Serve the Leaders is a night we try and run towards the end of each year. It works best with groups where you have a few older, capable kids (or young adults).
The idea is to give your volunteer leaders the night/week off organizing anything, and the kids organize the night to say 'thankyou' to the leaders for their work throughout the year. That's the idea in principle - the format and content of the night can vary, but this is how we normally do it:
Form a committee or a team of capable kids who are responsible for organising the night. You definitely need a youth leader to oversee the organization, to make sure the kids are on track, within budget, and from a due diligence point of view, but this person should avoid doing any actual work - it should be a supervisory role only.
We have a sit down 'formal' dinner, with (cheap) caterers who come in and cook a meal. Everyone pays around $10 or $12 for the night, and we finish the night with a disco. We encourage people to dress up to make it a bit more special.
The kids create invites and hand them out to everyone a few weeks before the night.
On the night, we hand out recognition awards and have photos from the year in a powerpoint presentation.
If you ran the encouragement game during the year, a nice touch is to get the Word Clouds printed, framed and hand them out to each person.
As a volunteer youth leader, attending these nights is really rewarding on a few levels - one it's amazing to see how capable kids can be when they set their mind to something. It's very empowering for them and as a bonus, it doubles as a great method of identifying and raising up future youth leaders! It's great for the moral for not only your volunteers but for the kids as well when they run a great night.