This exercise was posted to the Guide Mailing List by Susan Legault. I have used this activity numerous times with groups of kids who were having problems and have always had great results.

Create - from a large sheet of paper (or maybe a couple of large sheets taped together) - a girl. The girl should be typical of the age group you are working with. "Dress" her with markers and/or crayons and give her a name. Take "Josephine" to the next meeting and sit her in a chair. Once the meeting begins, introduce "Josephine" to all the girls - and say something nice about "Jo" and something - not bad, but - not so nice about "Jo". The introduction could go something like this, "Girls, I want you to meet my friend Josephine. We really have a lot of fun together, except that sometimes she has REALLY BAD breath." When you say this, rip off a piece of "Jo" - and don't make it a tiny piece. Then invite the rest of the girls to come up and do the same thing. The girls are to make negative comments about "Jo". They can be about her hair, her appearance, her clothing or about her personality - it doesn't matter. Each girl as they make the negative comment (try to make sure they don't get too negative/nasty), they rip off a piece of "Jo".

Once everyone has finished with their remarks - you can even invite them to do several - you go on to the next part of the "plan". You say, "OK girls - now that we've ripped Josephine apart - let's see if we can put her back together again." If the girls actually do put "Josie" back together again, you need to point out to them that "Josie" will never be the same - that she now has "scars" that could last her a lifetime. It really gives a very powerful message to all who participate in it. It will show the girls how destructive their behaviour can be. And, it should also create a bond (team building) amongst the girls. They should be able to see (you may have to facilitate a discussion about it) how their power - although in this case a negative power - can be pulled together - and that when channelled in a positive direction, they can accomplish anything!

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