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?
Name of the activity: ACT(IVITY)
Duration: minimum 1,5 hour, 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).
Purpose (expected impact, outcomes): 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 them 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).
Attach a slackline in shape of a triangle to 3 trees of your choice (choose trees that are not very wide, 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.
Give a blindfold to all members of your group and give a long rope into 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.
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 the upcoming week in order to put this quality into practice?
Possible alternatives, changes for different circumstances: 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 characteristic 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.