Goals: To have an opportunity to provide one another positive emotional support. To experience uplifting someone else through verbal affirmation.
Description: This simple but powerful activity is perfect for closing out a workshop, retreat, or other event where participants have gotten the opportunity to get to know one another and learn and grow together. It involves youth and adults participating together and providing verbal affirmations to infuse the space with encouragement and positivity. By adding an option for physical touch of hands on other participants’ shoulders, it’s also an important opportunity to discuss and model active consent.
Try it on: Experienced: Execute the activity as described in the facilitator’s guide
Novice: Before the activity, write affirmations on slips of paper and put them in a bag. Have each participant choose one to use for the activity to eliminate the pressure of participants coming up with their own affirmation. This version could be particularly useful in groups where trust has not yet been firmly established and/or the participants do not know one another well.
Assessing Impact: We have students rate the activity on a Likert scale of Poor (1), Fair (2), Good (3), Great (4), Excellent (5) with room for open-ended comments. Impact can also be assessed by observing the degree to which the participants are emotionally affected by the activity. Other debrief options include providing the opportunity for participants to have one on one or small group conversations and/or asking participants to share how the activity made them feel and any specific phrases that were particularly meaningful to them with the larger group.
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How could you implement this in your program?