Transforming Communities Through Inclusive Team Building Games

submitted by Katie Sayers

For the past couple of months, I have had the pleasure of working in the International Department at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, Canada. During the International Student Orientation that welcomed students from across the world to VIU, I seized an opportunity to practice Inclusive Leadership Skills in action!

The goals were for students to build a sense of community, make new friends and feel more at home at VIU and in the Vancouver Island community.

Through interactive workshops, games and a shared meal faculty, staff, students, and peer helpers all participated in building bridges, connecting across generations and cultures, and so many other differences.

My “Team Building Skills for Connecting with Differences” workshop honoured that the eight participants were from different backgrounds and cultures; students were from India, Japan, Saudia Arabia and Canada. Engaging in cooperative play and experiential learning was a great way to be curious about another’s culture, to learn from each other and have fun together, while making new friends in this new community and while learning a few of the key concepts for connecting with differences, such as: Relaxing, Daring to be different, Connecting with circles, Leaving out losing and Following the leaders behind us.

Explaining the guidelines of the game took a bit of patience and understanding as language differences required us to be creative of how we presented the games. The unifying part for me, was every single student would help their fellow student to understand the rules. Through gestures, demonstrations, checking for understanding and teamwork we were all able to enjoy the games and feel included in the fun.

The participants in the workshop embraced these skills for connecting with differences with enthusiasm, and even began building on their skills by inventing new possibilities for games that we could play as a group. Through a student’s suggestion that was embraced by all we played musical chairs to Punjabi music, and laughed the whole way through, as we cheered each other on!

Having facilitated this workshop a few times now, I see the transformative effect that Inclusive Team Building Games can have on a group, organization and ultimately a community, in a short amount of time! By encouraging communication, collaboration and curiosity, friendships are formed as understanding and appreciation for our differences are honored together.

This workshop is adaptable to your Organization, Business, School or Community Group’s needs and can cater to multi-generations. If you would like to learn more about how Inclusive Leadership Education can be offered at your next community event or Pro-D Day, please contact