Thank-you note fun with youth!

Engage youth in a hands-on experience to write a good thank-you note.

Hand-written thank-you notes are an important part of both our personal and professional lives and, despite changes in technology, still have a large impact on society. Using the “The Seven Steps to a Great Thank-You Note,” adults can work with youth to practice writing a great thank-you note!

The first step is to help young people brainstorm when and why thank-you notes are important. Youth can brainstorm as a group and record on a sheet of paper. Reference the hand-out to share reasons they might not come up with on their own. It is also good to ask youth how thank-you notes make them feel and share how, in writing a thank-you note, they pass this feeling on to someone else.

Next, cover The Seven Steps to a Great Thank-You Note. It is good to give out the handout at this time and have youth look at the examples. 

The fun comes when you move on to the hands-on experience. There are two approaches to this:

  1. Create samples of thank-you notes (both good and not-so-good) and have youth critique and make changes to those notes, locating the seven steps.
  2. A more meaningful experience is to have youth create their own thank-you notes. It is best to have them do this step on loose-leaf paper and then transfer the final, and edited, version onto a thank-you card. After youth write a thank-you note, have them exchange with another person and check the note for all seven steps.  Have them record the seven steps using a marker or tab a post-it note where the seven steps are located.   It is good to have a variety of thank-you note materials available for use once a final version of the thank-you note is done and ready to be written nicely onto a card.

At the end, have young people send their thank-you notes to their recipients. Some groups will have all written thank-you notes addressed to a similar individual or organization at one group meeting.  This could be to judges, guest speakers, 4-H leaders, parents or program sponsors. This is a great way to not only teach a skill, but to thank those who help make the program possible. Thanking never goes out of style!

More information on thank-you notes and career preparation can be found on the Michigan State University Extension website.

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