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Family Camp Icebreaker #1

Updated on June 30, 2011

What is Family Camp?

Family Camp is a camp that has about 30 families (about 120 people) going to a camp for one week, that during other weeks in the summer, the camp is used for week-long kid's camps. Many of the families that go to this camp have been going for many years while others drop off and new families join. As a result of this mix of families we have an icebreaker event the very first night we've arrived to help people meet each other. I have organized this icebreaker event for the last few years and so will devote one hub each to each of the icebreaker events I organized. I want to share these icebreaker events because they could easily be tweaked just a little to be used for any other type of icebreaker event.

Photo Commonalities

This icebreaker has more or less everyone with a digital camera looking for one or more other people that has something in common with themselves, and then getting a different person to take their picture.


In advance of the event, prepare the commonality phrases (more examples of which can be found at the bottom of this hub). On each page printed in landscape, print in large letters the phrases and have one, two or three copies of some of the ones that would be likely to be really common. Print two phrases per page and center each one in the top half and bottom half of the page. Examples of commonality phrases could be:

  • I have one or more dogs
  • I have been to Europe
  • My first name starts with the letter 'M'

Now cut the pages in half lengthwise so that each phrase is on its own half-page. At Family Camp it is easy to divide the whole group up into sub-groups as the families are all in cabins, so I could make 12 stacks of these phrases, one for each cabin. In your icebreaker, find a way to divide your group into roughly equal groups of about ten to twelve people. Sort the phrases so that no one group has a duplicate commonality phrase.

Icebreaker Time!

  1. Instruct the groups to assign the phrases to people within their group, if there is anyone in that group who matches that phrase, they will get that one, for example, if someone in your group has 'been to Europe' and that is one of your phrases, give that phrase to that person.
  2. Next instruction is to send each person with a phrase and a digitial camera out to try to find someone who meets that phrase who is not from their own group.
  3. Once a person is found who meets that phrase, a photo is taken with the person holding the phrase so the phrase can be in the picture. If the phrase holds true for the seeking person, they should also be in the photo. For example, John is in group A and has been to Europe, this phrase is assigned to his group, he looks for someone from another group who has been to Europe, he finds Sam; John and Sam find a third person to take their photo with the two of them holding up the phrase 'has been to Europe'.
  4. As the event goes on, eventually some of these phrases end up being very popular and so larger groups of people form for whom the phrase holds true and so they are photographed all together.

Post Icebreaker

If you have a laptop available, gather up all of the camera memory cards and store all of the photos from the icebreaker together on that laptop. This allows for a slide show to be shown later on in the week of camp to let people see all of the photos that were taken. Also, the photos can be sent back to all of the campers once the week of camp is over.

Example Commonality Phrases

Keep in mind that at Family Camp we have kids as well as adults, so some of the phrases below would apply to the kids that are at camp. Also, for the names that are listed, or the people whose first name starts with ?, I had access to the list of names of the campers before camp started so I could pick the names and letters that I knew would have more than one person involved.

  • entering second grade
  • entering third grade
  • entering fourth grade
  • entering fifth grade
  • entering sixth grade
  • entering high school
  • is in highschool
  • name is Mike
  • name is Tara
  • name is Jen or Jennifer
  • name is Graham
  • name begins with 'J'
  • name begins with 'S'
  • name begins with 'R'
  • has been to California
  • has been to Europe
  • has been to Australia
  • has been to Saskatchewan
  • has been to New York City
  • has a vegetable garden
  • is a night owl
  • is an early bird
  • plays hockey
  • plays chess
  • plays piano
  • was born in Ontario
  • was born in the US
  • have more than five email addresses
  • have more than three phone numbers


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    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      That's a great idea if you want to have your parish be more cohesive and community minded.

    • profile image

      Robin71 6 years ago

      This sounds cool, I might see if we can use it for some events at our church. Thanks

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      RT, thanks for stopping by, I do hope this gives someone the idea for an ice breaker.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Fun stuff in a well-done hub. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks Cap, it really was a terrific icebreaker when I ran it. I'll probably do it again next year as it has been quite some time since last I used it.

    • capalynn profile image

      capalynn 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Very good information, and a great way to get people to mingle who ordinarily wouldn't, especially in a large group setting such as camp.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      RJ, yes, we have lots of fun. Thanks for the vote.

      Angie, Happy C-Day to you too, thanks for the vote.

    • angie ashbourne profile image

      angie ashbourne 6 years ago

      Hi! Good Hub! Vote Up! Happy Canada Day! Angie

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      A great icebreaker. It sounds like you have a lot of fun with the famliy camp. I've never heard of anything like it. Wonderful and up one too.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks for the vote, I hope this Icebreaker gets used by someone other than my camp by someone who reads this hub.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 6 years ago

      Phil, thanks for the info. I remember my nephews went to a 4H camp that was used similarly at different points of the summer. Sounds like a lot of people, but a good time. voting up.