Participants recognize the power of leadership in action. Start brainstorming issues in their own communities.


Todays Suggested Activities

  • Word of the Day
  • The Star Thrower
  • Is the Jar Full?
  • Organization Speaker
  • Community Strength
  • I Statements
  • Community Service Project


Materials needed for day

  • Room to move around
  • Jar or clear bottle
  • Rocks
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Ball of yarn
  • Small stuffed animal



  • Word of the Day- Conviction, Decisiveness
  • Star Thrower Story
  • I Messages



Week Two: Day One


Words of the Day



Time: 20 Minutes




Purpose: Each day there are two Words of the Day. These words have been carefully chosen as key elements of leadership characteristics.


Directions: Hand out the word of the day words: Conviction and Decisiveness. Ask participants to read each word of the day and the definition provided. Ask participants to describe in their own words what each word means. Have participants discuss how each word of the day relates to leadership and being a leader.


The Star Thrower

Time: 20 Minutes


Purpose: For participants to evaluate what is a leader and to realize the power of people working together.

Directions: Provide each participant with a copy of The Star Thrower. Ask a participant to read the story out loud.


Discuss the following questions

  • What would have happened if it had been not one but many people picking up the starfish?
  • What do you imagine would be the impact of many people working together?
  • Is this girl a leader? Why or why not?
  • How does this story relate to our community service project?


Is the Jar Full?

Time: 45 Minutes



Directions: Have materials on hand but out of sight. Set a wide-mouthed jar or clear glass container on a table in front of the group. Display a platter with rocks next to the jar.

Ask the group, How many of the rocks do you think will fit into the jar? Have a few participants come up to help put rocks in the jar until no more will fit.


Ask the group, Is the jar full? Everyone will most likely say yes.


Take out the gravel and pour it into the container, shaking it up to fill in the cracks. Again ask, Is the jar full? Probably not or maybe will be the reply.


Take out the sand and pour it into the container, shaking it up to fill in the cracks. Again ask, Is the jar full? By this time, the group should be yelling NO!


Take out a bottle of water and pour into the jar. Ask, Is the jar full? Tell the group, YES, now the jar is full!


Ask the group what the point of the activity was.

i.e., you can always fit more, you have to think positively.


Acknowledge all answers, but be sure they understand that the order the materials went into the jar was CRITICAL.


Ask participants the following questions:

  • How does this activity relate to our community service project?
  • What would happen if we do not plan in the right order?


I Statements

  How to Develop I Messages  

Time: 60 Minutes



Directions: Introduce the topic of verbal communication by reminding participants that effective communication consists of three components: listening, non-verbal communication and verbal communication.


Point out that participants can improve their ability to verbally communicate with others through the use of I statements.

- Four examples of I statements are I want to go home now, I feel hungry, I think that was a stupid movie, and I need to go more slowly.


Define the concept of I statements for participants, focusing on the following points:

- I statements are honest descriptions of what one wants, feels, thinks or needs.

- The use of I statements ensures individuals take personal responsibility for their own feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions to what others have said or done.

- I messages (I feel hurt because...) as opposed to you messages (You made me feel hurt...) help avoid conflict because they are non-blaming.

- The use of I messages helps increase the understanding and trust that can develop through communication between individuals.


Inform participants that I messages come in many forms. What all I statements have in common is that they:

- Start with the word I or the individual in some other way taking ownership of what is going to follow.

- Clearly describe what the speaker is thinking, feeling, needing or wanting.

- Provide the listener with information as to why the speaker is reacting in the manner they are.


Distribute How to Develop I Messages (handout) and discuss how participants can use the phrases provided to construct I statements of their own. Provide the following examples of each type of I message to ensure participants understand:

- I feel hurt when you dont return my telephone calls because I really value you as a friend.

- I feel fortunate to have you as a friend when you listen to how I feel because you really seem to understand me.

- I think something horrible might have happened to you when you dont come home on time because you know that 12 a.m. is a curfew everyone in our family agreed to honor.

- I think its terrible when you make fun of others because they are different than you.

- I want you to consider changing what youre planning to serve for lunch because I am a vegetarian.

- I want you to take out the garbage because you agreed to take care of that chore.

- I need you to explain that to me again because the first time you explained it you did it in a way that I did not understand.

- I need to know whether or not youre going to come with me to the movies because if you are not, Ill call someone else.


Ask participants to work in pairs with each participant completing the I statements on How to Develop I messages (handout)

- Suggest that in completing the statements, they think about real life situations they will be in this week and the I statements they would like to make in those situations.

- Ask participants to share their statements within their pairs. If necessary, assist each other in formulating I statements that follow the model given (stating ones own wants feelings, thoughts, and needs).


When all have had a chance to complete their statements, invite participants to share some of their statements with the group. Discuss how to re-word any statements that are not true I statements.

Have participants practice changing you messages into I messages.

Explain to participants that in many situations in which a conflict occurs, people tend to use you messages rather then I messages in describing the conflict.

- The use of you messages makes most listeners feel blamed. This often results in the listener feeling defensive, angry, ashamed or hurt. These feelings can interfere with resolving the conflict.

- Being able to develop I messages is, therefore, an extremely important communication skill for respectful, open communication and for dealing with conflicts.


Form small groups of 3 or 4 participants and distribute You and I messages (handout) to each participant. Ask one participant in each group to serve as the groups recorder.


Explain to participants that their task is to read each of the situations on the worksheet and brainstorm to develop I messages that would be appropriate to the situation.

- Demonstrate by using the example provided on the worksheet, turning it into an I message.

- Allow groups 10-15 minutes to complete the assigned task.


Bring the group back together as a large group. Use the following questions to initiate a discussion about the everyday use of these types of messages:

- How hard or easy was it to change you messages into I messages?

- What types of messages are likely to result in a conversation being cut short because one person gets angry or upset?

- Why do you think its important to include information about ones feelings in I messages and how might this help people to resolve an issue?

- Why might the use of I messages help people to resolve conflicts?

- Who do you know personally who is good at using I statements? What types of feelings do you experience after interacting with this person as opposed to individuals who do not use these types of statements?



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