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Activity: Build a Trophy

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  1. Practice working cooperatively as part of a team.
  2. Understand some of the challenges associated with teamwork.
  3. Recognize the value of leadership, communication and thinking creatively when building communities.
  4. Understand that everyone plays a role in community building.

Duration: 30 minutes


  • One roll masking tape per group
  • 25 to 50 drinking straws per group
  • One newspaper or newspaper section per group
  • One mini sports ball (football, basketball, etc.) per subgroup

"Community is much more than belonging to something; it's about doing something together that makes belonging matter." — Brian Solis


  1. Divide participants into groups of four to six. Provide the allotted materials to each group.
  2. Explain that each group's goal is to build the tallest sports trophy in the time provided (recommended duration: 15 minutes). To build the trophy they can only use the resources provided to the group. RISE recommends that tape is not adhered to floors or tables where the trophy is built to avoid damage.
  3. Inform participants that they have 15 minutes to build their trophy within their group. They are allowed to spend their time as they like.
  4. Ensure all groups understand the task and objectives and are ready before starting the timer. The team who has the tallest trophy at the end of the session with the sport's ball on the top will be declared the winner.
  5. Observe each group, question and encourage without intervening. Give time checks at the following points: 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 10 seconds, finish.
  6. At the end of the build time, determine the winner by measuring the trophies and announce the winner.
  7. Gather the groups together to discuss their experience using the following questions as a guide.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did each group approach the task?
  2. How much planning did they do (if any) before jumping into the task?
  3. What roles did people play?
  4. What worked in terms of building a solid structure and what slowed them down?
  5. What would they do differently next time?

Instruct participants to return to their groups and take two minutes to discuss their definition of community building. After two minutes bring the groups together to discussion their ideas.

Repeat the process of small group discussion with larger group debrief for the following set of questions.
  1. Why is a sense of community important?
  2. Why are communities important?
  3. How do you build or increase a sense of community?
  4. Describe the ideal community. What are the components (institutions, people and agencies)? What are the functions?
  5. What are challenges to building a community?
  6. What actions can be taken to build this community? What role could the following people play?
    • Youth
    • Officers
    • Coaches
    • Parents
    • Government officials
  7. Can community service help to build a community? If so, how? Encourage participants to share examples of their own community service activities.

As you begin to conclude the activity, stress the importance for us as human beings to belong to a community. As social beings we perform better and have an increased sense of self when we are a part of a community. It is important therefore to be an active part of the communities where we live, play and go to school.

Ask participants to share some of the ways belonging to a community can be beneficial. For example:

  • Provides us with inspiration and motivation.
  • Supports us with people in the community as mentors/role models.
  • Allows us to learn through others since there is a sharing of knowledge.
  • Expands the connections we have and allows us greater access to resources and opportunities.
  • Gives us increased opportunities to socialize, have fun and relax.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Teamwork is an important component of leadership, as it allows us to accomplish difficult tasks.
  2. Leadership and teamwork is not without challenges, good leaders are able to navigate these challenges.
  3. Building community requires everyone's effort and participation.

Next Steps: Take the following actions after completing the activity with your team.

  1. Share photos on social media and tag/mention RISE.
    • Facebook: @RISEtoWIN
    • Instagram: @RISEtoWIN
    • Twitter: @RISEtoWIN
    • Snapchat: @RISEtoWIN
  2. Discuss your experience with students, athletes, coaches, athletic department staff and other organization members. Identify ways you and your school/organization can help lead the way in improving race relations and driving social progress.


RISE welcomes feedback as we seek to continually improve our tools and resources. We encourage allparticipants to share their feedback by completing an online survey at bit.ly/risetools. Our Leadership &Education Programs team can be reached at education@RISEtoWIN.org.



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