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Faith In Action: Choosing a Project
Activity time: 60 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Handout 1, Tree-Related Project Ideas
- Colored dot stickers or other stickers
Preparation for Activity
- Make copies of Handout 1 for the group to share.
Research local tree groups, for example:
- Trees Atlanta, dedicated to protecting Atlanta's urban forest through planting, conservation, and education
- Grow Boston Greener, whose goal is to increase the urban tree canopy cover in the city by planting 100,000 trees by 2020
- Friends of Trees in the Pacific Northwest
- Alliance for Community Trees, a vital and growing national movement to improve the environment and our communities, one tree at a time
- Write some examples of local groups or individuals whose work connects with trees on several pieces of newsprint, leaving room for participants to add examples.
- Post blank newsprint for ideas and for voting.
- Optional: Locate someone in your congregation who is knowledgeable about trees, and invite them to share information about possible projects. Or, if your congregation participates in the UUA's Green Sanctuary Program, invite members of that committee or team to help with this activity.
Description of Activity
This first Faith in Action activity introduces the components of a project and offers several possibilities that participants may choose from.
To begin, explain that Faith in Action projects help participants of all ages build skills of identifying, planning, executing, and reflecting on service projects. The program assumes that Faith in Action projects take place outside of the workshop time. Depending on the project chosen, they may be short-term projects or longer-term projects that span several weeks.
An action project starts with identifying a need. Explain that the group will create and carry out one or more Faith in Action projects related to trees over the course of the program. Share the examples of local groups or individuals whose work connects with trees that you've listed on the newsprint. Invite participants to share any tree-related projects they have participated in and record these on newsprint.
Distribute Handout 1, Tree-Related Project Ideas, and give participants time to look it over. Ask participants to brainstorm ideas for projects they would be interested in doing. Write all suggestions on newsprint, including any ideas you might have.
Give each participant three dot stickers. Ask them to vote for the suggestions they like best, using their dots. They may put all three dots on one idea or distribute them among several choices.
When voting is complete, identify the three ideas that got the most votes.
Discuss with the group what it would take to successfully complete each of the "top three" projects:
- What would be involved?
- What resources would we need?
- What partners would we need?
- How much time would it take, and when could you personally work on it?
- What might you learn?
When you have discussed each "top three" idea, give each participant one more dot sticker and have them place their dot by the project they prefer. The project with the most votes will be the Faith in Action project you start with.
Explain that in subsequent Faith in Action workshops, the group will plan this project, do it, and then reflect on the project. The cycle can then be repeated, as they choose other projects related to trees.
Including All Participants
Throughout the project, be sure to make room for contributions from people of all ages and ability levels.