While there has always been some emphasis placed on appreciating the work that Adults in Scouting do, too often appropriate recognition, even a simple ‘thank you’ is overlooked.  There is an enormous advantage in taking the time and effort to recognize the achievements and success of others.  The most obvious one is to increase the individual’s motivation to keep doing what they do well and do it better because they feel appreciated.  

Creating opportunities for more adults to be recognized and acknowledged for their contribution to Scouting in voluntary or professional roles, functions or responsibilities is important and significant and should not be undervalued. Our organisation must find opportunities in the various environments to manage proactively the recognition of members.

Recognition is a normal and permanent process and as such it leads to meaningful actions among adults, promoting a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by members in the NSO, and also highlighting in society our values and generating an impact.

We must understand that each one of us as a committed adult is called to be a role model, collaborating to reinforce our organisational culture based on our values, therefore, leading to the practice of timely recognition at all levels.

By recognition, we refer to the practice of both informal (intangible) and formal (tangible) recognition.  It is managed in a flexible and timely way and adapted to individual needs.  Appropriate informal and formal recognition needs to be part of the NSO’s organisational procedures.

Informal Recognition

Informal recognition does not require special rules, regulations, standards, or procedures.  This type of recognition should be used on every occasion we get together to recognize the contributions of individuals, teams, and groups. Communicating our genuine appreciation for a task or function well done on a regular basis to our volunteers, support staff, and professionals needs to be a priority. 

Recognition of adults regardless of their level of responsibility needs to be meaningful, motivating, and impartial. It should serve as a message to the community about our values, commitment, and appreciation of the people who make the organisation what it is. 

The life cycle of an Adult in Scouting clearly indicates the recognition of all adults who have been successful in their agreed responsibility, role, or function.  This recognition can be informal but in time it will be necessary to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of adults in a  formal way, that is both substantial and appropriate.

Formal Recognition

Formal recognition in an NSO is provided through an appropriately designed Adult Recognition Awards system that suits the NSO. The criteria for recognition need to be written with clear intent, made widely available and reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains relevant, appropriate, and useful.  

The system should also provide a mechanism to recognize and reward service, gallantry or meritorious conduct by an adult.

Recognition of service awards is based on demonstrated performance and competency. These are becoming more important in helping to increase adult involvement, which in turn can lead to better adult retention. 

A process to recommend adults for civil/community awards in the NSO can add value, and can be instrumental in maintaining motivation for some adults.  Check if your NSO provides that opportunity for additional recognition.

Consider these questions:

  • In what ways do you believe informal (and formal) recognition improves motivation for you and for other adults in your NSO?
  • Why do you think it may be demotivating not to receive any form of recognition if performance over a period has been good?
  • What are the policies and the ways that your NSO/NSA has developed to value their members?
  • If you were designing a formal recognition programme or system based on good performance, what would it look like?

See also:

Volunteers in Scouting Toolkit 2

Competencies Recognition – STARR Method

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