It is best to consult the school calendar when determining options. Avoid weekends as it is hard to recruit community volunteers and businesses on weekends or holidays. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are best as it allows at least one workday to email reminders to all volunteers. Some programs prefer to have their RW Event as a kick off event to their academic or financial literacy programming, as the beginning to a summer program, or during a school holiday.
This event can be financed entirely by volunteer time and donations if needed. To do so, the RW Committee will need to spend more time soliciting community businesses. The RW Committee needs to review the Real World Estimated Costs and determine which items they will need to purchase and what items they could get donated. If the Committee has some money for the budget tied to a particular population (such as WIA youth) but other youths will also attend, the committee can use the funding for items that would be the same regardless of who is attending. Those items could include decorations, location, and grand prizes. The RW Committee can create their budget and keep up with actual tasks using the RW Budget worksheet.
Committee will use the Planning Update as a guide for brainstorming what sponsors, businesses, and/or individuals may fit the workshops, exhibits, and staffing needs. Suggestions for who may provide supplies should be communicated with the Materials Committee.
Download: RW Planning Update
Begin developing small packets of information to be provided to any potential sponsors. (It is suggested that you work with the Materials Committee on the RW Brochure.) It would be helpful to make phone or personal contact with a potential sponsor before mailing or delivering the packet. Consider having a young adult from your program assist with packets. They will improve their social skills by your example. Follow up after the packet has arrived to answer any questions or request a specific need. The packet should include personalized documents: Sponsor Invitation, Sponsor Form, RW Brochure, a previous year's RW Sponsor List, and a news coverage article if one exists. Having something concrete to provide will give credibility to your event and demonstrate your organization.
Send Real World Brochures and/or call the adult facilitators for the identified programs. Provide preliminary information as requested including the Letter to Potential Participants with Information, the Career Clusters Interest Survey and Educational Level Desired. All of these materials are needed to register participants.
A Real World Youth Event should have at least 50 youths in attendance to make the day worthwhile to your sponsors and to provide enough participants to make the event exciting to other youths. It is important to recruit at least one-third more youths than you hope will attend. For many reasons, it is predictable to lose that amount between registration and the actual event. Use the Planning Update to keep track of those pending and registered youths.
Download: RW Planning Update
The location must be one that appeals to the specific age-group targeted. It should also accommodate the Exhibit Set-up, space for the Mini-workshops, the Used Car Lot, and refreshment needs, while also providing ample parking for sponsors, volunteers, and staff. It is preferable to have the event outside of the targeted age groups' routine locations. The RW Event is an opportunity to expose youths to a setting that could generate future goals and encourage good behavior.
It may also be helpful for the location to recognize that set-up for the Exhibit is needed by 6:30 AM on the day of the event so staff can unload and pre-set the room.
Download: RW Exhibit Set-Up
When exploring possible locations, be sure to ask questions pertaining to the area where you would like to have approximately 5-6 cars set up to simulate a Used Car Lot. Ask if cars can be parked there all day; if not, can they be in place during the exhibit portion of the day? Can the cars be placed close to the exhibit area to minimize youths becoming "side-tracked" on their way to the car lot? Is normal traffic busy; meaning extra adults might be needed to supervise youths accessing the car lot? Consider that one person on the committee may need to be in charge of moving the cars to and from the car lot if cars can only be in place for a specific period of time.
The Real World Resource Guide is provided to youths in their packet and is organized to help them quickly locate local resources to help them with issues such as housing, employment, education, etc. It will take time to include the resources specific for your area. Therefore it is recommended that the Materials committee start this task as early as possible.
Download: RW Resources Guide