There are many ways to recognise the achievements of Ninjas (young people) and volunteers in your Dojo. Below is a selection of practical ways to reward the efforts of those involved. Feel free to use and adapt these to the needs of your Dojo.
A great way to reward your Ninjas or mentors is with certificates. We offer a free, downloadable certificate template for all Dojos, which is available here.
Certificates may be awarded for, but are not limited to, the following achievements:
- Attending a Dojo for the entire academic year
- Learning a new programming language
- Completing a difficult programming challenge
- Helping a new Ninja on their first session
- Becoming a youth mentor
- Entering a project into a Coolest Projects event
Paper plate awards
Paper plate awards are a great alternative to more costly prizes: decorate some paper plates with glitter, stickers, or ribbon and customise them according to the specific skills and attributes you want to reward in your Dojo. Awards could include:
- Best team player
- Best problem-solver
- Most creative idea
- Most socially conscious project
- Best presenter
- Most technical project
Young people could help decorate the plates, or they could even vote on the winners of the awards.
You can also recognise Ninjas’ achievements by encouraging them to showcase their projects, as it highlights that you recognise the efforts that they have gone to, and that you believe that they have something of value to share with others. Encourage the Ninjas to listen and clap after another Ninja has shared a project to help ensure that the Ninja presenting has a really positive experience.
This may seem obvious, but giving praise for something that a Ninja or volunteer has done can be very impactful. The key is to be specific — instead of making general comments and saying that everything is great, point out a specific thing that someone did, and note the positive impact that it had. If you have ten-minute debriefing sessions after your Dojo, these can be a great time to share the specific things that Ninjas or volunteers did during the session that you found really helpful, creative, or innovative.
If you want to recognise the efforts of specific volunteers, parents/guardians, or those who provide your venue, you could send thank-you cards specifically thanking them for all of their help in enabling the Dojo to run. You can find our thank-you card template below.
CoderDojo branded awards
The CoderDojo logo and much of our branding are free to use and adapt under the Creative Commons licence. That means that you can adapt the logo to design and print your own T-shirts, stickers, posters, and more! You can read more about branding here.
Branded awards could include:
- Mentor stickers (template below)
- Stickers for presenting work during a ‘show-and-tell’ event
- T-shirts for attending a special Dojo event, such as a MegaDojo
If your Dojo is approaching its anniversary, then you may be eligible to apply for a birthday pack. Most of our birthday pack resources are also available as downloadable, printable files, so there are plenty of ways to celebrate! For example, you can reward your Ninjas by decorating paper hats, making baked treats with our cookie cutters, and much more!