In addition to the methods that were chosen for the project in the beginning of it, the following additional methods were also used during the team trainings. They proved to be good and liked by the participants, too, which is the reason why we chose to put them into the handbook. A project like the one described in this little book is always a process, especially over such a long period of time. Within this time some methods changed, some were added and others dropped due to the very different settings and requirements of our various trainings. We chose to give consideration to this process by not only including things that were chosen in the beginning, but with making it
visible through adding these additional methods.
Blind Walk & Trust Falls
Group size: Any size
Time: 10-20 min
Needed space: anywhere
Objective: «Full trust» - the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something!
Confidence in one‘s abilities generally enhances motivation, making it a valuable asset for individuals with imperfect willpower.
Divide group into pairs with one member of each pair blindfolded. Seeing partner leads blind partner on a walk. The walk should be challenging, including such obstacles as climbing over tables, crawling under chairs, walking up or down stairs, climbing over railings, etc.
One partner falls backwards with other partner spotting. Variations include forward falls where partners extend arms and fall toward each other, connecting hands. This can be done from fairly far apart provided there are spotters ready to catch the fallers in the middle. (Editor‘s note: Trust falls must be highly supervised, in case participants decide to experiment. Also a variation where there are at least 2 spotters, legs spread, one in front of the other, works well. For older participants.)
Letter to Myself
Group size: Any
Time: 30-45 min.
Material: Envelopes, paper for letters, something to write with
Needed space: Space where all the participants can comfortably write a letter
Objective: Help participants to create their future vision
Short instruction: Method helps participants to create a vision of their future life, thus improving their ability to pursue their goals and motivating them for action.
Description: All the participants should write a letter to future themselves (after 1 month, 2 or 10 years, etc. – this time is given by a leader, considering the training‘s aim). They should address themselves by name, and in their letters they should write about what kind of person they are going to be, what character traits they would like to have or gain, what their surroundings should go look like (family, job, studies, friends…), what kind of daily life they want to live and what kind of relationships they would like to have with other people, what other people are going to think about them. Then everyone puts their letters into an envelope and closes it. The leader takes all the letters and sends them back to the participants after some time (chosen by leader).
Group size: Any size
Time: 30–90 min.
Material: Pens, paper sheets
Needed space: Each participant should have a quiet and private space
Objective: Reflection on the participants’ dreams and aims
Short instruction: The method will help the participants to reveal their true goals and wishes in certain areas of their life. Good for raising the motivation for active participation during a seminar.
Description: Everybody takes a pen and a sheet of paper (make sure everyone takes enough so they don’t have to get up again) and find a quiet and private space. Turn off all mobile phones. Then the participants are asked to write down all wishes and aims they have which come to their mind, even if they sound silly. If someone gets stuck, reading all the wishes they wrote down again can help creating new ideas. After this there are two possibilities – either everyone keeps their results to themselves, or the group can exchange some of their dreams, like talking about how they can be realized and motivating each other to try this.
Group size: minimum 10
Time: 30 minutes
Material: A4-sized sheets of paper
Needed space: outdoors, indoors, enough space for making a playground – a grid of 10x10 fields (squares)
Objective: Cooperation, making decisions, group dynamics
Short instruction: The participants’ task is to get across a “swamp” using group cooperation methods.
Description: For preparing the activity the team leader marks a grid on the ground measuring about 10 x 10 squares. The team leader draws the same grid on a paper and in this draws one way the participants can go through it. This paper is only for the team leader(s).
From each square the participants can continue only in two directions - not diagonally. The path can also return and it may have blind turns. You can play this game on very large fields. In front of the field, which is imagined to be a dangerous swamp, the participants stand in line and enter individually. Because they do not know the way they will try to hit the ground running somewhere. The team leader can either stay silent, stand there firmly, or say “Splash!” when a participant misses the path and “falls” into the swamp. Everyone continues until they step on the wrong square. Then the particular participant has the possibility to place a piece of paper on this square to mark it as “swamp”. After this the participant leaves the swamp and queues up with the other participants. The participants in the queue cannot leave it and may need to stand on the edge of the network. Everybody needs to have their turn in searching for the right way through until all participants are on the other side. There is one important rule: during the game nobody is allowed to speak. The group can make sounds, but must not say anything. This game reinforces the participants’ sense of belonging. The final discussion in which everybody has the chance to describe their feelings during the activity, and afterwards the evaluation and reflection, are very important.
Treasure of Acid Lake
Group size: minimum 10
Time: 15-45 minutes (depending on the group)
Material: a big, strong tree, one long rope, one long climbing rope (ca. 50m), treasure ( i.e. a bag of sweets)
Needed space: outside, with big tree nearby and soft ground (grass, leafs)
Objective: Cooperation, communication, creativity, trust
Short description: The groups challenge is to save the treasure out of an imaginary acid lake without touching it, with a climbing rope as the only tool.
Near a big and strong tree the instructors form a big circle with the long rope. The circle’s centre cannot be reached without stepping inside. This is the acid lake, in whose centre the treasure is placed. The lake must not be touched (neither with the rope nor with body parts) as this will lead to instant death or to destruction of the climbing rope, the only tool. Should this happen, the group has to start again. The groups task is to save the treasure from the centre of the lake without touching the lake. The climbing rope as their only tool, they have to find a way together. The task can only be solved when the whole group works together.
The most common solution of the problem is the following:
The climbing rope is tied around the big tree with a safe knot (instructors should check it!). Then the rope is stretched across the lake by the group except one person, who is ready to climb along the rope above the lake and to save the treasure from the lake by picking it up. Only when the treasure is safe outside the lake and the person climbing is also outside, the task is finished and the lake may now be touched.
The Chair Game
Group size: 6-30 (the more players, the more difficult the task)
Time: 10-30 minutes (very much dependent on the group)
Material: one chair for each person
Needed space: a room big enough to form a circle with the chairs with enough space to walk around this circle, or outside
Objective: cooperation, communication, coordination
Short description: Everybody has to walk around the circle of chairs once, without one single chair falling on its forelegs.
Description: The group forms a circle of chairs, the backs facing outward. Then everybody stands behind their chair, with the left hand holding the back of the chair and carefully tipping the chair over to its hind legs and holding it in this position. The right hand will be resting on everybody’s back during the whole game and must not be used, like any other body parts except the left hand. Now the group has to wander around the circle of chairs: Everybody is letting go of their chairs at the same time, quickly snapping their neighbours’ chair with their left hand. If only one chair falls back on its front legs, all have to start again from their first chair. The task is fulfilled when everyone has wandered around the circle once and is back at their original place.