Young Team Builders
It's Never Too Early To Start Changing The World
Submitted by Mara
Processing Conversation Idea
I find that processing/debriefing can be the most important part of the activity because it is the time when participants are able to use what they learned and apply it forward into other aspects of their lives. One processing tool that I have been using and found very effective is meditation or being mindful. It can be used in a number of different ways with a number of different outcomes and this is one reason I find it to be so effective.
Meditation (being mindful) is something that has strongly impacted my life and I felt this practice needed to be introduced to our students especially because we are high schoolers. High school is a very important part of our lives as it is the beginning of a very large transition in life. We are about to be adults and independence will likely come with that. I have learned that mindful meditation can be a large step to finding our independence.
I have used meditation as a tool for participants to look back on what has happened during the activity. I have asked them to feel emotions when given a scenario that they had been in. I have used meditation to calm a group and clear their heads in order for them to really absorb what is coming next in the debriefing process. I have also used it as a visualization tool to set goals for themselves and let them feel that sensation of accomplishment when it has been completed.
I have seen this meditation practice help lots of students step out of their comfort zones. I share things I've seen them accomplished and things that they may want to accomplish. They are in no danger by visualizing themselves doing things that they are scared of and it calms their nerves before moving forward with that goal that may have seemed out of their reach. In a literal sense it can also be used as an example for their desired outcome.
I've also used meditation to demonstrate that judgements and preconceived notions of people create a barrier that cannot be overcome, but if they go into meeting someone new with an open and clear mind these things won’t stand in the way. Mindful meditation is a very flexible and effective tool for debriefing and I encourage leaders to find new ways to apply it in their program!
The biggest lesson I have learned over the last three years of being a leader is that empathy is a leader's superpower. Mara
My Greatest Lesson so far, as a Young Team Builder
It is easy to walk into a team building program as a participant and feel uncomfortable and inferior. This is very likely to happen if the leaders contribute to this attitude.
At the beginning of my leading experience I would fall into the trap of making people feel inferior. It wasn’t intentional, but because of my initial discomfort I would resort to remembering that I was “in charge”. While being a leader does mean that you are facilitating activities, you are also a part of the group. You are meant to be a part of that growth not just in charge of it.
I found that this was very important to distinguish between because they bring very different outcomes. Walking into a group of people it is so important to make that first impression meaningful. Empathy is that key. Acknowledging that you both are coming into a new group of people is the first and most basic example of this.
Moving forward it is so important to create those connections with people through empathy. It is important to remember that empathy is not feeling bad for someone but rather putting yourself in their shoes. I think that empathy can be highlighted in so many different scenarios while being a leader. It is important to use while people are out of their comfort zone. Being able to relate and put yourself in other people's shoes creates a sense of trust between people when acted on. Empathy allows people to let their guard down slightly because they know that they are not being judged but rather understood.
It is so easy to talk about empathy being important in a leadership role but it is important to carry it out as well. We talk about it so often but it is not always brought into leadership. Maybe it was just me but I fell into a trap that has a very fine line and when that line was made clear to me I was able to connect with people more genuinely.
Young team Builders are high school and college age students working in team building settings around the world, contributing to this space, sharing what they're creating, programming, teaching and learning.
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