One way to keep participants coming back is to reward loyal participants and at the same time encourage others to join through a collective challenge.
A collective challenge can take any form:
- The Steps Out website (www.stepsout.com) provides a tracking system for steps and activities so that participants can see their collective progress towards geographic destinations on an online map.
- You might think of vertical destinations such as climbing Mt. Everest, the Great Pyramid of Egypt or even the International Space Station from Earth (340 km). If you have a walking group, this could be measured simply by steps counted on a pedometer. The following sites provide distances to some popular "destinations":
- The challenge should be visible to the public and attractive, so that the success is not hidden in a binder! A community in Vancouver used the stepsout.com program, and went further by adding a public display: they made a poster with flag pins for each member to mark their position. Whether you count individual progress or the group's progress, a visual centrepiece could be a source of pride for the group.
- The reward for reaching the collective goal could be an outing or a special event during the normal activity time (is there a former Olympian or other guest in your area that could lead a different type of class or provide an interesting/interactive talk?).
- Haldimand-Norfolk Resource Centre, one of the pilot sites for the Minding Our Bodies project, hosted a "We for Wii!" contest. When participants used the active Wii games, their activities were logged on a posted thermometer. Once participants collectively reached their goal, the group received a new Wii game.
This collective challenge provides an opportunity for you to recruit new participants through posters, announcements, etc. And it can provide an incentive for members to keep coming or to bring in a new person.
With so many goals for individuals, it can be motivating to be in a group where there is a goal that is shared.