Force the circle

Section: Cub Scouts, Scouts/Guides, Rovers
Time: 40 minutes
Number: 6 to 8 people per circle
Type: Indoors or outdoors

Spiritual development objectives:

  • Develop one’s value system through the experience of belonging to a majority or to a minority
  • Get to know oneself better through analysing the strategies that we use in order to be accepted by the majority.
  • Be aware of the times when we appreciate being part of the majority and when we prefer to be part of the minority.

Activity guidelines

Divide the participants into groups of 6 to 8 people.

Ask each group to designate an observer and an outsider.

Ask the members of the groups to stand shoulder to shoulder in order to form a closed circle.

Explain that the outsider needs to try to enter the circle whilst the others try to prevent him from doing so.

Ask the observer to take note on the strategies used by the outsider and by those in the circle. The observer will also be asked to time the activity.

You can give some concrete instructions to the observer:

    “What were the participants forming the circle saying to each other and what did they say to the outsider?”

    “What did the participants of the circle do to prevent the outsider from entering?”

    “What did the outsider say?”

    “What did the outsider do?”

After 2 or 3 minutes, whatever the outcome of the outsider’s attempt, ask two other participants to play the roles of the observer and the outsider.

The activity ends when all participants wishing to try to force the circle have been able to give it a go.

Please make sure that the participants do not adopt an aggressive behaviour.

At the end of the game, gather all participants to ask them about what happened and what they think about it. You can ask them how they felt in the role as a member of the circle or as an outsider, if those who managed to force the circle feel different from those who did not.

You can ask the observers to talk about the various strategies used by the outsiders, and those used by the members of the circle to stop the outsider.Afterwards, you can ask the participants to say when, in real life, they like being an outsider or being part of the minority and when do they prefer to be part of the majority. Also discuss which are the strongest groups and the weakest groups in our society?

In our society, the circle can represent privileges, money, power, work or accommodation. Which strategies do outsiders have to use in order to gain access to these resources? How does the majority manage to preserve its status


If there are enough participants to form several groups, you can ask these groups to name themselves. This will reinforce the feeling of identity within the groups.

Follow up suggestion

Ask the participants to think about how they could become more aware of their own behaviour which can involuntarily lead to the exclusion of others. They could reflect on the following questions:

   “Is our section a true reflection of this area’s population?”

    “If not, how did we get to this situation?”

    “How could we welcome others?”

The leaders can encourage young people to propose concrete ways of welcoming more young people.





Some paper and a watch


AnimerSpi - Scouts et Guides Pluralistes de Belgique

BRANDER P. et al., Educational kit All different All equal Education pack: ideas, resources, methods and activities for informal intercultural education with young people and adults, Strasburg : European Youth Centre, 1995 (© Council of Europe)