Volunteers’ Week 2022 – run your own thanks and recognition event

Scottish Borders county recently got together to hold a thanks and recognition event for local volunteers – a great way to celebrate their amazing contribution to girls and young women. One of the organisers, 1st Tweedbank Guide leader Kathryn, shares how they got on and some tips on doing the same where you are…


I’ve not been a leader for very long but I get so much joy from volunteering, watching the girls grow and overcome challenges – it makes me feel like I’m having a real impact.

Even though just being a volunteer is so rewarding, I know it’s important to make sure your volunteer team feels appreciated. The time volunteers give beyond meetings, behind the scenes, can sometimes go unnoticed but it deserves to be highlighted. From planning and shopping, to running camps, recognising all this effort is vital to keeping volunteers and helping them succeed in their roles.

Whenever fellow volunteers show appreciation for the what I do in my role it helps me gain confidence and lets me know I’m doing a good job. As I’m still a relatively new leader, positive comments from others (especially those who have been in guiding for years) gives me such a boost.

Running a thanks and recognition night

We recently ran a special thanks and recognition event – it was our first in-person get together as a new county (due to the pandemic) so it was lovely to meet volunteers I’d never met before. We sang a couple of campfire songs, ate some s’mores, heard from our county commissioner then we handed out a total of 33 long service awards!

We also heard from Rangers who are going to the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea and met our new county president – it was a fun and relaxed way to get everyone up to speed with what’s happening and feel more included in general.

Here are 5 top tips for planning your own thanks and recognition event:

  1. Have a theme but keep it simple (ours was a camping theme)
  2. Keep the sections of the event snappy and engaging
  3. Make sure everyone knows their role in advance
  4. Make sure there’s time to socialise (organise some ice breaker activities)
  5. After your thanks and recognition event, it’s important to give recognition to volunteers in front of young members too, during your next unit meeting

This Volunteers’ Week I plan to share the inspiring stories of some of our long service members on social media and share recruitment info. Hopefully, the more people who see how much we appreciate our current volunteer team, the more people will feel encouraged to sign up themselves. We could always use an extra pair of hands!

Brownie leader Kirsteen went along to the event and had a great time – here’s what she had to say about it:

“The county based the thanks and recognition event on a campfire theme so the room was decorated in that style and there were a lot of s’mores on offer – how fab is that?

This was the first time we got to meet leaders and volunteers from across the Scottish Borders in person – reconnecting with friends and meeting new ones – some for the first time. and some finally in person after many Zoom calls. It was so lovely to be able to chat, laugh and catch up on the news together.

We also got to celebrate many long service awards – from 5 years, through to 10, 20, 30 and even a 40! This was made even more special by being there in person to congratulate everyone.”