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Community Nights and Icebreakers


This week we’ve welcomed a new volunteer into Casa San Salvador, which means it’s time for a community night!

Domestic Volunteers tend to have one community night per a week following a community meal. Community nights can be spiritual exercises/discussions, social justice awareness activities, a special event in D.C., or just watching a movie. But this week community night is going to be a little different. With a new volunteer there is much to learn about each other, so out come the bonding, get-to-know-you games that are popular with youth groups and college orientations.

These kinds of games help intentional communities (for example: volunteer houses) build trust, communication, and relationships between community members. Ice breakers can be humorous and break tension in unknown or unfamiliar situations.

At Casa San Salvador, volunteers are rotating in and out of the house several times a year. This type of game can help new members feel the vibe of the house and adjust to their new environment. Try your hand at these house favorites:

Guess the Fact
writing utensils
large bowl

Give each person in the group the same amount of small pieces of paper (3 to 5 depending on how small/large the group is). Everyone writes one unique fact about themselves on each piece of paper. Facts need to be kept secret for now and do not write your name on the facts.
Bad examples of facts – “My hair is brown”, “I have two siblings”, etc
Good examples of facts – “I was born with a different hair/eye color”, “In middle school I attempted a Houdini trick in the bathtub,” etc.

When everyone has written their facts, have them put their pieces of paper into a common bowl. Shake the bowl a bit to mix up the facts. One person starts by drawing a piece of paper out of the bowl and reads it out loud. Everyone, including the reader, can guess who the fact might be about. Once the fact is identified (hopefully the writer will share a good story!) the bowl is passed on to the next person in the circle, who then picks out another fact and the process repeats until all the facts are gone.

When I Was…
List of questions – a copy for each person.

This game focuses on the history and experiences of the people in your community, helping the group get to know each others’ backgrounds and where they come from.  Answers to questions will be based on a specific age.

Before the game, come up with a list of questions for your group to reflect on.
Sample Questions – 

  1. What did you want to be?
  2. Where were you?
  3. Who was your best friend?
  4. How did you celebrate your favorite holiday?
  5. What was your hardest challenge?
  6. What’s a memory you will never forget?
  7. What was your biggest fear?
  8. Who did you admire the most?
  9. Where did you go to hide?
  10. What was your favorite place?

To start the game, hand out a copy of the questions to each member of the group.  Then, as a group, pick an age (examples: 10-years-old, 13-years-old,  20-years-old, etc).  Go through the questions one by one, letting each person have a chance to answer each question according to the age decided upon.

Example: “When I was 10, I wanted to be Robin Hood.” “When I was 14 my biggest fear was the bathtub, after I attempted a Houdini trick in it.”

The idea is not to rush through the list of questions, but encourage people to tell stories and share details about themselves.

Do you have any community game favorites? Comment below with some suggestions we can try out next time!

If you are interested in joining our volunteer community visit our website!

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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