What are the most common places where people meet and get to know each other? Well, usually people interact with each other during work or in their free time in pubs or in a cafeteria, for sure not in a forest, or by stopping random people on the street. How would a meeting go if people would start to meet in these contexts instead of the usual ones?

Duration:
at least 30 minutes, so the participants have time to interact with each other.

Preferred location:
preferably, a forest but an open space is also good.

Working method:
focus on verbal and non-verbal communication, team building, and self-presentation.

Materials:
papers, pens, bell.

Purpose:

improving the communication skills of your participants, encouraging them to meet others, creating a connection in the group between participants, learning how to create a self-presentation.

Instructions

  • each participant will receive a piece of paper with a pen;
  • each participant will write on the paper a self-presentation as detailed as possible (name, surname, nationality, age, hobbies, work/study, etc.) – you can also let them write whatever they find important about themselves, without guidelines;
  • the presentation has to be 1 minute long (the time limit for preparation is 5 minutes);
  • after 5 minutes, with the presentation ready, the participants will walk around and, when the bell rings, they will have to form couples with the first person they meet;
  • after the first couples are made, the participants will exchange their self-presentations;
  • after both members of the couple share, the couples switch and there is a new round;
  • after some rounds, all participants will have to give you their papers with the written presentations and restart the rounds while switching couples every time.

Debriefing

when the activity is over you can have a fast reflection to see if the group found it hard or easy to make a 1-minute presentation and to reflect on how different it was before and after putting the papers away. Also, if they noticed something in the other person when they were not reading and if the person who was listening could have a clear idea from the presentation.

Possible alternatives

you can give more specific topics for the speech, so instead of just being a game for self-presentation, it is also a training opportunity on how to create an effective and understandable speech. Furthermore, walking is an extremely simple outdoor activity that can be used for various purposes. You can send them for a walk in the forest or somewhere in nature where they can walk either alone (reflecting on something specific) or in groups; you can make this a session of a few hours or even days. While walking, many things can come to the surface, and the way you guide the activity will make all the difference.

Interviews are a common procedure when entering the job market. So how about practicing them beforehand? This activity will allow participants to have a better understanding of their strengths while improving their communication and presentation skills. Afterward, they will feel much more prepared for a real job interview!

Duration:
45 minutes, could need more time in case of a bigger group.

Preferred location:
any location with tables and chairs.

Working method:
individual introspection; teamwork – focused on communication (in pairs).

Materials:
papers, pens, and tape.

Purpose:

to prepare the participants for the employment process, by increasing self-awareness, self-expression, and motivation. The participants will also have the chance to work on their presentation skills.

Instructions

  • with tape, place a piece of paper on each participant’s back;
  • without speaking, the participants should go around and write on the papers a personality trait, strength, or competence that describes the other one; this should take around 5 minutes, depending on the size of the group;
  • after they finished, each participant has 15 minutes to read their papers and prepare a short presentation for a job interview;
  • when time is up, the participants should form pairs, sit on opposite sides of a table, and interview each other, the first one being the interviewer and the other the interviewee and after 10 minutes switching; in the end, the participants should point out to each other things to improve for the future.

Debriefing

after all the participants have finished with the interviews, the facilitator can have a closing reflection with the group to make them reflect on the activity, as well as measure its impact. Some examples are:

  • for what kind of job would you like to have an interview?
  • did you learn something new about yourself?
  • are you more comfortable presenting yourself to others?
  • what can you do to become closer to your dreams?
  • do you feel more prepared to start a professional career?

Possible alternatives

for a more dynamic activity, make the interviews in a rotating system, like a “job fair”, so that the participants can be interviewed by multiple people, thus improving their presentation skills even more.

How to create a dynamic game with simple tools and resources? And how to make sure that there are many possibilities for challenges, creativity and success? With this following activity, we are about to show you.

Duration:
20 minutes

Preferred location:
outdoor, better in an open space (like a volleyball field).

Working method:
self-reflection, group confrontation.

Materials:
list of skills (down below), flipchart.

Purpose:

acknowledging which are the skills needed in the labor market, realizing which are the correct behaviours and what are the things that should be avoided in a working context.

Instructions

Preparation

  • for each skill create a practical example/behaviour (for ex. analysis: John registered that his customers received later the products, but he didn’t address the delay to his courier but to the packaging area and to the order processing area).

During the activity

  • all participants start in a row;
  • one by one you will describe the skills without pointing out that those are skills; just referring to them like “behaviours” people have in a working context (you give practical examples for each behaviour). It is really important to describe only the practical example and not the skill associated with that example. In this way the participants will reflect on it after the activity (where you will facilitate the process and point out how each behaviour is called and to which skills it is associated and how come it is important in the working context);
  • in the field there is going to be point A, point B and point C;
  • point A is the starting point, where they form a row;
  • point B is all the way to the left of the row, at the end of the field;
  • point C is all the way to the right of the row, at the end of the field;
  • every time you describe one behaviour, each participant will go in the direction of point B if he/she agrees with that behaviour and in direction of point C if he/she disagrees with that behaviour, the closer the participant will be to the points B/C the more he/she will agree/disagree with that behaviour.

Debriefing

after the activity, you will facilitate a process where the participants will discuss the activity. During this process, you will ask specific questions about each behaviour in order to help the group in recognizing each skill and you will write on a flipchart a list of skills that the participants will point out during the session. Here are some examples:

  • where were you standing during this behaviour; how come?
  • do you think this behaviour could be positive or negative; how come?
  • what is the skill required in this example?

Possible alternatives

you can have the same activity describing also incorrect behaviours in a working context and pointing out why each behaviour is not suitable in a working context.

How to create a dynamic game with simple tools and resources? And how to make sure that there are many possibilities for challenges, creativity, and success? With this following activity, we are about to show you.

Duration:
up to 40 minutes, of course, you can make it longer by giving more time for certain challenges or by giving more challenges.

Preferred location:
forest or city park; in general a place with a lot of trees.

Working method:
group work in small teams, and then group work between the teams.

Materials:
natural resources (branches, sticks, stones, etc.) and/or trash (tin cans, bottle caps, etc.).

Purpose:

to unleash the individuals’ creativity and imagination through thinking and to support the participants in getting to know each other.

Instructions

divide the group into teams of 2 people. Ask them to choose an area where they would like to develop their own village while telling them that the area must be separated by a deep gap (a river). Each team has 5 minutes in order to discuss how their village should look like and to gather enough materials from the surroundings. Afterward, each team has to construct 2 houses and a Village Hall in their area. This hall needs to be higher than the other houses in the village. As soon as they are done with this, they need to connect their villages by bridges. The bridges must be constructed above the land level (one stick is not a bridge). They should be connected with roads as well, while each village is anyways connected with a bridge network. Each team must build its half of the bridge. The bridges can only be considered valid if they are balanced, above the village level and they stand still over the water.

Debriefing

as soon as the work is done, you can ask all your participants to walk around these villages, observe them and the work put into them – little adjustments, how each group constructed the houses, what was the plan behind, how different or how similar these villages are. Afterward, you can have a reflection with them supported by the following questions:

  • what do you think about the game?
  • do you find it interesting?
  • was it hard at first; what was the hardest part?
  • how did you cooperate with your teammates?
  • how did you cooperate with the other team while developing the bridge network?

Possible alternatives

if you want to organize this activity in an indoor setting, use office materials instead of natural ones (markers, pens, pencils, papers, tapes, etc.). If you would like to increase the size of these villages, increase the number of houses that they need to construct. You can also add other elements that they need to construct in order to make the activity more difficult (but also more fun). 

Role-play builds confidence and communication skills, and it can be used to explore the options available to young adults after compulsory education. This next activity is aimed at people who have dropped out of school, as a way of reflecting on their future.

Duration:
1 hour, depending on the number of participants.

Preferred location:
this activity can be made both outside and inside.

Working method:
teamwork, and communication through theatrical acting (groups of maximum 5 people).

Materials:
scenario cards, pens, and paper.

Purpose:

improving communication in groups, improving teamwork, reflecting on options for the future.

Instructions

  • divide the participants into groups of 5;
  • then, hand each group a scenario card, which they must use to create a short role-play; the only rule is that all members of the group must take part in this;
  • make paper and pens available for planning and allow 20 minutes for the groups to plan and practice their scenarios, before bringing everyone back together;
  • allocate a section of the room for the stage and another as the seating area for the audience;
  • invite the groups to perform their role-play for the others in turns;
  • stress that the audience has an important role too – they should be listening and responding appropriately to what is happening on the stage; applaud after each group has finished and ask the audience if they have any questions or comments.

Possible scenarios:

Your group is waiting to collect their exam results from school and most of you think you have passed them all. Well done! Another young person joins your group. This person hated school and did not come in for all the exams. He/she tells the rest of the group that qualifications and education are a waste of time – life is too short and is for having fun. Where will these people be in 5 years?

A young person is being interviewed for a job with a major record company. It is a trainee post and while it will be the young person’s first job, they are confident that they have the required skills. The interviewing panel is made up of the marketing director, a DJ, a recording artist, and the designer that the trainee would be working for. Conduct the interview and decide the outcome.

A group of young people is planning a gap after high school. Several of them plan to travel together to Australia and are talking about ways to fund the trip and the route they should take to get there. Others want to go too but don’t think their parents will let them. Together, the young people draw up a list of reasons why they should be allowed to travel and what the benefits of a gap year are.

Debriefing

after the activity is completed, have a short debriefing to reflect on and close the activity together with all the participants. The following questions can be asked:

  • how did you feel during the activity?
  • could you relate to any of the scenarios?
  • how was it for you to collaborate with your team?
  • how can you relate this activity to your life?

Possible alternatives

relate the scenario cards to technical jobs that can be done without a university degree to show participants possible options for the future and perhaps spark their interest.

If you are searching for a fun activity and the only thing you have in store is a tarp, well, don’t worry, here is a solution for you!

Duration:
15 minutes

Preferred location:
outside is recommended but the activity can also be done inside.

Working method:
learning by doing and teamwork (at least 5 people in each group).

Materials:
tarp.

Purpose:

improving communication in small groups, improving teamwork, improving problem solving.

Instructions

  • put a tarp on the ground;
  • after the members of the group are all on the tarp, they will have 10 minutes to fold the tarp as many times as possible;
  • while folding the tarp the participants can’t touch the ground;
  • if one participant touches the ground they will have to start the process from the beginning.

Debriefing

after the activity, you can also ask if they came up with a strategy and how they decided on it.

Possible alternatives

if you have more groups you can also put a higher time limit and make a competition out of it. For instance, the groups can have the first 10 minutes to try, and afterward, 5 minutes to come up with a group strategy, when the 5 minutes are over, each group will have 3 attempts, and the group who folded the tarp more times wins. In addition, you can ask them to turn the tarp upside down, while standing on it and not touching it with their hands.

How can outdoor activities train different leadership styles? This next activity although challenging will foster cooperation and communication between participants in a fun and entertaining way!

Duration:
30 minutes

Preferred location:
outside, preferably in a place with obstacles in it (for ex. forest).

Working method:
teambuilding, teamwork – focusing on cooperation and communication (groups of 5/6 people maximum).

Materials:
ropes and blindfolds.

Purpose:

improving communication in groups, improving teamwork, being more aware of how leadership works.

Instructions

  • create paths using the ropes to define the limits;
  • then, make teams of 6; in each team, ask the participants to divide roles; one person should be guided, and the others should give the instructions; however, the people giving instructions can only say one word each; they have to choose who says “right”, “left”, “forward”, “stop” and “rotate”;
  • once all the roles are assigned, the person being guided should stand at the start of the path and put on the blindfold; the goal of the game is to reach the endpoint while being guided by the other team members;
  • no communication besides the words mentioned above is allowed; if the person being guided steps on the ropes, they have to start over; the fastest team wins;
  • make multiple rounds, alternating the person who is being guided.

Debriefing

when all rounds are finished, you can facilitate a reflection on how the activity was for the group. Here are some questions to guide the process:

  • how did you find the activity (easy, hard); how come?
  • what worked in the group?
  • did you prefer being guided or guiding others?
  • how was the communication working in the group?
  • if you could do this activity again, what would you do differently?

Possible alternatives

add obstacles and words like “down” and “up”, to make it more challenging in the case of a bigger group.

How can we use all our resources and how can we turn them into an activity? Many times, designing an outdoor game is all about looking around and identifying various elements from nature that can support us in training certain behaviors or qualities.

Duration:
it depends on the number of people you have in the group; you can definitely count 15 minutes for 3 people.

Preferred location:
the forest or a natural area rich in elements that you can pick up (branches, fruits, leaves, stones, etc.).

Working method:
teamwork, land art.

Materials:
natural materials (branches, stones, leaves, pine cones…).

Purpose:

the aim is to improve team cohesion by working on individual leadership qualities. Understanding what leadership means for each person and how is that related to a group of people, in a certain context.

Instructions

after creating groups of minimum 3 people, the facilitator gives a word for each group that they need to represent in form of land art (in form of a creation using natural materials found in their surroundings). Each group will have a stopwatch and approximately 3 minutes in order to prepare the artwork (of course, in case you have more than 3 people in the groups, you can give a little bit of extra time). As soon as the time is up, the group can decide who is the person who took the most initiative in the group during this phase, whom they could consider as their leader – the appointed person will not be allowed to speak in the upcoming rounds. Then you repeat this round until you give a chance for everyone in the group to experience the role of a leader. In each round, you give new words that they can represent.

By the end, everyone had the chance to become the leader and except the last person, everyone has been mute for a while.

Debriefing

in order to reflect on the activity, you can have a discussion with them, or in any other form, you can make them think and talk about the following questions:

  • was the group able to communicate?
  • were the artworks suitable for everyone?
  • did everyone get a saying during the preparation of these artworks; if not, what stopped them?
  • was each leader comfortable with the role; how did it make them feel?
  • which qualities were important as a leader on a personal level and on a group level?
  • which qualities do the participants already possess and which ones they would still like to work on?
  • how, in which form would they like to work on these qualities in the upcoming days, or weeks (this question can be important in order to create a transfer, to make sure that the activity has an impact later on as well and that the participants can use whatever they have learned in their everyday lives)?
  • how could you practice leadership in your everyday life, in your surroundings?
  • come up with an action plan in order to further develop the qualities that you would like to!

Possible alternatives

depending on the group, the facilitator can introduce more challenges, such as saying two words at the same time and asking the group to decide which one to represent in form of artwork – this will create more opportunities for teamwork and will reinforce the role of the leader. 

When things are not working the way we want them to, we tend to make excuses. In many moments of our lives, we are just waiting and hoping for things to change and for destiny to be on our side. But we forget that we always have a choice. By making a list of actions you can take, and implementing them, you make things happen instead of letting things happen to you. This next activity will support the participants in learning more about the idea of taking initiative, in a very meaningful way.

Duration:
90 minutes

Preferred location:
a quiet place with a flat surface.

Working method:
guided reflection; individual introspection.

Materials:
floor mats, blindfolds, pens, papers, and a speaker.

Purpose:

to increase the participants’ motivation and initiative towards achieving their dreams; to encourage them to take action.

Instructions

with relaxing music in the background, ask the participants to lay down in a comfortable position and put on the blindfold;- start the guided reflection:

“This exercise is a moment for you to check in with yourself. I ask you to close your eyes. Take a deep breath in… and let it out. Feel your body getting more and more relaxed and your mind getting clearer. Now take a moment to visualize your life… in one year. It is one year later, and I want you to imagine the life that you are living. You have accomplished the goals that you set for yourself, and most importantly, you are feeling and experiencing the feelings and experiences that you have always wanted to. That one thing you have been searching for, whether it is a job, family, health, finances, joy… You are now experiencing it. So think about your vision for yourself. Your future, your health, your mind, your happiness… Your vision for your world. It is one year later, and that vision is now a reality.”;

give the participants some minutes of silence to reflect, while you distribute papers and pens around the room; then, invite them to slowly remove their blindfolds and return to a sitting position when they are ready;

when all or most of the participants are ready, explain the second part of the activity; the participants must now write on a paper a dream that they have for the future, along with 3 actions that they can take in the next 30 minutes that will bring them closer to that dream; make clear that the actions must be something concrete that can be done at that moment, and not a plan for the future; these can be making a phone call, doing research, talking to someone, applying for something, etc.

after this time, call the participants back into the room and one by one invite them to share their dreams and actions that were taken.

Debriefing

at the end of the activity, have a short closing with the group to reflect on the activity, by asking questions such as:

  • how do you feel right now?
  • do you feel closer to your dreams?
  • what are the learning outcomes of this experience?
  • what else can you do in the future to reach your dreams?
  • do you feel more motivated to take action?

Possible alternatives

this guided meditation can be adapted to any topic you want the participants to reflect upon, such as education, attitudes, etc. Relate the actions to the topic of your choice, to have the desired outcome.

Having challenging tasks and a short amount of time to accomplish them? Creating something out of nothing while also searching for a helping hand? How to turn such a frame into a learning process?

Duration:
approximately one day.

Preferred location:
in the forest, or in a place where the challenges that your participants need to accomplish are actually doable.

Working method:
individual work and teamwork (in case you have a bigger group of participants, make sure there are maximum 4 people in a group).

Materials:
everything that you might need to collect for these challenges, still, you can also decide to leave some of them out, asking your participants to come up with alternatives, or you can ask them to find these materials through a paper-clip challenge or through a set of other assignments.

Purpose:

finding ways to improve leadership skills and to cope with stressful environments through basic survival challenges.

Instructions

bring your participants to the forest or to any other natural environment of your choice for one day, let each group choose an intention, a vision for this adventure, and then let each group figure out the following assignments for themselves:

  • having a hike, while only getting a map and a compass (with specific starting and ending points);
  • preparing a sleeping place for themselves at the end of the hike (bivaque);
  • preparing fire and food for themselves out of raw ingredients (such as vegetables, oil, meat, etc.);
  • cleaning up afterward;
  • digging a toilet;
  • spending the night outside and watching the fire in rounds;
  • having breakfast in the morning and cleaning up;
  • hiking back to the starting point.

Also, while designing these or similar challenges, make sure that you give opportunities for the little groups to work between themselves, but also for the big group to work together and support each other in having a great experience.

Debriefing

since this activity can turn into a quite difficult, challenging experience for many of the participants, make sure that you give time for a proper debriefing, for expressing emotions, and for realizing learning points. The following questions can help you with this:

  • how was the experience?
  • which roles did you take and how were you managing these?
  • how did your team work; and how did the big group work?
  • did you manage to keep your intention and have the adventure that you wanted to have?
  • what did you learn about yourself and about your way of leading other people?
  • what would you do differently in similar situations?
  • how can you bring these learnings into your daily life?

Possible alternatives

these are some basic guidelines for the activity, still, you can become very creative with them. Based on the group of participants that you have, you can figure out different assignments as well, harder or easier ones, and you can also decide how much help you offer them. It’s also your choice whether you make them carry the equipment in their backpacks or you bring it always to a specific location. You can also give them the possibility to include other assignments that they would like to have (such as preparing a game for each other or a storytelling evening), this way they can truly create an experience that they envisioned. Depending on your group and on your goal, you can also have preparation workshops in the days before (such as workshops about how to create a sleeping place, how to navigate, etc.). You can also send the small groups on different hikes with a common ending point, where they all meet, prepare food and sleep together.

Whatever you do, make sure that you also do a risk assessment, meaning that you prepare yourself and your team for possible dangers and that you are around for the safety of your participants!

We use the word “communication” quite often, still, it has so many aspects that we can discover through different activities. With this game, we have the chance to discover different levels, from words to body language…

Duration:
approximately 30 minutes, still, you can always add new elements and make it longer.

Preferred location:
even if the activity itself is absolutely suitable for indoor use, we suggest that you do it outside – bringing people into another environment can make the whole process more fun and can stimulate completely different outcomes.

Working method:
developing teamwork and communication skills through games that focus on cooperation.

Materials:
sheets of paper and pens.

Purpose:

exploring the possibilities of communication within a team, understanding different ways how we communicate and finding ways how to turn these into possibilities.

Instructions

after you wrote a bunch of words on separate pieces of paper (there should be 3 words for each participant, but you can also create more or various categories depending on how hard these words or expressions are), divide the players into teams and let them choose 3 words without showing it to anyone. As soon as you are done with this, each participant in his/her small group has three steps:

  • describing one word or expression through sentences;
  • describing the other word through only one word;
  • describing the third word only through body language.

The rest of the participants need to guess these words. You can also reflect on the choice of words (which ones were chosen by the player in the first, second, and third rounds) and offer them to make it more challenging for themselves – choose a harder one and describe it only with body language for example.

Debriefing

reflect on the activity together with your participants and discuss the following aspects:

  • which levels of communication were the most and the least comfortable?
  • are there any other forms of communication?
  • were the words in line with the body language; if not, how can we align them?
  • how do the others communicate and how can we understand them?
  • how do we see communication in our own surroundings?

Possible alternatives

the game can be played with a mobile device or mobile app as well. You can always turn the activity towards your desired outcome – what would you like your participants to practice or achieve? It could be valuable to talk about the relationship between communication and inclusion or communication and employability so that you can further guide your participants based on their situation and needs.

Working in a group can sometimes be challenging. How can one express himself/herself clearly but not excessively? How can a group observe opposite opinions and manage conflicts? Finding a solution can be hard and unanimity is not always possible. This challenging activity will support the participants in learning more about teamwork and communication in an interesting and fun way!

Duration:
45 minutes

Preferred location:
outside, in a quiet place.

Working method:
problem-solving, individual, and teamwork (groups of 2 to 4 people depending on the group size).

Materials:
pens and paper can be provided.

Purpose:

improving teamwork within a small group, increasing cooperation and awareness between the team members.

Instructions

you are part of the crew of a spaceship originally programmed to join a mother rocket at the center of the moon’s bright side. Due to mechanical problems, you had to land about 320 km from the meeting point. During the moon landing, most of the onboard equipment was damaged, except for the 15 objects below. It is vital for your crew to join the mother rocket and you must choose the equipment that is essential for this long journey. Your mission is to classify the 15 items in order of necessity. Put the number 1 in front of the one you think is the most important, 2 in front of the next, and so on, up to 15 for the one you think is least useful.
Objects: a box of matches, concentrated food, 50 meters of nylon rope, a silk parachute, a solar-powered heater, two 45-caliber pistols, a case of powdered milk, two tanks of 50 kg of oxygen each, a celestial map of the lunar constellations, a self-inflatable lifeboat, a magnetic compass, 25 liters of water, a medical kit with hypodermic syringes, light signals, a transceiver operating on solar energy (medium frequency).
This will be done in three phases:

  • step 1: make the ranking on an individual basis (8 min);
  • step 2: depending on the number of participants, make groups of 3 or 4 people to discuss the ranking together (7 min); it is necessary to start reminding the groups of the time left;
  • step 3: decide the ranking of the objects with the whole group (5 min); the facilitator should put pressure on the group;
  • the challenge is to be able to take collective decisions under pressure and to observe the interactions between the members of the group.

After the debriefing, you can reveal the correct answer to the participants.

Solution: to establish their ranking, the NASA experts used two alternating criteria: – what ensures biological life and which ensures the possibility of joining the mother rocket. These two criteria mean, by their association, survival.

  • Nº15: box of matches (the absence of oxygen does not allow them to be ignited);
  • Nº14: magnetic compass (no use on the moon since the magnetic field is not exploited there);
  • Nº13: solar-powered heater (no need: the suits are heated);
  • Nº12: the case of powdered milk (nutritional trap: bulkier than concentrated food);
  • Nº11: two 45-caliber pistols (can be used to speed up propulsion; at the very least, to end one’s life);
  • Nº10: light signals (useful when the mother rocket is in sight);
  • Nº9: self-inflatable lifeboat (can be used as a sled to pull objects; the gas (CO) used for this vehicle can be used for propulsion);
  • Nº8: silk parachute (can be used to protect against the sun’s rays);
  • Nº7: the medical kit with hypodermic syringes (bites of vitamins, serum, etc. requires a special opening – provided by NASA) in the suit;
  • Nº6: 50 meters of nylon rope (useful for roping, climbing rocks, and possibly hoisting the wounded);
  • Nº5: a transceiver operating on solar energy (useful to try to communicate with the mother rocket but this device does not have a long-range);
  • Nº4: concentrated food (efficient way to repair energy losses);
  • Nº3: celestial map of the lunar constellations (essential for orientation);
  • Nº2: 25 liters of water (indispensable to compensate for strong dehydration due to the very high heat on the lit side of the moon);
  • Nº1: two tanks of 50 kg of oxygen each (first element of survival: essential).

Debriefing

after the activity is completed, have a short debriefing to reflect on the whole process and close the activity together with all the participants. As a facilitator, you can question the group on certain interactions that you observed and ask them questions such as:

  • how did you make decisions together?
  • was it easy or difficult; were there tensions?
  • did everyone feel like they were heard?
  • did some people feel like they weren’t being listened to?
  • was there something that slowed down the group’s decision-making process?
  • was there a person in charge of time management?
  • what could you have done differently?

Possible alternatives

based on the principles of this activity, you can use any other text, even texts that are directly related to the topic you would like to work on (employability, inclusion, active participation, etc.).

When it comes to working in a group, everyone is different. Communication plays a big part in the way a group functions and can be a challenge sometimes. However, speaking is not the only form of communication. This activity shows participants other ways of communicating and expressing themselves in a group.

Duration:
30 minutes

Preferred location:
this activity can be made both outside and inside.

Working method:
team building – focusing on non-verbal communication (groups of maximum 4-5 people).

Materials:
flipchart, colourful pens/markers, and music.

Purpose:

improving teamwork within a small group, increasing cooperation and awareness between the team members.

Instructions

the aim of this activity is to create a drawing with the contribution of all team members. The only rules are that the participants are not able to speak with each other or communicate in any written form.

  • at the beginning of the activity, music starts playing and one of the participants starts drawing;
  • after 60 seconds, the music changes and another participant continues the drawing;
  • this repeats for 15 minutes, changing to a different participant every time the music changes;
  • when the time is over, the participants can talk again and come up with a name for the painting.

Debriefing

after the activity is completed, have a short debriefing to reflect and close the activity together with all your participants. The following questions can be asked:

  • how did you feel during the activity?
  • did you have an idea of what the final painting would look like; does it match reality?
  • how did you communicate your idea with the others?
  • what did you learn from this activity?

Possible alternatives

to make it more challenging, add time pressure by making the time shorter between each round, changing music every 60 seconds at first, then every 30 seconds, then every 15 seconds, and so on.

When searching for a job, the participants will usually have to go through a selection process involving an interview. Can outdoor activities actually provide useful skills for the employment process? The next activity will show you how.

Duration:
45 minutes

Preferred location:
outside, preferably in a quiet place.

Working method:
guided reflection; individual introspection.

Materials:
papers, pens, and markers.

Purpose:

to prepare the participants for job interviews by increasing their self-awareness and their self-expression skills.

Instructions

  • for the first part of the activity, start by giving a short introduction (5 minutes) about job interviews and possible interview questions;
  • for the second part, the participants should be silent and position themselves in a comfortable manner, laying down or sitting, and closing their eyes; during this part, they will be guided through a meditation session in order to self-reflect on certain aspects about themselves;
  • ask them to remember certain moments or experiences in which they were part of a project or had to collaborate with other people in a team;
  • then, ask questions such as “what do you think were your strengths during those experiences?”, “what do you think were your weaknesses during those experiences?”, “what would you have done differently?”, “how do you imagine yourself 5 years from now?”, etc.; the meditation should last around 15 minutes;
  • for the next phase, the participants are asked to describe these thoughts on paper; these can be expressed in words, drawings, or other methods of their choice;
  • after 10 minutes, conduct a reflection where the participants share their personal conclusions with the group, such as strengths and weaknesses, and justify their choices.

Debriefing

after the final reflection, the facilitator can ask the participants certain questions to measure the impact and the success of the activity and to close the activity, such as:

  • how was your experience; how did it make you feel?
  • what did you learn from this?
  • do you feel better prepared for a job interview?

Possible alternatives

for a more extensive activity, or for an adaptation to the COVID-19 context, the participants can prepare a video on their phones with the answers to the questions asked during the meditation, such as their strengths and weaknesses. This way, the participants are also preparing for a possible video interview.

How about having an outdoor cooking event? Can you create learning possibilities with a few spoons, an open fire, and some raw ingredients? We believe you absolutely can!

Duration:
approximately 1 hour, but you can extend it to a couple of hours as well.

Preferred location:
outside, in an open space, so that there are no possibilities of causing an open fire which can lead to damage; also, it’s good to have a forest around, in order to pick branches for the fireplace.

Working method:
individual work, teamwork, group presentation, and discussion (groups of 3 people).

Materials:
1 pot, 1 frying pan, knives, forks, spoons, grater, 3 bowls, 1 cup, 3 eggs, flour, sugar, powdered cocoa, tomato sauce, water, olive oil, salt, pepper, powdered cheese, gas, and stove camping (only in case your participants don’t have the resources to create their own fire), dough roll, lighter, few tables according to the number of your small groups.

Purpose:

supporting low-skilled adults in gaining self-esteem through practical tasks; giving them chances to learn more about their interests and opportunities.

Instructions

the goal of the activity is to cook a dish by only using the ingredients that are available. Each small group has 5 minutes to discuss and decide, what kind of dish they would like to prepare and what kind of strategy they would like to follow. Only 1 person can cook at a time, the others need to give instructions, without touching the materials. Each person has 10 minutes to cook (one following the other).

Debriefing

since the activity creates a frame through which the participants can experience many different aspects, you can guide the debriefing process in such a way that it serves the purpose of your activity. In case you would like to focus more on communication, you can ask about that, you can also be curious about the freedom each participant got through this task and how they perceived it, you can ask about their leadership skills and in general what kinds of qualities they had to bring into this activity.

The positive side of having such a simple activity is that you can have a discussion afterward about many different experiences that your participants had and you are not necessarily tied to one aim or goal. This gives you flexibility and the possibility of making personal interventions, supporting each participant individually depending on where they are standing and in which direction they would like to develop themselves.

Possible alternatives

you can add other variables, such as giving half of a recipe and asking them to find out what kind of meal it should be, or giving blindfolds to the one who gives instructions. Also, you can create bigger teams and simply ask them to prepare different courses (one group prepares a soup, another one the main dish, another one the desert, etc.), while giving other practical responsibilities for some teams, such as keeping the fire, cleaning the dishes, arranging the tables, etc. This way you can prepare altogether a nice dinner that you can enjoy (maybe even invite people from the local community to cook with your participants or to only enjoy the food) and afterward or on another day you can reflect in many ways on the whole process of creating such an event. Having the possibility to do something simple, to create something with own hands is an extremely effective way of supporting this target group. 

A robbery.. what? How is that even possible? Undoubtedly, being part of a team with such a mission requires full participation; everyone needs to contribute. And a team can only win by creating an excellent strategy.

Duration:
anywhere between 1 hour and 2 hours.

Preferred location:
outside, preferably on a field or in an open space where small groups can spread around without seeing each other’s creations.

Working method:
individual work and teamwork (maximum 5 people in a small team).

Materials:
legos, a blanket and boxes.

Purpose:

improving the communication and cooperation skills of your participants; still, through this activity you can choose various aims starting from developing strategic thinking all the way to strengthening visual memory.

Instructions

there is a famous museum in town, launching a unique exhibition for a couple of days. One of the most valuable pieces of this exhibition is a lego creation. In the middle of the night, various local gangs decide to get hold of this artwork, but who will manage? In order to steal the original one, they all need to create an excellent copy of it and sneak it into the museum while grabbing the valuable one. 

Divide your participants into small teams. Ask them to spread around, with a reasonable distance between each other. Each group will have a box in front of them, placed in such a way that it is easy to put something on its surface. In the middle of the field, with an equal distance from each group, have your own box with a lego creation on top of it (you prepare this upfront and you can decide how challenging you would like this creation to be, including different colours and shapes) and cover this with a blanket. Then hand over each team a small package of legos, make sure that they have enough of the same colours and sizes that they need in order to recreate your construction.

Afterwards, tell the rules to the teams:

  • from each team, only 1 person can run at a time to the original artwork and this person has 10 seconds to look at it;
  • then he/she runs back and tells the others what he/she saw, without touching the materials, the others are constructing;
  • in the meantime, already the second person from the team runs and checks, this person will follow the same steps, and after running back, he/she can give instructions to the others, by this time, the first person is replaced so he/she can also start building;
  • the activity will run until one group claims that they made the exact copy;
  • then the facilitator takes it and checks whether it is true; if yes, we have the winner, if not, the game can continue.
    Make sure that you also give time to your participants in order to come up with a strategy.

Debriefing

at the end, have a closing with your participants. You can all check the original artwork and discuss how the process went. The following questions can support you in this:

  • did we manage to create an excellent copy or not; why is that?
  • how did my team function and how did I function in a team?
  • what was our strategy, is there anything we could have done better?
  • what were my characteristics in this game; do I recognize the same characteristics from my daily life?

Possible alternatives

depending on the goal of your activity, you can ask different questions during the debriefing phase. You can also decide to make it easier or harder for your participants by giving them time for strategizing in between, creating an easier or more difficult original artwork, or giving more roles for each team. Since the activity can be quite long and sometimes even frustrating for some of your participants (coming up with a way to recreate the masterpiece, giving instructions without touching the materials and making sure that everyone understands, having the time pressure), it is good to have enough time for the reflection part afterwards.

What are the first steps when someone is trying to enter the job market? First, you have to take some time to get to know yourself and your dreams. This activity is intended for people looking for a job or other opportunities, to help them self-reflect and learn more about themselves.

Duration:
1 hour

Preferred location:
any location with tables and chairs.

Working method:
individual introspection.

Materials:
papers, pens, colourful markers, and rulers.

Purpose:

to prepare the participants for the employment process, by increasing self-awareness regarding their skills, self-expression, and motivation.

Instructions

start by giving a brief introduction about curriculums, their composition, and importance in the job market;

with the materials provided, the participants should then proceed to create an imaginary CV; this should consist of a combination of their real experiences, abilities, and hobbies, with their desires and plans for the future (one should not see the difference between what is real or not);

in the end, the participants should describe their CVs to the group, explaining which are their current skills/experiences and which are the desired ones, and why; sharing their dreams for the future out loud will make them feel more real, increasing their motivation in order to achieve them.

Debriefing

after the participants have shared their imaginary CVs with each other, the facilitator can have a closing reflection with the group to make them reflect on the practical applications of the activity, as well as measure its impact. Some examples are:

  • if you would put this experience into one word, what would it be and why?
  • did you learn something new about yourself?
  • were you comfortable while presenting your CV to others?
  • what can you do to become closer to your dreams?
  • do you feel more motivated to start a professional career?

Possible alternatives

the imaginary CVs can be created anonymously (the participants are kept at a distance from each other). At the end of the activity, the participants have to guess which CV belongs to whom, turning this into a team bonding activity where the participants can get to know each other better.

Defining goals and priorities can be quite challenging. Especially if this needs to happen together with other people. Still, being able to do this frequently and easily creates a huge difference…

Duration:
everywhere between half an hour and 1 hour.

Preferred location:
outside, preferably on a grass field, so that you have enough space for your participants to run around.

Working method:
individual work and teamwork, strategic planning (groups of minimum 5 people).

Materials:
a whole bag of various items with different shapes and colours, and a long rope (in case you have more groups, have a long rope for each).

Purpose:

training the decision making skills and abilities of the participants; finding ways how to set up priorities and how to arrange tasks according to these.

Instructions

on the field of your choice, create circles with your ropes according to the number of groups that you would like to have. Make sure that the circles are big enough so that each member of the small groups can easily fit in. This means that if you have 3 circles, you also have 3 small groups. Divide the groups and tell them to choose a circle and step into that. In the meantime, spread around the items that you collected in such a way that they are all accessible for each circle, some are further away and harder to get, and the others are closer to the circles. Afterward, tell the rules of the game to your participants and give them some minutes in order to create a plan.

The rules are the following:

  • each group needs to collect as many items as possible;
  • the items that are further away value more points (you can come up with a way how to create a point system);
  • the members of the groups need to hold hands and create a spiral shape inside the circle;
  • when you say “go”, the groups can start running towards the item they agreed to pick up in that round (it is going to be different for each group), still, they have to do this in such a way that they are not allowed to let go of their hands, and the last person needs to stay in the circle;
  • as soon as they picked up the item, they all need to get back into the circle, in a spiral shape, without letting go of the hands, and they need to put the item inside the circle;
  • then they have time to choose another item and when the second round starts, they repeat it all again.

At the end of the rounds, you collect the points and items and you check who is the winner, who got the most items, and the items with the highest score.

In case they don’t put the item into the circle or it falls out for any reason, that item is disqualified.
Also, if they let go of their hands or the last person steps out of the circle, their action is not counted in that round. The same happens if by the end of the round they don’t all return to their own circles and they don’t place the item on the ground.

Debriefing

you can lead a conversation at the end of the activity using the following questions:

  • how did it go; what was the strategy that you used?
  • was it easy or hard to make priorities and decisions; how come?
  • how can you relate this to your daily life; is there anything that you can take with you as a good practice?

Possible alternatives

depending on your group, you can also add further challenges. You can decide how long each round is going to last and gradually make this period shorter and shorter. You can also add limitations to each participant or you can place some of the objects really far and give them a higher score. Also, you can gradually make the circles smaller, so that the participants have less and less space to create their spiral and to fit everyone in. Feel free to play around… 

A forest can become a magical place, especially when listening to the sound of nature. When it comes to working with immigrants, many times we put high emphasis on teaching the language of the receiving country, or on giving more and more information about the culture of the receiving country. While all these are valuable, it might be good to challenge the way we are doing this… is there another, more efficient way, instead of having our participants in a classroom and offering courses to them?

Duration:
as long as you would like to.

Preferred location:
preferably outside, anywhere (your location will mostly depend on the activities that you do).

Working method:
learning by experience, individual work, and teamwork.

Materials:
water, glasses, rope, fake gold, and player cards (find them below).

Purpose:

creating an interaction between your participants and members of your local community; creating and fostering inclusion through simple, practical activities.

Instructions

create an event or create a workshop schedule for your participants, so that they can return regularly (in this second case, the continuity will bring much more results and opportunities for you in order to follow their process of development). During this event or during these workshops, have a list of practical activities that your participants can do outside, such as repairing a bike, cooking a meal, cleaning materials from previous activities, digging a hole, gardening, or repairing something around the house (preferably outside). Give a timeframe for your participants (in case you decide to use the workshop schedule, they can have a certain amount of time at once – let’s say 4 hours – and come back the next time to continue their work where they left it). For all these activities invite local people as well, who would gladly contribute to the inclusion process of your participants, by working together with them, speaking and practicing the local language, and offering more information about the area and about the possibilities it holds. Having an organic conversation between your participants and local people can be extremely valuable; doing practical things, asking for help from each other through these, and learning more about the culture and language while creating actual human connection can bring great results in the long term and can make this whole inclusion process much more sustainable. As a plus side, you also get a lot of things done around your foundation, which can benefit you as well.

While the activities are running, you as a facilitator should also walk around, support your participants here and there, and do what the locals are doing – have conversations, get to know them more, and find out how you can guide them appropriately.

Debriefing

after each activity or after a period of time (every few weeks) you can have a cup of tea with your participants and reflect on the whole experience. Some questions that can guide you:

  • how is the experience for you?
  • what are you learning?
  • which is the direction or the next step you would like to take?
  • have you discovered any new possibilities in the area that you would like to try?
  • what are your difficulties?
  • what more would you like to do?

With all these questions you can support them in realizing where they are standing and how would they like to continue. Still, many times with this target group, having such a conversation is quite difficult, therefore you can just include these questions in your everyday practice, individually, while painting the walls or gathering the leaves. The key here is to follow the progress of each individual and to support them by asking questions, giving tailor-made assignments, or making personal observations from time to time. It is also good if before this activity you create a vision board with your participants, and check what is their desired outcome in the upcoming few months, since then you can guide them in this direction, in the direction they chose for themselves.

Possible alternatives

since this frame is quite wide, you can easily play around with it. You can decide for how long you would like to do this, what kinds of activities you would like to include, and how you are planning to guide your participants through this experience. 

A forest can become a magical place, especially when listening to the sound of nature. When it comes to outdoor education, quite often we tend to think of complicated, physical challenges or programs that are hard to organize and make accessible for everyone. Through Connectivity we are looking for ways to make these activities more simple and reachable for everyone working with fewer opportunity adults. What better than exploring your own backyard?

Duration:
it depends on the purpose of your activity, still, it’s better to leave a minimum of 1 hour, so that your participants have enough time to explore and accomplish their tasks.

Preferred location:
any location where your participants have the chance to communicate with locals and fulfill a list of tasks.

Working method:
learning by doing; individual work and teamwork (groups of maximum 5 people).

Materials:
water, glasses, rope, fake gold, and player cards (find them below).

Purpose:

improving the communication skills of your participants, creating a connection with locals and supporting their active participation in the community.

Instructions

create a list of assignments for your group or groups of participants depending on their interests or dynamics. The assignments should vary and should not only hold opportunities for fun but also for communication in different forms – for example, find the owner of a local café and teach him a song while you talk about his hardships in the business world; ask someone to tie your shoes and in return, tell them a short story from your life.

Don’t forget to ask for pictures and videos as proof of all challenges that are done.

When creating these assignments, keep in mind the following:

  • make them challenging enough for your participants so that they enjoy doing them;
  • preferably do a little bit of research about the area (this is not obligatory though), so that you can create assignments that have potential for communication, for shared stories; assignments that can strengthen the bond between the local community and your participants;
  • make it all dynamic, with different kinds of assignments;
  • when it comes to communication, think of non-verbal elements as well. 
  • Before sending out your participants, brief them on the purpose of the activity and on the importance of respect whenever they approach someone. For the rest, wish them fun and send them out for an adventure!

Debriefing

after they arrive back, have a short closing with them; the following questions can guide you, but of course, you can create your own:

  • if you would put this experience into one word, what would it be?
  • how would you describe the way that you worked together with your team?
  • what have you learned?
  • what are your qualities when it comes to communicating with other people?
  • what would you improve for the next time?

Possible alternatives

through this activity, you encourage your participants to meet the local community, to have valuable conversations that could even continue in the future, and to discover more about their own communication styles within and outside of a team.

Furthermore, you also give the possibility of realizing what is it that your participants already master and what could they be better at – making your own observations and working with them, you can design further steps and learning possibilities based on the outcomes.

Depending on the group and your time frame, you can always create different assignments and send them further or closer; as long as the activity serves your purpose. 

A forest can become a magical place, especially when listening to the sound of nature around you. With this activity, the nature around you will be the only sound you will be able to hear; the participants will practice non-verbal communication and teamwork surrounded by this magical atmosphere.

Duration:
30 minutes

Preferred location:
it is strongly recommended to do this activity in a forest, or in another place with a square of trees, that will also fit.

Working method:
teamwork – focusing on non-verbal communication, problem-solving, and role-play (at least 5 people).

Materials:
water, glasses, rope, fake gold, and player cards (find them below).

Purpose:

improving non-verbal communication, improving teamwork, improving problem solving

Instructions

  • find a place surrounded by trees and choose the points where the participants’ “homes” are situated; each participant will have their own home;
  • put the role cards in each spot together with the respective items (each card has a task written on it and each task will need items in order to be completed);
  • choose one tree as the enchanted tree somewhere out of the “village”.
    During the game:
  • assign each participant to a house and start the activity;
  • say to the participants that they are not allowed to talk during the activity;
  • after each of the participants reached a house the activity can begin.

Debriefing

when the time is over you can reflect with the participants – this game was created in order to give the participants the opportunity to reflect on how they cooperate in a team, how they communicate without speaking, and how “trust” affects their interaction with other people. Here are some examples of questions you can ask the group:

  • how was it; what did you do?
  • did you manage to reach your personal goal; if not, how come?
  • how did you communicate with the other participants?
  • how did you look at the other participants after reading your role; how come?
  • if you could do the activity again, what would you do differently?

Possible alternatives

you can also create new cards and new roles depending on how many participants will take part in this activity. You can facilitate this activity as well in a closed space changing the “forest” references in the explanation and in the cards.

When it comes to the target group of our French partner organization, many times simple workshops such as learning how to use a computer could bring huge benefits. But how can we turn this into a pleasant, insightful networking opportunity at the same time? And how can we bring all this outside?

Duration:
approximately half a day and it can be repeated many times, in the form of weekly sessions.

Preferred location:
outside, on a terrace, or in a garden, preferably in a quiet place with a good internet connection; it is also recommended to have natural areas around (forest, lake, field, etc.) so that your participants can wander around and do some assignments as well. 

Working method:
learning by doing, individual work, interaction with others, and group work.

Materials:
each person needs to have a computer or another device of their choice – depending on your learning material (in case this is not possible, you can have 1 device for every 2-3 people), post-its, papers, pens, markers.

Purpose:

supporting adult learners in their digital development, while offering possibilities for networking and for creating local connections.

Instructions

spend a couple of hours together going through certain parts of computer usage together with your participants. You can structure this activity in many ways, starting with small steps and then moving to more complex assignments. Since the purpose of this meeting is to let your participants discover different elements and to let them speak with each other, make sure you also create the exercises according to this. You can let them figure out and teach each other whatever they would like to learn, you can also bring more specific guidelines and ask them to figure out certain things (such as creating a word document, sending emails, etc.). No matter what kinds of assignments you choose, make sure you create opportunities for interaction between your participants; since it is beneficial to keep the event dynamic, you can include assignments that they need to do in nature (such as taking a picture or making a video) and then ask them to upload these to their computers, send them to other people, etc. Since working on computers can also be quite static and monotonous, you can include colorful post-its, drawings, and various dynamic sub-activities.

Debriefing

after they are back with the information, they will have time to prepare a presentation; at the end of each session, it is beneficial to have a conversation with your participants about various things that they have learned and about the way they are individually learning; then you can figure out further steps that they would like to take in the upcoming sessions.

Possible alternatives

since the activity itself offers a wide frame, you can do various things in order to turn this event into an impactful experience. Feel free to play around with the assignments that you give, with the method that you use, and with the resources you have around. You can also involve your participants from the very beginning in preparing the space for these activities, cooking lunch, arranging decorations, or putting background music so that they can actively shape their own learning experience; this is what we mean by inclusion. 

If you are searching for a fun activity for your participants and you want them to interact with locals, then this activity is definitely for you. Moreover, in this way, you will be able to collect information and measure the impact of your organization on your local community.

Duration:
approximately 1 hour, but you can always add at least 1 more hour, so the participants have the time to explore the place and talk with locals.

Preferred location:
preferably the town where your organization is active.

Working method:
learning by doing; individual work and teamwork (groups of maximum 5 people).

Materials:
1 camera per group.

Purpose:

improving the communication skills of your participants, creating a connection with locals, supporting their active participation in the community, understanding how your organization has an impact on the local community.

Instructions

  • divide the participants into groups of 5 or fewer;
  • brief the participants about the general topic that they are going to investigate, you can give the groups short and general examples of what they could investigate (how the organization is present in the local community, what the locals know about the organization, what would be a way to be more present in the local community, etc.);
  • don’t forget to ask for pictures and videos.

Debriefing

after they are back with the information, they will have time to prepare a presentation they are going to share in front of the group. You can tell them to use creativity in choosing how to do it and to make it the way they want to, you can also give some examples (video, posters, pantomime, etc.).

Possible alternatives

it doesn’t have to be about the impact of your organization if you don’t want that, the same activity can be used to investigate all sorts of topics (for instance the participants can do an investigation about the topics of a certain project or about topics that they are really interested in). Moreover, you can choose how they are going to present it, this way they are going to work on more specific skills of your choice (such as non-verbal communication, video editing, and public speaking).

In case we would like to support immigrants in their integration process, there are quite some playful options that we can choose from. How about a treasure hunt this time?

Duration:
approximately 1 hour, but you can always decide to extend it.

Preferred location:
in the forest or in a natural area where you can easily hide clues.

Working method:
individual work and teamwork, gamification (groups of maximum 5 people).

Materials:
depends on your clues and challenges

Purpose:

supporting the integration process of immigrants or local minorities through outdoor games and activities.

Instructions

divide your group of participants into small teams and create a treasure hunt for them. Hide an item, a task, or anything that you would like them to find by the end somewhere in the forest and create a path of activities and clues which will lead them to this treasure.

While designing these activities and clues, make sure you add elements of the local culture, such as traditions, ways of behavior, food, opportunities in the area, languages to speak, etc. Also, make sure you create assignments that ask more about the culture of your participants so that you give space for cultural exchange. The participants have to solve these assignments and find these clues in their small teams while competing against the other teams, still, you can also add parts where the teams need to cooperate with each other – this can only increase the value of the activity and the fun that it brings.

The first team that gets to the treasure, wins. When defining the treasure, it is good to think of something that can be shared with everyone, so that you finish in an inclusive manner.

Debriefing

after the activity, you can have a conversation (or choose any other form) with your participants and support them in opening up about their learnings. Also, don’t forget to further stimulate them and ask them to come up with ways how they can use their learnings in the upcoming weeks (how can they connect with the local community through these learnings).

Possible alternatives

the activity itself gives a lot of flexibility, you can choose to work with the local culture in general or you can pick specific aspects (such as communication, entrepreneurship in the local community, etc.). You can also find ways to incorporate the culture and experiences of your participants; this way you can create an exchange of culture, since whatever they bring is just as valuable as the elements you would like to introduce them to.

Employers look for many criteria when hiring someone. Having a vaster skill set gives someone more chances of being hired. So why not learn a new language? This activity will help you expand your participants’ skills while simulating them to get to know each other!

Duration:
45 minutes

Preferred location:
this activity can be done either inside or outside.

Working method:
learning by doing; group activity focused on communication skills.

Materials:
papers with questions.

Purpose:

to increase the understanding and knowledge of your participants regarding the English language. To make them more comfortable when it comes to communicating with people from different countries.

Instructions

  • write multiple papers with questions such as “what is your favourite movie?”, “what is your favourite animal?”, “what is your dream job?”, etc.;
  • start the charades game; one participant should take a paper, read the question, and then mimic the answer for the other participants to guess, without speaking;
  • the participants may ask questions to which the person acting can only reply with gestures;
  • after one minute, the participant acting may reveal the answer and another participant should act;
  • all the participants have a turn acting; the activity must be done only in English.

Debriefing

after the activity, have a short closing with the group to reflect on the activity and measure its impact. Some questions that can be asked are:

  • did you enjoy the activity?
  • did you learn something new?
  • are you more comfortable speaking in English?
  • what else would you like to learn to say in English?
  • how can this activity be useful for your future?

Possible alternatives

if the participants already master English, this activity can be done for other languages as well. This will increase their skills and their chances for employment in the future. It is also more impactful if it is followed by multiple sessions, with harder and more complex questions.

Outdoor activities offer a great occasion to move around and enjoy the surroundings. A treasure hunt can be a nice activity in this sense, staying outside and solving puzzles around is a fun and efficient way of increasing the “problem-solving” skills of our participants. Even more, if you can use this as a tool to improve teamwork and cooperation as well.

Duration:
45 minutes

Preferred location:
it is recommended to have this activity outside.

Working method:
teamwork – focusing on cooperation and problem-solving (groups of 3 people at least).

Materials:
colourful papers, pens, markers, tape, and scissors.

Purpose:

improving communication in groups, improving teamwork, improving problem solving.

Instructions

  • prepare 4 puzzles (the solution of each puzzle has to be a key-word, and each key-word has to include a letter of the word “TEAM”);
  • prepare a paper with the word “TEAM” written on it;
  • each of the first two steps has to be repeated a number of times (depending on the number of people in the group – for each small team you will make, you need 4 puzzles that contain the letter “TEAM”, depending on how many small groups you want to make, you need to create fitting sets of puzzles);
  • hide the 4 puzzles in the area, hide the word “TEAM” in a different area (preferably bigger);
  • divide the participants into groups;
  • in the first part of the activity the group will have to find the 4 puzzles;
  • after finding the puzzles, the group will have to solve them and find the 4 keywords, putting the 4 keywords in a column they will find the main word which is “TEAM”;
  • the group will move to the new area (where you hide the “TEAM” paper);
  • after telling the location of the paper to one of the team members, he/she will have to show the location to one other member only using gestures, the second person will guide the third person to the location using only one word per time and without being able to repeat the same word again. You can give more roles depending on how big the group is.

Debriefing

after all the team members find the “TEAM” paper there can be a short closing to reflect on the activity together with all the participants.

  • how did you find the hidden puzzles (alone or all together)?
  • did you find it easy to find the solutions; do you think your team helped to find the solutions or you could be faster alone?
  • how was the communication in your group; what did work, and how could you have more efficient communication?
  • for the ones who were giving instructions to find the “TEAM” paper, was it easy to guide; could the others understand your indications?
  • for the ones who were being guided, was it easy to follow indications?
  • in both cases (guiding and being guided) could you do something different that could lead to a better result?

Possible alternatives

you can variate the puzzles depending on the target group and give more challenging instructions for the second part of the game. Also, the team members could have instructions to find altogether the “TEAM” paper instead of searching for it one by one. You can also put time limitations on each part of the activity so the team members will need to have more efficient communication and find solutions with time pressure.

Communication is not always verbal. A lot of communication during our interactions with each other is actually based on our body language. In this activity, the participants will understand better how others communicate and how different it can be from their own communication style. They will also learn how their attitude can portray the way that they are seen, either as a leader or a follower.

Duration:
45 minutes

Preferred location:
outside or inside, on a flat surface

Working method:
teamwork – focused on communication (in pairs).

Materials:
speaker for music.

Purpose:

Improving the communication skills of our participants, together with their initiation skills and self-confidence.

Instructions

  • ask the participants to form pairs;
  • then, ask them to choose who is A and who is B; in the first round, A will be the leader and B the follower; the pairs should be facing each other and with the arms placed in the correct position (as demonstrated by the facilitator);
  • once they are ready, start by teaching the first step; A will start by giving 2 steps to the right (closing the feet together on the 4th count) and then 2 steps back to the left, where they were initially; at the same time, B will take 2 steps to the left and then 2 steps back to the right, always closing the feet together on the 4th count;
  • ask if there are any questions and then let the participants practice while putting music in the background;
  • after 5 minutes, teach them the second step; A, who is leading, will now take 2 steps forward and 2 steps backward, still closing the feet together always on the 4th count; B will do the same but starting first backward and then forward;
  • restart the music and let the participants practice for around 5 minutes;
  • in the next round, the participants should switch partners and the ones that were A (leading) are now B (following) and vice-versa; they can now combine both steps, keeping in mind that all movements when started must be concluded, so if 2 steps are given in a certain direction, 2 steps in the opposite direction must always follow;
  • let the participants practice in rounds of 5 minutes, switching partners in each round.

Debriefing

when the activity is over, have a short closing with the group to reflect on the way this activity went. Some examples of questions that can be asked are:

  • describe in one word how you felt during this activity;
  • did you feel more comfortable while leading or following; why?
  • how did it make you feel when you were leading?
  • how can you relate this activity to your life?
  • do you usually lead or follow more in real life?
  • what is something that you can do differently in the future?

Possible alternatives

other styles of dance can be used as well, such as salsa and kizomba. To make it more challenging, the facilitator can ask the participants to close their eyes or not to speak at some point during the activity.

Creating and facilitating an outdoor activity usually requires a lot of space. Still, what can be a good alternative when the space you have is limited? The next activity can be a solution in this case.

Duration:
1 hour

Preferred location:
the participants can have this activity both outside and inside.

Working method:
teamwork – focused on communication (in learning by doing and teamwork, focusing on communication (groups of maximum 4 people).

Materials:
LEGO, game cards, papers, blindfolds.

Purpose:

improving communication in small groups, improving teamwork, learning how to understand the needs of the other team members.

Instructions

  • divide the participants into groups of 3-4 people, each group will receive the same amount of materials;
  • all group members will research (figure out) something they want to build with the material that the group received and show it to the other members;
  • there will be 3-4 rounds (depending on the number of participants in the group) of 10 minutes each, during each round one of the participants will be blindfolded and the other will have to give him instructions in order to build what he/she did show them at the beginning of the activity;
  • only the blindfolded participant is allowed to touch the material;
  • when one round is over, you check how similar the two creations are (the one that was just created and the original one), then each group has 30 seconds to demolish the construction before the next round.

Debriefing

after all the rounds are completed and each of the group members did both build and give instructions, there can be a short closing to reflect on the activity together with all the participants:

  • what did work when you were building?
  • did you have clear instructions?
  • what did work when you were giving instructions?
  • did you manage to make the other person build what was supposed to be built? If not, how come?
  • how was the communication in the group?
  • what could you do differently?

Possible alternatives

if you have more space you can have the same activity with bigger groups using ropes/wood to create something bigger. To make it more challenging you can also make some variations in the rules (A can be blindfolded while building, B is the only one who can talk but can’t give instructions, C can’t talk but he is the only one who can give instructions). Also, the activity can be done in such a way that the groups have to build something of their choice which can be more or less complex depending on the group and on your goal.

When it comes to supporting unemployed adults, many times we tend to be busy with the topics of employment, instead of working with practical activities that develop various needed skills. Outdoor activities are ancient practices, so ancient that centuries ago actors were acting outside, in open theatres. If you want to make your participants travel back and learn how to create a theatre play while having fun and being creative, then this activity is going to be your choice.

Duration:
1 hour at least, the duration depends on how many groups are going to act.

Preferred location:
in the forest or on a field, definitely in a natural area, the participants can have this activity both outside and inside

Working method:
cooperative learning, teamwork, and communication through theatrical acting (at least 4 people per group).

Materials:
colourful paper, colours, paper tape, scissors (and any material you want them to use for crafting purposes).

Purpose:

Improving verbal and non-verbal communication, improving teamwork, improving creativity, improving text comprehension.

Instructions

  • choose a classic piece from international literature and share it with the participants (the choice is the same for every group);
  • divide the participants into groups with 4 people per group (at least);
  • the participants will have 1 hour to understand the scene, find a way they want to play it, and practice it for the final acting in front of the group. You can also tell them to use all materials they received in order to create costumes and tools for the acting. The participants are free to choose how to play and to decide their style without any limitation, the only important thing is that the plot has to be clear for everyone;
  • time to act!

Debriefing

after the groups presented you can take some minutes to ask short questions as a way to reflect on the activity, here are some examples:

  • how was it?
  • what did you do?
  • was it easy to understand the piece; was it hard; how come?
  • was it easy to decide how to play your scene; was it hard; how come?
  • how was working with your group?
  • for the ones who were watching, was the plot clear?
  • what were the elements during the acting that gave you information on what was going on?

Possible alternatives

after choosing the piece, you can give different parts of the story to each group so they will present it chronologically and perform the whole story. You can also make it more challenging by putting limitations so the participants will have to focus on specific aspects of communication or problem-solving (no speaking, no objects allowed in the acting, etc.).

When it comes to supporting unemployed adults, many times we tend to be busy with the topic of unemployment – trying to find ways in order to create good-looking CVs, researching job opportunities, or aiming to teach specific skills to these people. While all these can be very useful, many times they don’t create the impact that we would like to have. What if we use inclusion in order to tackle unemployment? Could we create a change through active citizenship?

Duration:
minimum 1,5 hours, depending on your small activities and on the group size, you can always make it last longer – even create a frame of a couple of hours, with breaks in between.

Preferred location:
in the forest or on a field, definitely in a natural area where you have enough space to create a carousel scheme.

Working method:
learning by doing; individual and teamwork; reflection in form of a conversation (small groups of maximum 5 people).

Materials:
one rope and blindfolds

Purpose:

Bringing awareness to various individual qualities that your participants have and figuring out ways how these can be used in order to enrich the local communities.

Instructions

depending on the size of your group and on the timeframe you have, think about a couple of outdoor activities that you can put in a carousel scheme and spread these around so that the small groups can travel from one location to the other and participate in one activity after the other (the groups will keep rotating, which means that you need to have facilitators for all your activities at all time, the activities will run parallelly). Our suggestion is to have at least 4 activities at the same time, challenging and dynamic enough to bring certain qualities to the surface, but not too long, so that you can keep up the rhythm of your workshop.

The 4 activities that we would like to give as examples are down below, still, you can get inspired and choose your own ones.

Folding the tarp

have a big tarp and lay it on the ground. When one of the groups arrives, ask them to stand on the tarp and tell them that they need to fold it in half as many times as they can, without touching it with their hands. Depending on the group, you can add extra steps or challenges: you can measure the time and create a competition (how fast they can make it, can they do better than before, etc.), you can have some of them or all of them blindfolded, you can tell them to first turn the tarp upside down (also without touching it with their hands), you can appoint people who can only stay with one leg on the ground, or you can simply ask them to choose their own challenges (how far would you like to go, what would be challenging for you as an individual and as a team).

Moonwalking

attach a slackline in the shape of a triangle to 3 trees of your choice (choose trees that are not very wide, but still strong enough). Then ask your participants to make couples. Each couple will have the chance to stand on the slackline – one person on one side, the other on the other side, facing each other. Ask them to stand on the narrow side of the triangle and while supporting each other, get as far as possible together (as the slackline follows the shape of the triangle, the two people will get further and further away from each other and it will be harder to stay on it together). Always have one person in the middle with the arms held straight forward, so that they can support in case someone is falling. It’s also good to ask the rest of the group members to offer safety with their hands from the outside while they watch. After one couple moves through the slacklines, reflect with them on the following:

  • how far did they get?
  • what was their technique?
  • how could they do it better?

If you have time, you can offer each couple to do this activity for a second round.

Blind squares

give a blindfold to all members of your group and give a long rope to their hands. The task is simple, they need to create a square shape out of the rope (all sides need to be equal) and place it on the ground (in order to make it more simple, you can already bind equal sizes of ropes together in order to indicate the corners). When they are done, they can call you and you can check whether they managed or not. You can also look at the shape together and figure out how they could do this more effectively.

Spider web

between trees, create a spider web made out of ropes. Make sure you create holes that are big enough in order to pass one person through, still, make it small enough so that it holds challenges. Then tell the team that they need to have all their members on the other side of the web, they can’t walk around, and they can’t touch the rope (if they do, everyone needs to go back). Also, they need to make sure that each hole is being used one time (and only one time). After they are done, you can always add more challenges: blindfolded, less time, etc.

Debriefing

after each group went through all stations, have them all together and reflect on the following:

  • how did the activities go?
  • how was I functioning in a group setting?
  • what were my strongest qualities during all these games?
  • how could I use these qualities in order to enrich the local community?
  • what is one thing that I could do tomorrow or in the upcoming week in order to put this quality into practice?

Possible alternatives

through this activity you support your participants in discovering certain characteristics that they cherish (or that they haven’t realized until now) – then you can start a conversation about the way they could use these characteristics in the local community; working with the same group for a longer period helps you to use the outcomes and build upon them – support these people and guide them in finding more opportunities for inclusion through these qualities they have.

You usually need a nice preparation and many materials to create a challenging outdoor activity for your participants. Well, if you are searching for a powerful and challenging activity to do on the spot, which doesn’t require too much preparation, this one is going to be a wise choice.

Duration:
1 hour

Preferred location:
outdoor, preferably a big place with stuff and obstacles in it (ex. forest)

Working method:
teamwork – focusing on cooperation and communication (groups of 6 people at least, the bigger the group the better)

Materials:
one rope and blindfolds

Purpose:

Improving communication in groups, improving teamwork, being more aware of how leadership works, being aware of how to create a working plan.

Instructions

Rules

  • the group will have to choose, in the area of the game, two tangible spots, it can be everything they want (for ex. in the forest it can be trees or bushes or plants). One spot they chose is going to be a checkpoint and the second one is going to be the final goal they want to reach;
  • in order to finish the activity the group will have to reach the checkpoint first and then the goal;
  • the spot is considered reached only if all members of the group get to touch it;
  • when the activity will start each member of the group is going to be blindfolded;
  • the rope is the only tool the group can use during the activity.

Activity

  • the group will choose two spots and decides which one is the checkpoint and which one is the final goal;
  • after choosing the spots the group is going to have 15 minutes to come up with a strategy to accomplish the activity and they are free to use the material (blindfolds and rope) already;
  • when the time is over the group is going to have 20 minutes to accomplish the activity;
  • during these 20 minutes, the members of the group are not allowed to put the blindfold off.

Debriefing

when the whole group reaches the goal or when the time is over you can facilitate a reflection on how the activity was with the group, here are some questions to guide the process:

  • how did you find the activity (easy, hard); how come?
  • what worked in the group; what could work better if done differently?
  • was it easy to come up with a plan?
  • did each member of the group have an active role; who did what?
  • how was the communication working in the group? If you could communicate differently, how would you do that?
  • do you think the goal was too far away; how come you decided to put it that far?
  • (to wrap it up) if you could do this activity again, how would you do it?

Possible Alternatives

the activity can be done also without the rope, it won’t change the expected impact. You can also change the time limit and give more or less time either for the plan or for the execution, depending on the group and if you want to put more time pressure. Also, if you would like to bring more challenges during the process, you can move the guidelines that the participants created for themselves (for ex. branches they placed in order to indicate the direction), this way you create more chaos but you can also check and reflect more on the way they communicate with each other.

This idea started three years ago and it was about time to see how we will proceed. For that reason, after the first two training meetings in the Netherlands during the demanding period of the pandemic, October 2021 was a good opportunity for all partners to meet in order to evaluate the progress of the program. Connectivity is a project, which was created and partially implemented during a difficult time period with a lot of challenges all around the world. While being able to organize 2 training meetings, all partners have begun to implement and practice the tools and methods they have learned, while working on these through different activities. After these years and various events, it was important that all partners gather, assess the situation, find solutions to challenges or avoid future possible obstacles. Greece, and especially Serres, was the place that hosted us for these days. 

Each partner organization was represented during this mid-term meeting which lasted two days. One of the first things was to revisit all the basic points and facts that had been done until that time so that all of us could have a clear idea about our achievements. Moreover, we reorganized ourselves to a certain extent, we replanned the initial time schedule of the project due to various social circumstances, thus aiming to stay effective. At that point, discussing the project with people who have been participating and who have been very active in previous events was very helpful and important. Thus, their contribution was significant especially with regard to the evaluation of the program until that moment because we could approach the project from as many sides as possible. 

This meeting was a great chance to observe and focus on new goals and learning needs that our participants could have, thus adjusting our project activities to the realities of our target group when it comes to the topic of employability. Since we brought up some new ideas and set new targets, we separated ourselves into 4 different groups, each one of them with a specific task that will be continued during the whole period of the project. The teams are involved with the Intellectual Outputs, the Assistance of the following event, the Social Media part, and the Zoom meeting preparation. All of us started to work in teams and the main goal was either to plan and organize the next steps in those fields or to work on them in case something was already done. Of course, the aim was to enlarge these teams step-by-step with other members and participants, thus creating a bigger impact.

It all ended with confirming some of the future plans and agreeing that we will have monthly Zoom meetings with our participants as well. One reason for this was to help and motivate each other while following the procedure. These kinds of meetings will be repeated, with the purpose of creating the best possible outcomes.

As a local association, Rota Jovem’s goal is to support the local community of Cascais and to create an impact in youngsters’ lives, by organizing activities and projects and by giving them the necessary tools and support in order to implement their own. To come closer to this goal, Rota Jovem joined the Connectivity project, which brought together a group of 6 local volunteers eager to make a change.

Connectivity has been a great way for our organization to get more involved and to reach out to local youngsters with fewer opportunities, who are currently facing difficulties when it comes to entering the labor market. During the first training meeting, our 6 volunteers had the possibility to share experiences and knowledge with other participants and gained a lot of new insights that have helped them start organizing their own activities back home. They learned how to design an activity according to their target groups’ needs, and how to measure the impact of these learning programs; furthermore, they practiced new tools that are useful when planning and implementing projects.

Returning home from Connectivity’s first meeting, the Portuguese group has been very busy sharing their new knowledge with the local community. They have reached out to their network in order to work together with other organizations that are also involved in supporting disadvantaged youngsters. In the past months, they have decided to collaborate with Take.it, another local association in the Educa project, which aims to train young unemployed adults in basic employability, animation, and mediation skills, through initial and further training in a work context.

What was first designed to be a one-time activity, was then proposed by the coordinator of Educa to be further done with other groups, due to the success and potential of the first session. The interventions implemented were focused on sharing the knowledge acquired in the meeting with other youth workers in the municipality, through three different training sessions targeting Educa project facilitators. The aim of these sessions was to improve the effectiveness of their interventions at schools, by highlighting the importance of planning a specific impact in every aspect of their work and acknowledging specific needs in the case of their target groups, through which they can better plan and deliver a set of activities to achieve the desired goal of meeting those needs. We believe that having more frequent, longer, and sequential sessions will increase the effectiveness of our intervention. This is mainly because it enables us to get to know the group better and to create empathy and connection with each member while guiding the learning process.

Following recent activities, the idea of creating a monthly event of non-formal education came up, where the facilitators from Rota, Educa, and other youth workers from the municipality could come together and share activities, dynamics, and best practices, while creating a space for sharing knowledge, discussing ideas and learning new tools on how to approach youngsters in different contexts. The outcomes of these monthly sessions could be of great interest to any professional in this field, with the possibility of creating a website and other databases, available to these professionals locally or nationally. Another project discussed for the future was the possibility of creating an exchange between Rota and Educa’s teams in order to provide new experiences and opportunities, by sharing knowledge, and ideas – then putting these into practice in an outdoor context. Our organization will continue to work on tailor-made interventions in order to reach more youngsters and to involve them in this learning process, all this by taking advantage of the surrounding nature and of other outdoor possibilities that our town has to offer.

Up to this point, Connectivity has offered a substantial area of learning for all staff members within Active Bulgarian Society. The organization has managed to expand its educational dimensions through outdoor activities and to expand its network. ABS has contacted many unemployed adults that are facing fewer opportunities or such that fall into the NEETs sector (that are not in education and are not employed). ABS has also made connections with regional Employment Agencies, thus, making more opportunities available specifically to those people who are part of these circles.

Furthermore, the first activity that was executed in Ommen, the Netherlands (in which 5 representatives of the local learners and staff took part) gave further insights and a new direction to continue the work on tackling adult unemployment through outdoor activities. The concepts acquired by the participants were later shared with the management team of ABS and prepared the path for the next steps of the project – the follow-up activities on a local level, which would be the core of the long-term sustainability of the project. The participants, along with the help of the ABS staff are now creating the follow-up campaign on a national level while involving more adults with disadvantages in the project activities.

As an outcome, ABS has benefited from implementing certain new tools and models (presented in the above-mentioned training meeting), especially the 12 steps of Winkelaar (how to do an investigation regarding the needs of the target group, analysis, what is the purpose of the activities, creating the activities; facilitation of the activities – how to do an opening speech, how to guide the activities, how to give instructions, how to debrief the activities; how to create a follow-up for these activities so they don’t become one-time events with no impact in the long-run) and the Impact tool of Erasmus+. 

The active participation in the first phase of the Connectivity project proved that there is a beneficial impact on those specific participants. They expressed their first-hand experience as being meaningful in personal and professional aspects and are now more eager to develop further in life and also to support other adults with disadvantages on a local level.

On an organizational level, the research and examples of the participants are motivational factors to continue the work on the objectives of this project. In the future, ABS foresees gathering the final data from the first training meeting and evolving accordingly, taking into consideration the specific needs, expressed by the participants and the further research made on the topic of tackling youth unemployment.

From the very beginning YOBBO saw this project as an opportunity to achieve many of its goals as an organization; mainly to increase the international network with new partners, to engage more young adults in YOBBO’s work, and to start creating an impact in the field (especially in small local realities). The idea was to reach fewer opportunity adults through the new resources and competences gained within Connectivity.

The first real impact was visible for the people volunteering in YOBBO, those members who were taking care of the project management last year; they had the occasion to learn a lot and to improve many different skills: arranging a small event like the kick-off meeting, exchanging information with the international partners and learning how the project administration works.

Moreover, thanks to the first training meeting an even bigger impact has been created since the participants selected for this event were coming from small realities and were active in the field of adult education (active especially within our organization). It was a great occasion for them to improve their knowledge during the training and for YOBBO to include more adults in the organization’s “life”. In this way, the first Connectivity training meeting turned out to be an exchange of good practices about adult education between the participants and a great opportunity for YOBBO to include these learnings and methods by being more active in the field. 

With these new possibilities and new resources, we could move in two different directions. On one side the participants could gain many different skills to use in their jobs and in their work with adults; on the other side, YOBBO could cooperate with them while organizing events in the field for the same target group.

It is great to see how, thanks to this project, YOBBO has now the means to create a real impact for people coming from small and disadvantaged realities and it is great to see how the first Connectivity training meeting could create such an engagement for the participants. More specifically, the next step will be to use the knowledge gained in the last year and in the last meeting to engage more and more adults through activities and events co-created by YOBBO and the Connectivity participants, with keeping the goal of raising awareness on non-formal education opportunities and working on all those skills that can give to this target group more possibilities and can increase their employability. 

By participating in the Connectivity project so far, we strengthened our way of working locally. We learned more about mapping our needs, creating local programs, evaluating the results, and creating a sustainable method of inclusion. As an organization that is already working with adults and young people with fewer opportunities, supporting them in gaining skills via non-formal education, we have always seen the need for a tailor-made method of inclusion for this target group. Towards this direction, after one and half years of contributing to the project by exchanging different practices and ideas, and getting together with our partners and local participants, we feel that we can implement our local activities and projects in a more structured and easy way. We have created work forms and evaluation forms as new tools, which seem to offer great guidance while we are working and recording our experiences.

We are very proud that from the very beginning of Connectivity we have given the opportunity to young people all over Europe to get involved creatively by designing for example the logo of the project, through a creative contest. The response was great, we received a lot of very good high-quality proposals, and the results were inspirational – based on the description and on the terms, all these outcomes exceeded our expectations. So, we started dynamically with the active participation of young adults in our programs. This extra idea strengthened our self-confidence and we will continue to work on a successful program.

We also cooperated with some other local organizations, we have done ourselves or our teams have participated in outdoor activities with local organizations in Serres, Greece; organizations that are experts in orienteering outdoor activities. For some extra indoor training, we also involved the UNESCO club of Serres, particularly during the pandemic quarantine.

Even though the COVID pandemic period is strange, we strongly believe that Connectivity is a good example of cooperation between different types of organizations, since so far, we managed it well under unforeseen situations. We agreed on a rolling schedule for promoting activities through our social media accounts so we are always in connection and collaboration. Moreover, because of the COVID situation, we improved new online tools for our work (tips and tricks while working on Zoom, creating interactive online experiences). Since our first training activity was postponed, because of the pandemic, we kept the flow on social media writing articles about the work that we do locally, promoting what we have done, and connecting and promoting Connectivity through Facebook. We also created a group with Greeks involving also our candidate participants for the first training event and we had online – via Zoom – meetings/seminars once per week about “youth involvement”, thus producing online content/learning programs while presenting and including the Connectivity project. Regardless of what we faced especially in the last months, we had Skype meetings or mailing contacts in order to discuss, propose ideas and create ways in order to overcome the obstacles. This is a well-functioning practice that we can recommend to everyone and one that has great benefits and insights for our organization as well!
 

The implementation, in person, of the first training meeting, gave new wings to our participants!

After their participation in the first meeting in Ommen, the Greek team immediately started to plan our activities regarding the project, taking into consideration the feedback from the meeting.

Priority for us was to disseminate the knowledge that our participants gained during the meeting regarding the Impact tool and to adapt it to our work with different target groups. Furthermore, we used the Impact tool during the implementation of our campaign for FARE network football weeks (Football Against Racism).

Our team is in a very nice flow and we are eagerly working on new ideas and upcoming steps.

Parcours le Monde IDF decided to join Connectivity as an opportunity to share expertise with a consortium of skilled European partners on mentoring young adults experiencing difficulties in their life; all this while supporting them with questions about their future career paths. Additionally, learning through the Connectivity network was seen as a way to acquire new tools to make programs for young people with limited opportunities more efficient and to increase the reach with “invisible” audiences.

In the first year, the project started to create new opportunities and horizons for all of its participants.  Parcours le Monde IDF enlarged and reinforced its European network, meeting 6 new organizations working in the same field of youth inclusion and employment. Bridges were built towards new partnerships for specific future projects, such as youth exchanges.  

The announcement about the topics of the first training meeting was well received among the local youth organizations, a testament to its relevance and its importance. For Parcours le Monde IDF, this was a step forward in increasing awareness of available resources to develop new activities for young people.  During the meeting, natural networking took place between French participants, with knowledge and experiences shared between experienced youth workers and newcomers. The sharing of good practices, tips, and ideas, and the will of designing projects together, have continued after the meeting. The Connectivity project concretely connected European and local professionals around one common topic in order to develop a new methodology. 

Depending on their realities, each organization adjusted the content of the meeting to modify and improve their way of working. As a result, one organization decided to welcome volunteers to a local social center and provide them with a tailored mission based on their interests. Another organization, very impressed by the role of bikes in Dutch society, is planning to take a group of young adults attending the same center for a bike ride to the sea. Another participant is thinking of implementing a skills identification and recognition plan for the volunteers of the eco-recycling center. 

At this stage of the project, Connectivity gathered participants from 7 European countries and gave all of us the opportunity to learn more about youth policies across Europe while reflecting on our way of working and implementing new tools and methodologies. It facilitated the creation of new partnerships at local, national, and international levels.

Our NGO Europe House Slavonski Brod has decided to organize an eco-action as the first activity of the project. This activity aimed to clean one of the most recognizable places in the city – a small riverside beach with a big 3D image. This place has become very popular among the young citizens of our town, especially during the night. Also, it is currently used by many as a photo spot.

To get more attention to our action, we have decided to promote it through media, both social and local. The feedback from the general public has been positive, and we hope they have been encouraged to participate in such activities.

We have been accompanied by the students and professors of the Matija Antun Reljković High School. The group managed to clean up the local riverside beach and the area around it. Throughout the activity, we managed to gather seven big trash bags full of rubbish, most of them being cigarette butts, glass bottles and tin cans, various plastic bags, and packaging!

The infamous stereotype that young people are just looking at their tiny screens and typing on their keyboards has proven to be wrong once more. The time that young people invested in this activity seemed to be useful, as the outcome was a clean area in which they could have a good time with their friends.

Our next activity was held out of town. This time, we went to the small village of Mokreš to visit one local family farm. This activity has gathered all our participants for the upcoming September meeting in Ommen. This outdoor activity was more formal than others, as we were discussing the ways to be involved actively in community life. Aside from that, we have also discussed (self) employment and various ways to achieve this. In the end, we have tried to compare the opportunities that young people have in urban/rural areas. After the discussion, we got a tour of the estate and some information about the family business.

In July 2020, we held two more outdoor activities. Again, we have been accompanied by our friends at Matija Antun Reljković High School. The first activity was the following: participation in professional student internship and outdoor education activities held on the agricultural land around the school estate. This land is being cultivated by teachers and students from the school. Throughout the first activity, our aim was to encourage young people to acquire new skills for their personal progress. As businesses need workers who know how to deal with the challenges of green and digital economies, the location we have used seemed to be perfect.

The second activity was focused on green vocations and the ways to increase the interest of young people in these. The group was gathering blackberries on the school farm. The farm consists of approx 70 hectares of fertile land. After picking, the berries were processed (cleaned) and got ready to be sold. The buyers were informed by our volunteers about the EU and about further opportunities for young people. The students of the school have played a principal role, as they have prepared everything for the activity.

Then, September came, and the long-awaited day when the EHSB team went to Ommen, the Netherlands for the first training (meeting). Five young people have learned more about outdoor activities and ways of organizing such events. The team has acquired new tools for the implementation of numerous events in nature, and they have gained the courage to approach new challenges as if they are learning opportunities. By learning how indoor activities can be adapted to outdoor conditions and ideas, they have gained a high level of independence, creative thinking, and good energy. 

Although this is still a relatively new project, its impact is already noticeable. Our members have figured out new ways of implementing (indoor) activities outside. This helped us to adapt to the “new normal lifestyle” with a pandemic around us. Also, the activities gave us a more creative approach when it comes to achieving the common learning goals in our programs. This has also left an impact on our participants, especially the frequent ones who got used to our ways of transferring knowledge. By organizing new outdoor activities, especially the eco-actions, the participants have learned more about nature and how important it is to have a clean community around them. Leaving an impact like that on secondary school students is really important, and now that we have tested the activities and the results that we can create with these, we plan to start implementing them in case unemployed adults with fewer opportunities as well. During the evaluation, most of our participants appreciated the usage of outdoor activities over indoor ones.

Many activities can be implemented in the local community. It is not easy, but we have succeeded in doing it! We will continue to successfully come up with new ideas and activities. The focus will be set on activities that encourage local communities in being more productive and that support the inclusion and growth of vulnerable target groups (more specifically… unemployed adults who come from difficult backgrounds). We are happy that we can support our participants in contributing to their own health and to their society as a whole.

Today all the organizations from the “Connectivity” crew could meet again. It was a great meeting where we could program the next steps for the project.

We are enthusiastic and happy about all that is going to come and about the future of the project!

Stay tuned for more info. 😉
Olde Vechte FoundationYOBBO – Youth Beyond BordersActive Bulgarian SocietyParcours Le Monde Ile-de-FrancePraxis GreeceEurope House Slavonski BrodRota Jovem.

Funded by Erasmusplus-NL.

“[…] it was a unique experience and approach. The difference was that we developed outdoor activities using non-formal education as a tool and at the same time experienced it. What do I mean? From the point that we all had a common knowledge about terms as a base, we started to experience the whole process. From the investigation of learning the needs of our target group to actually facilitate and be the trainer. In that way, the Connectivity project gave us a unique opportunity to practice our methods, develop new ones, and exchange practices among us. I can’t wait for the next meeting, go a step further and start working again as a team.”

Read more about the experience of our Greek team. 🖇
http://bit.ly/PraxisExperience

We’ve successfully concluded our very first Connectivity meeting!

For seven days, participants from the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, France, Bulgaria, Greece, and Croatia came together in the first of four training meetings focused on increasing the employability of adults coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. This long-term project aims to create an educational methodology of outdoor activities, with the purpose of developing competences and skills for the employability of adults.

During this week, the participants could experiment with all sorts of practices while learning from each other. In particular, in the first part of the training meeting, they could learn about the Impact tool (https://www.erasmusplus.nl/impacttool-mobiliteit?fbclid=IwAR0_O2FXZZrWgMxgauVixofOC-Qm_lh4breDo0cI657KbbNSJUBZrx_eulo) and they could see how to implement it in the outdoor adult education; step-by-step they could go through this model and understand how to design an activity for a specific target group. It was a great start since they immediately could exchange different points of view with each other and learn as well how different can be the reality they are coming from. 

Throughout the remaining part of the training meeting, the participants had the chance to put this model into practice by creating activities for each other. To make it even more useful and effective, the participants presented specific target groups with whom they are working back home. After that, each participant had the opportunity to design and deliver a specific activity according to a certain target group’s needs; they could focus on a lot of different topics related to their realities back home, such as inclusion, communication, cooperation, teamwork, etc. It was great to see how all our participants interacted and learned from each other, resulting in a pool of very diverse and useful activities that they could take home and share within their local network and target groups.

This event represented exactly what the Connectivity project is: sharing good practices from contexts all over Europe in order to create more employability for adults coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. By coming up with a common language that can be used as a basis for our future project activities, the participants were able to start working on an Activity Database, a collection of many activities that will allow them to create a long-term impact for this target group, in their own realities.

It was a very enriching experience and we are enthusiastic to continue working together with all our partners and participants!

Co-created by Olde Vechte FoundationYOBBO – Youth Beyond BordersParcours Le Monde Ile-de-FranceRota JovemActive Bulgarian SocietyPraxis GreeceEurope House Slavonski Brod.

Funded by Erasmusplus-NL.

We, Active Bulgarian Society, have always aimed to make our city a better place to live. We are interested in
creating outdoor activities to promote an active lifestyle, intercultural communication, and active participation in the local community. For this reason, our team is creating weekly outdoor events for last month – “Game o’clock”, ”Fair
play Football”, “Volleyball for all”, “Chat Club”, “Walking, Talking and Cleaning”.

The event “Game o’clock” is usually held every Tuesday.
During this event, we are playing different exciting games that are prepared by our team and usually 4 games each time. Some of the games are team games and the rest are everyone against everyone. What makes this event amazing is that the games are always with different themes. Many new
people began attending this event and also we received a lot of positive feedback.

In our town, many youngsters play football and for this reason, we created ”Fair play Football”. With this event, our team has the goal to propose a different sports event for football lovers in our town. Every time the stadium is full of positive people ready to have some fun.

“Walking, Talking and Cleaning” was one of our biggest events that we had made during the previous month. We invited some local organizations to be our associate partners. The goal of the event was to clean one of the parks in our town. Also, to make new friends and communicate with them about the importance of our nature and other topics related to the topic of ecology. Related to this, our team prepared some posters with quotes on them and stuck them on the trees in the park. We believe that with the help of the posters, people will start thinking before throwing their rubbish in the park.

Would you like to know more about our activities? Follow our Facebook page. ⛹️

Starting a group activity with an ice breaker is a very important first step. This helps in building confidence and familiarity between the participants so that everyone feels comfortable, and in a good mood to start the activities they’ll be doing.

To help, Rota Jovem has a suggestion. This game is called “The Line Up”, you’ll only need the people you’re working with.
The game consists of having the players form an orderly line according to predetermined criteria set by the facilitator (like height, hair length, eye color, etc.). The twist is that no form of discussion or verbal cues can be used in any way during the process of forming a line.
This icebreaker helps develop team collaboration and non-verbal communication, it can also provide a few laughs and smiles along the way. 🤝

Parcours Le Monde Ile-de-France was a sending organization for a youth exchange in Slovenia, using graffiti as a tool to develop creativity but also self-confidence: even if you do not know how to draw like an artist, you can dare to express yourself!

Such an outdoor activity is also a good way to overcome linguistic barriers, while letting the pencil speak for you.
All week long, the participants have discovered each other and themselves through creative activities while designing together a wall frieze in the village. By doing so, they also contributed to the beauty of the neighborhood. Knowing that you go home after the project, but you leave behind a graffiti that you made by yourself with the help of others is a nice emotion that nourishes the feeling of belonging to something greater / of contributing to the common venture.

Coming back to their local environment, our participants wanted to express their creativity everywhere, starting from Parcours le Monde’s office. ☺ We keep the idea in mind…

Every summer YOBBO – Youth Beyond Borders takes part in a project called “Back to Basics” in the Netherlands, from Cherry International Foundation. What makes it great is that the whole project and all the activities in it are created to make the participants learn through practice and action.

In particular, the participants have a lot of outdoor activities during the whole project where they learn how to cooperate and to achieving results all together after taking concrete actions and really going for their goals. Moreover, all this practice gives them the tools to experience a 3-4 days outdoor event all over the Netherlands.. during this outdoor experience everything depends on each team and on each member of the team; this makes it unforgettable and incredibly powerful in terms of learning for everyone.

Get yourself a ball, some papers and some crayons.. then the game is on!

When it comes to simple outdoor activities, all we need to do is to set up a suitable learning frame; the rest follows. Biking, walking, running, playing ball games, or even just laying in the grass – all these can turn into educational experiences with proper guidance and support.

But how do we create a tailor-made context?
That’s exactly what we are going to work on during the first training activity. Stay tuned for the dates! ⚽️

“Inclusion for Healthy Generations’’ brings innovative character thanks to its network that includes organizations from different European countries with diverse profiles, in particular bringing added value by involving organizations focused on different kinds of sports, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle; organizations targeting youth, old people, unemployed/ disadvantaged people, refugees – this will support the creation of a creative information campaign.
Link to the official page: https://www.facebook.com/Inclusion-for-Healthy-Generations-Erasmus-Sport-102624841354766/about/?ref=page_internal
Latest local outdoor events organized: https://www.facebook.com/events/277456373497606/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/1034424966955606/

“If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” 🌈🌈 That’s why despite the rain in Blagoevgrad, Active Bulgarian Society still managed to carry out the volleyball event. 🤾‍♀️🤾‍♂️
A lot of brave people joined and luck was on our side as well, as the rain stopped just before the beginning of the event. Former Azerbaijani national volleyball team member and our current volunteer, Konul, showed her excellence in this game and carried her team to victory. 🏆🏆
It was a very exciting and fun game, if you are feeling jealous because you missed this event, don’t worry, there will be more events coming up and we will keep you updated.✌️✌️
“Volleyball for All” was part of a series under the project “Inclusion for Healthy Generations” funded by the Erasmus+ program.😊😊