Thursday, May 07, 2009


    Try this challenging but fun community builder to help your group learn to work together, listen to others, and celebrate what can be accomplished when they support one another.

    Begin with two teens sitting on the floor, facing one another, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and toes touching. Instruct them to reach out their arms and grasp each other's wrists. Now holding on tightly, they are to stand up together. This really only works if they keep their feet touching and firmly planted and both lean back as they slowly stand. If done correctly, they stand together at the exact same time in one smooth move.

    Now, add a third person to the mix, challenging them to use a similar approach to get all three to stand up together. The only real requirement is that they must all three stay connected together by their hands or wrists. Continue to repeat, adding more and more participants to the circle. As the group grows bigger, the teens will have to rethink who grabs who's wrists in order to have enough momentum to stand. I have had a group of about 20-25 who were able to do this all at once, but it takes teamwork and communication. One suggestion: The bigger the group, the more necessary it is for the teens to figure out that it won't work for two people next to each other to hold hands/wrists. To have enough tinsel strength, they will have to reach across the circle to hold hands/wrists with two different people. Those who are waiting to be added to the circle can take part in offering suggestions for solving the problem. Observe how well (or not!) the group communicates and allows different ideas to be shared. Debrief afterward about the need in community to listen to and support one another.