10 Event Break-Out Ideas for Young Members

Your young members represent the future of your association and the industry they work within. To not engage them in a meaningful way is to say – “we don’t really care about the longevity of this community we’ve built or the improvement of the industry”. Of course, that statement can’t be further from the truth for your association. The future and well-being of the community you’ve established and cultivated is of the utmost importance to you. So, you’re engaging with your young professionals in a variety of ways – great job!

Some of the best opportunities you have to engage with any of your members is at events and event associated break-out sessions. While you’ll want to ensure your engagement is strong across your entire association demographic, it would be prudent to have young member focused event options to further engage with that subset of your community.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what the right type of break-out session to host is, when attempting to stimulate as much engagement as possible from your young members. You want something that grabs a younger crowd’s attention so they won’t just attend because they feel they have to, but instead because they want to.

Below, we have provided a list of suggested event break-outs that can fit the bill for attracting your young members. The key in planning the right type of break-out is knowing your young members’ interests and ensuring the session you want to employ is compatible (logistically) with your main event or conference.

Escape Room
If your event is being held in a city, that city will most likely have one or several escape room locations. For those who have not heard of escape rooms, they are essentially location-based puzzles or mazes where a group of people (acting as a team) uncover clues that will provide them with hints on how to escape the areas they have been voluntarily restricted to. There is usually pressure added by having to work against the clock, as there will be an established time limit. These escape rooms are, in my mind, probably one of the best break-out sessions you can plan for your young members – for a couple of reasons. The first, and most important, is that it’s a good time. Escape rooms are fun, so you’ll have no problem drawing a crowd. Secondly, there’s something to be gained for those participating in the escape. It’s a fantastic environment for young professionals to apply and hone their problem-solving, diplomacy and leadership skills – all while enjoying time spent with their member counterparts.
This isn’t the most original or imaginative break-out event, but the networking opportunities cannot be denied. Golf, because of its relaxed pace, allows member colleagues to have some friendly competition while enjoying each other’s company and getting better acquainted. If you feel that your younger members wouldn’t be interested in a full-on golf tournament, mini golf is always an option. It won’t present the same opportunities for networking, but it would still be a fun break-out that would allow members to get together and interact in a more relaxed environment.
This break-out is a bit more involved and would require some effort in planning for success, but a camping trip scheduled to bookend an event or conference can be a great opportunity to have your young members spend an extended period of time together. When you go camping with a group of people, you’re working together with them to setup equipment, cooking and eating your meals with each other and exploring nature together. Being with your counterparts throughout the day will allow you to build stronger relationships with them. What’s more, on a personal level, camping is good for your mental health as it allows you to step away from technology and enjoy complete detachment from stress.
Vineyard Tour
Speaking of de-stressing, planning a vineyard tour for your young members after a long conference day can be a great way to unwind together. Learning a little bit about different wines while snacking on fresh bread and exotic cheese is a great environment to relax, have fun and get to know your member colleagues better.
This is the most cost-effective break-out option listed here and may be the most fun. With a little bit of research prior to the event, you should be able to find a beautiful hiking trail near the venue where the conference is being held. So often, we attend events and just stay within the city’s bounds. Your young members will feel like they got a lot more out of attending the event if they also get to do some exploring of what the city (and its surrounding area) have to offer. Hiking is an activity that promotes health, teamwork and determination. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme or strenuous – just a good pace through nature will allow young members to decompress and enjoy each other’s company.
Some types of break-outs may require certain members to step outside of their comfort zone – like paintball, for example. After all, it’s not the most relaxing experience when you are being shot at. However, activities like paintball can be incredibly impactful with regard to team building and teamwork. A little bit of fear (in a controlled environment), paired with the support and encouragement of your fellow members can go a very long way in forging strong and trusting bonds. Your young members may leave the playing field with a few subtle welts, but they may also have gained a new appreciation for their colleagues.
Roller or Ice Skating
Sometimes, a break-out doesn’t necessarily have to have a team building aspect to it. Sometimes, if can just be about having a good old-fashioned fun time. Going to an ice skating or roller skating rink (depending on the climate your event is being hosted in) is incredibly entertaining and enjoyable. It’s an activity where, whether you’re an experienced skater or have never done it in your life, it can be appreciated for the experience that it is. The key factor in planning a great break-out for young members is to make the activity memorable. No matter each member’s skating skill level, it will definitely be a memorable experience.
Bowling is really the perfect break-out for young members. People get to engage in a little bit of healthy competition but also get to relax in a laid back environment. Bowling alleys are a great hang-out spot for young members to enjoy some stress-free entertainment while getting to know one another better.
Nice Dinner
If the schedule of the conference won’t allow for an elaborate break-out, there’s nothing wrong with just getting your young members together for a nice dinner at one of the many restaurants that will most likely be available near your event venue. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your young members is to coordinate an environment that allows them to enjoy each other’s time. A fancy dinner may be just the right activity to bring young members together for a great time.
If you’re looking to plan a more involved break-out, a group retreat (following a conference) is a great idea. Absconding to a nice get-away spot in a beautiful location for a couple of days will allow young members to spend time with each other, isolated from all other distractions. With their focus honed in and undisrupted by outside stresses, stronger relationships with their colleagues can be meaningfully built.

Whether it’s any of the above or something else, make sure you plan break-outs that are specifically focused for your young members. Your association’s future depends on young professionals’ commitment to and engagement with your community. Ensure you are doing everything in your power to stimulate a positive perception of your association.

By the way, planning a break-out can be just as much of a logistical nightmare as planning a full-fledged event or conference. Fortunately, with the right solution supporting your efforts, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Guild’s association management system has a fully featured event management component that not only allows you to easily plan conference-level events, but also break-out activities attached to those larger scale events. If you’d like to learn more about how Guild can help your association plan break-outs and keep your young members engaged, or if you’d like to schedule a live demo of our solution, please click here.