Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Two-foot lengths of yarn or rope, at least two per participant
Preparation for Activity
- Plan an indoor or outdoor course for the group to walk which is safe and accessible for all participants, yet challenging for a cluster of people tied together. Make sure the group will not disturb worship or other activities on your route.
- Cut yarn or rope.
Description of Activity
Participants will need to cooperate with and support one another as the whole group negotiates a walk while all are tied to one another.
Gather the group in an open area and invite them to mingle, each person keeping about a foot of space around themselves. Then, ask everyone to stop. Distribute lengths of yarn or rope and help participants tie themselves to at least one other person, so that the whole group is connected. Ask participants to connect using a variety of body parts; for example, a leg to a leg, a waist to a waist, an arm to an arm. The final grouping should be a cluster, rather than a line. Make sure participants are not all facing in the same direction.
Once participants are tied together, ask them to be silent as you lead them on a walk you have planned. Assure them the walk will be safe and accessible for everyone, though it will offer some challenges for them to resolve without talking.
Begin the walk, staying ahead of the group. Give them the opportunity to negotiate their passage together through doorways, under or among playground equipment, around corners, up and down curbs, etc. Make sure the group proceeds slowly enough that all members are safe. Encourage those who can see where they are going to communicate with others who cannot. Help the group rotate as it goes along, so all members of the group have the chance to see where they must go and be leaders, as well as to be followers.
After the walk, help the group remove the ties. Lead them to reflect on the experience.
- What was difficult for the group?
- What was difficult for you, individually?
- What helped you as you went along?
- What parts were most fun?
- Which did you enjoy more, helping others to know where they were going or when others helped you?
- What would the exercise have been like if talking were allowed?
- How are we called as Unitarian Universalists to work together in community? How does this calling feel like being tied together?
Including All Participants
Make sure the walking route provides ample room for participants using crutches or wheelchairs to navigate safely while tied to others; make sure children are not tied in a way that unsafely hampers their individual mobility. A participant who may be claustrophobic or extremely uncomfortable being tied or touched can help you lead the group or follow behind, closing doors after the group passes through.