Monthly Archives: March 2014

Team Building Activity: Concentric Circles

Concentric Circles

DSC02257 (1)This is one of our all-time favorites because you can use it with just about any subject matter. If you want to allow people to get to know each other better, use it with some get to know you questions. If you want to get people talking about a certain subject, review material or focus on one topic, you can! 

Prior to the activity, develop questions based on your session content or the intent of your activity. 

Time Needed: 10 minutes+ (you can make it longer depending on how many questions you have)

Group Size:  Any

Materials: Questions you’ve developed

Directions:  Ask participants to form two equal circles, one inner, one outer, with circles facing each other.  You may form several small-mid sized groups if you have a large group. 

Ask participants to introduce themselves to their partner.  Explain that you will read the question, give the first person 1 minute to respond and then announce that it’s time to switch and let the second person answer. After each question is answered (twice, once by each partner), have the inner circle rotate by one person.  Ask participants to introduce themselves again and ask the next question.

Tips & Variations:

  • You may form several small-mid sized groups if you have a large group.
  • Have youth leaders create questions for activity.
  • Play often, perhaps at the beginning of every session or meeting, and create themes based on session content, season, academic area, etc.

Adults Really DO Influence Youth!

Are you making good choices that impact youth in positive ways? Research shows that positive adult role models result in strong benefits for youth. Check out this month’s issue of “Inspired” for some ideas about how you can make a difference with your actions.

Access the issue by clicking here or on the image.

GUIDE Plans First Ever Teens R 4 Me Conference

RUS_5487On March 7 and 8, GUIDE partnered with the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to conduct the first ever Teens R 4 Me Conference. The conference took place at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and welcomed more than 450 participants from across the state. The entirety of the conference focused on supporting foster youth as they transition out of care and making sure they’re successful during that process. The transition can sometimes be difficult; therefore, it was imperative to provide participants with ample resources, skills and tools needed to be successful. The conference provided said resources based on five pillars: Connected, Educated, Employable, Healthy and Safe.

On Day One, the conference sought to follow these objectives:

  • Assist supervisors in identifying and utilizing best practices that support and promote quality Every Child Every Month (ECEM) visits to you in foster care, ages 14-21
  • Provide tools and resources that strengthen the ability of DFCS staff to develop and execute transition plans that prepare youth for independence and self-sufficiency
  • Provide guidance to DFCS leadership on policies and procedures that affect youth as they transition into adulthood and out of care

RUS_5452Social services case managers, supervisors, and DHS leadership came from all parts of Georgia to participate during this portion of the conference. The day started with inspiring words from Dr. Sharon Hill, DFCS Director, Commissioner Keith Horton and the always motivational J.R. Henderson. Afterwards, participants had the opportunity to hear from experts in the field from state agencies such as the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as organizations including Georgia Care Connection and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership. In addition, young adults that have transitioned out of care acted as panelists, which provided youth voice to each of the topics. This allowed participants to gain a better understanding of the youth they serve. The various panels of experts provided resources and skills that participants could immediately take RUS_5493back and share with youth. Juvenile Court Judge Vincent Crawford closed out the day providing information on new policies and procedures related to the field. DFCS staff left the conference motivated and inspired to share these resources and skills with their fellow coworkers and youth in their programs.

RUS_5399On the evening of Day One, the conference welcomed youth and young adults, ages 14-21, who are currently in or recently transitioned out of care. Conference Staff greeted participants with smiling faces, lots of fun activities and amazing food! On Day Two, participants had the opportunity to be energized by the fantastic performer J. Fly and motivated by J.R. Henderson. Similar to the first day, participants then divided into various breakout sessions and learned about resources and skills needed to be successful during transition. This included how to obtain college scholarships; skills needed to get and keep a job they love; and how to stay healthy, in both body and mind. The conference came to an end with an interactive resource café. During this time, participants were able to network with several exhibitors such as AmeriCorps, Georgia College 411, Covenant House and more! They also engaged in activities related to health and well-being, safety and connectedness. As the conference came to a close, several participants mentioned that they didn’t want to leave and kept asking when the next one would take place.

RUS_5506Because of this conference, DHS staff and youth in care now have resources they might not have received otherwise. Teens R 4 Me was truly a success! Thank you to DHS for asking GUIDE to be a part of this incredibly life-changing conference.

Join Us at Georgia Teen Institute 2014!

Team Registration is Open!

We would love to see Youth Action Teams from across the state of Georgia join us at Oxford College this summer as we proudly celebrate our 26th year! Come help us Make it Matter in 2014.

Georgia Teen Institute (GTI) is an inspiring, motivational and meaningful leadership training program for middle and high school students with a focus on teaching youth-adult teams how to use the Strategic Prevention Framework to plan and implement projects in their home communities related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention, community engagement and other pertinent issues. GTI is a dynamic, fun and innovative way for middle and high school students and adult advisors to learn new skills, meet new people and become empowered to create change in their communities and schools.



Your choice!

Week 1: June 9-12 or Week 2: June 17-20


Oxford College

100 Hamill Street

Oxford, GA 30054


Youth leaders and their adult advisors who want to make a difference in their home communities! A team is generally comprised of at least four youth and must have at least one adult as a team member. If a team is co-ed, you must have a male and a female adult attend for supervision purposes. Youth members must be enrolled in grades 7-12 for the 2014 – 2015 school year. Neither youth nor adults should be currently experiencing a substance abuse or significant mental health problem.


Early Bird Rate for those registered by April 11 at  5 pm: $385 per participant, youth or adult.*  

Regular Rate for those registered after April 11 at 5 pm: $450 per participant, youth or adult*

*Adults may request a single room at the rate of $50 per room.


For more information you can click here and it will provide more details, the registration packet and requirements associated with attending Georgia Teen Institute 2014. Space is limited, so make sure you get your registration packet in as soon as possible!

We cannot wait to see you at #GeorgiaTI2014 and help us Make it Matter!

Volunteer Spotlight: John Lee McNair

John Lee (bottom left) being silly with fellow staff at GTI.

Georgia Teen Institute (GTI), like all of our programs, could not run without the incredible volunteers who support us. John Lee is one of the fantastic Adult Advisors who has participated in GTI in various capacities, and each year he makes more of a positive impact. John Lee heard about Georgia Teen Institute through his agency, the Catoosa Prevention Initiative. His supervisor was looking for someone to bring a group of high school students to a summer camp, and he stepped up to the plate. He has not looked back. He has been the fantastic Adult Advisor for the Dual County Defenders ever since. This year will be John Lee’s third summer attending GTI, and he is already doing great things for the program. All of the general sessions will be planned by John Lee and it is sure to be an exciting week, full of high quality entertainment and fun!

When John Lee was asked about his favorite GTI memory, he shared that in 2013 he had a Family Group that bonded instantly. By the last day, their connection was very close; it was a little emotional for the group members to wrap up the final activity. This event stuck out to John Lee because it showed him how big of an impact he could have on a youth’s life in a matter of a few short days. This event and his passion for working with youth is what brings him back to GTI year after year.

GTI is forever thankful for John Lee because he truly has a passion for working with youth. He strongly believes that there are not enough examples of good role models and positive influences for them, and he tries to be that in the lives of the young people he works with. GTI helps fill the gap that many young people have, and John Lee is a true example of a positive role model in his community. John Lee couldn’t pick just one volunteer activity he enjoyed the most because each one has allowed him the opportunity to talk to youth one on one. This interaction allows for a better understanding of where the youth are coming from and how he can help them.

Attending GTI has had a positive impact in John Lee’s professional life, too. It has allowed him to add many tools to his toolbox, including methods to teach in classrooms and facilitate with his Youth Action Team. He uses many of the activities and methods to implement in his workplace to help make him be more effective in his career. Some of his favorite activities are Shake Down and using the Caboodle Cards.

John Lee encourages anyone to attend GTI because “this is an opportunity for you to step out of your comfort zone and expand your leadership skills. It is a chance for you to learn from the very people you are trying to reach. It is the best two week family reunion you will ever experience.”

To join John Lee and other incredible volunteers from across the state, submit your 2014 Georgia Teen Institute Volunteer application by April 1. Download your application today and “Make It Matter” to the youth in your community.

Team Building Activity: Stack Attack

Stack Attack

015 (1)

Objective: Participants will engage in this team building activity to foster healthy competition and lots of fun!

Time Needed: 20 minutes

Group Size: Any, split into two (or more) teams

Materials: 21 plastic cups for each team


026Separate your group into two separate teams. The two teams need to be an even number. Place each team in a straight line facing forward. Each team should have 21 plastic cups in front of them.

Now the race begins! The object of the game is for the first team member to build a pyramid using the cups. The first player then moves out of the way and the next team member takes the pyramid down by sliding the cups down into a single stack. This pattern continues until the last player on the team goes. If the pyramid gets knocked down while putting it up or taking it down, the builder must come back and rebuild the pyramid. Once a player’s turn has been completed, they are to stand to the side and cheer on their teammates. The first team that has all of their players complete the activity, wins!

Debrief Questions:


1. What worked for us? What didn’t? How do we know?

2. How did we deal with challenges?

3. How is this activity similar to working with a team on a project?

Have you ever tried this activity with your team, or do you plan to in the future? Let us know how it goes!