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Why Apologize?

Why Apologize? A simple activity to help youth understand what an apology will and will not do.

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In Lodges/Lairs provide each youth with a piece of paper and a pencil/crayon. 


  • Ask the youth to quickly draw something that can represent where their feelings exist (a human/stick figure, a brain, a heart etc.) 
  • Now ask, “If someone else did or said something mean to you, how would that make you feel?” (Upset, sad, angry, bad…etc.) 
  • Have the youth crumple up their picture to represent how they’ve been affected. 
  • Ask, “Now if that same person were to apologize to you – what might that do?” (Make you feel a little better) 
  • Have the youth uncrumple their picture to represent the effect of an apology.  
  • Ask, “What do you notice about your picture?” (It still has some crumples/creases) 
  • Ask, “Why do you think that might be?” (i.e., still upset, but less; some of the damage is undone) 
  • “So, if we know that an apology doesn’t fix all the harm that’s been done, why apologize?” (It’s a starting point to making things right, it needs to be followed by a change, could offer an opportunity for a fresh start) 


  • What do you know now about apologies? 
  • How do you know when you should apologize? 
  • When you have been the person apologizing, how did saying sorry make you feel/what did saying sorry change? 
  • What are some words used in an apology that make it feel sincere and honest?  

Keep it Simple

Instead of paper & pencils/crayons – use some natural materials like leaves or twigs to crumple/snap and then uncrumple/fit back together 

Take it Further

If the activity is going well and the youth are engaged, you may consider continuing for a few minutes to discuss what makes an apology meaningful.