9 Digital Icebreakers for Virtual Girl Scout Meetings
An icebreaker in a Girl Scout meeting can do wonders to help your girls build friendships and gain confidence. Even if you are running your troop meetings virtually, icebreakers allow your girls to digitally connect with each other in fun, sometime silly and sometimes meaningful ways. No matter the age, whether your girls are meeting for the first time or are already BFFs, a well-placed, well-planned online icebreaker game can go a long way on the virtual landscape.
Pre-Game Plan: Tips for Successful Online Icebreakers
You are ready to break some Girl Scout ice, but wait! The ice cannot break unless the girls know that they are in a safe space to let down their hair. In addition, on-screen interactions bring their own challenges to building connection.
Before you kick off your virtual icebreaker game:
· Check that each girl understands how to use the video meeting platform. Everyone has different comfort levels and experience with technology and video meeting platforms. Before you start, ask girls to check their mic to make sure the audio works and give a rundown on some video meeting basics, like how to mute themselves, turn on their camera, or use the chat.
· Set troop rules. Share guidelines about the icebreaker time before you start, like how much time the game will take or how much time each girl can speak. You can set boundaries by time (“Each person will get one minute to speak”) or length (“Everyone should answer in three sentences or less”). Remind the girls that everyone gets a chance to speak. You can even request that girls mute themselves if another girl is speaking.
· Communicate with caregivers. If girls will need to go around the house or to use specific household items during the online icebreaker, communicate with your Girl Scout families beforehand on what to expect. A quick heads up can go a long way for adult peace of mind!
· Take advantage of the virtual landscape. What are some things that you can uniquely do online that you could not if everyone was at the same place? Embrace the difference and explore!
During the icebreaker:
· Keep icebreakers optional. Not every girl will want to participate in each troop-meeting icebreaker, and that is totally fine! Encourage them to take part in the icebreaker, but don’t force them to if they aren’t comfortable.
· Don’t interrupt. Unless they are breaking the agreed to troop rules or time limits, give girls the space and freedom to express themselves. Remember, the icebreaker lets them voice their opinions to their Girl Scout sisters and build their comfort with digital communication tools.
· Embrace conversational silence. Your girls might need time to think of their responses before they feel ready to speak up. Trying to fill the silence with banter or questions might discourage them from sharing.
Pro-Tip: Try playing some music that is both non-obtrusive and sets the mood for the icebreaker!
· Keep an eye on whether they are engaged or not. Some girls will jump right in and some girls need a little more encouragement. Keep an eye on any cues that girls are disengaged, uninterested, or having trouble joining in and gently find ways to include them. If the issue continues, check-in with their parents and caregivers if there are ways to better engage with them.
Ideas for Online Icebreaker Games and Activities
Digital Show and Tell
The classic “get to know you” with a virtual spin! Ask your Girl Scouts to bring something important to them to a troop meeting and talk about it. Some prompts you can give include:
· “Show an item that has sentimental value.”
· “Show something that you couldn’t live without.”
· (For older girls) “Show a new skill or life hack you’ve learned in the last couple of months.”
Pro-tip: If your girls are shy to share, try doing “popcorn style” sharing where each girl “chooses, or “popcorns”, the person who will speak after her, instead of you choosing who goes next.
“How are you doing today?” Instead of answering with words, let girls pick an emoji that captures what they’re feeling right now and drop it into the video chat box.
Which emoji fits your Girl Scout mood?
Share a Significant Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words and offers a personal snapshot into girls’ lives. Girls can bring physical photos or you could ask the girls (and their caregivers) to digitally send you the pictures beforehand so that you can share all of them on your screen. If your girls are tech-savvy, you can make them co-hosts of the virtual meeting so that they can digitally share their photos on their own screens. Some themes you can try:
· An embarrassing photo of yourself
· A family portrait
· A picture from childhood
· A “classic you” snapshot
Virtual “I Spy”
For this icebreaker, ask all your girls to stay in one place. Then, have different girls choose an item from the screen, describe it, and see if other girls can guess it!
Two truths and a Lie
Give your girls a couple of minutes to think of three statements, two truths and one lie. Take turns letting a girl share her “two truths and a lie” and see if the others can figure out which one is the lie.
Pro-Tip: Create a PowerPoint or shared word document for girls to write their truths and lies so that they can just read them aloud.
If Only I Could… Then I Would…
Ask girls to complete each part of the sentence “If only I could____, then I would _____.” Let them get creative. Their statement can be meaningful or just silly—the sky is the limit!
Tour guide, “Work from Home” edition
Your girls are spread out… embrace it! Give girl’s two minutes each to show the rest of the troop around their house or introduce them to members of the household, including the furry four-legged ones.
Describe Yourself in a Tweet
How would you describe yourself in 280 characters or less? Encourage girls to also use trending or original hashtags.
Even if your Girl Scout meetings are online, your girls can still experience Girl Scout sisterhood by getting to know each other in lots of ways. The sky's the limit when it comes to meeting with your troop online!
What to do next
· Get a set of table topics to ask your girls different questions to get the conversation started.
· Are you trying to help that shy girl who keeps her camera off in meetings? Here are some tried and true tips to bring girls out of their shells (thanks to our Girl Scout sisters in Northern California!).
· Are you looking for other virtual Girl Scout activities? Check out GSUSA’s Girl Scouts at Home webpage for more resources.