At the Leadership Institute this past January, I was asked by both the Division and Local Section tracks to talk about engaging young members of the Society. I certainly have my opinions and, as the new YCC chair have a responsibility to promote such engagement, but I would love to hear what the folks on this forum think (yes, I will post my thoughts but only if someone asks ).
How do (or should) local sections leaders consider reaching the younger demographic when planning section events? Does this approach work? Why/why not?
For us in the California Section, one thing that our local section YCC chair has done is to try "non-traditional" meetings. These have included Christmas caroling with chemists, chocolate tours and discussions, saki tasting, and a photo scavenger hunt based on chemistry "clues". These do attract a younger crowd, at least more so than the traditional section meeting of a technical talk over a rubber-chicken banquet dinner...!
And yes, Dotti, I'd like to hear your thoughts, as one of the things we struggle with in our section is that our member demographics contain a substantial younger component, while our section meeting attendance typically has not. We're trying to change that, of course.
2011 Chair, California Section
Like California, the North Jersey Section has tried various approaches (picnics, beer tasting, purely social events) but it is a challenge to increase participation (in any demographic group).
Dotti - we would all love to hear your thoughts!
I too would be very interested to hear more on this topic--when trying to attract younger members to events in the Minnesota section, the response we often get is that their work/family obligations keep them too busy for anything else. We have however had some success with daytime activities where members and their children were invited and there were some child-friendly activities
We have a YCC in the NY Section. I should ask David Cormode, the Chair, to describe their several successful events.
In 2010, the New York Section Long Range Planning Committee had a "Millennials Team." They focused on students and made recommendations, not all of which have put into practice yet!
In brief, we are trying, not so much to get them to do things our way, as to do at least some things their way!
A few more thoughts, based on my experience:
Any other thoughts out there?
Dotti, et al.,
I see that Anne and Brian (below) have some good suggestions.
My input (from my past life as a teacher) is "why not learning by doing"? Have the YCC-ers in your LS actually organize a LS mtg or other event. (Of course, it will help if the greybeards show up, too.) As you recently said in Fort Worth, in so many words: "If they get involved, they stay involved." Hands-on, engage the younger members, show them that their skill-set, creativity, enthusiasm, etc is welcome and needed. SCHB is starting to do that.
I agree - get people (not just YCC) involved. Give them the opportunity to contribute and work on their own (new) ideas.
Remember the Local Section Innovation Program Grants ($3000). These are a great way to help provide funds to start new programs and hence involve new people as volunteeer leaders and attendees.