Leadership Inspirations Activities

Cross The Line

Participants silently explore topics of diversity by crossing a line to share their experiences and identities

Duration

20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity, Bonding Activity

Materials

None

 

SUMMARY

This simple yet powerful activity helps group to recognize and acknowledge shared experiences as well as differences between the individuals on their team. It can be used to share a groups hopes and fears, levels of diversity, privilege and more. This is a higher risk activity that should be led with openness and intentionally.

 

SET UP

  •  Establish ground rules with the group before beginning this activity
    • This activity will be completed in silence – no talking, giggling etc. Silence will help to create a safe space that allows the group to participate fully.
    • Respect everyone in the room and maintain confidentiality of what is shared by others.
    • There are no right or wrong answers.
    • Share only what is comfortable.
    • Give participants a way to safely exit the activity if they become uncomfortable. Challenge them to step outside their comfort zones and trust the group but don’t force them into the danger zone.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Gather participants in one straight line or together in a circle standing shoulder to shoulder.
  • This activity consists of the facilitator reading different statements and individuals responding based on their own personal experiences and identities.
    • If the statement applies to them or they agree with the statement they will step forward and ‘cross the line’.
    • If the statement does not apply to them or they disagree with the statement they will stay in place.
    • You may have participants ‘cross the line’ if they agree to the ground rules and would like to participate as a way to start the activity.
  • The statements that you choose will depend on the levels of diversity that you would like to address – for example inclusion and belonging within your group or exploration of personal identity formation.
  • This activity should include a variety of low to high risk questions.
  • Here are some sample statements. “Cross the line if…”:
    • You are from California
    • You like dogs more than cats
    • You are an only child
    • You have traveled out of the country
    • You are excited to be a part of this organization
    • You are nervous about your new role
    • You speak more than one language
    • You are the first person in your family to go to college
    • You have had a member of your immediate family pass away
    • You have experienced loneliness or isolation
    • You have ever felt discriminated against
    • You have ever judged someone for their differences
  • After each question, pause to give the group time to look around and reflect quietly before resetting for the next question.
  • Safety: Set the tone and enforce the ground rules to keep your group’s experience inclusive and supportive throughout this activity.

VARIATIONS

  • Instead of having the group reset after each question have participants continue to move across the room as they respond to statements. This can provide a striking visual for discussions on topics like privilege.
  • You can lead this activity so that participants can remain anonymous. Have participants respond to your questions on a worksheet or piece of paper before beginning the activity. Make sure that they don’t put their name on the paper. Collect their answers, mix them up and pass them back out. It doesn’t matter if someone gets their own piece of paper back, they don’t need to tell anyone. When participants ‘cross the line’ they will do so according to the answers given to them.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

lnclusion & Involvement

  • What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
  • What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
  • Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?