Wind In The Willows / Trust Circle:
Props: Just Your Group
Focus: Trust Caring
Credit: Kimball Camp YMCA
This activity can make or break a group. I use this when I don’t think the group is ready for the Trust Fall platform. It is CRITICAL that the group comes together for this activity, and the group should be guided into this one. Definitely not a starting activity!
Circle. Have one volunteer stand in the middle, surrounded by the rest of the circle. AS SOON AS THE PERSON ENTERS THE CENTER, ALL EYES FOCUS ON THAT PERSON AND EVERYONE SEALS THEIR MOUTHS! (Except, of course, for encouragement!) The volunteer locks their arms across their chest, stands rigid and closes their eyes. The facilitator (you) says, “Bumpers up!” At this point, all those
surrounding the person step in to shrink the circle, and raise their hands to a ready position at around a mid- torso, level. They should also, at this time, brace themselves by placing a foot back. When everyone is ready, you will say, “Begin.
The volunteer then says, “Ready to fall.” The group will concentrate solely on the person in the middle! When everyone is ready, they will say, together, “Ready.” The volunteer will say, “Falling.” The group will respond, “Fall on.” The volunteer will fall, keeping their body rigid. The group, IN ABSOLUTE SILENCE, will catch that person and GENTLY begin to pass them back and forth around the circle (the volunteer is able to move because they pivot on their feet). After about 10 to 15 seconds, catch that person, bring them into an upright position, and tell them they are done.
Note: if someone bends, have them stand back in the center and start over. If someone cannot take this activity seriously, make them sit off to the side in silence! There are to be absolutely no comments about dropping anyone! Trust is the toughest thing to build in a group, and is the fastest thing lost. Facilitator! You MUST be paying attention! Set the example for the others! (I have been dropped in this activity at least three times. Only once was I ever dropped because of someone goofing off. After that incident, no one else would enter the circle and the activity was ruined. It is critical you keep everyone focused!) Also, if you are telling the group they need to trust you, you might have to do this to show you trust them. It’s okay. If everyone is doing their job, you’re in no danger.
Trust! I cannot say it enough: Trust is the toughest thing to earn in a group, and is the quickest to lose! Caring is important. Encouraging the person who is nervous, understanding if someone chooses not to go into the circle. Asking someone if they would be willing to try later. Volunteering to go ahead of someone who has reservations (not that people have to reserve their spot in line, I’m talking about the fact that some will be nervous, they doubt the group (see Webster’s Dictionary for the complete definition of reservations.)) Here is where your group can earn major teamwork points!
Was this a difficult activity for you? Why or why not? Did you drop anyone? If you had been dropped, would you have continued to trust the group? Did you trust the group before going into the circle? Can anyone name some examples of caring which took place? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Inattention! Here is where things start to get serious. If someone is laughing, joking around and not paying attention, someone could get badly hurt. I know it doesn’t seem like a long way to fall, but believe me, face first? It hurts! Watch and make sure the group is ready at all times!