Meetings & Logistics
Meetings and logistics
Where to meet?
An important consideration for opening a Field Trip chapter is deciding where and when to meet.
There are lots of practical things to think about when deciding when and where to hold your Field Trip sessions. It's best to get this organised as early as possible as this will need to be decided before you start promoting or recruiting.
Your choice of location may be limited if you're in a small community.
Some good options might be your local Neighbourhood House, community centre, local primary or high school, library, Council or community hall or a business which has a room or some space you can use. You want something that's generally available and accessible to you (and to young people who will be attending weekly), a space which is free or very cheap and a space with some basic facilities such as toilets, parking, a play area, maybe a few tables or chairs and even a kitchen if possible.
Ask your Field Trip Director liaison for ideas and where other Field Trip groups meet and consider a range of options. You can also share a venue with other groups.
Here's a check list of things you may need to consider:
Space – you need a hall or room with enough space to play games.
Facilities – toilets and somewhere leaders and participants can wash their hands.
Furniture – enough tables and chairs for all participants to use if possible.
Accessibility – for members with disabilities or additional needs.
General access – somewhere easy and safe for participants and leaders to get to with safe parking (preferably lit up at night).
Availability – somewhere available for most of the year. Take note of days, weeks or times of the year when it will not be available. Check that you can get access before and after the meeting time to allow setting up and clearing away.
Not many restrictions – find out about restrictions on the types of activities you're allowed to run.
Cost and deposit – if there is a charge for using the premises, you should consider if the cost is affordable and sustainable. Check if you have to pay a deposit.
Other tenants – ask if other groups will be meeting at the venue at the same time. Find out who the groups are as the type of group may impact on your decision. For example, a noisy dance class in the next room could be quite disruptive.
Some other things to think about:
Outdoor space – access to a safe area for activities.
Kitchen facilities – for cooking and making refreshments.
Storage – lockable space for your equipment and resources.
First aid kit - if there isn't one in the venue, The Field Trip will provide one
Once you've found a venue, make sure you review any hire agreements, check the venue has public liability insurance and, if necessary, provide them with a copy of The Field Trip's insurance and public liability certificate. The Field Trip manages this centrally and will have this information.
It's also a good idea to complete a basic risk assessment of the venue and to make your committee aware of the risks and opportunities of the venue chosen. For your risk assessment, use a 'high, medium or low' rating for the following:
Size of space: will it feel overcrowded?
Temperature: is too hot or cold?
Air quality: are there windows and/or options for fresh air?
Dangerous items: are there dangerous items in the space to consider?
Fire risk: are there flammable items to consider? Is there a fire risk?
Traffic and roads: is it close to a road and does that increase danger for participants?
Access to first aid: is there a first aid kit or access to help if required?
Other access issues: is there accessibility for all potential participants?
Other risks to consider?
When should you meet?
Timing is important. Think through the following:
Ask friends, parents, teachers, community members as to when they think a suitable time/day would be to hold the weekly session. The Field Trip usually holds its session every Sunday 3-5pm but in your town the needs of participants might be different.
Is after school during the week better than a weekend timeslot? If so, how much time do participants need to go home after school, get a snack and then head to a Field Trip session? If weekends are better, when do kids in your area play sport and can we avoid times conflicting? When do other activities available for young people in your area take place? Is a Saturday or Sunday meeting more appropriate?
Members from a specific cultural or religious background might be living in the area. You may want to arrange meeting times to reflect their needs too. Make sure the meeting doesn’t finish too late for younger kids – factor in travel time home and when they might want to eat lunch or dinner. Factor in set up time and pack up time for leaders. Factor in opportunities to share the space with other groups and what might work for the venue or for your partners.
If you find yourself struggling to find a suitable meeting place or time, liaise with your committee members or Field Trip Director who can provide advice.
First financial steps
Every Field Trip chapter has its own budget. The income is usually just the fees of participants. The expenses are the salaries of your young Drivers, venue hire, insurance, CareMonkey online health care system, any marketing and promotion, and so on.
The Field Trip will work with you to create your budget and then take care of all expenses for you. You don't worry have to worry about going into debt or being liable for expenses you can't afford. It's covered. All you need to do is to have input into your budgetas to what you think the expenses are for the weekly program and recruiting enough kids who will pay minimal fees to cover the expenses required. Consider any costs you will incur for your venue, program materials, any start up costs, etc... and how many kids you think might participate.
Once you’ve got a list of what needs to be paid for, and you know roughly how many participants might attend, you can liaise with The Field Trip to sign off your budget and put arrangements in place to monitor it.
You are welcome to consider other options for income such as fundraising but this can become time consuming and detract from the main focus of your work - to develop and deliver a financially sustainable youth program. If parents, schools or community groups are going to support fundraising initiatives, it might be easier for them to contribute simply by promoting the Field Trip to local kids who then pay whatever fees they can afford. The result is the same: sufficient income to cover your minimal expenses.
All membership fees are direct debited to a central Field Trip account which streamlines financial processes and means the Field Trip uses the same account to cover all of your expenses. Any monies going in and out of the account are transparent and visible to you so you can see how much is earned and spent at any point during the year.
Budgets are projected on a term by term basis and are reconciled each term. At the end of each term, all Drivers share in 50% of any surplus the chapter earns, to incentivise Drivers supporting efforts to recruit more participants.
Make sure you let parents know how fees are paid and that there are scholarships and discounts available for those who require this. Payment arrangements can also be made.
Some families might feel they can’t join in because of the cost. They may struggle to afford regular subscriptions, or money for extracurricular activities. Please let these parents and families know that the Field Trip is flexible and inclusive and we can work out an arrangement that suits them if they don't pay anything for the first term.
Being flexible and thinking creatively will help you to ensure that money doesn't stop members from getting involved.
The Field Trip is registered as a local charity and so you can accept donations for your chapter too. Think about how you want to promote this, if you think it's important to the surviva of the group. Generally, if expenses are covered through sufficient attendance and participation, we don't feel we need to ask for further donations or apply for local funding to stay afloat.
However, we do like partnerships. This could mean reducing the cost of a venue, or increasing involvement by local community groups, mentors or partners. Partnering with local businesses or groups can be a great way to increase community participation and undertake new programs at low (or no) cost. Partnerships can increase opportunities for funding or support in a range of ways, including promoting to their networks to increase the number of participants for you. Get to know your community and how partners could help you grow your Field Trip chapter.