Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fusion - A Peek Into Our Working Style

Two weeks ago, I went to the beautiful Barefoot Republic Camp in Kentucky with a group of 28 teens, college students and adults; working to build unity among teens in Nashville through a series of worship events called Fusion. We had the best time singing, planning, and hanging out together.

My job was to create a sense of community among these volunteer leaders who will carry out 3 events for 200 teens this summer. They wanted me to lead games from our Great Group Games book because “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” (Plato)

So we played – lots! Our first session was focused on getting to know each other. We bounced, finger fenced, searched for commonalities, sang, played with balloons, and scavenged for treasure. We learned the stories behind the names of people from teammates around the world.

The second playtime was about leadership and community building. We played silly games that led to deeper conversations about change, empowerment, appreciating diversity, listening, using the group’s strengths, creative problem-solving and trust.

We laughed together for 24 hours and left with 28 new friends, ready to make waves of change in our city. I feel so blessed in my job!

Hog Call

A stage 2 game from Great Group Games

Time: 20 minutes

Supplies: index cards with compound words, one for each person

Make a set of index cards with compound words. For example, on one card write ‘peanut’, and on the other card write ‘butter’. On one card write ‘shoe’, and on the partnering card, write ‘lace’.

Shuffle the cards and randomly give everyone a card. When you give the cue, ask participants to hunt for their compound word partners. When everyone thinks they’ve found a partner, have them form a large circle, standing beside their compound partner. The group may need to problem solve & shuffle people around, because some words will have multiple possibilities for their partners.

Going Deeper:
§ How did you first respond to the task of finding your compound word partner?
§ What tactics helped you to succeed?
§ Did priorities and decision-making ever come into play?
§ If your word fit with multiple words, how did that make you feel?
§ If it took you an especially long time to find your word match, how did that make you feel?
§ How might these experiences apply to real life?

Assets: social competencies, positive identity, creative activities

Crossword Connections

A stage one teambuilder from the Great Group Games book

Time: 15-20 minutes

Supplies: paper and pen for each participant

Give each person a piece of paper and ask them to write their full name in large letters across the middle of the page. Then ask everyone to mingle for 5-7 minutes, searching for “connections” (commonalities) they have with one another. When you discover a “connection,” write your new friend’s first name in crossword style to connect with your name, then record your specific commonality on the back of the page. See how many connections everyone can find in a short amount of time.

Going Deeper:
§ How can we be so different, yet so much alike?
§ How does finding commonalities affect your comfort level in a group?
§ Do we take the time to find commonalities in everyday life? Why or why not?
§ Does finding commonalities make it easier to start conversations? Build relationships?

Assets: interpersonal competence, safety, positive peer influence, support

Sticky I.D.

A name game from the Great Group Games book

Time: 20 minutes

Supplies: a post-it note and pen for each participant

Give each participant a post-it note and a pen. Ask them to draw 2 lines (making a “t”) that split their paper into four squares. Have them fill in the blanks for the following questions:

*Something you liked doing when you were younger that you still enjoy
*One of your favorite things to do outside
*Something you'd like to learn more about
*A place you’d love to visit one day

When everyone is done, ask people to partner up with someone they don’t know very well, share names if they don’t know them and share the answers to their questions. When you blow the whistle, ask participants to find a new partner. After rotating through 5-6 partners, ask the group to form a circle and share some of the things they learned about one another.

Going Deeper:
* While talking with others, did you remember any fun activities that you especially enjoy?
* What kinds of topics were other people interested in learning more about?
* Did you discover anything that you had in common with someone else in the group?

Assets: Support, commitment to learning, safety, interpersonal competence, constructive use of time

Happy Birthday!

The Great Group Games book is officially one year old. It's been a big hit with schools, camps, youth organizations, churches, and businesses all over the country. We've been SO blessed to hear stories about the ways YOU are using our games. You are PLAYING WITH PURPOSE - using games to shape values, relationships, skills, and leadership styles.

We're proud to say that the book has officially gone into it's 3rd printing - a very cool feat for a nonfiction book in the first year. HOORAY!!!

THANK YOU for all your support in this project. If you were here, we'd give you a slice of birthday cake! So why don't you go have a Hershey's Kiss, and celebrate with us!
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato