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Managing a troop is no small task, but having a team of parent helpers can make a big difference. From snack coordinator to trip driver to troop treasurer, there are many ways parents can take an active role in your troop, and it’s important to make sure they know their help is appreciated! Whether you thank them immediately after they help out, do something special for them during National Volunteer Month in April, or honor them at your end of the year Court of Awards ceremony, just making a gesture of appreciation is meaningful. Here are 7 ways to thank these super troop volunteers (and hopefully inspire them to sign up to help again next year!).
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1. Make them feel NOTEworthy
Thank-you notes are an easy way to let volunteers know their help is appreciated! Set aside time at a troop meeting to have girls write or sign thank-you notes, or give them the project to take home. Make sure to check out our thank-you card templates to print or use for inspiration. Whether you do this once at the end of the year or at each meeting to thank volunteers for their recent help is up to you. You can also make your thank-you’s digital! Use our GSNorCal eCard generator to send your favorite volunteers a fist bump, high five, or hug. Free websites like Punchbowl, Blue Mountain, 123 Greetings, JibJab, and Open Me also offer thank-you, holiday, and customizable e-cards you can send out anytime. To take your thank-you notes to the next level, have each girl write an appreciation note or favorite memory on a slip of paper and compile them in a memory jar to give to volunteers. This is a great way for your troop helpers to remember the fun they had volunteering with your troop and to know the girls enjoyed the activities just as much.
2. Honor them at your annual Court of Awards
A Court of Awards ceremony is the perfect opportunity to wrap up the year and thank your amazing volunteers. Take time to honor troop parents and volunteers at the ceremony by mentioning the role each person has filled and how much their help means to your troop. Award certificates are a special touch, and you can create your own or use our certificate templates (including general appreciation certificates and ones customized for each volunteer role). Girls also can be involved in showing gratitude by presenting a skit or song they created about favorite troop activities or field trips. Don’t forget to check out our Girl Scout party supplies to make your celebration even more memorable!
3. Let the girls get creative
Let girls get creative and decide how they want to say thank you to volunteers that have helped out their troop. Girl Scouts is girl-led, after all! Do they want to write a special poem to read at the end-of-year Court of Awards, host a delicious meal, or save up to buy small gifts for all the troop helpers? Ask them what they think would be meaningful and help them take the lead! Getting girls involved in the process not only shows girls that it’s important to say thank you but also builds good habits and makes girls more likely to express their appreciation more often. These girls are the reason parents spend their time volunteering, and a gesture directly from them will be especially meaningful.
4. Nominate them for an award
For a more formal way to recognize your volunteers, nominate them for a Service Unit Award. These awards are typically presented in the spring each year at a special meeting or celebration hosted locally by your service unit. Awards include Volunteer of Excellence, Family of the Year, Father of the Year, Scoutdoor Award, Years of Service, and more, so make sure to review the award descriptions to find the perfect fit for your troop volunteers. Any leader, troop parent, service unit volunteer, or community partner can be nominated. While the nomination process is quick and easy, the specific process varies by service unit, so make sure to check in with your Service Unit Team for direction.
5. Keep it simple – say, “Thank you!”
Sometimes a simple “thank you” is all it takes to make someone feel good about helping out. Make sure to thank your troop helpers when they sign up to take on a role, while they’re volunteering, and/or soon after they helped out your troop. To make someone feel special for taking on a role in your troop, announce their new role at a troop meeting and ask girls to thank her/him for stepping up and helping to support the troop. Not only will parents feel great about volunteering (and committed to follow through) but also girls will be aware of how many people want to help make their Girl Scout experience fun and successful.
6. Share a token of appreciation
Girl Scout swag is always a great gift idea! Our GSNorCal retail shops have lots of fun gifts that everyone will love including mugs, pins, collectibles, tote bags, and more. As a token of your appreciation, you also can give your volunteers a Girl Scout fun patch related to their service. Have an awesome Cookie Mom, a volunteer dad that’s Man Enough to be a Girl Scout, or someone who lives by the motto “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout” helping out your troop? Then they’ll love these fun patches that were designed with them in mind!
7. Get crafty
Small gifts with a personal touch can be a meaningful way to show volunteers you appreciate their efforts. Take some time to get crafty and visit our GSNorCal Pinterest board for lots of cute and easy thank-you ideas including candy grams, printable gift tags, sweet treats, and more. Break out your punny self with gifts like a bag of Mounds candy (“We have MOUNDS of appreciation for you”), s’mores ingredients (“Wish there were S’MORE volunteers like you”), or a cute notepad (“Take NOTE – I think you’re awesome”). Consider using part of a troop meeting to have girls choose and assemble small gifts to make the gesture even more meaningful.
However your troop decides to thank parent volunteers for their involvement is up to you! Any gesture small or large will make an impact, and your troop helpers will appreciate knowing their time is valued.
What to do next:
- Print out our cheat sheet on ways to thank troop volunteers to use anytime you need an easy thank-you idea.
- Check out our troop recognition resources including certificates and card templates you can print and give to parent helpers.
- Review our service unit awards and connect with your Service Unit Team to nominate some of your troop volunteers for an award this spring.
- For a related read, check out 5 Meaningful Ways to Show Your Girl Scout Volunteers Some Love.
- Talk to your girls about recognition and let them come up with creative ways they want to say thank you.
Amy Dodd—Amy Dodd is the Volunteer Recognition Manager at Girl Scouts of Northern California and loves everything recognition-related. She is a former Gold Awardee and recently celebrated 21 years as a Girl Scout. Most importantly, she loves crafting (and any excuse to use Pinterest) and attributes her joy in glitter, scrapbook paper, and glue guns to her younger Girl Scout days.