Leadership Inspirations Activities

Secondhand Stories

Adapt to changes while writing a creative or funny story


30-45 minutes

Team Stage


Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity


Paper, Pens Or Pencils



This activity helps to show that change can be a good thing by asking participants to develop a story that creatively incorporates whatever elements the facilitator suggests to them.



  • Break into smaller groups of 3-4 people each.


  • Tell participants that they have 20-30 minutes to construct a story. It must have a beginning, middle, end and a main character.
  • Throughout the exercise you will announce things that need be changed/added to their story.
  • Here are some suggestions that you can call out throughout the exercise, but you can also create your own:
    • Your story must include a beach
    • You cannot talk for 3 minutes
    • Add in an evil character
    • Change the name of your main character from this point forward
    • Create a title
    • Add a talking animal
    • Add your group’s favorite food
    • Make your school’s mascot a key character
    • Now everyone is on a pirate ship/in a jungle/in outer space
    • Change writers
    • Include a true story from one of your group members
    • Add a catastrophe
  • When time is up, have groups share their fun stories out loud.


  • Instead of writing a story, have groups draw a picture together in the Drawing Game.
  • Online: To do this activity virtually, you will need to connect small groups in breakout rooms or separate conference calls. Give them 10 minutes to complete the activity. Determine how you will announce changes – Zoom has a “Broadcast Message” feature that will connect to all breakout rooms, or you can use messaging apps or chat features in shared Google docs. Bring everyone back onto one call to share stories at the end of 10 minutes. 




  • 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?

Inclusion and 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?