Members of my Teen Advisory Group (TAG) are lovingly called minions. While it started as a joke I called my core group long before TAG got started, I decided to make it mean something when TAG officially began. The point reward system encourages them to get involved in the teen department beyond TAG and quieted the fights over who claimed the title of “top minion”.
To become a minion you have to attend at least one TAG meeting. No matter how active a teens is, they cannot earn any minion points until that first meeting. Here is how the point system works:
- Come to a program: 5 points
- Bring a friend: 10 points
- Write a review for the website: 5 points
- Record a review for the website: 10 points
- Create a book trailer: 15 points
- Create a book poster: 10 points
- Submit something to the Teen Creations: 5 points
- Participate in Summer/Winter Reading: 5 points
- Complete all 3 levels if the Reading Program: 5 points
I do assign other points for special projects as well. For example, this summer I had the teens help me create the Summer Reading Promo Video; each minion that was involved earned 20 points. I’ve also given points here are there for teens that have helped me clean up, decorate the department, or some other small job I’ve needed done.
I prefer to use an Excel Spreadsheet, but you could also use a simple notebook. I keep track of who comes to what programs during the month and if they did anything extra like write a review. I like to keep the data divided into months so it’s easy to go back and double check things.
Points are tallied and updated the afternoon before the TAG meeting. I use a dry erase board to display names/points. If they have yet to earn any points, I do not put them on the board. The teens love seeing how many points they have/if they’ve been able to climb the rank each month. For the first 6 months or so, I did list them from highest to lowest, but now, to save time, I put them in alphabetical order. This means I only have to erase names if someone new has been added to the board.
Teens can use their points to buy prizes. While they love the intangible aka bragging rights, I wanted them to have tangible items as well. As a group, we decided what kind of things they would enjoy and I assigned a point value to them. The prizes/costs are:
- Candy: 20 points
- Book: 75 points
- $5 Giftcard: 150 points.
These prizes are available all year, however, I also have special events from time to time. For example, since ALA was local this summer, I took one teen up to a publisher event and Printz Award on Monday night. To earn this they had to have 30 points or more. I threw all the interested teen names into a hat and pulled the winner that way. The lucky teen got to meet her favorite author (Ellen Hopkins) and still talks about how much fun she had. This month we’re also having a minion only after-hours event. To be invited they needed to have 30 points or more & attend at least two meetings since January. I did give some slack to our newer members, so that almost everyone is able to come.
While most of the prizes are tied to the point system, simply coming to TAG and being a minion has its perks. They always get first dibs on ARCs, special field trips, and information new events/programs. While I want the to be involved in the teen department as a whole, this is my way of showing that I value the ideas and suggestions that they bring to TAG.