Community building exercises are conducted to break down psychological barriers among people. These activities can even accelerate the mind healing process as people get cozy in a group. In addition, they can introduce the point of the program in order to get the audience in the right frame of mind. They can also establish the control of the facilitator.
Community building exercises are activities performed in groups under the guidance of a facilitator. These facilitators — whether paid for or are volunteers — help participants relax, get comfortable, and become at ease with each other. Since the activities involved can get physical, they are usually conducted by people who are also part of businesses that are in the medical field like urgent care.
When are Community Building Activities Done?
Community building activities (CBA) can be used at any given time, but they need to be appropriate for the level of the group and the time at which they’re conducted. For example, one can’t conduct a Name Game exercise if everyone already knows each other’s names. CBAs are useful in the following situations:
- You are bringing together a group of people meeting each other for the first time
- A group needs a break because they are feeling tense, frustrated, or need to relax
- The group is back after a long break or meal
- The group is new or people haven’t been together for a long period
- You want to warm the group up before they begin a new task or segment in the connection-building activity
How to Conduct Community Building Activities
Most CBAs have set directions to be followed. Make sure to read them in advance to get acquainted with them. Also, try to visualize the group doing them so you can add something or modify an activity. CBA handouts include:
- Objectives/Goals – Will help in determining the level of the activity
- Directions/Procedures – contain steps to be followed along with precautions
- Materials required
- Time duration for each activity
- Maximum/minimum number of participants
A great way to achieve understanding is through a discussion with participants about their concerns, feelings, limitations, strengths, or any other way that helps the group in learning more about each other.
Here’s a list of suggested CBAs for connecting buildings:
1. Two Truths and Lie (risk level: low)
This exercise is a classic get-to-know-you icebreaker — a person says two truths and one lie. The goal for the other person is to figure out which statement is the lie.
2. My Good Neighbor (risk level: intermediate)
Have all the players stand in a circle and choose one of them to stand in the middle. The person who’s in the middle reveals something true about himself. If any of the players in the circle believes that this statement applies to them as well, they have to get up and find a different seat.
At the same time, the person in the middle tries to find a seat too. The person who’s left without a seat is the next to stand in the middle and say something about themselves.
3. Link Tag (risk level: high)
Have all players, except two, get into pairs and link arms. One of them who’s not in a pair is called “it” and he must chase the other unpaired player. The player who’s being chased links arms with a random member in one of the pairs. After this, the person on the other end detaches himself and is now the person being chased. This continues until the facilitator calls to stop.
4. Animal/Adjective Game (risk level: low)
Have everyone choose an adjective or animal that starts with the same letter as their first name (i.e. Sweet Susan, Healthy Henry, Tall Tina, etc.) and ask everyone to call each other by that nickname. This is meant to be a quick game of names.
5. Mingle Mingle (risk level: high)
Make everyone stand in a group together. When the facilitator shouts “mingle,” everyone walks around all other players. The facilitator then shouts out a number for example ‘7’ and the players must quickly link arms until they achieve a group of the called-out number.
Anyone who fails to create a group the same size as that of the number is out. The game progresses until only two candidates are left, who are the announced winners.
6. Telephone Charades (risk level: intermediate)
Have players sit or stand in a line. One person is given a movie who acts it out to the next person in the line, while everyone else faces the other side. Once the person sees any motion, they tap onto the shoulder of the next person in line and show them similar motions. The process continues until the end of the line where the last remaining person tries to guess the name of the movie which is being acted out.
The desire to be part of something is normal. Let community building activities bring you closer to your neighbors.