In schools with no intro to journalism class, learning yearbook skills happens in the first few weeks of school. It can be hectic, and it can feel like a grind, but this year, Jayna Rumble, CJE, realized it doesn’t have to be.
“I always do a boot camp, but it’s been boring for the past few years,” the adviser from Troy, Michigan said. “It’s just me teaching them a few things every day. One week we’ll do design and one week we’ll do copy and we’ll throw photography in there, too. It’s fine and it works, but it seems so boring. The new staffers are isolated from the editors and they don’t get to go into the ‘cool room’ with the computers.”
Rumble reevaluated the purpose of her boot camp. She knew it wasn’t just about learning the basics.
“I wanted the new staffers to feel like they were special, even though they couldn’t join the editors yet,” she said. “I reframed it. I started thinking about merit badges, and it just went from there.”
She made some paper sashes.
And bought a button maker.
Yerd scout camp came to life.
“I had way too much fun making the buttons,” Rumble, a 2018 JEA Rising Star, said. “The first one is the ‘Talk Yerdy to Me’ button for learning yearbook lingo. There’s a ‘Copycat’ button for learning how to write copy and they do a basic photography unit to get the ‘Oh Snap’ button.”
The new staffers were eager to fill up their sashes with flair.
“I noticed they were really excited this year. Every day we would start a lesson and someone would ask, ‘Oh, what button is up for grabs today?’ So, I would do a reveal.”
Excited about learning.
But it wasn’t just about newbies.
“I always let the editors influence the lessons as they decide priorities for the year. Anything else we can squeeze in is just a bonus,” she said. “They observe the new staffers and decide who will be in which coverage groups. We assign groups and keep them a secret until graduation day.”
That’s right, there’s a graduation ceremony. And it’s no joke.
“Before graduation, my editors-in-chief planned a scavenger hunt to reveal who was in which coverage group. They had to figure out a riddle and go to a location in the school where they were met by their new groups,” she said. “For the ceremony, we played ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ and I stood at the front of the room while the editors announced the staffers’ names. They walked across the front of the classroom and shook all of our hands. I had them move their sashes from one shoulder to the other.”
Along with relaying essentials and bringing the staff together, this process helped Rumble identify strong future yearbookers.
“I have a student who got really into it. I made the sashes out of paper, but he made his own out of fabric. He’s the ‘extra’ kind of yearbooker. That was the first interaction I had with Justin Hall when I thought, ‘Oh, this might be his thing. He might be really into yearbook.’ And sure enough, he’s taken off. He brought in four times as much ad money as anyone else.”
What’s the best part about yearbook scouting? It only took three weeks of the school year, and the new staffers were ready to join their editors by homecoming. And, Rumble plans to just keep making it even better.
“My mother-in-law taught me to sew this year, so I’m actually going to make real sashes. I’m so excited.”