Appreciation is the act of recognizing the best in people or the world around us. It is affirming past and present strengths, efforts and potentials. It is about seeing somebody else's glory and at the same time their vulnerability and flaws. If we wish to enable an individual to flourish in community, we need to provide safe space where person is seen, valued, cared for and respected just the way they are. Perfectly imperfect.
It is important that in our work and projects we dedicate enough time to celebration which is not about excessive use of alcoholic drinks and food, but rather expressing gratitude, recognition of the efforts and work done. It is also about healthy attitude to knowing what went wrong and motivation to improve it the next time. In this activity, we will express appreciation to all group members.
Group / Experiential
Depending on the size of the group, approx. 30 minutes.
To introduce a method of appreciation
To learn how appreciation changes the climate in a group
Required Materials and Tools:
Pens and paper for the whole group
Choose a moment where the group is not hyperactive, but rather in a mood to calm down, ex: at the end of the day.
Ask everybody to take one paper and to stick it on the back of another group member, between the shoulders, so that everyone has a paper on the back.
Give the participants the following guidance; ‘If you have something nice to say about another group member, then stand behind this person and write it on this paper. You may write your name behind it, but you don’t have to. Only write things that you really mean. Don’t be polite and just write for the sake of being nice.
Let participants walk around and write things on each others’ backs. As the youth worker, you participate, as well. If there is a scapegoat in the group that you fear will not get many nice comments on their back, think about it before, find nice comments about this person and write on this person's back.
Usually, it’s easy to notice when it’s over. When more than a third of the group is not writing or standing in line for writing anymore, then you should stop the process.
Give instructions to take off the paper (the “sugarcube” that you got) and to read what has been written. Usually, you will see a lot of smiles appearing on a lot of faces. You may say that to the group - and maybe encourage to say these things more often.
After an intensive course you can prepare booklets for every participant and put them somewhere and ask people to share their positive impressions, experiences they had with this person, etc. as a memory of this course-community.
This can be done one the last day, and the booklets shall be left for 24 hours so that everybody can write into them.
People are not allowed to look in their booklet before the end of the course. It can be a small ritual to hand over the booklets.
Ask participants to carry out a written reflection based on the following questions [Allow 15 minutes for this step]:
How did you feel with your “sugarcube”?
Do you think you lack appreciation? Would you wish to have more of that? What could you do for that?
What can you do to give more appreciation to the people you know?
Think about 5 people that you want to give positive feedback next week!
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Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
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