I have been performing at Upward Sports™ Award Night programs for many years now, so I have seen a lot of them–both good and, well, ones with room for improvement. I thought I’d create a few posts of tips to make your Upward Sports™ Award Ceremony the best it can be.
Here’s a big one: keep it short! I have been to Upward Sports™ events that last for two hours. Everyone will have a better time and have more fun if you don’t tax their attention span. It really is possible to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in one hour. Really.
Here are a few thoughts:
Unless you have a very small league, don’t announce the names of each player. If you have hundreds of players, it will take too long and make the event drag. Kids (and parents) will get bored. You can still announce each team and have them run in so they get recognized with a round of applause.
If you use a long video, consider playing it before the event starts, and possibly again afterwards. This will give everyone something to watch while they’re waiting for the event to start, and it will keep the program itself moving.
Don’t spend much time thanking your volunteers. You can have everyone who helped stand up to receive a round of applause, but don’t take time to recognize individuals. This event is about the kids and their families. Honoring the volunteers is important, but don’t negatively impact the award night to do it. Why not have another event to thank your helpers? That way you’ll have a smoother award night and more effectively express your gratitude.
Consider having your award night entertainer manage the comment cards. The speaker can have the cards filled out and collected during their presentation. That way there won’t be a lull afterwards while they’re being collected. (I’ll share more about comment cards in a future post.)
Don’t overdo the door prizes. A handful of prizes is sufficient. (Again, I’ll share more on the topic of door prizes later.)
Unless your league is small, do not give out the awards to the kids during the presentation. If you expect a kid to be given a new toy then set quietly and watch the remainder of the presentation, you’re obviously new to Children’s Ministry. It’s not going to happen. Once a kid has the award, the event is over for them. Have the awards available to the coaches who can give them out to their teams as soon at the event ends. Often, leagues just have them in bags at the end of the row so the coached can hand them out right there. (And if that award is a basketball, you may want to give them away uninflated. It will greatly reduce chaos. You can have some pumps available after the event for kids who can’t wait until they get home, or who don’t have access to a pump.)
Of course, I’d love to be a part of your event. You can visit my Upward Sports™ Award Night Entertainment page for more information.
If you have any thoughts for keeping things moving, please share them in the comments.
(This is the first in a series of tips for making the most of your Upward™ Sports Award Night.)