Looking for a way to get together with your scouts over the summer? Have a group of friends you’d like to visit with and do more than talk? This badge will help you find or create activities for you to enjoy as a group.
Before determining activities, start with your participants. You’ll need to take the following into account for your activities — the number of people you are anticipating, age, abilities, money and time available. You want to make sure you can accomplish your activities.
2. Apart or together.
Are you having difficulty selecting a date? Perhaps you can set up more than one date / time to do the activity. You could also set up an activity where everyone does it on their own and then shares their completed projects or experiences.
Keep in mind the amount of money you have to spend. Free activities may get you more participants, but you may find that you’re limited in what you do. Alternatively, if everyone pays their own way, you’ll have more freedom in planning but less people attending.
4. Online gathering.
Create a place or process online to keep everyone informed. This might be as simple as an email list. Planning a lot of activities? Try starting a group on Yahoo!, Google or Facebook. It might seem like a lot of work for an activity, but if you have an emergency, need additional items, etc. you’ll be glad this is in place.
5. Starting point.
For a list of ideas to get everyone thinking more about activities than places, check out the Adult Enrichment Project supplement “Cooperative Activity Ideas.”
6. Explore local venues.
What places / venues are available locally that you can visit? Research and create a list. If your local venues provide activities as well, add those to your list. For example, going to a restaurant for lunch is different than going to a restaurant and being allowed to go in the back and make your own pizza.
If your participants are old enough, ask them to create a list as well. They may have access to people and places you do not.
7. Special events.
Does your area host an art show? Do they have a special festival you can attend together? Is there a concert with a band you’ve heard is really good? Do you want to go see a baseball game? These special events may give you something that is low-cost or expensive to do. Someone else is doing the planning and all you have to do is attend. Find if there are any special events happening that you’d like to add to your possibilities list.
8. Special trips.
Think beyond local. Is there a museum you’ve wanted to attend? Want to check out a campground? Do it as a special trip. Doing it as a group can make it more fun and you’ll be less likely to “put it off until I have time.” List any special trips you’d like to take.
9. Stay at home.
Sometimes, you’ll want to stay at home. Cookouts, craft days and other activities can be accomplished without going anywhere. Sometimes it’s easier to bring everyone to you than take everything you need elsewhere.
NOTE: If you are doing this as a part of an official group, like Girl Scouts, make sure you have met all requirements of the organization.
10. Do your own thing.
You may find you don’t care for what’s available. Try creating your own activity from ones you have enjoyed in the past. You also might find one online that you want to try. Don’t be limited by what others are doing.
11. Gather the research.
Gather everyone’s ideas and create a master list. Keep the full list for reference.
12. Narrow it down.
Mark off the ones that are not feasible. On every activity list I’ve asked the girls to make, Disney always ends up on there and it immediately gets marked off.
Now all your activities are feasible. Ask everyone to select their top activities. You may want to limit each person to 2 or 3. Take your list down to a reasonable amount for the age of your participants. Younger kids will want to do everything, so they need a shorter list. Older participants will be more picky (and busy) so keep your choices open. You may even end up doing more events for older participants with other people organizing them to make sure everyone gets a chance to participate.
13. Decide together.
Allow everyone to decide by voting. For younger kids, I’ve found that putting their heads down and raising their hands works well. They are more likely to choose the things they want to do than what their friends want to do. You can also have everyone write down their choices and make a list of the most popular activity ideas.
14. Calendars at the ready.
Summers are a very busy time. Kid activities, summer school, vacations, camp and more all need to be added into the calendars. Ask everyone to bring their calendars so you can determine the dates that work for everyone (or the greatest number of people). Choose dates and alternative dates for each activity.
15. Added activities.
Sometimes you’ll want to add activities. It gives you a reason beyond “going somewhere.” Think of how you can add activities to make it more fun.
For example, going to a park can be fun for the kids. However, add a shape hunt for younger kids. Older kids might have fun identifying plants, trees and flowers. Adding Frisbees or other toys can also change a normal “ho-hum” activity into something everyone will enjoy.
16. Go do it!
Have fun with your chosen activity.
- List of cooperative activities to get you started.
Sites to Explore
Download a PDF version of this badge program here > AEP_CooperativeActivities