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YEC Competition Planners’ Spotlight: Douglas County

By: NetWork Kansas

Riley County YEC 2017 21
In Riley County, multiple schools collaborated during the 2016-2017 season to host a single, county wide event. Douglas County will be using a similar approach in their first year.

Douglas County has been making incredible progress on their first year of planning, and we wanted to share with you some tips that contribute to their success. 

This is a partnership of two E-Communities, Lawrence and Douglas County, that are working together toward an inaugural event. Key components of their planning include:

  • Starting early
  • Forming solid teacher partnerships
  • Partnering with a local college to sponsor their event
  • Focusing on building mentorships for students
  • Pre-qualifying rounds to control the size of their event

Douglas County started their planning over the summer, shortly after the YEC Summit that was held in Manhattan on June 29th. In their partnership with Baker University, Baker designed their event flier and will even feed students at the event. Out of the two E-Community teams, they've formed a sub-committee to focus specifically on youth entrepreneurship.

They are working with four schools and have three teacher champions on board, plus the principal. The business teachers plan to teach this as part of their classroom curriculum, and anticipate many teams forming. In order to keep the number of students from getting too high, they will also have pre-qualifying events at each high school, leading to a county-wide YEC event. Jeanette Blackmar, of the Douglas County E-Community, said the preliminaries will be "a good way to give practice to all students, and to reward and recognize all teams."

Jeanette also believes that mentorship is an important part of the students' experience. Thinking about the need for mentors, she said "YEC has identified a gap in our community and specifically in our Chamber. The challenge is to figure out student teams' interests and hopefully find good mentors to match those. This could become a long term relationship for them." 

In their partnership with Baker University, the E-Community approached the college first. "From our first meeting they were very engaged in it as a win-win," Jeanette said. The college sees this as recruiting tool for them, and for the E-Community, in addition to the sponsorship, it pulls people into their community.

We hope you'll look over the takeaways from Douglas County's planning process and find some inspiration for your own event! If you’re ready to start your planning, check out the Local Guidelines and YEC Portal to explore all of the resources available to you.