Lissa Ogden- Teens in Action Leader

OgdenAt Sunday’s workshop I grew nostalgic as I watched new students begin their Teens in Action journey, as I once did. Everyone filled the room with their excitement and bonded with new friends, as the leaders prepared for a day of new ideas and positivity. To start the class, we sat in a circle and practiced a deep breathing exercise which calmed some nerves, centering everyone before we began. We proceeded by reviewing the basics of Social and Emotional learning, and then stepped outside of our comfort zones with an icebreaker exercise where everyone shared a high five and a few moments of conversation with peers they hadn’t gotten to know yet. This was a fun way to get everyone to push past the awkwardness and begin to open up.

After that, 5 people’s names were chosen from a bag to be complimented. Each person stood in the middle of the circle and received verbal affirmations from classmates (which were then written down by a “scribe”). This activity was humorous but also very, very important. At first, each person seemed nervous and uncomfortable as they received their compliments, but as time went on, the hesitance melted away and the person would light up with confidence and joy as people would express their appreciations. This led to a presentation teaching the importance of our thinking habits/the way we think (metacognition and neuroplasticity). We discussed the impacts we have on ourselves, based solely on the way we perceive who we are along with other things daily. This showed us that we have a lot more control over the way we feel than we think we do. To wrap the day up, we all took a moment to acknowledge our attributes in a positive way by writing a “Love me! Love, me” note, where we all wrote ourselves a little reassuring self-love note. It was such an experience to watch my peers learn such important and powerful skills in such a lighthearted and fun manner. I reminisced, recalling my experience of the same workshop when I was a student… It’s funny to see how much I’ve grown in just one year. In all, it was a successful, memorable day which surely was a good kick off to the year!

To learn more about our Teens in Action program, click here.