by Melinda Willenborg
Billy Booth Bucks came from my previous job, where I had implemented a similar concept and seen notable changes in the children’s behavior. Now as the Good Soil Initiative youth development coordinator at the Mattoon, Ill., Corps, I’ve changed it to fit with The Salvation Army.
The idea is simple: in exchange for good grades, honesty, good participation in activities, random acts of kindness, memorizing scripture, good grades and any overall good behavior, the children are rewarded with Billy Booth Bucks, which they can redeem for prizes, candy or field trips at a “general store.”
We’ve included this reward system in our weekly activities like adventure corps, sunbeams and moonbeams, as well as during day camp this summer. At day camp the children are given multiple opportunities to spend their “bucks” such as a snack shack we set up every Friday. At the end of camp, given the Billy Booth Bucks earned, the kids have an opportunity to visit the Quincy, Ill., Kroc Center with its great aquatics center.
This system works! It’s easy to see the changes in our children, where many of them were bringing home C and D grades, they’re now making A and B grades. We’ve also seen sweet acts of kindness such as one little girl who gave her snack to another child who didn’t have one.