Getting Started: Activity Suggestions for New Senior Partners
The primary responsibility of a Senior Partner is to share their own joy with their Junior Partner. Providing a Junior Partner with positive experiences and opportunities to explore new worlds can be achieved by simply taking him/her to somewhere other than school or their home and treating them with respect while you share your time together. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? While you may wonder how that could possibly be enough to help your new friend, such one-to-one time shared with a trusted adult is often a tremendous void the children on our waiting list seek to have filled.
The greatest challenge that many Senior Partners face is the struggle to keep things simple. Quite often the needs of a young person and their family may be of a magnitude far greater than one person, no matter how skilled they are, could even begin to meet. With that in mind, we suggest Senior Partners relax with their Junior Partners and remember that by keeping their role clear and simple, they can hold onto the task of having fun as a first priority. It is this attitude that more quickly builds trust and develops the strongest bonds between Partners.
By bringing a sense of joy and playfulness to a short afternoon outing, a Senior Partner can give no greater gift to his/her Junior Partner friend. Take a look at the suggested list below to see how easy this can be, and remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Ideas for the First Meeting
- Color, draw, or do a craft project together (with younger Junior Partners).
- Toss a Frisbee or play catch.
- Make popcorn and look at the WCP Activities Brochure together to plan future meetings.
- Play a few short rounds of Simon Says or some other simple game.
- Go for a short walk together.
- Write about something you love to do, or that you wish you could do in the very near future.
- Make puppets out of brown paper lunch bags, old socks, and other materials and act out simple stories or role play.
- Take a walk and try to make a map of a specific location.
- Make “fantasy maps” of places from your imagination.
- If your Junior Partner seems unable to focus or is overexcited, try saying, “I can see that you have a lot of energy today! What can I do that will help you enjoy your time with me?”
- Take a picture of yourselves to memorialize your day together as you embark on your new, fun-filled friendship.
- Make a list of all the ways you and your Junior Partner are similar, and ways you are different.
- Make a collage representing yourself and your cultural heritage.
- Cook an ethnic meal together.
- Read a book together about people in another culture.
- Talk to a foreign exchange student about their experiences in the U.S.
- Go to a Native American Pow Wow.
- Explore the Internet together.
- Go to a library to research something in which your Junior Partner is interested.
- Visit a civic group.
- Visit a college campus.
- Visit your local public TV station.
- Interview elders in your community.
- Take your Junior Partner to work places to stimulate thinking about careers.
Practice Life Skills
- Plan a trip on a map.
- Find a specific book in the library.
- Shop for food on a budget.
- Plan and prepare a meal together.
- Practice ordering in a restaurant.
- Open a savings account at a bank.
- Look at the classified ads.
- Practice a job interview.
- Practice phone etiquette.
- Visit a car dealer to research buying a car and write out all of the expenses of owning a car.
- Do laundry or iron a shirt.
- Learn how to knit.
- Learn how to sew.
- Do a simple carpentry project.
- Plan and plant a vegetable garden.
- Create a calendar on the computer.
- Write letters or thank you notes.
- Go apartment hunting.
- Fill up a car with gas and check the oil.
- Wash your car.
- Talk about preparing taxes.
- Talk about voting.
- Shop for school supplies.
- Practice sports together.
- Make a scrapbook or collage of your Partnership.
- Create a joint Partnership journal and take turns writing entries each week.
- Go on a scavenger hunt.
- Write a personal reflection.
Community Service Activities
- Walk dogs or play with cats at the humane society.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or assist with a local food drive.
- Participate in a town Green-Up Day
- Visit a nursing home or help with a Senior Luncheon.
- Participate in a charity run, walk, or bike-a-thon.
- Volunteer at RiverFest or another nonprofit event.
- Join a Community Gardening Program.
- Volunteer at a local thrift store, the COVER program, or at another local nonprofit.
- Co-write a letter to the editor about your partnership to encourage others to mentor, or write a thank you letter to one of our vendors as described below.
WCP Activity Booklet
Area businesses such as bowling alleys, skating rinks and museums continually donate free or regularly discounted admissions and services as well as coupons and gift certificates to assist PALS Partnerships in having fun together at low- or no-cost. These discounts and gifts provide Partnerships with a wealth of opportunities to share as a part of their weekly time together. They are listed in our Activities Booklet and also promoted in periodic activity e-mails. It is necessary to show your WCP membership card to take advantage of any of these offers.