If it is your first time or your 5th time bringing a delegation to NCYC, there are always roadblocks for parish leaders. For diocesan leaders, there are ways to help and equip parish leaders to navigate those roadblocks. Here are a couple of quick tips for diocesan leaders that may be organizing parish delegations to NCYC.
1. Build a partnership with your hotel(s)
The staff at the hotel deals with groups of teens all the time, and many of those encounters are not favorable. So, invest time in letting the hotel staff know how fantastic and amazing your teens are. Remember, they have a business to run and other guests to accommodate. If you are mean or demanding of them, they will reply in kind. Instead, invite them in as partners.
2. Anticipate Hunger
The most significant reason people left their room after curfew was because they were meeting a pizza delivery guy in the lobby. To combat this, we order pizzas to our hotel each night so it’s there to greet the kids when they get back after a long day at the conference. This gives teens a space to eat and socialize before bringing that noise (and hunger) to their bedrooms.
3. Treat Adults like Adults
Our adults never share a bed with anyone… unless they are attending with their spouse. This costs a bit more, but the benefit is clear in the increased energy and focus we get from our adults. With this service, we have found that it is not difficult for group leaders to find enough chaperones.
4. Brace for Change
In our previous policy, parish leaders could not take any chances as payments were non-negotiable and final. Parishes were motivated to bring the smallest group possible so they would not be at risk. Now, we allow parishes to buy and sell spots from one another. We maintain as much flexibility as possible so parish leadership can make the best decision for their parish.
5. Do Your Paperwork! (or find someone who will)
We have learned that an efficient data management system is essential. We track parish payments, scholarships, registration, rooming assignments, bus assignments, everything! It makes management so much easier. Make reasonable deadlines and follow up with those who are behind. Do not wait until November to get your ducks in a row.
6. Budget for the Worst
Our archdiocesan package includes some overhead costs. We usually bump up our costs about 3% -5% over what we think it will actually cost us. A sure way to get a bishop (or pastor) dissatisfied with your work is to continue losing money. That little cushion goes a long way to protect our diocese.
7. Budget for the Best
Finally, we have learned that some people can afford more than others. We add $10 per person to our package price so that we can generate financial assistance. And, for those who have the funds, $10 is not going to make a difference to them. We take care of each other. It’s what makes us Christian!