The Power of Circles at Summer Camp
It will be important in the first few hours and days of camp to spend time getting to know one another better. We have always found playing games, running 'talking & listening' sessions, and having staff meetings in a circle to be a very powerful experience. Rather than having someone at the front speaking or people spread out across the space of your meeting area, placing people in a circle makes everyone feel part of the group. Sitting or standing in a circle also provides an intimate setting which makes people feel safe and allows them to focus solely on the task at hand. So go ahead...give it a try! (If you are thinking, "I have so many staff members the circle would be huge!!", then simply put smaller circles inside one another so that you are all still together).
Here are a few activities to try:
This is one of the best ways to get people talking. Have them sit in 2 circles, one inside the other. The inside circle faces out and the outside circle faces in. Everyone should have a partner. If you have an odd numbered group, simply make one grouping a group of three.
Now explain you will ask them a series of questions. After the first question has been answered by both partners, ask the outside circle to rotate 2 spaces to the right. After the second question has been asked and answered, ask the inside circle to move 2 spaces to the right. Make sure to have the appropriate people rotate spaces after each question so they always have a new partner. If your group is small, it is okay if they wind up paired with the same partner several times throughout the exercise.
The 'just getting to know you' version:
1) what is one of your first memories?
2) what do you remember about your first home?
3) share something that happened to you in grade 4?
4) who was your hero in elementary school?
5) share your funniest memory from grade 6
6) feel free to add any questions of your own
Concentric Circles - The 'we feel comfortable with one another and are now moving to the next step' version:
1. To make life better, I would like to invent……….
2. What I liked best about today is…………….
3. A time when I was very happy was………
4. I feel frustrated when…………
5. When I think about the future I see myself……….
6. One thing that I treasure most in life is…………..
7. Something I always have wondered about is………….
8. To me, God is like…………..
9. I feel rebellious when………….
10. I feel lonely when……….
11. One thing that I enjoy about life is………
12. One thing that depresses me about the world is…………
13. If I could change one thing about myself I would………
14. Something I like about myself is……….
15. Two things for which I am thankful are…………
What’s the Answer?
This is a great activity for the first time your group is together. It's best if you have staff/campers beside people they do not know very well. Ask your group to ‘circle up’. It does not matter whether they are standing or sitting. Explain that you will be asking them a question about the person to their left. Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time to ask (what is this person’s favourite sport, what does he like to wear to ‘lounge’ in, who was her favourite teacher, etc.). The person must answer the question as he or she thinks his or her neighbour would answer it. Obviously, the guesser may not know the correct answer -- this is half the fun. Once the guesser has responded, allow the neighbour to share the correct answer.
So go ahead...give it a try! (If you are thinking, "I have so many staff members the circle would be huge!!", then simply put smaller circles inside one another so that you are all still together).