So, Youth Specialties has designated Saturday Youth Workers Appreciation Day. That makes me stop and think about how poorly I have been appreciating my youth staff lately. I mean, I am certain they don't feel like I take them for granted, but I haven't "celebrated" them much. I try to be an encouragement and thank them for all they do but I WANT my team to feel like they are on the coolest team in the church. I want them to feel like they would rather serve with us than anywhere else.
The kids themselves have done a great job of helping with the "coolness" factor lately. The couple of people who worked with us for the first time this summer loved it. The depressing thing is, one was our children's ministry intern, who went back to college and the other is our church office manager who can't be a weekly youth leader due to her previous commitment to AWANA. (I don't really count my intern, Aaron, because he isn't a member of the church and is a resident of another state altogether). Anyway, those of you who are youth workers understand that there is no better place on earth but how do I encourage my staff?
I don't want to be cheesy and give them key chains or pencils or something like that. I have a book called, "Go Team" that I really liked when I was in Maine. Not sure where it is now. I have seen it since I moved into my office, I just don't know where it is now.
In my first full time position, I gave my workers handwritten thank you notes anytime they helped with a project. They actually told me to stop. They thought it was too much. I think it became insincere (although it never was) in their eyes. So I try and limit my handwritten notes to once or twice a year. I also think giving them gift cards and things gets sticky because of using church funds. I certaintly can't afford to do it all out of my pocket.
So, I guess I am saying I am open to suggestions. I want to make my team feel special and I am looking for the least cheese possible. How do we do this on an on going basis without it starting to seem hallow? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Like Youth Specialties, I just want to have my own Youth Works Appreciation Day!