I recently ran across an article about the “I Wish My Teacher Knew” index cards. A teacher in Denver, CO provided blank cards for her students to share anything they wanted her to know and it’s heartbreaking to read the things her students wrote.
It reminded me of my favorite Campaigners question:
Finish the sentence “If you REALLY knew me…”
Before you ask the question at Campaigners this week, I’d encourage you to pull aside a couple kids who are leaders in the group. Maybe even talk to them about it a couple days in advance to give them time to think. Give them a heads up that you’re going to ask that question during your next Campaigners time and encourage them to set the tone for the group early in the semester by being as vulnerable as possible. As the leader, you can set the tone too, but it’s different when a young person watches another one of their peers remove the mask.
If you’re a WyldLife leader, the index card idea might work even better than sharing out loud.
Another one of my favorite Campaigner traditions that helps kids be real is journal trading. It probably will work best with female groups, but I’ve actually done it with guys groups and some guys have loved it. You just buy one notebook/journal for each kid in your group and put their name on the front. Each week at Campaigners they bring it to you with real stuff written down in a letter format. As the leader, you respond in the same journal and write a letter back. You take the journal to club and hand it back to them to read what you wrote and give them another chance to write down more questions or share other issues before Campaigners the following week. Not everyone will do it, but it could open some beautiful doors to conversations with your middle, high school, or college friends.
If you need other ideas for Campaigners questions, check here: