Improv Games With Friends Forever International 

Last Wednesday, AIR teens and alumnae teamed up with our community partner, Friends Forever International, to play fun improv games on Zoom! 

Facilitated by two FFI alums, Shira and Robyn, this workshop was an opportunity to have fun and get creative in a non judgemental space with young people from around the world. 

Since improv can sometimes feel scary and vulnerable, Robyn prefaced our activities by offering a few of FFI’s guidelines for communication, to help us all feel secure and respected. We wanted to share them with you here, because they complement AIR’s own guidelines for creating a safe and inclusive space for participants to try new things, take healthy risks, and share creativity with others: 

  • Stepping Up and Stepping Down—  We can be leaders in our conversations by choosing to step up and step forward to speak and participate more, but also by choosing to step back for others to lead and share.
  • Respectful Listening—  This is the idea that you’re listening to understand someone better, not necessarily listening so we can respond to them. It’s listening fully and trying our best to understand each other. 
  • If you’re feeling nervous, it’s ok to take a moment and a deep breath before speaking.
  • Bear in mind this statement– “The more I hear you, the more you can hear me, and the more we’ll hear each other, the more safe we’ll feel in this group.”

Once our safe space was established, we leapt into some improvisation! Hilarity ensued as Shira and Robyn led us through three games:

Volcano This game was all about energy! Played popcorn-style (meaning each player chooses the next person to continue the activity), each actor chose an object and our group had to take the shape of that object. Examples of objects included broccoli, a watch, blender, and a pencil case- which our group found particularly challenging! 

Guess What?– Attendees were grouped into pairs and trios and private messaged a scenario from facilitators. Using improv, each team had to bring the scenario to life for our group to guess. This was the first time AIR engaged in improv scene work on Zoom, and it was so exciting! 

Multi-thingy 2020–  An innovative FFI original! Our mission for this game was to choose a nearby object and “sell” it to our group by devising as many possible uses for the items as we could in less than a minute. 

After our games, we had an opportunity to reflect on how improv skills can translate to and help us in everyday life. The principles of improv help with public speaking and instill a confidence that you’ll be able to handle situations when they don’t go as planned. They help you in developing critical and creative thinking, and provide an opportunity to exercise imagination and humor. Improv scene work, with its spontaneity and dependence on partners, helps you practice active listening skills. 

We’re so grateful to FFI for this opportunity to laugh, meet new people, and to continue our longstanding tradition of summer collaborations. Not only did Robyn and Shira lead us through a fun and meaningful improv workshop, but they showed an interest in our virtual adaptations beforehand, and thoughtfully blended some of AIR’s own rituals of sharing pronouns and closing with a group cheer into the session. 

This event was offered as part of AIR’s Wednesday Workshop series, which provides one-time, fun, and skill-based opportunities to participants. Our next workshop will be “Share Your Ideas with AIR!” on Wednesday 9/2 from 5-6:30 on Zoom. This open discussion for AIR teens and alumnae is an opportunity to voice your experience in our online programs and offer feedback for improvement. Want to stay informed about upcoming workshops? Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook

About Friends Forever International— FFI is a nonprofit organization that brings together youth from around the world for community and team building. Their programs foster leadership skills to catalyze positive change at home and abroad, and instill the belief that friendship is possible despite borders and differences. AIR is proud to be a community partner of FFI in a shared mission to empower youth.

Our group imitates “a wristwatch” during Volcano

“Pencil Case” was particularly challenging to imitate

FFI alumna, Diamando, sells a candle during Multi-thingy 2020

AIR alumna, Aiyana, “stepped up” to lead closing group cheer