Last year (2011-2012), our Pathfinders spent most of October/November working on the Girls For Safer Communities project. We learned about leadership, we talked about what made us feel safe and unsafe, we did a safety audit of the area around our school, and even wrote a letter to the Principal to share our findings.
Some of the questions and discussions that came from these activities led us in a different direction. We decided to spend the next few meetings working on the “Say No to Violence” crest. So we spent a few meetings doing activities from the Pathfinder Instant meetings, and then planned to attend the Dec. 6th Vigil at the University (more on that here).
One of the most successful meetings we had was one where we explored the differences between Healthy, Unhealthy and Abusive relationships. Many of the girls are getting to the age where they’re starting to date (or at least think about it), so it was really good timing. All of these activities are adapted from the Instant Meetings document available here (Memberzone Login required).
1. First we had a discussion about relationships, what they were, and what the differences between Healthy/Unhealthy/Abusive relationships might be.
2. Then we passed out a stack of statements, that the girls then sorted under large “True”/”False” signs that we had posted on the wall before the meeting started. We printed multiple copies of TrueFalse Healthy Relationships so that each of the girls had about 5 or 6 different statements to sort. Then we went through the answers (TrueFalse Healthy Relationships answers) together!
3. Next, on another wall, we posted “Healthy”, “Unhealthy” and “Abusive” signs. Again, we printed multiple copies of HealthyUnhealthyAbusive relationship scenarios, so that each of the girls got a handful of different ones. Each girl read their scenarios and decided individually whether they thought that they were Healthy, Unhealthy or Abusive and taped them on the wall under the appropriate sign. Then as a group, we went through and read over the different scenarios and discussed them (and what we might do if we were in that situation)
4. Finally, for the last part of the meeting, the girls divided into groups of three, and each team was given a Healthy Relationships Scenario to act out. They took about 10 min to plan their skit and then performed it for the whole group. After each skit we did a quick debrief to talk about how the characters handled the situations and other ways they could have dealt with them. We also talked about what we could do to help friends if they were in the same situation.
It was a great meeting, and while there were some (typically considered) “uncomfortable” topics like sex, sexual harassment, rape, etc., we had some great feedback from the parents. We had let them know ahead of time so that they could let us know if they had any concerns or wanted to keep their daughter home, but everybody agreed it was a great thing to talk about, especially in the safe and comfortable environment of Pathfinders.