Name the school staff:
Hand out a sheet that tells howmany teachers are in each
department. The students write down their names.
Name that Christmas carol:
Give out sheets with alternate names of Christmas
carols. Students have to provide the real name. For example, petite male percussionist
is Little Drummer Boy. The top three or four teams get a bag of candy to share. Food is
a great incentive!
Howmany times have you sat through a seemingly endless meeting that ended with
nothing being accomplished? In the busy lives of student leaders, finding time when
everyone can meet is hard enough without wasting that time in ineffective meetings.
When you do meet, it’s important that the time you have be used to best advantage.
The American Youth Foundation developed a practical meeting plan for its Youth
Leadership Compact Teams that calls for a 30-minute meeting once a week. The
meetings are held in the same place, usually on the same day, and at the same time,
so members can get in the routine of attending. The format for the meetings is the
same each week. Before the meeting, the person who will facilitate meets with the
advisor to set the agenda. During the meetings, a recorder uses the 30-minute meet-
ing form to note what actually occurs. These forms are filed in a notebook for future
reference. The recorder at one meeting becomes the facilitator for the next meeting.
This way, the responsibility for facilitating meetings is shared among group members,
and all gain experience as facilitators.
The meetings begin with 5 minutes of small talk. This provides time for everyone to
gather, relax, and get their chit-chat out of the way so they can concentrate on the
business at hand. After a call to order, 10 minutes is spent reporting on past actions.
The group then turns to future actions and spends 10 minutes discussing what needs
to be done and who needs to do it.
The four remaining minutes are spent reflecting on the process used. AYF call this part
claiming, “and it is an integral part of the learning experience. A “process observer”
reports on how the group worked together. The process observer can be one of the
group members or the adviser, and he or she concentrates on answering the question
how did we work as a team and individuals:” Student leaders don’t always reflect on
the big picture and look for patterns, so they keep repeating the same mistakes. Not-
ing that certain people dominated the meeting, that suggestions were overlooked, or
that some members opted not to participate in discussion can help the group become
more aware of group process and function more effectively in the future.
However, this shouldn’t be a time for criticism only. The process observer also reports
on positive behaviors observed, such as the facilitator seeking opinions of those not
volunteering them, keeping the group on task, etc. The process observer role is impor-
tant as a learning tool for the group. It reminds members that it’s not just the doing
that is important; reflecting on howwe do the work helps us learn lessons that can be
applied in the future.
The basic tenet of AYF’s Youth Leadership Compact program is that students can pro-
mote positive, tangible change in their schools through their training as peer leaders.
The 30-mintue meeting format provides a time-friendly tool for getting members in the
habit of working in an organized fashion and keeps the team on track.
I. Small Talk (5 minutes)
II. Call to Order (1 minute)
III. Past Actions/Tasks to be reported on (10 minutes)
IV. Future Action/Tasks to be discussed (10 minutes)
Was discussed/ decided
V. Claiming (4 minutes)
WORKING INGROUPS: GROUP PROCESS
The heart of an effective student group is the ability to build a warm, open relationship
with each person you serve. In politics, this person is generally referred to as “John Q.
Public.” In sales, this person is the “Consumer.” In psychology, the person is referred to
as the “Client,” and in student government, this person is every person that is a part of
Your effectiveness as a student leader depends on howwell you function with people
in groups, such as your peers, the faculty, the administration, and all the support per-
sonnel of your school. Your ability not only to buildwarm, open relationships, but to help
make rules of group interaction explicit and to play a variety of responsible roles in the
group related to its effectiveness will help determine whether or not you and your fel-
low group members feel a sense of mutual trust, responsibility, and freedom to grow.
Theway you relate to others, whether it’s one-to-one or in groups, reflects howyou feel
about your own worth and the worth of others. Attitudes are difficult to measure di-
rectly. In the long run, only youwill knowwhether your attitudes toward those you serve
reflect the basic philosophy about theworth of each individual, about self-reliance, and
the concept of a demonstrated professionalism in your leadership skills.
All of us are involved in group process situations. Some are informal—such aswith rel-
atives or friends. Others are more formalized situations with specific responsibilities
and directions. It is important to remember that within every group there are people
with needs andwants. Somemembers are take-charge people and others are task ori-
ented. Basically, leadership is executing a particular rolewithin an organized group, and