Who Is a Part of My Community?
These activities help youth see the web of communities to which they belong and define what it means to be a member of a community.
Author: Urban EdVenture Faculty at Westminster
The learners will:
- name some of the many communities they are members of based on location and shared interests.
- discuss ways their communities impact them and they also impact their communities.
- name some of the communities they share with others.
- Determine in advance what qualities of a community you want to emphasize. For example, Westminster’s Urban EdVenture teachers emphasize that what you do affects the members of your community and what other members do affects you.
- Mark spots where participants stand in a circle, one fewer spots than there are children
Community, membership, team, organization, neighborhood, city
Finding Commonalities Activity
- Set up: Make a circle formation by marking spaces on the ground where participants will stand. Like with musical chairs, use one fewer spot in the circle than there are number participating.
- Provide activity instructions: One person will stand in the center and the rest of the group forms the circle. The person in the center will make a true statement about themself. For example, "I like to play soccer." The facilitator may wish to name a parameter or specific topic to which all statements relate. Each person who can make the same statement steps out of place and rushes to a vacated spot. If it is untrue for them, they stay on the current spot. The person who doesn't find a spot on the circle must then move to the center and share a true statement.
- Do the Activity: Begin the activity and go through 5-6 statements.
- Quick reflection: Discuss what they noticed about the commonalities observed in the activity. What types of things bring us together?
Web of Communities Activity:
- Talk about some of the communities in which you, the facilitator, are a member (where you live, shared interests, hobbies, community action).
- Invite youth to quietly list on paper some communities they are a part of (faith based group, sports, hobbies, caregiving, school, etc.).
- Call out a number (like “one” or “three”). The participants mill around the room to group up with that number of people. When they have formed a group of that size, they talk about their lists of communities and identify one community to which all of them are members. It forces them to find commonalities and think more broadly about shared interests. They may add new communities to their own lists. After a few minutes, name another number (which tells them how many people to group up with). They again share their lists of communities. This may be repeated another time.
- Come together and discuss findings:
- What communities are you all part of – what is your “universal community”? (There may be more than one.)
- What does it mean to be a member of a community?
- What are the benefits of being in a community of shared interests?
- What are you responsible for when you are part of a community?
- What do you expect from others in the community?
- Can you change (influence) your community? Move out of it?
- What happens if you, as a member, don't ______? (Fill in the blank with different things.)
Create a working definition of community based on this activity and discussion. Adopt this as your group definition of community and use it in lessons that follow.