Peacebuilder’s Backpack: People to People

People to People

By: Nettie Pardue | clock-icon 10 minutes | people-icon 20 people – unlimited  | Icebreaker / Warm Up and Movement


This popular icebreaker is also referred to Human Twister in some experiential learning circles. I first learned this activity 20 years ago when I  began to facilitate experiential learning and team building programs.  It is still one of my favorite activities when working with large groups.  We think it is a great activity to use within peacebuilding programs because the name People to People symbolizes diverse groups coming together. It is fun and evokes positive energy with diverse groups without any competition.

 LEARNING GOALS

  • To energize and lighten atmosphere
  • To introduce group members to each other
  • To have fun

 SET UP & FACILITATOR INSTRUCTIONS


The purpose of the activity is to energize participants, break the ice, introduce participants to one another and to have fun!

1. Ask Participants to create a large circle.

2. Position yourself in the middle of the circle to address the group.

3. Ask participants to stand next to another person as their partner to form a pair.  Each person should introduce themselves to their partner. Make sure everyone has a partner. If there is an uneven number invite the extra person into the circle with you. They will become the first caller and the facilitator will not participate.  If numbers are even, then the facilitator can engage in the activity.

3. The facilitator describes that the” Goal of the activity is for the person in the center to get out of the center and find a new partner. ” The person without a partner becomes the caller in the middle of the circle. The caller will describe various combinations to the pairs:  a) Hand to Hand – one person will put one of their hands to their partners hand. b) Foot to knee – one person will put one foot to a knee. c) Finger to head – one person will put a finger to their partners head. After each combination is described by the caller the pair must maintain the position until the caller YELLS  “People to People.” At that time everyone walks very quickly into the circle and finds a new partner. The person without a partner becomes the new caller. The above combinations are just one example of what the caller can state. Each caller will come up with their own actions.

4. The activity continues with a new caller entering each time the caller YELLS” People to People.” 

Facilitator Notes:

– If you have a highly sensitive group (ex: mixed male and female groups, religious leaders or those who have experienced traumatic events) choose carefully about how you frame and deliver this activity. It can be a wonderful activity for groups, but not for groups if touch is a sensitive issue. I have also seen it work very well with sensitive groups.

– When you are addressing the group, move around and address all sides of the circle. The facilitators back should not be to one side of the circle for an extended period. Proper framing and trust building from the facilitator can lead to success in this activity and many other activities with groups unfamiliar to experiential activities.

– It’s important that the facilitator has high energy and believes in the fun in this activity. There might be resistance to a silly activity, however most groups really get into this.

– Remind people to be respectful on their partner. They should introduce themselves  Ask their partner first before they touch

– If the caller makes an inappropriate request of the group, the facilitator can call off the activity. I have never seen adult groups become  inappropriate if it is framed properly.

– 3-5 new callers or rounds is usually sufficient for this activity.

DEBRIEFING


Suggested Type of Debrief:  Popcorn style (calling on participants as they are moved to speak)

Ideas for Debriefing Questions

No debrief is needed on this activity.

 

Materials:

No materials needed. A large space is needed for this activity based on the group’s size.

Resources:

– What is Experiential Learning?
–  Association for Experiential Education
– David Kolb on Experiential Learning
– Association for Challenge Course Technology
– Association for Experiential Education
– Teamwork & Teamplay
– Outward Bound International
– Project Adventure – Store

 

The blog is designed for educators, trainers and facilitators to support experiential peacebuilding practices throughout the world.  It can be applicable for other practioners who are doing group development and leadership work, though we try to frame the activities in a context for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Many of these activities have been modified and developed over time. We want to recognize and give credit to the experiential educators and peacebuilders who have impacted and inspired our work.  We try to give credit for each activity that we use and identify the source for inspiration. 

If you like this blog, have feedback or additional ideas, please comment below or email us at nettie.pardue[at]outwardboundpeace.org. Find us at outwardboundpeace.org or on Facebook.