At my very first pre-departure meetings, I always start off by having the students introduce themselves, and then we follow up with a game. The “circle game” is a particularly good activity for a first meeting because it allows you to get to know your group better. If you haven’t heard of the circle game, you start, rather obviously, by forming a circle. Then you, the moderator, will call out various statements. If the statement holds true for a student they will step into the circle, if it is false for them they will remain standing where they are.
Often times I will structure the statements in a way that will help me determine how best to prep for my future meetings. For example, one of the first times I played this game with my group I said, “Step into the circle if you have never been out of the country before.” Almost everyone in the room stepped into the circle, which told me I needed to do a lot before departure to prepare them for international travel. Other times, almost no one steps into the circle at this instruction and I know I can concentrate my efforts on other things. This game is a fun and interactive way to start off your meeting. Take notes and let the responses guide your future meetings. Here are some statements to get you started.
Step into the circle if . . .
You have never been out of the country before (looking for first timers)
You have never been on a plane before (looking for first-time travelers)
You are allergic to any foods (looking for kids with medical issues/red flags / Epi-pens)
If you take any prescription medications (important for GL to know)
If your bedroom is clean right now (looking for the exploding suitcase kid)
If you play sports (looking for the fitness level of kids)
If you consider yourself adventurous (look for risk takers)
If you have been away from your parents before (looking for homesick kids)