Monthly Archives: August 2014

Team Building Activity: Balloon Tower

Balloon Tower

RUS_2777Are you looking for a fun and engaging team building activity to do with your group? Look no further than Balloon Tower! We love to do this activity to encourage teamwork and discuss conquering challenges. We would love to hear how you use it, too!

Objective: Use a bag of balloons and roll of masking tape to build the tallest freestanding tower possible in the time allotted.

Time Needed:  20-30 minutes

Group Size:  Any, split into teams of 4-6 people

Materials (per team):

  • 1 bag of balloons
  • 1 roll of masking tape

RUS_2797Directions:  If your group is larger than 6, split into smaller teams.  Give each team a bag of balloons and a roll of tape.  Challenge the teams to make the tallest freestanding tower they can using only the balloons and tape. 

Allow four minutes of brainstorming and planning. When you say “Go!” the tower building can begin. 

Let the teams build for 10 minutes, giving time announcements at five minutes, two minutes and one minute remaining. At the end, whichever team has the tallest freestanding tower is the winner. 

Congratulate all teams for creating such tall towers.

RUS_2791Variations:

You can make it more difficult by allowing the teams to brainstorm and plan for four minutes and then not allowing them to talk while they are building.

 

Debrief Questions:

  1. What worked for your group? What didn’t? How did you know?
  2. What was challenging? How did you deal with those challenges?
  3. How do you feel about your finished tower?
  4. How is this activity like working on your project with your team?

Custom + Quality = GUIDE Training Events

With more than 25 years of experience coordinating, planning and implementing training across the state, GUIDE is your source for a custom, quality event! GUIDE specializes in substance abuse prevention, youth development and leadership for both youth and adults.

IMG_3752No matter your group – youth or adults, large or small, non-profit or corporate – we are willing to work with you to plan and implement a custom event in your community… or anywhere you desire! Put our experience to work for your school, community or company by contacting us to be a part of planning a new, or improving on a pre-existing, program or conference.  Whether it is planning and taking care of all the small details, or simply providing a professional workshop session, GUIDE staff will work to fit your goals and needs, whatever they may be.  We will also make it a priority to work with the budget available to you.

August is always a busy month of custom training events for GUIDE with the start of programming and the new school year. We’ve already had several trainings throughout the state this month and still have more to come before September.

IMG_2605On August 11, GUIDE staff conducted a teen summit with 60 students at the Douglas County Performance Learning Center. At the beginning of the summit, participants were greeted with door prizes and energizers to get them ready for the day. Afterward, they took part in engaging, hands-on workshops related to leadership and goal setting. Through partner and group discussion, creative projects, and the use of GUIDE’s Caboodle Cards, these workshops provided resources and tools necessary to be successful during the school year and beyond. The day ended with a large group session of icebreakers and energizers. During this time, participants had the opportunity to learn about each other and how to work better as a group.

IMG_2774Later that week, GUIDE staff facilitated three workshops with 65 students at the Turner County Freshmen Orientation. Each year, Turner County Freshmen have the opportunity to see and learn about their school prior to the start of the year, and we were grateful to be a part of this fantastic event! The workshops conducted included themes of respect, staying engaged while in school, and time-management. Although the workshops were only 30 minutes in length, the GUIDE facilitators did an exceptional job leading meaningful conversation, engaging participants in activities, and sharing expertise about what to expect in high school.

This month, GUIDE also partnered with the Gwinnett County Coalition’s program, the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute (GNLI) and Gwinnett SToPP. Each year, these organizations request GUIDE to facilitate teambuilding to start things off for their newest members during their annual kick-off retreat. New members are asked to work together all day Saturday and Sunday of the retreat to learn about their programs, receive training related to creating change in the community, and learn how to work better as a team. GUIDE staff are instrumental in leading new members through these developments and really help to get things moving right at the beginning of the retreat.

GUIDE staff will also conduct two workshops for the Atlanta Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club. The workshops will tackle topics related to Project-Based Learning and STEM in afterschool programming. During the Project-Based Learning workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the key characteristics of project-based learning and how it differs from other models and approaches; learn the principles for designing, assessing and managing project-based learning projects; and gain tools and resources for implementing project-based learning in youth development programs. STEM participants will come to understand the importance of implementing STEM in afterschool, participate in sample activities and facilitation, and review how scientific inquiry relates to STEM.

If you’re interested in custom events like the above, or something totally different, please don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Training and Capacity Building, Mary Kate Chapman (marykate@guideinc.org). We strive to provide a quality training every time and will work with you to customize the best event for your budget or link you with someone who can.

7 Ways to Effectively Engage Youth Voice in Programming

Youth Voice is an essential piece of any organization that works with youth, either directly or indirectly.

In order to effectively engage Youth Voice in programming, take the following into consideration:

  1. Honor, ask for and engage youth wisdom.
  2. Provide ample opportunities for young people and adults to share control and decision making on multiple levels.
  3. Understand that Youth Voice is a way of operating, an organizational culture and philosophy that goes beyond one “leadership program offering.”
  4. Go beyond “just listening” and build real action around Youth Voice.
  5. Identify opportunities for voice and choice within each daily activity, across sessions, throughout programs and organization-wide.
  6. Create space, commit resources, provide support and promote opportunities for Youth Voice.
  7. Understand the positive outcomes of partnership for young people, adults, organizations and communities.

Squaready20140811141906The GUIDE, Inc. Youth Advisory Board (YAB) utilizes Youth Voice in multiple ways. Before the official start of the school year in August, a group of YAB members attended Georgia Teen Institute (GTI), planned a community project related to prevention and utilized the Strategic Prevention Framework. During this time, YAB members shared their knowledge of issues in the community, and their project was based on this wisdom and expertise. While they were given community statistics and an action plan as resources, the development of the project was directly related to the needs they wanted to see addressed in the community.

In the upcoming school year, YAB will work toward capacity building, utilizing resources available and implementing this plan in Gwinnett County. They will also have the opportunity to work with GUIDE staff to provide feedback regarding the organization’s strategic planning goals as well as other organizational projects. This feedback ensures that youth in our community are heard and have the chance to share their opinion with stakeholders and decision makers.

IMG_4858Youth Voice is also a key piece of YAB and GUIDE’s Board of Directors meetings. Executive members work with GUIDE staff to develop agendas and activities and even lead their YAB meetings, too. In the upcoming year, YAB will also attend GUIDE Board of Directors meetings where they will create and report out information related to the work they’re accomplishing in and around the community. By including youth in these key pieces, they have a direct say in what they want and need to accomplish, as well as the information they wish to share with the organization’s Board of Directors.

During YAB meetings, one way we encourage youth to think a little deeper and share those thoughts with us is by utilizing a tool called WIBYT: Write It Before You Talk. When brainstorming or thinking deeply about a topic or pondering a specific question, allow participants a set time limit to write down anything related to the topic or question you presented.  The only rules are that the person must write for the entire time, and they cannot verbalize their thoughts with those around them until instructed to do so. After the time limit is up, have participants share the ideas they jotted down. This activity allows time for everyone to identify their own thoughts or answers before sharing out with the large group. This will effectively engage more youth, and the group participation will increase, too. For more tools and tricks on how to engage youth, check out speaker, educator and author Michael Brandwein.

Squaready20140811142355It’s important to incorporate Youth Voice in several areas throughout the organization and to make sure it isn’t one small happening, but is interwoven throughout the organizational structure. Realize that this is a partnership and show them respect. Listen to their ideas. Be intentional about involving them in multiple aspects of your organization. Above all, remember that Youth Voice takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight.

We are excited to work with each YAB member this year, to hear their voice, and to make a positive difference in our community as a result!

For more information and resources related to Youth Voice, check out University of Minnesota’s Quality Matters Toolkit: Voice and Engagement.

GUIDE is Gearing Up for the New School Year!

IMG_2480It’s that time of the year again when summer vacation comes to a close and anticipation for the school year sets in everywhere. Teachers begin attending meetings and preparing their lessons and classrooms, students are shopping for school supplies, college dorms are being prepped and cleaned and everyone is getting ready for the upcoming school year.

Here at GUIDE, we have experienced this same anticipation as we have had the opportunity of helping others in the community prepare for the return of their students this school year.

Gwinnett County Health and PE Teacher Pre-Planning Meeting

GC4 (2)GUIDE has a long-standing partnership with the Gwinnett County Board of Education in efforts to prevent substance abuse among youth and the problems associated with it. We are grateful for the relationship we have with the school system and the role it has played in our success in reducing underage drinking over the years.

Around 400 Gwinnett County Health and PE Teachers met last week at Collins Hill High School to plan for the year ahead. GUIDE was invited to come to the meeting and provide teachers with substance abuse prevention materials. We have been hard at work putting together packets of information about underage drinking and the effects alcohol has on the teenage brain, as well as the dangers of prescription drug abuse, both serious issues facing our teens. We provided them with tools that can help prevent teen use, misuse and abuse of these substances.

IMG_2482With these resources, teachers know the facts and dangers of underage drinking and other drugs and can educate their students about the risks. We appreciate these teachers and their willingness to care for their students and promote positive youth development.

Thank you to our partners, CETPA and the GA Rx Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, for providing us with Rx drug abuse prevention materials. With their help, we are able to work together for safe and healthy communities.

GUIDE looks forward to future success in these efforts to prevent substance abuse in Gwinnett and across the state.

Georgia Gwinnett College Student Worker and RA Training

Georgia Gwinnett CollegeRA Training 2 (GGC) is another one of GUIDE’s valuable community partners. We have worked together with them over the years to provide materials and resources, as well as share research of model programs for alcohol and other drug prevention on college campuses.  GGC does a great job of promoting positive behavior to prevent and reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by offering its students various alternative activities during the week and at night.

We think it is great that GGC supports the community by having developed alcohol-free dorms, which will minimize the availability of alcohol. This is another way that GGC shows its commitment to student success because studies show that alcohol negatively impacts academic performance.

We continue to work with GGC to help make it a healthy and safe place for its students. Over the past couple of weeks, we have planned and conducted two trainings at GGC for some of the college’s student workers and 40 of their Resident Assistants (RAs). During the training, we educated the participants about the dangerous effects of underage and binge drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana use.

IMG_2542The student workers and RAs also discussed ways they can use the information as tools for keeping the dorm areas safe and preventing use and abuse of these substances. Now they are more aware of what to look for when it comes to drug consumption and related risky behaviors. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with these incredible young adults and, together, make a difference in our community.

Team Building Activity: The Star

The Star 

This is a quick and easy team building activity that you can accomplish with any group, made up of youth or adults. We recently used this activity with our 2014 Georgia Teen Institute Staff during Staff Development Weekend and are so excited to share it with you!

20140315_111316Time Needed: 15 – 20 minutes

Group Size: Any, split into teams of 12-15

Materials: A very long rope or ball of yarn (40-50 feet) tied to itself to form a circle

Directions:

Star 1Ask everyone in the group to grab the rope and get into a circle.

Inform everyone that they cannot let go of the rope or trade places with others, but they can slide their hands along the rope.

The goal is to get the whole group to create a five pointed star with the rope (the kind with the crisscrosses in the middle).

Once they think the task is complete, ask them to slowly lower the star to the ground and step back to admire their work.

Debrief Questions:

  • Was your team successful? If so, how?
  • What did your planning process look like?
  • Did anyone emerge as a leader? What actions or characteristics made them a leader?
  • What roles did others play during the activity?
  • In what ways does this activity relate to the real world?

Star 3If you use this team building activity with your group, let us know how it goes. If you already do this activity and know of fun or meaningful variances, we would love to know about that, too. Please reach out and keep connected!