Do you have the generosity of spirit that it takes to help not just your local Ruritan Club, but all of the Ruritan Clubs in the Rapidan District move forward? We need volunteers to serve on the District Cabinet! Specifically at this moment we need a Youth Activity Coordinator!
We have LOTS of great ideas on what the Youth Activity Coordinator can do, and how it can be accomplished, but we need someone to join in with the brainstorming, roll up their sleeves with us and help us “get it done!” We sure could use your help this year, and next year, too! We’d really appreciate having someone dedicated to Ruritan help us develop a guide of ideas, suggestions, and resources for the local clubs in respect to Ruritan youth, and help make sure the local clubs have access to the resources we pull together.
We care about our youth, right? After all, our clubs spend so much time raising money to award scholarships for students to further their education! Our youth need more than that, and we can give it to them! And we need what they can do for us! Perfect partners!
This is TEAMWORK we’re talking about, you would NOT be “on your own” with no help and lots of pressure. This will be fulfilling work, helping to get community youths involved in community service and the Ruritan organization. This is NOT going to be about pressuring clubs to “Create Ruri-Teen Clubs or Perish” – this is creative, “out of the box” thinking and planning. Won’t you join with us and help to keep Ruritan relevant to our communities and our youths?
You say you don’t know what that position is, or what it does? Here is the “position description” taken from page 36 of the official Ruritan Club and District Officer’s Handbook:
Youth Activity Coordinator
Duties of the Youth Coordinator
- Developing a youth activity program that helps serve the needs of youth in their communities.
- Providing opportunities through working agreements with other organizations that share the same values as Ruritans.
- Identifying, training, nurturing, and developing the leadership of our youth, which is vital to the future of Ruritan.
Strategies for District Youth Programs
A. Expanding opportunities with organizations with which Ruritan already has a working agreement.
B. Identifying and developing working agreements with other organizations that will help us reach our goal.
C. Encouraging clubs who sponsor youth, or youth activities, to make recipients aware of what our organization is all about.
D. Encouraging clubs to involve more youth in club meetings, i.e., invite youth to a meeting before sending them to a sponsored event and let them know what is expected of them and then invite them back after the event for a report.
E. Encouraging submission of youth related articles and events for inclusion in the Ruritan Magazine or Ruritan Newsletter and in district publications.
F. Where applicable, encouraging zone or district meetings, on at least an annual basis, of high school Ruritan club members, Ruritan Student members, and other interested youth to discuss benefits, problems, or other issues related to Ruritan involvement or membership.
Interested? Fill out the form! We will get back to you!
The following article is the sole opinion of the Lt. Governor, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the entire District Cabinet, or of Ruritan National, although some of the ideas set forth are an interpretation of workshops and meetings about Publicity and Membership from the 2014 Ruritan National Convention in Branson MO.
An opinion from the desk of the Lt. Governor:
As the Ruritan Clubs look to their future, more members are realizing that their local clubs are at a critical crossroad, and difficult decisions must be made. Some clubs are struggling with membership loss for a variety of reasons, and are finding it challenging to recruit and maintain their clubs at charter strength. If the clubs are to survive, the clubs need to find a way to recruit and retain younger, enthusiastic, energetic members.
Those younger, energetic members, are members of the generations often referred to as the “Generation X” and “Generation Y” (or “Milleniums.”) Successfully marketing Ruritan to these groups of people is critical if the local Ruritan Clubs are going to survive.
Online published articles about marketing research about the Generation X target market, and marketing research about the Generation Y (Milleniums) from a well-respected source known as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) makes it clear that both of these generations are extremely technologically savvy, and are very involved in social media. Links to articles about that research are provided in the previous sentence; you can click on those links to see the articles.
These two generations are the real future of Ruritan. If Ruritan Clubs want to survive, then the clubs need to embrace that as the truth, and market themselves to those two generations. These generations use dynamic social media, such as Facebook, and Twitter. They are more likely to be attracted to a responsive, dynamic, blog-style webpage that has a calendar of upcoming events on the home page, categories, widgets, and frequent, updated blog posts about the most recent club happenings than they are to a static webpage that is essentially an announcement of “hey, we exist, come check us out” page that is attractive to previous generations. The blog-style webpage is similar in appearance, and feel to Facebook, and most of the people in these generations use Facebook a lot.
Static webpages have served their purpose well in the past, and it is understandable that the clubs might be reluctant to change them. After all, we are comfortable with them, they are our creations, and we hate change! But change is coming, whether we like it or not, and we must adapt, or cease to exist.
Some of the components of those static webpages can be preserved by creating a “sticky post” on the home page of the blog-style websites, but in the current Internet environment those completely static webpages are not going to perform as well in Google Search Engine Results Pages, Domain Authority Rankings, Google Page Rankings, Bing Rankings, Alexa Rankings as the newer blog-style websites will perform. The blog-style webpages, if created correctly, and maintained faithfully and correctly, will be more effective at reaching the Generation X and Y target markets.
There is no reason that a Ruritan Club cannot have multiple websites, targeting different markets! If the club already has a static webpage, and is happy with it, the club can create a new blog-style webpage and link it to a new or existing Facebook page. There is nothing that says a club can only have “one” webpage!
Many Ruritan clubs are at a crossroads. These clubs need to decide whether they want to attract younger members into the clubs so the clubs will survive, or if they want to just let the club memberships drop below charter level and eventually lose their charter. If the clubs want to attract younger members, then the clubs would be well advised to market their clubs to the technologically savvy, younger members through the Social Media that these younger members already use – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and blog-style websites in addition to newspapers, radio, television.
Resistance to evolution is futile. If Ruritan Clubs are to survive, we must study the changes and adapt to them, or we will not survive.
This was originally posted on the “I am Ruritan” Facebook page:
Does your Ruritan club have a Facebook page or periodically add club pictures to Facebook (including this I Am Ruritan site)? Remember that there is a youth protection policy in place for Ruritan that includes the following two statements:
• Before taking pictures of youth, members should have a completed photo release form for each youth. Please respect the families that do not wish to have their youth photographed.
• Even with a signed release form, do not put photos of youth on web pages that identify the names or locations of the youth
You may also be interested in knowing more about COPPA (Children’s On Line Privacy Protection Act) an FTC rule that has been in effect since 2000 and was expanded in July of 2013 to include more about social media postings. Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to put parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to information websites collect about their kids under 13. Congress directed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, to issue the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.
Simply put – if you do not have the legal guardian/parent’s permission (in writing is best) to post a picture of a child under 13, do not put it on a Facebook page. You certainly don’t want to be in a position of putting a child at risk. If you have posted a picture and the parent asks you to take it down – do so immediately. If you need a copy of a consent form for youth pictures – you can download it from the Ruritan National website at http://www.ruritan.org/library/119.doc.