Setting Ground Rules


  • To create a space that allows participants to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, beliefs, and experiences


  • Butcher paper/flip chart paper
  • Markers
  • Tape

Prepare Before


Warm Up

Ask participants to share why they think having ground rules is important.


Setting and agreeing on ground rules that will guide the group is a first step to creating a safe space; it is recommended at the first meeting. You can start with a few common ground rules and ask the youth participants to add their own. Examples include:

  • There are no stupid questions.
  • Avoid side conversations when someone is speaking to the group.
  • Step up, step back.
  • Use “I” statements when speaking.
  • Be willing to share your ideas and experiences with others, even though you may feel your ideas are different.
  • Be accountable to the team — if you say you will do something, do it.
  • Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
  • Everything discussed during the session is confidential. This includes sharing others’ experiences with people outside the group verbally or in writing. Be mindful of sharing others’ ideas or experiences within the group; ask permission before sharing.


Facilitate a discussion about how these ground rules will create a safe space. If anything is missing, add it to the list.


Discuss the importance of following the rules and holding each other accountable.


Post the rules in the classroom and remind participants to look at them.