we need. We have included a picture of what our form looks like below.
Second, we use an iPad checkin system for students who regularly attend each week, and once a new student fills out a Student Connection Card, we put them in the iPad system the next day. By doing that, the iPad lets us know if a student is a first time visitor because he or she would not be in our iPad checkin system yet. The checkin system we use is called MinHub. This app was made by youth guys and you can tell. While it may still have a few kinks to work out, there are a few pros that set this app apart from other apps. The biggest pro that caused us to go with the app is that each student is able to have a picture beside their name in the app. This is a game changer that helps us to remember who kids are after they have come a couple of times. Since we manually input visitor info in the iPad a day later, we actually get to have a little fun trying to get a picture out of the student when they come back later on. One of our squad leaders is assigned the responsibility of getting a student to take a selfie to put on the iPad once they come back a second time or later on. This is a great role for squad leaders to have because it would be super awkward to have an adult walk up to a new student and ask them to take a selfie.
MinHub then allows us to track how often a student shows up on either Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, or any other events we set up. Once a student starts coming “regularly” we put the plan for getting them on a squad in motion.
I keep a running list of regularly attending new kids who are not on a squad. I don’t put every student that has come 1 time on there, but instead students who have stuck around and would benefit from connecting with a squad leader. Then, when I meet with my squad leaders I show them the list. The squad leaders have the option of picking up any new student that they want to have on their squad. If a new student does not get picked up then I ask one of our squad leaders to pick them. I try to avoid assigning students to be on a squad because that takes away from one of the best things about squads. Remember, squads gives a squad leader a chance to walk up to any student in his or her squad and say “I picked you” to be on my squad. That is the concept we want to keep even with new students.
Once they have been picked on a squad I give the squad leader their contact info and encourage the squad leader to connect with them as soon as possible. I also contact the new student myself and give them a heads up that they have been put on a squad and they will probably hear from their squad leader soon. I also text them a link to our web page that has info about Squads so that they know what they are.