A2. Solar Mind map & Letter to Myself
Type of Activity:
❑ Peer Mentoring
Relevant pillar: Pillar 7. Self-determination and autonomy and teenagers’ development
Social & Civic
Learning to Learn
Cultural Awareness & Expression
Sense of Initiative & Entrepreneurship
Exercise 1. Solar Mind map
Brief the participants: Explain the solar map concept, and ask them to do a series of mind maps where they write down who they perceive themselves to be in various areas of life. Spend a few minutes on each of the following mind map topics:
- Relationships – List all the different relationship roles that they have, such as brother, son, grandson, nephew, best friend, student, roommate, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.
- Cultural – List cultural aspects of their life like religion / faith, ethnicity, language, nationality, etc.
- Likes – List their favorite activities, hobbies, music, sports, TV shows, etc.
- Hopes and interests – List things that they want to do in the future, such as jobs, how many kids they want, going skydiving, etc., and list of things they would like to learn, such as playing a musical instrument, playing chess, etc.
- Competences and valuable characteristics – List of strengths and things they are really good at, and which they could teach/ help someone else with.
Give each of your participants several sheets of paper and a pen and have them write “Who am I?” in the center of each of the pages. From the central “Who am I” section the mentees can connect the different areas of their life discussed in step1. They can also do a series of mind maps where they write down how they perceive themselves to be in various areas of life.
Sharing and discussing
With their mind maps in hand, have them go around the room and discuss who they are, how they see themselves and how other young people done their solar maps. Who do they have most in common with? Are they surprised by what they find?
Celebrating differences and common grounds
The similarities will help your participants recognize common ground, but also reassure themselves and reinforce both their individual and collective identity. If any mentee discovers that he/she doesn’t have much in common with each other, celebrate the differences with them too, as it means the group is more diverse, and enhance that they could learn with each other, and help each other overcome different challenges.
Your more creative participants might prefer to visualize the topics rather than simply writing their answers down. Therefore, have colored pens or pencils on hand so that they can draw /sketch / doodle their answers instead. In larger groups, you can follow the same logic and split them into smaller work groups.
Exercise 2. Letter to Myself
This is a closing activity. Hand out pens and postcards/writing paper. Explain that they are going to write a letter to their future selves, and that this will help them apply their insights and learnings from the workshop/program.
Tell them that you will post the card/letters in 4 months, and that they should take that into account when writing them. You can adjust the timeframe with the group.
An advice to the future
Write the focus questions on a flipchart/whiteboard. These can either be defined by you, or through discussion with the group. For example:
- What will I achieve by X date?
- What will I do tomorrow, next week, next month?
- How do I feel now about my future perspectives? And how do I want my future self to feel?
- Don’t forget…
- I want to change… because…
Give them 15-20 min to complete their cards/letters. More if they need time and you are flexible.
Mailbox on the way
Collect the cards/letters, put them in a safe place, and post them on the agreed date.
This exercise can be as open or closed as you think is appropriate. You could restrict them to three bullet point actions that they need to follow up on. Or you could give them the freedom to write whatever they want to themselves. Assess/evaluate the needs of the group and adapt the activity accordingly.