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.
- Do an appreciation round-robin: After a big task is completed, gather your K-Kids in a circle. Ask members and officers to take a turn sharing, “One thing I really appreciated about what __________ [teammate] does to help the club is ____________.”
- Create an appreciation chain: Keep markers and a basket with long, blank slips of paper in a visible place. Remind members that they can recognize students using their talents, helping, showing kindness, etc., by creating a link with their teammate’s name and what they did. When there are enough links, create a chain to hang in your club room.