Organizational and environmental factors such as staffing resources and skill sets, geographic location, and cultural environment will influence how your group develops. Your group will be most effective if it is tailored to meet the needs of your participants. Involving participants in planning and making changes to your group, as well as helping to develop the group’s “identity,” will encourage participants to feel ownership of the group.
Here are some tips for individualizing your group:
- Ask participants to suggest walking routes, or vote on the route your group will take.
- Create a bulletin board where you can display group accomplishments, news articles related to walking, or physical activity guidelines.
- Ask the group to suggest possible names for your group, and then vote on a winner.
- Look for peer leader opportunities. A participant may feel comfortable leading the group walk one day, or leading some aspect of the group, such as a stretch or a warm-up. A participant may also be interested in creating a schedule for your walking group, acting as a group spokesperson to connect with other people who may be interested in joining, or maintaining the bulletin board.