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A Feeling of Belonging

What does it feel like to belong to a group? What does it feel like when you are part of a group but you do not feel like you belong? Learn about the ideas of inclusion and exclusion and explore ways to help everyone to feel included.

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Plan

  • What does inclusion mean? What about exclusion?
  • If you aren’t sure what inclusion and exclusion mean, here are some definitions: inclusion means being part of a group with other people and being a welcomed member who belongs, without having to change things about yourself like your race, religion or abilities. Exclusion means being shut out of a group or not being welcomed to a group, often because of things about yourself that you cannot change. People may be excluded because of their race, religion, gender or anything else that makes them different.
  • How does it feel to be included? How does it feel to be excluded?
  • Is everyone included in Scouting? Is everyone included in Canada? Has this always been true?

Do

  • Give everyone a piece of paper and some drawing supplies.
  • Take five minutes to draw a picture of a time that you felt included in a group – this could be something that happened in Scouting, at school or in your community. As you draw, think about how it felt to be included.
  • Then, take five minutes to draw a picture of a time that you felt excluded or ignored. Like your picture of inclusion, this can be something that happened to you anywhere. Think about how it felt when you were excluded.
  • If you’re comfortable, share one of your drawings with the group. As people share, think about things that you have in common, like shared experiences or feelings. Think about things that are unique.
  • Keep in mind, that even when you have things in common, everyone’s experiences will be unique in some ways.
  • After you’ve talked about how it felt to be included and excluded watch the videos in the resources section. Were the people in the videos included or excluded? Does this change your answer to “is everyone included in Scouting” or “is everyone included in Canada?”

Review

  • How easy was it to remember a time that felt included or excluded?
  • Now that you’ve thought more about times that you were included and excluded, did your answers to the questions “how does it feel to be included?” and “how does it feel to be excluded?” change at all?
  • What are some of the different ways someone might feel excluded in your group? Do you know of any examples of people being excluded somewhere in Canada?
  • What actions can we take to make sure that no one feels excluded in our Group?
  • As Scouts, we have a lot of power – sometimes we exclude people or hurt their feelings by accident. This is why it’s so important to think about how we feel and learn about how others feel so that we can work to make sure that we are including everyone, rather than excluding anyone.

Keep it Simple

Brainstorm some words that describe how it feels to be included and to be excluded. Write these ideas down on a piece of paper that everyone can see. There is no right or wrong answer, since everyone might feel differently. Have everyone think of a time that they felt included or excluded from something – if people are comfortable, have them share. What can you do as a Section to make sure that everyone feels included?

Take it Further

  • Watch this video on the reclamation of nature by people of colour – think about why the outdoors might be inaccessible to some communities. How does this apply to Scouting? What can you take away from this and apply to your own Scouting experience and how you work to include others?
  • Throughout Canada’s history, there are many groups of people who have been excluded for many different reasons, like their race, religion, cultural background or their beliefs. February is Black History Month, which celebrates the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians. Don’t wait for February to come around - learn more about Black history in Canada and explore different contributions by Black Canadians throughout history. What does Black History Month have to do with inclusion or exclusion in Canadian history?