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 club.
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
A great alternative to expensive prizes are these sentimental awards. Decorate some paper plates with glitter, stickers or ribbon and name them according to the specific skills and attributes you want to reward in your club. Some example awards could be:
- Best team player
- Best problem solver
- Most creative idea
- Most socially conscious project
- Best presenter
- Most technical project
Young people can even help by decorating the plates, or by voting on who should receive which award.
Encouraging young people to showcase their project demonstrates that you recognise their efforts, and that you believe their work is of value to others — truly inspiring! Encourage the children to listen and applaud after each child has shared a project. This ensures that the presenter has a really positive experience.
This may seem obvious, but giving praise for something a Ninja or volunteer has done can be very impactful. The key is to be specific — instead of general comments that everything is great, point out a particular thing someone did, and praise them noting the positive impact it had. If you have a short debriefing session after your Dojo, this can be a great time to share the specific things they did which you found helpful, creative or innovative.
At the end of a term you might want to recognise the efforts of specific volunteers, parents, or those who provide your venue space. You can send a thank-you card specifically thanking them for all the help they have given to enable the Dojo to run. Find our thank-you card template attached 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 etc! You can read more about this here. You can reward Ninjas or volunteers with branded awards such as:
- Mentor stickers (attached)
- Stickers for presenting their work during a ‘Show and Tell’
- 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 available as online, printable files, so there are plenty of ways to celebrate!
You can award recognition to your Ninjas during a Dojo birthday celebration with our paper hat template, making baked treats with our cookie-cutters, and much more.