Staff can mix summer fun and yearbook work

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

It can be tempting to get a clean break from the grind of yearbook over the summer. After all, the long, trying process of hitting deadlines and producing the previous year’s book is probably still fresh in the staff’s mind.

Certainly some time away to refresh and recharge for the adviser and the staff members is a must. But there is yearbook work that can be done over the summer – preparation that will make creating next year’s book go even smoother.

Many yearbook staffs attend a summer yearbook workshop, which gives them a chance to accomplish a little bit of everything – training for new staffers, a start on brainstorming the theme. But while workshops are wonderful experiences, they are not the only summer yearbook option, and not everybody gets the chance to attend one.

Looking to attend a summer workshop? Check out Walsworth’s Workshop Central.

The yearbook staff at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo., uses the summer for a variety of staff-bonding activities, according to adviser Christina Geabhart. Typically in August, the Oak Park staff holds their own workshop to get everyone on the same page.

Part of the training includes sending groups of students around the city on photo shoots and teaching them how to work on a deadline.

Summer-yearbook-work“Experienced staffers are teamed with one to three newbies. They were sent to different portions of the city,” said Geabhart. “They had to create a package together – stories, secondaries and photos, then come back in the afternoon to make a spread by the end of the day.”

At Wynne High School in Wynne, Ark., adviser Stephanie Emerson said her new yearbook staff usually goes to work selling business ads in June. Specifically, the staff meets the first Tuesday in June after school is out to have a one-day ad sales blitz.

Staff members are paired up – experienced staffers and rookies – to go out on calls. According to Emerson, by the end of the day most of the yearbook’s business ads are sold for the year.

“Ad sale day is the first time the new staff and the old staff are really together,” said Emerson. “We break for lunch and they all go somewhere to get to know each other. I don’t go, so as to give them the freedom to visit.”

Summer should also be a fertile time for cultivating story and design ideas. This article by now-retired adviser Kathy Craghead describes how she would give her editors an index card for every day of the summer and ask that they return for the school year with either a story, photo or design idea on each one.

Workshops, team building, ad sales, story ideas – there is certainly plenty of productive work to mix in with the rest and relaxation this summer.

Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.