Who makes you feel important?
I had an opportunity this past August to visit a good friend and colleague, Dr. Phillip Swan, at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, in Appleton, WI. We were talking about retreats, team building and activities that we have used with our students. Phillip shared an activity he organizes on retreat each year with his women’s group. When he finished describing the activity, I thought this was one of the best activities I’ve come across that works well to wrap up a retreat or after the singers have spent some time together. This activity is great for personal affirmation between singers and can work especially well with high school age, college and even adult singers. For Phillip’s singers, they expressed that they did not realize that what they said or during the retreat had a positive impact on someone else. A great lesson learned.
The activity is called “The Touch Someone Activity”.
- A large area to be able to sit your choir either on the floor or in chairs.
- Music – choose music with which the singers identify. (optional)
Sit in a large circle, facing outwards with eyes closed. Small groups (4 or 5) stand the inside of the circle and touch people on the back as a facilitator read prompt statements, such as “Touch someone who has inspired you” or “Touch someone who you got to know better.” Once the facilitator has read through 4 or 5 statements, the singers inside the circle will change places with another group of singers who will then be the next group to “touch someone…” This will continue until all members of the group have had the opportunity to reach out and touch someone.
It is important that to make sure the following take place during the activity.
- Make sure all singers are “touched” during the activity.
- If the director is the facilitator, he or she should have the opportunity to sit in the circle.
- Follow a written list of prompts and stay away from superficial statements.
- How did this activity make you feel?
- How important is it to affirm the contributions of group members?
- How did you feel when someone touched you?
- At the beginning of this exercise you felt ____, now you feel ___?
- What are some other ways to affirm each other?
- What if any are some “someone” statements that you wished had been said?
See the attachment for a list of statements/prompts courtesy of the Colorado High School Activities Association. Use them as a guide with which to begin and then add and delete to make the list work for you. There are several adaptations of this activity on the internet. Type in ‘Touch Someone Who’ into your browser.