Written Activities (Longer)

Group Scrapbooks

Scrapbooks can be used in numerous ways. A group scrapbook is a great way to document what has happened during your volunteer group’s experiences together and can be duplicated so that each member of the group can have a copy. Group scrapbooks also provide a way for individuals to express their feelings to the group in a semi-private way through journaling or drawing activities that are added to the scrapbook. For this activity, just provide a scrapbook that will be with the group at all times. Tell participants that they are welcome to submit thoughts to it at any time. You can designate pages for specific topics, such as funny things people say or favourite memories, or you can instruct students to write whatever they are feeling.

Additional Option: Start a blog, social media group, or online scrapbook for your group, so that people can contribute between volunteer sessions. Note: be careful to ensure that the confidentiality of group members and the people at your volunteer placement is protected.

Personal Journal

Personal journals give participants a way to internally and privately process their experiences. Journals can be used in a group reflection by asking people to respond in writing to a specific question. For example, you could ask, “What long-term affect will our service have on this issue?” Give everyone ten minutes (or less) to respond in writing, noting that this is for their eyes only and they won’t be required to read it to the group. Afterwards, ask the group if anyone would like to share from what they wrote or the thoughts they had on the topic. Sharing should be voluntary. Group members can also write in their journals whenever they need some personal and informal reflection time.

Affirmation Envelopes

Have each group member decorate an envelope and put their name on it. Provide slips of paper and pens that people can use to write encouraging notes to leave in other people’s envelopes. This can be done whenever someone has a minute during the volunteer session or over several sessions. Some suggestions of what to write about can include positive qualities they’ve observed, good deeds they’ve witnessed, or simply encouraging someone for a job well done. Notes can be anonymous or signed. It is important to emphasize to the group that the envelopes are to be used for positive affirmations and never for anonymous criticism.