AN EXERCISE FOR GROUPS
The purpose of this exercise is to allow people to share some things about each other and to build trust in the group. This is an "advanced icebreaker" that is used in the second or third meetings.
This can work for any size group but if you have a large group, break it into smaller groups. The amount of time available will determine the size of groups more than anything else. I like about 5 to 8 people per group for a 60 to 90 minute exercise.
Sit in a circle if possible. The facilitator will describe the process:
"I have four questions I would like for all of us to answer. We will all answer question 1, then move on to question 2, etc.. I will model for you."
In question 3, ask the A question first and see how that goes before you ask question B. Some People may answer B question without you asking. Others will not.
This usually works best with the facilitator modeling the answers before the group does.
1. Where did you live between the ages of 5 and 12 and what were the winters like. (Some people may have lived in several places, so tell them to choose one place.)
2. How was your home heated?
3. Two parts:
- A. What was the center of warmth in your life when you were a child. (This can be a place in the house, a time of year and perhaps a person.)
- B. Who was the center of warmth in your life? (This is a person.)
4. When did God become a “warm” being to you and how did this happen?
An example of a facilitator modeling answers for personal response:
1. I lived in two places. The first was Ottawa Kansas till I was 7, then I moved to Junction City Kansas at the start of WW II. I will choose Ottawa to talk about. The winters there were very cold and we had lots of snow. I liked to play in the snow and remember coming in very cold.
2. Our home was heated by a coal stove in the middle of the house. I remember dad bringing in the coal for the stove and taking the ashes out. We spent lots of time close to the stove around a dinner table.
3. Several things gave me warmth. Some stuffed toys were nice and it seem I always had one with me. It's hard to pick just one person that gave me warmth because I had several. My father's parents lived with us from the time I was 2 until about 4 when my grandfather died one night. I remember that well. He was fun to be around most of the time because he was funny. I also liked my grandmother because she would hold me and read stories. And my mother did this too some.
4. God came into my life at a young age, I would have to say about 5. I remember going to Sunday school at the Methodist church in Ottawa. I had lots of friends there. We learned bible verses and got a little pin if we memorized one. I remember one I learned that has always been with me. The way I learned to say it was, “Be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving each other." That verse has done me a lot of good over the years.
After all have talked, continue to process what has been said for awhile. Most people will remember other things they want to say.
I first used this exercise in the midle 70's with Yokefellow groups. I have used it many times as an "advanced icebreaker" in groups to help them know each other better. I usually save it for the second or third meeting depending on the group trust levels. The third question can create some vulnerability in people's answers and often reveals some things about their childhood. I think I learned this from Dr. Cecil Osburn, the founder of Yokefellows.
For 14 Group Ice Breakers and starters, go here