As a child there were four words that never failed to strike fear in my heart when I heard them…
“Everyone, find a partner!”
I’m talking cold sweats… every time! And you know what- as an adult I’m only a tad better (mostly I’m just better at pretending that I’m not scared). Regardless of my personal discomfort, I still believe in the power of icebreakers.
We established in earlier posts that the most important essential element in every 4-H activity is belonging. In order for youth (and adults) to feel they belong to a group, they have to interact with others. A good icebreaker will guide club members to begin engaging with one another.
Typically a 4-H club might choose to conduct a brief icebreaker either before the meeting or immediately after roll call. This allows 4-H members to begin loosening up and talking with one another before they begin discussing the business of the meeting.
While icebreakers build comfort and trust among members, don’t force participation. While strong, yet kind encouragement is ok, sometimes a youth really just isn’t ready to participate. Respect this. It is quite likely that eventually they will feel comfortable enough to join in if they are allowed to do so at their own pace.
Check out the following sources of icebreakers:
- Wilderdom Icebreakers
- Illinois 4-H: Icebreakers and Games
- California 4-H Volunteer Cafe: Icebreakers and Energizer (Note: You can even share your favorite icebreakers with others on this site).
- Michigan 4-H: Group Building Ideas for 4-H Club and Group Meetings
What’s your favorite icebreaker? Share with us in the comment section below!