Monthly Archives: April 2015

    • Teacher Appreciation Gifts

      Teacher Appreciation Week is coming the first week of May!  As parents, we trust teachers to provide guidance, teaching, and care to our most precious resource - our children. Yet how do we show how much we value the time and energy teachers put forth for our kids?  Below are some ideas to honor your favorite teacher!

      6 Gift Ideas for Teachers

      One of the many cute teacher gift ideas found on Pinterest. One of the many cute teacher gift ideas found on Pinterest.

      Idea #1: Check Pinterest. Looking for cute, clever and inexpensive gift ideas for your favorite teacher? Check out our Teacher Appreciation pinterest board - I've shared my favorite ideas there!

      Idea #2: Engraved Apples.  We offer a number of cute apple themed awards, perfect for teacher recognition.  Popular choices include our 3-D Apple Plaque, our Resin Apple and our new Crystal Apple.

      Idea #3:  Pool Your Class Gift Money. Many students give small gifts to their teachers, especially during the holidays, during teacher appreciation week, and at the end of the school year.  Consider asking the parents in your class to pool gift money together and purchase a larger item for the teacher, such as a larger classroom supply or a gift certificate to a versatile store, such as Amazon.  That way the teacher can buy a larger ticket item for their home or classroom. A gift card is always appreciated, as the teacher can use the it whatever way they want.

      Idea #4: Give your time in their classroom. Many teachers stay after hours planning lessons, grading papers, and attending meetings in order to keep up with changing student assessments and standards. By volunteering in the classroom, your time spent and tasks accomplished means less work for the teacher. You are giving the gift of time!

      For Outstanding Educators! For Outstanding Educators!

      Idea #5: Nominate your teacher for an award. Many PTAs honor an Outstanding Educator each spring, and some community groups also recognize exceptional teachers. We sponsor the 'Teacher of the Week' by Star 101.5 radio station. When a teacher wins an award, the public recognition will make them feel appreciated!

      Idea #6: Participate in National Teacher Appreciation Week. During the first week of May, communities honor teachers. Most schools take this time to shower their teachers and staff with flowers, goodies, notes, meals, and other gifts. If you are organizing your school's Teacher Appreciation Week activities, the National Education Association has some great ideas.

      I hope these ideas inspire you to reach out to that special teacher or educator in your life and thank them for the positive impact they make!

      Cheers! Jessica

    • The ARA Is Changing!

      Our tradegroup, the Awards and Recognition Association, also known as the ARA, is changing with the times.  Just as we recently re-branded Trophies2Go for our new website launch, our trade association, which was founded in 1967, is going through the same process.  Change is never easy, but it is necessary to adapt to new markets and to stay current for customers.

      Changes are coming to the ARA! Changes are coming to the ARA!

      In order to increase membership, the new name, Awards and Personalization Association (or APA) better reflects the work that member businesses and suppliers do.  The name change is coming soon!

      Why does this matter to you, our customers?  At Trophies2Go, our owner Jeff Anderson has served on the ARA board for the past 3 years.  Jeff and I are active members of the association and we find great value in the partnerships with our vendors and other retail members that belong to the organization.  By increasing the APA's membership, this opens greater opportunities for new suppliers, different products, and innovative approaches.  We can learn from new members, hopefully improving our products, our business, and our industry as a whole.

      Why does this matter to other awards companies, our competitors?  If you are in the business of recognition or personalization, join the ARA, soon to be APA.  It's a great group of people with amazing collective expertise that you can't get anywhere else.  Yes, it does cost money to join.  But we find that the value we receive from the organization more than makes up for the cost.

      Being able to see new products in person is one of the benefits to the ARA show each year. The show is free for members! Being able to see new products in person is one of the benefits to the ARA Vegas show each year. The show is free for members!

      The Vegas tradeshow alone is a huge benefit for us, along with the Member to Member forum.  Thanks to the help of forum members, we have been able to find specific products for customers that resulted directly in sales.  I have also attended webinars and other educational events to help grow our business - free to ARA members.  The friendships and relationships we have forged with both suppliers and competitors through the organization are priceless.

      We are excited about the change in our trade organization and urge other companies to embrace the new!  If you are in the business of awards or personalization, I urge you to join this collaborative group.  Our industry is rare in that we all work together for the greater good and are lucky to have a trade organization that works hard to increase business for all of us.

      Cheers! Jessica

    • Team Mom Guide

      If your child plays sports, you know that each team needs adult volunteers in addition to the coach to help manage the team.  Organizing practices and games, communicating to parents, scheduling snacks, and organizing a team party many times falls on the shoulders of "The Team Mom".  Keeping a team organized is an important job that not only helps the coaches, but also the rest of the parents and children on the team.  If you have been given the job of "Team Parent", below are some basic tasks you can expect to do with ideas of how to make life easier for you!

      Team Mom Guide: Tasks And Checklist

      Soccer player in action Keep your student athlete ready for action by following the tips below!

      1.  Make sure all league paperwork is done. One job is to collect from parents all completed paperwork required by your league. Not only does this help the coach, but also ensures each child is enrolled on the team.

      2.  Create a Team Roster. Make a roster spreadsheet, including the following information for each player:  Player name, Parent name, Parent home, work and cell phones, Address, Email addresses, Emergency contact information, Any other information required by your league.  This is important information to have for team carpooling, if there is an injury, or game delay or cancellation.

      3.  Make Communication Easy.  Hand out a roster with child's name, parent's names, phone numbers and emails to everyone on the team.  Also create an email distribution list for the players & their parents, so you don't have to look email addresses up each time you want to send out an email to the team.  Or better yet, use a team management tool, such as TeamSnap, to store all of this information in one place.

      4.   Share the Calendar.  Each parent will need practice & game dates, times and locations, including maps if the games are out of the area.  You may want to include this with your roster or again keep an online shared calendar for the team.

      5.  Create a Snack Schedule.  Many Team Parents put together the snack schedule for the season.  Each family is asked to sign up for a game or practice and bring snacks for the entire team that day.  You can have a list of all of the practice & game dates on a clipboard, bring it to the first practice, and have families sign up for a date.  Be sure to email the list out after it's completed so everyone knows what date they signed up for!

      If your team does half time snacks, make sure they're nutritious.  Read my blog Healthy Game Snacks for Kids for ideas.  Be sure to bring a trash bag for any snack wrappers, peels, or other garbage.

      Michelle Enebo photo Pictures with the coach mark a great season!

      6.  Schedule a Picture Day.  Be sure to communicate the league Picture Day the parents on your team. If your team decides to skip professional pictures, have a parent take individual and/or team shots instead. Email what the kids should wear if there's anything out of the ordinary.  For example, for my daughter's softball team, one of the moms bought ribbons for the girls pony tails for picture day.

      7.  Bring a Game Day Backpack.  In case of emergencies, this pack should include a current phone list, list of game dates, times and locations, snack schedule, an envelope to collect money, extra water bottles, ice packs, first aid kit, game cards if required by your league and anything else you can think of that may come in handy on game days.

      8.  Get a sideline bench and canopy. The players will need a place to sit and rest when they aren’t on the field.  A canopy is helpful for protecting your players from sun or rain.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, our kids play soccer in less rain or more rain (no sun), and the shelter provides a break from the wet.  Assign a parent to be responsible for storing these items and bringing them to each game.

      9.  Collect Money.  You will need to collect money from each family to cover the cost of the trophies, coach gift, party and any other expenses for the season.  Many parents would rather pay one amount at the beginning of the season to cover all expenses, so plan accordingly.

      10.  Order Trophies.  Choose and order trophies for the players and a gift for the coach(es).  When ordering trophies for younger children, start small so they can grow into the larger trophies.  If your kids are sick of trophies (never!) there are other options for your team including pillows, water bottles, medals, picture frames, dog tags, key chains, and photo albums.

      11.  Buy a Coach Gift.  Usually the Team Parent is the one to organize the coach's gift. No matter what the gift, be sure to recognize all of the effort your coach has put forth to guide the team and encourage your child! Ideas include an engraved plaque with the team photo  or a sports-related personalized clipboard for the next season.   If the coach has been coaching for many years, they may prefer a gift card to a local sporting goods store or their favorite restaurant.  A friend of mine made a photo collage poster of the kids throughout the season for the coach's office.  Get even more ideas at my past blog post on Top Gifts for Coaches.

      12.  Plan the Party.  It's important to celebrate the team at a party at the end of the season!  Get ideas on how to plan your party here!  Choose your date early to get it on everyone’s calendar.  The party could be held at a local pizza place, at someone’s home, or even a picnic at the fields after the last game.  Share the responsibilities for this job; ask parents to help with food and drinks.  Ask the coach to say a few encouraging words about each player and the team during the event.  Most of all, have fun!

      Check out our video that shows the entire life of a trophy, from a Team Mom ordering awards to the party where the girls get their trophies.  It's really cute!  With all these responsibilities, remember to have fun, enjoy the camaraderie with the parents and enjoy the season with the kids!  They grow up so fast!

      Editor's Note:  This post was originally published in September 2012, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

      Cheers, Jessica

    • Music Trophies for Recitals

      Are you a music teacher hosting a recital for your students?  Perhaps it’s a piano recital, a vocal recital, or a violin recital?  Are you thinking of giving music trophies or other awards to your students?  Maybe you want something that isn’t too competitive, but will keep your students motivated to continue playing and practicing?  Here are some recognition ideas for your upcoming performance.

      Trophy and Award Ideas for Music Recitals

      music medals Music medals make great awards for recognizing musical achievements.

      Music Certificates:  Great participation awards, music certificates are extremely popular and low cost.  A certificate is a great way to recognize recital participation or a year's worth of lessons.  Student can add it to their music portfolio or display it in their room.  Be sure to include the student’s name, recital date, and songs performed.

      Music Buttons:  Another low cost option, music buttons are another a fun way to reward participation. At some studios, teachers make buttons for every event a student participates in.  The more the student performs, the more buttons they collect.  Buttons are fun to display on a bedroom bulletin board or on a music case or bag.

      Music Medals:  Medals are a cost effective and popular option for celebrating musical accomplishments. Acknowledge outside competitions or events that the student has performed at by giving a medal.  Kids feel like champions when a medal with a neck drape is placed over their heads!  Medals don’t take up a lot of space to store and can be easily displayed by clipping to a backpack or mounting in a shadowbox.  See how I displayed my daughter’s music medals in a shadowbox here.  When purchasing medallions, engrave the student’s name, name of the event and the year on the back of the medal.  Check out our selection of music medals here.

      Music Trophies:  Trophies are a great way to motivate students to improve and to celebrate musical accomplishments.  In a range of styles, sizes, and prices, there is a music trophy in every budget.  Read below for suggestions of when to give music trophies at your recital.

      When is it appropriate to give music trophies?

      Unless the students are very young, don’t give music trophies and medals to everyone, as then they can lose their value. Instead, only give trophies for earned achievements.  Here are some ideas of when to give awards:

      - Mastering Scales – Major or Minor

      - Timing Tests

      - Years of Playing

      - First Chairs in Orchestra or Band

      - Best Performance in a festival or state audition

      - Participating in a music club

      - Winning a musical event

      - Other musical challenges you invent – be creative!

      Music trophies and music medals are a very cost effective way to motivate students (and their parents!) and to add value to your music studio.  I would suggest buying music awards from a reputable trophy company instead of a music supply store.  Not only will the quality be better, but the price will likely be substantially less, and you will be able to get the trophies and medals engraved with your students names and event details. Many times this engraving will be included in the price of the awards.  When buying music trophies from an awards company, here are the most important questions to ask to make sure you are getting a good product at a fair price.

      As the parent of a musical child, I appreciate all that my daughter’s teachers have done to develop her skills. I hope this post helps you with choose the perfect music awards for your next recital.  As always, feel free to comment or email me at [email protected] to share your awards story!

      Cheers! Jessica

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    Trophies Awards