It is a new season… Youth workers embark on a new ecclesiastical year, hoping to reach out to as many young people as possible. Although you will have many returning group members, it is important to remember the possibility of new members. Also, youth workers much remember that many of these young people have different backgrounds, different personal issues, and different personalities. So it is important to have tools to that can help integrate young people together, building familiarity, mutual respect, and community. But what tools can a youth director use? ICEBREAKERS.
The GOYA Guidelines of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries says the following about icebreakers:
All meetings should have an icebreaker of some kind. Please note that some icebreakers are to break down communication barriers between people, while others build deeper relationships. The latter are called community builders. Icebreakers should take ten to fifteen minutes. Icebreakers can relate directly to the needs of the group or serve as an introduction to the theme of the presentation.
Icebreakers can be used throughout the year to:
1) To refresh everyone’s memory about returning members in the group.
2) To integrate new members
3) To build a sense of community and fellowship
4) To prevent cliques from forming.
5) To help get discussion moving
6) To stir up excitement
To help you get started, we have collected a short list of resources and links specifically dealing with icebreakers. Don’t forget to access the needs of your ministry group to select and utilize the right type of icebreaker activity!
Publications For Icebreakers and Team-Building Activities
Icebreakers for Teen Groups by Chris Tures and Therese Sherlock (Order from the Department of Religious Education at 800.566.1088)The Ideas Library published by Youth Specialities (www.youthspecialties.com)Indoor Action Games for Elementary Children by Fosters, Overholt, and ShultzSilver Bullets by Karl Rohnke
Here are a few icebreakers compiled by Nicholas Finley of the OCA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. http://yya.oca.org/TheHub/Activities/20SomethingWays/Icebreakers.htm
Here are more icebreakers from the OCA, compiled by Ron Tucci and Ksenia Babich
Here are games which can help encourage teamwork amongst the youth group members.
Here are some discussion-based icebreakers…
Here is a website which walks you through helpful tips in building your own icebreakers.
From The Youth Worker Pulse September 2010 - Greek Archdiocese of America Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.