Activity 1 – Mind Mapping
Give each of participant several sheets of paper and a pen and have them write “Who am I?” in the center of each of the pages.
Get them to do a series of mind maps where they write down who they perceive themselves to be in various areas of life. Spend a few minutes on each of the following mind map topics:
- Relationships – List all the different relationship roles that they have, such as brother, son, grandson, nephew, student, employee, boyfriend, etc.
- Cultural – List cultural aspects of their life like religion / faith, ethnicity, language, nationality, etc.
- Likes – List their favorite activities, hobbies, music, sports, TV shows, etc.
- Dislikes – List the activities, music, sports, TV shows, etc. that they don’t care for
- Hopes – List things that they want to do in the future, such as jobs, how many kids they want, going skydiving, etc.
More creative young people will prefer to visualize these rather than simply writing their answers down. Therefore, have colored pens or pencils on hand so that they can draw /sketch / doodle their answers instead.
Activity 2 – Compare & Contrast
With their mind maps in hand, have them go around the room and compare who they are with the other young people. Who do they have most in common with? Are they surprised by what they find?
The similarities will help your young people find common ground, something that’s particularly useful if you’re in the forming stage of a new youth group. If any find that they don’t have much in common with the other youth, celebrate the differences with them too.
Activity 3 – Fan Mail
This activity is good for groups of young people who know each other quite well. Instead of asking “Who am I?”, Fan Mail asks “Who am I in other people’s eyes?” from a positive viewpoint.
You have the youth write their name at the top of a piece of paper. Put each piece of paper and a pen around the room randomly. Explain that everyone in the room needs to go around the room and at the bottom of the paper write something positive about the person whose name is at the top of the paper. It needs to be something thoughtful, if possible, rather than just ‘nice’ or ‘cool hair’. Especially try to refrain from comments about physical appearance. Once they write their comment, they fold up the bottom of the paper to cover their comment. Put on some music and let the group begin. Each person does this and the paper gets folded up over each comment so that it’s private between the writer and the receiver. Once everyone is done hand the papers back to each youth for them to read and keep.
Activity 4 – Who Are You?
The final activity will need a little preparation as you need photos of all your young people. If you have a fairly consistent turnout of the same young people, take their photos a week or two before and get them printed in the meantime.
If you’re less sure about who’ll be there the week when you’re running these “Who am I?” activities, see if you can get your hands on a photo printer and photo paper so that you can print them off there and then. Alternatively, recruit an errand person just for this session – take photos of your young people and then send them off to the local Target or Walmart (or whatever you have in your country) to get 1 hour photos printed and returned in time to finish this off.
On the back of the photos, write “Who are you?” at the top, then write “You are……” and list several positive statements and character traits about each young person. This will therefore be similar to the Fan Mail activity listed above, only this time it’s you rather than their peers who’s giving them the feedback. If possible, include your volunteers by having them write something positive about each young person too.
The back of the photo may therefore read something like:
Who Are You?
- Always helping to tidy up
- An encourager
- A great singer
At the end of the session, give them each their photo to take home with them. They’ll be sure to treasure both this and the sheet of fan mail.