Research on happiness teaches us the importance of appreciation. That goes both ways — learning to appreciate the things in your life and feeling appreciated. K-Kids club advisors can put appreciation into action by recognizing members and building a practice of showing appreciation into club culture. This will go a long way to developing students’ self-confidence and feelings of being valued for who they are and what they do.
First, create a positive environment by recognizing and reinforcing behaviors you want to see — cooperation, teamwork, kindness, initiative. Second, invite students to take on roles and tasks in service project planning where they will do things they are good at, using their talents to shine and make purposeful contributions. Public speaking, recruiting volunteers, fundraising, writing, photography, leading activities, taking meeting notes, organizing donations, budgeting, solving problems — kids can shine as they do all these activities. Finally, this creates an opportunity for you to teach members to show appreciation for their teammates.
Here are a few activities to build appreciation into your club culture:
- Keep an appreciation board: Use poster board or a section of a wall. Add a sign that says “Appreciating Our Members” or other title. Have students post thank-you notes to fellow members when they see them use their talents, do kind things, help others and more.
- Make appreciation envelopes for each member: Get a set of large envelopes and label each with a member or officer’s name. Take time throughout the year to have members write notes to teammates about things they appreciate and the talents/skills they have and then put the notes in the person’s envelope. Give members their envelopes when you’re debriefing and reflecting about a successful service project or at the end of the year.
- Create a box of thankful memories: Set up a shoebox or larger box in the room and ask members to decorate it. Have students place pictures of themselves and fellow members using their talents for the good of the club and community. Post the pictures during a celebratory meeting as members share what they liked most about working together and doing service.