9TH Annual Northwest Santa Workshop

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    NORPAC SANTAS
    9TH Annual Northwest Santa Workshop
    Oct. 5-6, 2018
    Great Wolf Lodge, Ground Mound, WA

    Minutes:

    Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and other friends of NORPAC began arriving at the Great Wolf Lodge on the afternoon and evening of Oct. 4. Besides setting up the conference room, the main activity of Thursday evening was “Social Hour” from 7-9 PM enjoyed by about 30 people. This was hosted in their suite by Trever and Heidi Waltos. Great fellowship and refreshments!

    Friday, Oct. 5, 2018:
    Welcome. Trever opened the conference Friday morning by welcoming everyone in attendance. Pre-registration had totaled 68 and all were present at various times. Also attending were two Santas who had not pre-registered, and several presenters (along with some of the presenters’ family members). Folks attending NORPAC’s Santa Workshop for the first time included:
    Santa Cameron & Alyse Stewart (Bellingham),
    Santa Chris & Debbie McKinley (Boise),
    Santa Tom Gates (Longview),
    Santa Phillip Reed (Kent),
    Santa Joe Colombo (Puyallup), and
    Santa Tony & Laurie Christen (Chehalis).
    A special welcome to these 1st time attendees!

    The Santa Oath was led by Joe Colombo and the Mrs. Claus Oath was led by Mrs. Helen Claus (Helen Lewis).

    Session 1 – “Your Brothers & Sisters in Red.” Randy Cook facilitated this “mixer” activity which consisted of everyone visiting with one another as we tried to match approx. 40 written clues with the individuals who had provided those clues. It was a fun, lively technique that helped us visit and get to know each other a little better.

    Session 2 – “NORPAC Website.” This session was led by Trever (NORPAC’s webmaster) who walked us through the various tabs and resources which are available to us through use of the NORPAC website. The website contains a wealth of information about NORPAC’s activities and its members, and also includes many links through which members can easily access various products and services of interest to the Santa community. All NORPAC members are encouraged to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the organization’s website.

    Session 3 – “Basic Social Media Marketing.” Michelle McCarty (aka Jessica Kringle) presented many ideas for how to be effective in marketing ourselves as Santa or Mrs. Claus. She noted that Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are most useful for Christmas performers. She also talked at some length about what she termed “social media rules for Christmas performers.” These rules were to:
    Separate personal from professional (for example, don’t use a single Facebook account for both purposes). Keep them separate.
    Avoid opinions, political posts, or anything controversial on professional media posts.
    Get release forms for everyone shown in photos.
    Use only high quality photos and videos.
    Keep professional photos off your personal page.
    Keep your portrayal name off your personal page.
    Behave yourself! (be careful with your language, no naughty posts, etc. on the professional sites).
    Michelle next told us about GIMP, a free photo editing program which she really likes. Information about GIMP is available on the internet.
    She then spent time describing what she called our “elevator pitch,” that is, what we might say to quickly sell ourselves to a potential client (in about the amount of time we’d spend with that person in an elevator). Such a “pitch” should include our name, our company’s name, what we do, what is our unique selling point, who is our target audience, and “a call to action” (what do we want the listener to do?).

    Session 4 – “Video Peer Review.” Trever, Randy, and Gene Sanders facilitated this session which stressed the need for all of us to occasionally videotape our work as Santa or Mrs. Claus so that we may improve our performance skills. Marshall Dunston volunteered to do a mock home visit (assisted by Michelle McCarty as Mrs. Claus) and a video was made of that visit. Afterwards, Marshall critiqued his work as Santa and peer suggestions were also given. The session emphasized that each of us can always improve and that viewing ourselves in action is a powerful tool to assist us in that.

    Session 5 – “After the Event.” Randy facilitated this session about ways to follow-up after an event in order to improve for “next time,” and to help in securing the invitation for a repeat visit. He emphasized the use of “thank you” cards as a great way to make further contact with a client and told us that “Send Out Cards” and “Touch Notes” are apps that make it easy and convenient for sending thank you notes.
    Another great tool is a follow-up survey. Randy shared that “Survey Monkey” and “Google Forms” are two sources of formats for conducting follow-up surveys to receive feedback.

    Session 6 – “Basic Makeup.” Michelle McCarty led this session also and emphasized the importance of enhancing our appearance as Santa or Mrs. Claus. She described a variety of cosmetic products and how to use them. Michelle used products from her own company, Jafra Cosmetics. Further information may be obtained by contacting Michelle at http://www.jafra.com/mmcarty.

    Professional Photos. Trever had arranged for professional photographer Catherine Cryder to be with us on Friday evening. Catherine took a couple photos of those Santas and/or Mrs. Clauses who wanted a good quality “head shot” or full length photo and then sent these to those individuals at no cost. Her company, Catherine Ann Photography, is based in Puyallup and she may be contacted at http://www.facebook.com/catherineannphotos/ or by e-mail at catherineannphotos@hotmail.com.

    Session 7 – Professional Santa Claus Podcast Recording with Johnathan Burton and Trever Waltos. Santa Johnathan has recorded over 20 podcasts covering a variety of Santa-related topics that are available online at http://www.santaclauspodcast.com/. After dinner this evening, he recorded a new podcast consisting of an interview and Q&A with Trever. Trever’s wife Heidi was also asked some questions by Johnathan and there were a few questions from NORPAC members attending the taping. After some editing, this latest podcast will also be on the Johnathan’s Santa Claus Podcast website.

    Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018:
    Session 8 – “Don’t Worry, Sing Happy.” Kirby Taylor (aka Mrs. Claus) led this session on how to improve our skills/effectiveness when singing. She stated that the bridge to improvement and consistency is warm-up and practice. She suggested that we can warm up our voice while driving to an event where we know we will be singing. Kirby also emphasized the need to practice, practice, practice and she shared that You Tube is a great source for voice lesson information, warm up exercises, the words to Christmas carols, etc.
    Kirby also shared some information about keeping your voice and vocal chords healthy. She told us about gargling with apple cider vinegar mixed with a little cayenne pepper to help ease a sore throat. She also suggested that we might try drinking tea with a little honey/lemon/bourbon. Throat lozenges containing menthol, Echinacea, eucalyptus or slippery elm can also be good.

    Christmas Ornament Exchange. Gene facilitated the ornament exchange in which about 35 people participated.

    Drawings. Trever and Dale facilitated the awarding of nearly 30 baskets and other items donated for the raffle, aided by two young “elves” who helped by drawing the winning raffle tickets. $547 was spent on these raffle tickets and that entire amount will go to the NORPAC treasury. Like last year, a different colored raffle ticket was sold for the 50/50 drawing with $299 collected for those tickets. Russell Albright’s 50/50 ticket was drawn and he collected $150. The remaining $149 also went to NORPAC.

    Session 9 – “My Santa Journey.” Following lunch, Johnathan Burton gave an inspirational presentation about his background and journey as Santa Claus.

    Parade: A Walk through the Great Wolf Lodge. After changing into our Christmas finery, we did our annual parade dressed as Santas, Mrs. Clauses, elves, and the Grinch. The children and other guests at the GWL, as well as those participating in the parade all seemed delighted!
    THANK YOU! NORPAC would like to thank EVERYONE who contributed to and/or participated in this year’s workshop. As we look forward to the 10th Annual Northwest Santa Workshop in 2019, we invite comments/suggestions regarding future speakers, topics, or other ideas that you would like to have considered.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Dale Scott, NORPAC Secretary

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