Don’t Drop the Ball(oon)

Let’s Talk Team Accountability. As your yearbook staff is getting into the thick of the school year, team accountability is a crucial conversation to have. A lot of events are coming up, and your staff needs to know exactly what their responsibilities are and commit to them. When you are a part of a team, you can’t drop the ball. And in your yearbook staff, your actions (or lack thereof) affect the way your yearbook is completed. Team accountability is important in defining roles, establishing responsibility and keeping your group dynamic happy and healthy. With this team-bonding activity, you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate to your staff why it is so important to show up in big ways for their yearbook and what happens when they don’t reach the expectations of their role.

Here’s How it Works

Hand everyone a balloon with a role or responsibility written on it. You could write things like “sales, photography, editing…” You could even go a different route, and write every event that goes on throughout the school year, like, “picture day, senior nights, graduation…” You will need one balloon for anything and everything that makes a yearbook happen. 

Gather your staff together in a big circle around the room, and make sure everyone has plenty of room to move. You all will start bouncing the balloons in the circle to each other being careful to not let them touch the ground. This signifies the different jobs staying afloat and being accounted for within your yearbook staff. 

Here is where it gets tricky. The adviser will start calling students out of the circle for one reason or another. Say a member has sports practice, a choir concert or simply forgot to show up to an event. One by one, staffers will step out of the circle leaving the remaining teammates to catch and bounce their balloons. Eventually, there may only be one or two people left in the circle, scrambling to juggle all the responsibilities themselves. Balloons may fall, pop, or even end up in the corner.

Post-Activity Discussion

This activity is meant to show the burden staffers put on each other when they do not follow through on their commitments. Of course, things come up and certain explanations and excuses are completely valid. However, when suddenly half your staff is not showing up to events, no one is signing up for photo op slots and your book has missed three deadlines, you start to question if anyone actually cares anymore (which is not going to bear a well-loved book or a healthy workspace that your staffers want to be a part of). It is likely that heavy feelings could follow such a visual demonstration of this idea, so the discussion you have afterwards can set the tone for how your staff shows up for each other the rest of the year. 

We all know what it is like to feel the balloons falling all around us, the weight of our responsibilities getting heavier and heavier, the lack of support for something you’re passionate about. Use this common ground to have an open forum on how your staff can lift up one another. What do you need from your fellow yearbookers to be a better editor, a better photographer, a better adviser? 

Make sure to be extremely clear on what the responsibilities and expectations are of each role before things start getting busy. You can even make sure you prioritize team accountability by creating a shared calendar with student’s assignments, event sign ups and deadlines. Use the Discussion Questions below to hash it all out.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the responsibilities of your role?
  2. Do you know the responsibilities of all your fellow staffer’s roles? Talk them out so you know exactly who to go to. 
  3. When do you most feel supported? How can your staff do that for you?
  4. How do you show support to the rest of your staff?
  5. What are some time management strategies we can implement to better balance yearbook, school, sports, personal life…?
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