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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

ListenListen to this

Team building?

So I have done a lot of group building /team building activities for youth ... now that I find that I am a manager I find that I want these same great ideas for my staff but definitely not as cheesy. Suggestions or resources would be great ... for an added challenge I am wanting to strengthen an already solid team.

Caroline Eggers

Hi Caroline.

There is nothing new under the sun! Just think about your team's level and methods of learning and go for anything which enhances mutual trust, communication and make sure you play well. You might not be the right person to facilitate the team build as you are part of the team, but be sure to create space for expression ... especially struggle, laughter and relevent reflection.


Denis D.
S. Africa

You can turn those cheesy activities into something meaningful for the youth and the staff by following them up with the ORID method of decision making. You can look it up online but I suggest that you receive some training or some experience with it before using it. Some people who are gifted or experienced with facilitating groups can pick it up right away.

The key is to allow the group to learn from everyone's experience and never to give away answers or your opinion. Your activity should not be one is which answers are given. This is one tool that has helped us form a particularly strong team. It reinforces everyone's ability to think and make decisions which generally lifts everyone up a little bit professionally.

Alfonso Ramirez, Jr.

Caroline ~ We recommend team building for youth and adults, employees and kids and parents. Teambuilding is helpful for everyone in the workplace because with in the system of work, so much time is spent on work tasks, that most of us don't take the time to get to know our colleagues better, or to work creatively with them. Some of the resources we use for developing team building workshops for agencies include:

Karl Rohnke's many books; Schoel, Prouty, and Radcliffe's Islands of Healing; the Journal of Experiential Education; Cavert & Sikes’ Ways to Use your Noodle (several editions); and Gass’ Book of Metaphors (vol. 1 & 2); Jones’ The Wrecking Ball; as well as information on group process (from icebreakers to trust building to challenges) and planning for how the customers’ goals metaphorically can be represented in the teambuilding activities. Finally, you want to think about how you do the processing of activities and encourage the members to relate them to their goals. We find out from our customers what their goal for the teambuilding is, and then plan, using all the above an agenda for the teambuilding, depending upon how much time we have and the strengths and abilities of the group.

Jack Nowicki


I wonder if you have heard of TRIBES which helps instructors help build the idea of a "community" with a group. It is a short course (usually 3-4 full days) where you can learn various games, activities and ideas to create a safe, welcoming and accepting environment. Many school boards in Ontario and teacher colleges have offered the classes for instructors/teachers to learn the ideas then implement them in their class rooms. It has become quite popular as a proactive approach for bullying. The result is placing children in "tribes" where the students work together, and practice team building all based on a simple concept of the "no put down" rule. The instructor that lead my classes has used it with high school, elementary students and adults with great results. She shared how a tough inner city school became like family and shared their hopes and fears. There is a text book with lots of ice breakers and ideas to do. They can easily be adapted for curriculum in schools or on their own as team/community building.

Most people who use tribes, that I have been exposed to, are teachers. The whole workshop is so easily adaptable I am sure it could be implemented for any group or purpose. The web site may give you more information or ideas

Hope this helps
Ontario, Canada

Team building with staff is so important. But how about team building with staff and residents so that staff and residents both feel a part of the team, working for the same things?

John Stein
New Orleans

Not sure why I think this is relevant. The other day I was in one of our houses and all the adults were in the office. One of them was writing the names of the children on their personal files. How much time is lost through Paperwork? I was reminded of Henry Reed's sublime poem "Naming of Parts" and scribbled a quick paraphrase:

Today we have naming of files. Yesterday we had the use of incident forms.
And tomorrow morning we shall write another procedure.
But today we have naming of files.
Children needing attention wait with impatience and urgency.
And today we have naming of files.

This is the box-file key. And this is the current code whose use you will see when you are given your cabinet. And this is the procedure manual.
Which in your case you have not got.
The children are waiting to play and talk with their silent elegant gestures, Which in our case we have not got.

This is a risk assessment, which is always done before any activity.
And do not let me see anyone not doing it. You can do it quite easy if you are quick.
The children are fragile and motionless waiting for something to happen, never letting us see any of them taking a risk.

And this you can see is the stationery cupboard. The purpose of this is to have the different paper neatly stacked. We can then slide it easily into the photo-copier, we call this being tidy. And rapidly backwards and forwards the children are getting agitated. We call this having to wait.

They call it having to wait; It is perfectly easy if you can ignore the children.
Like the risk assessments, and the accident forms, and the procedure manual
which in our case we have not got. And the children now silent in the garden because nothing has been going on. For today we have naming of files.

David Pithers

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