All of our programs have a takeaway.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a birthday party (expected) or a tour (unexpected.) When you leave, you take something–besides the experience–with you.
Yes, it can add an extra cost, or be time consuming to find/make/put together. But ultimately, it’s worth it, because it extends the experience. It’s like when kids win paper tickets at one of those arcades, and get to choose lots of candy-colored plastic gizmos that they shriek over and then stuff in a drawer and never think about again when they get home. (Wait—we’re not advocating that.) It’s more the sheer pleasure of receiving a token, a keepsake, an extra something that extends the experience.
Because when the takeaway is right, that’s what it does; it lets you hang on to what you’ve done in a more tangible way, to keep thinking about it, to maybe make some connections or see things in a way you didn’t when you were in the middle of it. Or maybe simply to get to relive part of the experience again.
I have a menu from a little cafe/gourmet shop in a beach town that I occasionally take out (the menu, not the beach town, sadly) and look at in the dark middle of winter. When I open it up, I’m instantly transported to the cafe on a hot, sunny August afternoon, where the biggest descision we need to make is whether to have ice cream before or after our sandwiches (or perhaps, before AND after.)
Sometimes our takeaways are book lists or bookmarks or tiny notebooks, like on our children’s-book themed tour. Sometimes it’s a small sketchpad, like on our museum tours. Sometimes it’s more whimsical, like a teapot eraser or even a tube of icing. They’re always related to the program and, yes, they can be a little self-serving–we’re saying, “Keep thinking about us.” But we’re also saying: “Keep thinking about the experience, and now go out into the world and see how it’s changed you.”
Yep, a lofty goal for a tube of icing–but you never know.