Monday, May 6, 2013

Sociabulls: Keeping our Momentum

Since our initial walk, nearly two years ago, our group has successfully trekked through two Chicago winters, an extra hot summer, and planned around numerous Chicago events taking over our walking locations.We have even grown to having two walks per week, though I feel like we have only canceled less than 10 walks this entire time (mostly rain related).
We're always still a group in progress, and a lot of what we learn is definitely through trial-and-error, though here are some things we've learned that help us keep our momentum.

Establishing Routine:
From the beginning, we established a weekly day and time when people know we'll be having our walks. We change our locations, but our timing doesn't change. We know this helps people plan ahead and know when they can join a walk, and I also know how hard it is to pick up if you fall out of a routine. Sometimes our second walk would be a bit smaller during the winter, but we decided to keep it because we know important it is to stay consistent.

Sharing Planning Responsibilities:
While the walks look effortless, there is actually a lot of coordination going on behind each of the walks, and we even have a SociaBulls Board. I work with Maize's person on each week's event planning. We research online to see if there are any races, events, or traffic issues preventing us from walking in a location (some things can be really, really hard to find!). We monitor the packs for each walk making sure we have a balanced group so it will be a successful experience for each dog. Maize's person spends a lot of time speaking with specific people about how their dog has been doing and sets up a pack order. We send approvals, emails, and designate walk responsibilities.
Zoe and Willie & Nabi's people work with the new members. They do a lot of work with the new member applications, scheduling orientation walks, finding new member buddies for each walk, answering a lot of questions, handing the facebook page (and a lot of other things I'm always forgetting). 
Sharing Group Responsibilities:
Since our board can't possibly make it to every walk, we designate responsibilities to help each walk run smoothly. We assign responsibilities to specific dogless walkers: reading the pack order, organizing the dogless walker line up, and determining when to stop for and resume water breaks. We have people responsible for checking the weather and determining if there needs to be a weather related cancelation. We also have members working as New Member Buddies who walk with and talk to the new members coming on their orientation walks to help them understand the group.

There really are so many people who have helped our group remain successful.
For those in walking groups, what are some other things you've learned about keeping the momentum? Or even just trying to keep up with your own dog walks on a regular basis?

Join our Chicago SociaBulls Facebook page for more photos and information about group walks. And check out the Hikabull page where we first learned about the benefits of group walking.

And this is what we mean by Dogless Walker.
Another positive part of being weekly


Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

We just posted today about our first group walk!! Everyone who came had a great time and was so excited when they realized it was a weeklly event! So for not, our excitement is our momentum.

I do understand getting out of a routine though - we got lazy with our regular walks this winter. So we are in the middle of a 60 day challenge to walk the dogs each morning (or at least once during the day), which has been pretty successful. We "check in" via our facebook page, which (to us at least) gives an air of accountability.

sweetemaline said...

You guys are so organized! I WISH our group could be that on top of things! :)

Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie

KS said...

Ditto at Emily! We've hanging onto weekly-walk momentum by the skin of our teeth :P

The Daily Pip said...

I sure love that first picture! We can't wait for summer and the boats will soon be filling the harbor.

Thanks for your well wishes! I sure wish we could join you for a walk, but Pip's days of walking very far or fast are over.

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