Successful member engagement in Yucaipa-Calimesa Educators Association

“Our team saw an opportunity to build a new and different relationship with our members and we took advantage of it.” -Chris Brunette

The 2nd Annual Yucaipa-Calimesa Ranch Round-up in Calimesa is one way local chapters are reaching out to members and creating engaging activities and relationships across all generations in their chapter.

Two years ago, Yucaipa-Calimesa Educators Association (YCEA) leaders looked carefully at their changing chapter demographics (and a lack of member involvement in chapter events) and determined to make membership engagement a top priority. By understanding that shift—and listening to members—they are seeing positive results from their family-friendly outreach to their colleagues.

YCEA President Christopher Brunette explained the impact of the Great Recession and their district’s loss of veteran teachers when a Supplemental Early Retirement Program (SERP) was offered and continuous retirements followed the economic downturn. That district decision created a perfect storm that has driven the need for more teachers in Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District. About 80 educators have been replaced in the last two years alone—a number that equates to around 20% of chapter membership.

YCEA’s leaders empowered a newly-created Membership Engagement Team to design the new program. Chair Melody Flores and a Lead Event Planner Brittany Davis were tasked with planning a general membership, family-friendly event that would bring millennials and veterans together.

YCEA’s Ranch Round-up, held at Fascination Ranch in Calimesa, has helped to build that new relationship. Leaders participate and get to know their colleagues, both new and veteran, in a family-friendly environment that helps build a positive and personal connection to YCEA. Flores (a ranch owner herself) provided several rustic activities such as “rope a metal steer”and horseshoes. The ranch offered a petting zoo, games, bounce houses and separate play areas for younger children. Davis organized the serving of hundreds of hotdogs, snacks, and drinks at no cost to members and their families.

Relevant and authentic outreach that creates opportunities for new members to find value in their local association is helping build the next generation of YCEA leadership.