One interesting way for a group to get to know each other is by seeing a place through each other’s eyes. This is particularly powerful if you are engaged in some kind of action or community service that is locally based. First, ask each person to answer the following questions in writing.

  • What is your favorite public place in your city or town? Describe it. How did you find it?
  • Why do you love it? What goes on there?
  • What place most inspires you?

Then, divide into groups of three and share your answers. Come back together as a group. Notice where the answers overlap and where they are different. You might also post a large map of your city or town and begin marking these places as people describe them. What can people learn about each other and about your community? If people are interested, suggest meeting for an afternoon to visit these spaces together.

Another variation on this: Ask each person in your group to choose a public place in your community that interests them or a place they’d like to change, and research its history using the following questions:

  • How old is this place? How did it come into being and why?
  • Who was instrumental in its creation or development?
  • For what was the space initially intended?
  • Who uses the space now, and for what? How is it maintained?

Come together to share what you’ve learned. If time allows, visit these places and do your “reports” onsite.

Claudia Horwitz in The Spiritual Activist