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Initiate the Contact

You may remember hearing at your Follow Up training  that one of the three pillars of a great Link Crew or WEB program is the number and quality of  Leader initiated contacts  your Link or WEB Leaders have with their 9th or 6th graders. (You remember what Leader Initiated Contacts are, right? It’s when a Leader, with no assistance from you, communicates in some way with the members of either their group or members of the 9th/6th grade class.)  You may also remember you heard something about how hard it is to keep those contacts going throughout the year. In fact, you may be looking around your campus and realizing that what was talked about at the Follow Up has, indeed, come to pass; Leader Initiated Contacts are HARD! And they are hard precisely for the same reason that makes them so valuable… because you don’t coordinate them!

While Leader Initiated Contacts do not require that you plan or organize specific events or activities, they do depend on you to give inspiration and ideas to your leaders and ask them to step up to the challenge of creating connections with students outside structured Link Crew or WEB events. Below are a couple of inspiring stories of leaders reaching out as well as a few ideas to keep the momentum going in the early spring. Share these with your Leaders…inspire them!

A Leader In Deed.

Anthony was a senior Link Crew Leader at Fraser High School in Michigan. As  Captain of the football team and a strong Link Leader, Anthony was already making  an impact in big ways at school, but he took it upon himself to narrow his focus and try to make a more personalized  one.

Jared (name changed) was a freshman at Fraser last year and, although he was not in Anthony’s crew on orientation day,  Anthony noticed him in their freshman seminar program where Link Leaders have regular contact with their freshman. Jared was one of those freshmen who, while never negative, seemed to be withdrawn and quiet. Anthony approached his Link Crew Coordinators, Mary and Anne, and asked if he might invite Jared to lunch even though Jared was not technically “his” freshman.

The coordinators explained to Anthony that a Leader Initiated Contact was not just about contacting your own freshmen, but about reaching out to any freshman who seemed in need. So, with approval from the Coordinators, Anthony began inviting Jared to lunch (with the senior football players, no less) and saying hello to him in the hallways. For this freshman, it was exactly what  was needed; Jared began to participate with more confidence in freshman seminar and he was identified by a couple teachers as a potential future Link Leader.   One key to motivating your leaders to make Leader Initiated Contacts is to help them understand that it’s not just the big events or overt gestures that make the difference, sometimes all it takes is the simplest step, the smallest effort. Remember: Less is more, and sometimes it’s even best!

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