Rise Up for Trees is adapted from the activity How Many Are Standing? (p. 35 in Everyone Wins! by Josette and Sambhava Luvmour, New Society Publishers, 2007). Team Up for Trees is adapted from a cooperative camp game.
Choose which game to use each time the group gathers. After the first workshop, invite participants of any age to help lead the activity.
Rise Up for Trees
The object is to always have four people rising at one time, no fewer and no more. To start, have everyone sit in a circle, then ask four people to Rise Up for Trees. "Rising" can mean standing up or, for those who must or prefer to remain seated, raising their arms; offer both options. Each person rising can remain up anywhere from one second to one minute—however long they estimate that to be. Ask participants to watch each other; as one person sits down (or lowers their arms), another should Rise Up for Trees so that there are always four people rising up for trees. Continue to have people Rise Up for Trees and sit down for about five minutes. This should take place in silence, although laughter sometimes emerges and is fun. Encourage everyone to get a chance to Rise Up for Trees at least a few times.
Team Up for Trees
The group sits in a circle. Tell participants that they will use their bodies together to create three trees: a Mighty Oak, a Weeping Willow, and a Bristlecone Pine. Each tree requires three people:
- To make a Mighty Oak, the middle person stands tall with their arms outstretched to the sky in a slight V shape. The people on the right and left put their backs to the middle person and stretch their arms out in a slight V shape—one arm parallel to the ground and one reaching toward the sky.
- To make a Weeping Willow, the person in the middle bends over with their arms curved to the ground. The people on the right and left put their backs to the middle person and bend over with their arms curved to the ground.
- To make a Bristlecone Pine, the person in the middle crosses and curves their arms overhead. The people on the right and left stand with their backs to the middle person, also crossing and curving their arms overhead.
Begin with one person in the center of the circle as the Pointer. The Pointer calls out one of the three tree names and points to someone in the circle. The person pointed to and the people on each side of that person must then create the tree (based on the instructions given earlier), while everyone else quietly counts down 5-4-3-2-1. If the team pointed to can make the tree within the count of 5, the Pointer chooses again. If they cannot make the tree within the count of 5, then the middle person becomes the Pointer.