Check In Exercise: Thorns and Roses

By AHA! Staff from AHA!

An opening exercise to help with setting the emotional climate.

Description: Thorns and Roses is a check in exercise wherein each person reports on a difficult experience that day(thorn) and then a positive experience that day (rose). The facilitator often starts to guide youth in being authentic and brief and to demonstrate sharing an emotion. i.e.

“My thorn is my car battery died and I felt really frustrated and unhappy.” “My rose is my friend offered to drive me and buy me lunch and I felt loved and grateful.”

Try it on: Novice vs Experienced: Novice staff tend to over share and forget to share an emotion. Novice staff pull attention and sympathy towards themselves instead of empowering the youth sharing. Novice staff forget to help youth be concise and keep the circle of sharing moving. Experienced staff are diligent about modeling brief and authentic sharing always putting the thorn first and the rose second demonstrating that life has it’s thorns but we want to always end on the positive. Experienced staff are always monitoring the group and helping youth (with humor and affection) remember to be brief and include emotion.

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