I always knew it was important to recognize our volunteers, no matter what sort of organization you're a part of, but I didn't realize the full impact until a couple weekends ago.
Every summer we attend DCYC, our Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference. Throughout the weekend awards are given out to youth and adults who have committed their time to youth ministry at their parish. Last year I didn't give any awards to my parish youth, so this year I decided to do so. Three went to high school youth who have been very involved in youth group this past year; they're always reliable and want to do more. I also gave a "Light of the World" award to one of my chaperones, a mom who has been a great help with my middle school youth ministry. Earlier in the summer I thought of giving her a gift card as a thanks for all she has done, but I think this award meant way more.
When her name was called out on Sunday morning, she was so surprised! She said she was going to cry because she was so honored. I don't think she did, but I was fighting back tears of joy at seeing how happy she was. I have been so blessed to have her support and volunteer time, but I probably didn't show my appreciation enough. That morning was definitely a reminder of the importance of recognizing and appreciating our volunteers. They do things because they want to and would volunteer even without recognition, but we still need to show our gratitude. Without our volunteers we wouldn't be able to do anything! So from the bottom of my heart, whether you volunteer at a church or different organization, thank you for all you do.