“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
This section provides resources for team-building activities. Building a team, whether for education and outreach or for lead remediation, is essential when creating a CLEARCorps crew. Functional teams trust one another, they communicate well and come to decisions jointly.
While creating a team takes time, the development can be guided and nurtured with experiences and reflection on the experiences. As important as the activity itself, is the reflection on and processing of the experience. There is an old facilitator’s expression, “We don’t learn through experience, we learn through reflection of the experience.”
It is essential then, after activities, to have an opportunity for individuals and the group as whole to think and talk about the activity.
Activities and Games:
There are hundreds of activities and games that help to create the opportunities for groups to form. They often simulate real world situations of discomfort and challenge and provide scaffolded opportunities to work collaboratively toward solutions.
- Trust Building Activities Site: Active and Outdoor Types
- Trust Building and Collaboration Activities: Indoor
- Diversity and Dialogue activities: Communication and trust building exercises (Downloadable PDF)
- The Big Book of Trust Building Activities
- Open to Outcome: A Practical Guide for Facilitating and Teaching Experimental Reflection
(Very important to processing and reflecting on activities).
- Team-building Activities: Ice Breakers (PDF Download)
If you have money in your budget, there are often organizations that run low ropes or high ropes courses with activities designed to create an environment that challenges people and allows them to discover their strengths and weaknesses and the strengths of the group. Skilled facilitators can help people see the group dynamic and their own role in the group as situations arise. Look in your local area for facilitators and camps that offer these activities. These outings are great options if you have a budget.
As mentioned above, reflection on experience is the most important part of the experience. It allows participants to learn about themselves and what they offer a group, as well as what they need from others and how to communicate to get it.
Some general tips for debrief:
- Offer personal quite time to reflect individually as well as a group time to share.
- Develop norms or rules for conversation before you talk as a group.
- Provide various ways to share (writing, talking in pairs, whole group conversation, sketching, art, or dance, etc).
- Encourage people to talk in “I” statements.
- Have people express a learning or commitment at the end of the session to the whole group.
How much time to spend on this:
There is always a challenge in balancing the time needed to do the work of your organization and doing the preparatory work in building a strong and functional team. Most experts in business and education agree that more time spent up front in building trust, communication, and group process pays off as groups start working together. In many ways, this is the best experience for the future that Corps members can have. Successful programs also realize that while “frontloading” these experience is important, returning to them periodically helps to maintain a healthy team. We recommend once a few days at the beginning of a rotation, once a month for group activities to maintain the function and spirit.