In our latest episode, our special guest, Ginger Haithcox shares 3 benefits of implementing a student assistant program at your dance studio. Student assistants help with student retention and progression, they help create a future pipeline for dance studio staff, and they enhance the customer experience. Listen in as Ginger provides insight into her successful program and how you can get this complete system for your dance studio.
You’re focusing not on just their technical skills on the dance floor, you’re focusing on their life skills. You’re creating a future pipeline for your dance studio, and it’s also creating employee future people in the workplace.
[2:15] Ginger shares her background with non-profit organizations. Much of what she does in the studio is influenced by some of the systems, processes, and organizational structures that she learned through those organizations. It gives her a background in both the arts and non-profits.
[3:52] Ginger’s program started by having her middle-school students help with the younger students. She had to figure out how to train and evaluate them, how to compensate them (if at all) and they started a program around their first student assistant at their studio.
[4:33] The student ambassadors are an extension of their staff. They provide so much for the studio and in return they get so much in terms of life skills.
[4:47] Tip #1 – Student Retention and Progression – Having a student assistant program within your studio is really useful. We know that students are looking for a sense of belonging. This gives the kids a way to get involved with something and they don’t necessarily need to be part of the competition team or intensive programs. They have something they can do as they get older and be a part of a group.
[5:24] The program builds in progression. They start with the basics and progress to learning choreography for the recital and they can help the teacher. As they progress, they are then well-qualified to be a dance teacher, they’re just not old enough. They feel empowered about what they’re doing. They feel valued and are role models.
[6:38] A true testament to the program – Students stay in the Ambassador Program even as they drop off for sports or other interests! Some don’t dance but they are still on and volunteer to assist with classes and help with events.
[7:53] Students can use this for community volunteer hours. Last season, Ginger had over 1,200 logged hours of volunteerism amongst her ambassadors.
[9:40] Tip #2 – Creating a Future Pipeline for Dance Studio Staff
[10:04] It’s a challenge sometimes to find someone who truly fits the culture of your studio. This program creates a way for students who want to be dance teacher or work in the office a chance for them to try on what this career might look like at a young age.
[11:19] It creates a system to grow up your own staff and when they’re hired as teachers or staff you don’t have to give them the same level of training.
[11:53] You’re focusing not on just their technical skills on the dance floor, you’re focusing on their life skills. You’re creating a future pipeline for your dance studio, and it’s also creating employee future people in the workplace. People who can creatively problem-solve. Who can see a situation that might be high stress but they know how to break it down into smaller pieces and how to deal with it.
[13:27] Tip #3 – Enhancing the Customer Experience
[14:00] All the littles get special attention because it’s not just one teacher and 12 students. That’s extra high-fives, extra hugs, and extra attention. That adds to your culture and community and it’s creating an environment where the littles have an older student to look up to.
[14:40] The customers are blown away by the maturity and the ability of these young people to articulate themselves. Ambassadors know how to greet people for a birthday party. They do shoe fittings and they know how to size the shoes, write down the size and get the parents to the website to purchase.
[15:24] The ambassadors engage in community building and also community service. They participate in a spring cleaning at the studio where they are able to help clean up and beautify the space around the studio. They also help with the food bank and local festivals. They are broadening their reach and spreading their message of positivity and bringing joy to other people outside of the studio environments.
[16:53] Most of the sixth graders who enter the program and not confident and they don’t necessarily know what they’re doing. But the program teaches them how to talk to little ones and how to lead and nurture them. The progression builds up their confidence.
[18:00] The ambassadors are taking chances outside of the studio as well! They’re applying to colleges and they’re going on interviewing with the confidence that has come from realizing their skill set.
[19:47] The Studio Ambassador System breaks down all the pieces. How to get started, where you find the students who are ideal for the program… What kind of staff should be running the program for you. Along with the training manual and the recognition and evaluation process. Ginger has shared those resources from her studio and we made it available through https://learn.revolutiondance.com.
Links Mentioned in this Episode…
The Studio Ambassador System: https://learn.revolutiondance.com/courses/studio-ambassador-system
Head on over to Ginger’s website and check out all the services she offers: https://www.gingerhaithcox.com/
She has created the Certificate of Dance Entrepreneurship program as well as the Studio Ambassador System for fellow dance studio owners.
As you’ll hear in this podcast, Ginger is passionate about empowering women, building sustainable businesses through systems