Thanking volunteers and sponsors is an important activity for all youth garden programs. Although appreciation for contributions should be shown year round, Thanksgiving, a holiday rooted in the celebration of harvest, is a great time to present your loyal supporters with a special gift to acknowledge their generous donations of time, talents and funds.
Yes it is true, words of thanks go a long way and volunteers and sponsors are not motivated by the expectation of any type of material return, so why take the time to create a more formal demonstration of gratitude? Expressing thanks in a concrete way is not just a nice way to recognize those who have given gifts, it also helps the receivers (your gardeners) understand and appreciate the gifts they have been given.
Here are 3 inexpensive ideas for ways to show your appreciation to sponsors and volunteers:
Create a thankful tree display. Cut out an outline of a tree trunk and leaves. On each leaf, write the name of a sponsor or volunteer that contributed to your garden program this year. Once complete, ‘plant’ your tree of thanks in an area that receives lots of foot traffic along with a sign expressing your thanks for their contributions. To make sure everyone sees the display, make a card to mail to each supporter with a picture of the tree on the front and the message of thanks on the inside. Link the creation of your thankful tree to your curriculum by incorporating a lesson on tree identification.
Make pressed flower crafts. Pressed flowers and leaves are versatile decorations that can be used to make thank you notes, picture frames, sun catchers, bookmarks, magnets and more. Connect this craft to a lesson about the historical importance of collecting and drying plant specimens for identification and introduce them to herbariums.
Publish a garden scrapbook. Create a garden scrapbook with before and after photos of the garden, youth drawn pictures, excerpts from garden journals, and favorite recipes enjoyed by the gardeners. Involve youth to hone writing, editing, and design skills. Share the scrapbook as an online document or print copies to give to your supporters. This collection of memories will help them see how the seeds they helped plant blossomed during the year.
What creative ways have you discovered to thank volunteers and sponsors? Share your ideas in the comment section below.