Finding avenues in which participants can take on a leadership role is empowering to them and supports participants in their recovery. Be on the lookout for individual strengths and ways to utilize these to benefit the group. Ideas for peer leadership are noted throughout the manual, but here are some suggestions:
- Match participants up to be “activity buddies” who can support each other with reminders, or have a participant-leader take on this role, offering reminder phone calls to those who want them.
- Peer leaders may be helpful in gathering feedback and suggestions on how to improve the group. Participants may be more willing to share constructive feedback with peers, or report negative experiences to them. If a group member is willing to take on this role, let the group know and encourage participants to share their feedback. (Trained leaders can also conduct interviews and focus groups to get feedback about the group.)
- Ask if any group members are interested in selecting a route for a group walk. Have the participant describe the route, including terrain and difficulty, before the walk begins.
- Participants may be interested in leading warm-up or cool-down exercises, especially if the group follows the same format each week.
- Ask if participants are interested in maintaining the group bulletin board, or tracking group progress during a group challenge.
Peer leadership can support the leader’s recovery journey, as well as inspire other participants. Involving participants in leadership roles also helps contribute to the sustainability and success of your walking group.