Given that more than half of my District is brand new to quizzing this year, I decided to focus less exclusively on rewarding performance and to start celebrating accomplishments. We aren’t quite large enough to have separate Novice and Experienced divisions, so finding a way to encourage the new quizzers while the Experienced quizzers likely dominate the standard awards was imperative.
Celebrate quizzers in a way that aligns with your values
Celebrating success is fun and energizing and shows students that their efforts are being seen by the leaders and by their peers.
Your quizzers are your best recruiters. If they come home excited and equipped with fun stories and loot in honor of their accomplishments, you can be sure they will tell others either in person on their social media accounts.
So if you are looking to modify or refresh your own quizzing program, here are some award ideas you can use.
Types of Awards and Where to Get Them
- Personal praise, social media posts: Never underestimate the power of public recognition. Take their picture. Praise their achievement on social media or during church announcements.
- Print-your-own certificates: Download a template or design your own in PowerPoint or something fancier. For inspiration, here is one Rick Hill designed for the MidSouth District. I recommend printing or mounting on card stock to enhance the quality.
- Candy/Chips: Once most of the quizzers on my district had enough medals at home to forge a suit of armor, I switched to large and small bags of candy and chips for the various awards. Stock up during after-holiday sales to save a lot of money.
- Toys/Games: For some of the fun awards, shop at a Dollar store or on the clearance aisle at Target.
- Medals: If you have a favorite local trophy shop, by all means support the local economy. But if you don’t, my favorite award site by far is crownawards.com. And this year they have a Bible Quiz medal. They ship same day and I get my engraved medals within a week.
- Gift Cards: Chick-fil-A and Amazon are fairly common choices and can be obtained in a variety of denominations.
- Trophies/plaques: Again, I recommend crownawards.com if you don’t have a favorite local trophy shop.
Here are some awards listed by category. Again, these are listed to inspire you - do not attempt to do all of these at the same time! Having too many awards could unintentionally lessen the value of all awards. As Syndrome says in The Incredibles, "When everyone is super, no one will be."
SPECTACULAR EFFORT: Give awards that celebrate a focused effort or specialization.
- Memory Verse Award - Certificates, medals, or gift cards for the top 3 quizzers who answered the most Memory Verses during competition or a separate memory verse contest. A great award to encourage more students to study the Memory Verses.
- According To Award - Certificates, medals, or gift cards for the top 3 quizzers who answered the most According To questions during competition. Offer this award if According To quizzers are rare on your District.
- Error King and Queen - An award to those who make the most errors? Why incentivize that? For us, it is a way to encourage the new students to not be afraid of making an error. It is also an object lesson to everyone when a Top 5 quizzer is also the Error King or Queen! Make the prize and presentation something fun. Candy with a funny name (Snickers, Nerds, Airheads, Goobers, Milk Duds) or an inexpensive toy/game are good prizes.
- Secret Achievements/Gamification - Change the award every quiz meet. Keep it secret or let everyone know in advance what it is. Examples are an award for the most Bonuses attempted/answered, answering 2 questions in a row, or getting a 3rd quizzer bonus. Taking this idea a step (leap?) further, Rick Hill added trivia questions into each round at the MidSouth District's first quiz meet of the season. "This kept them paying attention and it was fun," he says. He gave a theme-specific award to the top quizzer in each trivia category (Star Wars, Bible Stories, Fast Food, and a miscellaneous category). Certificates, small candy or an inexpensive toy/game would also be appropriate.
- Monthly Theme winner (individual or team) - To add a bit of flair to your monthly quiz meets, plan a dress-up theme for each one (superhero, crazy socks, cool hats, PJs, Star Wars, twins, holiday/ugly sweater, etc.). Social media post or fun toys from the Target clearance aisle make good prizes (and help promote the ‘fun’ factor of quizzing to non-quizzers!). Here is the Louisiana monthly theme schedule as an example.
- Top 10 Individuals - Certificates, big bag of candy, medals, or small trophies for the Top 5 Individuals. Certificates, small bag of candy, or medals for quizzers #6-10. Repeat for Novice division, if separate. If you decide to give medals, for no additional cost you could order the medals with a gold ribbon for 1st place, blue ribbons for 2nd-5th, and red ribbons for 6th-10th place (another Rick Hill idea).
- Top 3 Teams - Trophy for the team; team photo, small candy or medals for the team members. Some Districts have a traveling trophy for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams at each quiz meet. The winning team takes the trophy home to display but brings it back to be awarded again at the next quiz meet. Either use the same trophies every year or let the season’s final quiz meet recipients keep the trophy. Alternatively, get a large plaque and add the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams’ name plates to it after each quiz meet during the season.
INSPIRATIONAL SUPPORT: Recognize those who provide a significant contribution in other ways. Of the seven stated goals of the Bible Quizzing mission statement, "exciting Christian competition" is listed last - and I believe that is intentional. Even if a quizzer doesn't answer a single question in competition all season, they still get the benefit of spiritual and relational growth that results from active participation in the ministry. They also make team practices more effective and provide encouragement for their teammates.
- “Live It” Award - Teens (and only teens) put the name of one quizzer who is not on their team in a bucket who they feel “lived out” the gospel at the competition that day. Three names are then randomly drawn for the prize. “I felt like it completed the point of what we do and all the coaches were thrilled,” says Tammie Crandall (SC Quiz Director), who designed this award. At the end of the year she plans to tally all of the names submitted each month for an overall award. Social media posts, certificates, medals, or gift cards are good choices for this recognition.
- Quizmaster Award - Up to three quizzers who best exemplify the character, knowledge and attitude of a Youth Bible Quizzer are nominated by Quizmasters and coaches. I recommend that the most frequent nominee get a social media post, certificate, medal, or a gift card as an award.
- Most Inspirational - Given to the student who improved their quiz meet average the most from the previous quiz meet. A social media post, certificate or medal would be perfect for this individual.