Scoutmasters, adult volunteers, and committee members are the backbone of any Boy Scout troop. These individuals dedicate their time and energy towards creating great Scouting experiences for young people — all without the expectation of a reward! If a scout leader has helped you, I’d highly recommend expressing your gratitude by giving them a thoughtful, heartfelt gift.
What do you gift Scout Leaders? The best thank you gifts are usually items that the scout leader will use, or keepsakes that celebrate their time with your troop. A gift card to a store or restaurant they love is a great option. Framed photographs of troop activities or engraved plaques are also meaningful and well-received Scoutmaster gifts.
An important thing to keep in mind is that gifts don’t need to be expensive to be impactful. If the adult leader has been volunteering with your troop for this long, it’s pretty clear that they’re not in it for the money! 😉 In this article, I’ll be giving you some unique and impactful gift ideas for your troop’s adult volunteers. First though, let’s cover the basics of scout gift-giving!
When Are Scoutmaster Thank You Gifts Given?
Technically, there’s no “right” time to give your Scoutmaster a Thank-You gift. You could give them one every year if you and your troop would like to (I’m sure they’d appreciate it! 😛 ). However, there are a few common occasions where it’s more customary to present your troop’s adult volunteers with gifts as a way of saying thank you.
- When a Scout earns their Eagle Rank: Newly minted Eagle Scouts often present their Scoutmaster(s) with a gift as a way to say thank you for all their support. Gifts from new Eagle Scouts tend more often to be gift cards or other usable items, rather than large, sentimental keepsakes.
- When your Scoutmaster or another adult volunteer is retiring from their position: In this case, usually your entire troop will come together to organize one big gift to commemorate the adult leader’s tenure. This gift could take many forms but is typically something that honors the time they spent supporting your troop.
In the section below, I’ll be giving you my best Scoutmaster/Adult Volunteer thank you gift ideas, as well as some gifts that I’ve seen given throughout my years in Scouting. Hopefully, this will help inspire you to come up with some awesome gift ideas of your own! Now, let’s dive into gift idea #1…
Example Thank You Gifts For Scoutmasters (Or Adult Volunteers)
There are all kinds of thank you gifts that you can consider getting for your Scoutmaster and adult leaders. This list is just the start! I’d encourage you to think creatively and come up with a present idea that best suits the individual. Here are 21 of my best suggestions to get your creative juices bubbling…
A Sincere Message Expressing Your Gratitude (Best General Option)
While they aren’t expensive or flashy, letters of gratitude go a long way toward making their recipients feel valued and appreciated. I’d highly recommend writing your Scoutmaster a letter that thanks them for their hard work in your troop and recounts one of your favorite memories or teaching moments you shared with them.
Frankly, a sincere letter saying thanks will pair well with any gift you decide to give! If you want to express your appreciation to a lot of people who helped you along your path, this 12-pack of Eagle Thank You Cards (Amazon referral link) looks really clean and provides ample room to write a sincere message.
Even if you decide to go with another gift option though, you should definitely still consider writing a note to say thank you. For those receiving your heartfelt message, the effort you spend in writing it will go a long way!
Personally, I’ve received plenty of thank you letters, and a lot of them I still have and cherish to this day! The best ones are those that describe fun past activities that we both remember. In a Scoutmaster letter, talking about an impactful Troop Minute they delivered, or a dicey camp you both survived, and what it meant to you, is a great way of saying thanks. 🙂
A Signed Scrapbook of Troop Photos (Best For Troop Retirement)
Signed photo albums are a great gift option if you’re trying to honor an adult volunteer who’s retiring after having been a part of your troop for a while. These books are amazing keepsakes that will surely be cherished and used to recall good times. To make a photo book for a scout leader:
- Email your troop and ask them to send you any good photos of the Scoutmaster they might have, alongside any group photos.
- You should try to get at least 10 photos showing different periods throughout the volunteer’s time with your troop.
- Have the photos nicely printed at a Costco, CVS, or any other photo-printing place near you.
- Using a photo album (This Self-Adhesive Photo Album is the best one that I found for writing in), attach the pictures in a way that documents the volunteer’s journey with your troop.
- I’d suggest labeling each picture with its date and location. Organizing the album chronologically will probably be your best move!
- Have the scouts in your troop write short messages in the photo album to the Scoutmaster or other volunteer.
- The best place for each scout to write will likely be in the same place that their photo is shown. That way, the Scoutmaster can match each message to a face!
- Cover your photos and messages with a clear film to keep them protected.
- In the Vienrose Photo Album (Amazon referral link) I mentioned earlier, the clear protectors come built-in!
Although a full scrapbook might not be the best gift to give if you’ve just become an Eagle Scout and your Scoutmaster intends to stick around for awhile longer, it’s a great option to get for people who are leaving! If you really want to go the extra mile to say thank you, I can’t imaging anything beating a full, signed photo album! 🙂
Gift Cards To Their Favorite Place (Best For Eagle Scouts)
Gift cards are always a safe bet, and show that you’re being thoughtful by considering what the recipient likes. If you’ve Earned your Eagle rank, getting your Scoutmasters and other scout leaders a gift card to their favorite spots (or to somewhere you like and want them to try) will be a very appreciated thank you present!
You might want to give money instead of a gift card, as it allows your Scoutmaster to buy things at more places. DON’T! Gifting money to volunteers could be considered disrespectful, as it puts a dollar value on their time and effort. Stick with gifts or gift cards!
If you aren’t sure what kind of gift card would be best, I’d recommend choosing a great local restaurant. Firstly, it’ll allow the scoutmaster or volunteer to have a nice dinner with their family. Secondly, it supports your community. It’s a win-win! 😉
Give An Engraved Scouting-Related Item (Popular Option)
A physical keepsake is a great option if you’re trying to gift your Scoutmaster something that they’ll use and cherish for a long time. By including a personal touch on the item, like an engraving or their name, you’ll be giving them a personalized, one-of-a-kind present!
Most of the time, the engraved items gifted are outdoors-related, such as a pocket knife, ax, or fire-making tool. However, to be honest, I’d caution against this. Your Scoutmaster likely already has these items and, although it’s the thought that counts, it’ll probably be better to get them something they’ll be more likely to use!
That’s why, If you choose to give an engraved item, I’d recommend gifting something unique to them. For instance, if your Scoutmaster is a big cook, you could gift them an Engraved, Personalizable Cutting Board with your troop number (Amazon referral link). I’ve also heard of scouts gifting engraved decanters and pins. Use your best judgment, and you won’t go wrong!
Make a Slideshow, Presentation, or Movie
Another classic way to show appreciation towards Scoutmaster who’s leaving is to make a presentation or movie about them. You could compile a collection of pictures, stories, and memories you have of your Scoutmaster and present it before your troop! IMovie is a great, easy-to-use software that will be perfect for making a short film. 🙂
Create A Troop Fund In Your Scoutmaster’s Name
The idea to create a troop Campership fund in your Scoutmaster’s name (recommended by Bryan on Scouting) is a great option for troops who want to give their Scoutmaster the option to stay involved after their retirement. The idea behind this gift is that you’ll create a fund to help pay for low-income scouts who might join your troop — much like a scholarship!
You and your troop can organize the fund in your Scoutmaster’s name. From Scout Popcorn sales and other fundraising activities, your troop will continually contribute money towards it. Your Scoutmaster can even choose to be involved in how the funds are distributed! For example, if the fund is created to help scouts pay for Summer camp, the Scoutmaster can read the messages of scouts applying for the money!
Have a Celebration in Honor of your Scoutmaster
Sometimes, a good ol’fashioned celebration is the best way to thank a long-serving Scoutmaster or volunteer for all the service they put in for your troop! This could be an indoor potluck event where each scout’s family brings a special dish to share. Or, you could even throw an outdoor event like a barbecue!
Ideally, there’d be a portion of this celebration where the Scoutmaster is specifically honored and given the chance to talk a little about their time with the troop. You could also include things such as personal stories from scouts, or even that slideshow that we mentioned earlier (that’s right, you can combine the thank you gifts too!). 😉
Inexpensive But Thoughtful Gift Ideas For Scoutmasters and Adult Leaders
In a lot of cases, especially when the adult leader isn’t retiring, it’s best to give thoughtful but smaller gift. When considering what to pick, I’d urge you to think carefully about what they’d use and enjoy. Here are some memorable, affordable gift ideas for Scoutmasters and adult voulenteers:
- The best Scouting movie of all time, Follow Me, Boys!
- Vouchers to fun experiences in your local area (like water parks, zoos, rafting adventures, horse riding, sailing, golfing, etc)
- A Customized T-shirt (Amazon referral link) with a picture from your troop.
- Your Scoutmaster’s favorite baked goods or other home-cooked items.
- One of your favorite books that you think they’ll enjoy reading.
- A Custom Blanket to keep warm, whether they’re at home or camping.
- A subscription to a streaming service like Disney+ or Netflix.
- A magazine subscription to something you know they’d be interested in.
- Gift Cards!! (I know I said this one already, but it’s the general ‘safe’ option if you’re at a loss)
Unique Gifts From Your Entire Troop
If your Scoutmaster or another important adult leader is retiring, it may be best to choose a gift that involves every scout in your troop! When considering what to do, get creative! There are no bounds to what you could do to commemorate your Scoutmaster’s contributions. However, here are a few ideas:
- Write a song for your Scoutmaster that your whole troop can perform. Try to include specifics! If you can record it and give them a copy, this would be an incredible troop gift.
- Have each scout plant something in a garden. Then, dedicate that section of the garden to your Scoutmaster!
- Have each scout contribute to a quality model bridge that is given to the Scoutmaster. It symbolizes how the Scoutmaster helped “bridge” the scouts from kids to young adults. (From Ozenu on the scouter.com forum)
- Create a jar and have each scout place into it a “note of thanks.” Your troop can decorate this jar and give it to your scoutmaster, who can open a new not whenever they’re having a bad day or feeling nostalgic.
- Prepare a skit for your Scoutmaster, showing their time with your troop and how they helped your scouts grow as people. If you’re holding a celebration for them, this will be the perfect time for your skit!
- Commission a picture to be drawn of your Scoutmaster alongside your troop (I’d recommend finding an artist on Fiverr). This might get a little pricy, but it can be something that can be duplicated and given to your entire troop to be cherished!
I hope this article provided you with some great inspiration so that you can find the perfect gift for your Scoutmaster or adult leader! Although there were many different ideas listed here, your Scoutmaster will probably love whatever it is you choose to get them. Just try your best to consider their preferences, and be creative! 🙂
That’s all for this article! If you or a loved one are a scout trying to earn their Eagle rank, there are a few key mistakes that must be avoided at all costs. Check out my downloadable cheat sheet to discover The 5 Deadliest Mistakes to Avoid in Scouting. Until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey!