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Simple Tips for Building Stronger Friendships and Group Relationships

Posted on 27th September 2012

I was recently emailed with a question from a youth worker asking for ideas about how to build strong friendships or to build stronger peer groups.  Later that same day, I happened to meet with a guy who has served as summer camp counselor for over 20 years and I took the opportunity to get his input.  He gave me two answers that seemed simplistic at first, but also seemed to be among the most appropriate.

Be All-Inclusive Over Exclusive

I'm sure that you have heard often that you should be open and accepting of everyone regardless of their differences, but how does one actually put that into practice?  The summer camp counselor that I mentioned before told me that it is about being all-inclusive as opposed to being exclusive.

By this, we mean that when you are together with friends or even a random group of people, you want to try and present activities that everyone has a chance to be in, especially if it something that allows everyone to participate equally.

A great example used by this same counselor was card games.  He pointed out that card games of any type are a fun activity where everyone is on equal footing.  He pointed out how that "the poker Barbie" Lacey Jones told him that some card games can be universal, such as Rummy, and offer a great chance for everyone to win and offers a great chance to socialize.

Card games were just one example.  The point is that when you are with friends, find something that everyone can do together and enjoy.  The summer camp counselor I spoke with said that a lot of times he would end up drawing together a bunch of kids that normally did not "fit in" to another group and they ended up forming their own social group as a result of this type of all-inclusive behavior.

Be Real and Consistent

Something else that the summer camp counselor told me was that a big key to his success over the years has been that he has always been real and consistent with his kids.  He went on to say that he goes out of his way to treat every youth the same regardless.  

My initial reaction was we always try and teach our youth this concept to which he quickly rebutted " some people dont."  He went on to explain that while many of us think that we treat everyone equally, the reality is that we show prejudices we don't even think of.  

He gave a couple of quick examples of what he meant by this.  One was how that many people when dealing with an overweight child will many times address them based on their size thinking that they are being friendly.  Phrases like "hey big man" he pointed out were not friendly and were just pointing out physical characteristics.  He then made his point more clear when he asked if we would say "hey black kid" to an British African child.

His point was being real and consistent with kids regardless of the child and this is something that could translate well to peer groups.  When you treat each other equally, you show character and instill trust.  This helps to build stronger friendships because you are known to not judge based on trivial matters.

Sometimes the simplest answers are the most appropriate.  My conversation with that summer camp leader provided some important insight on working with youth and building friendships. We take certain aspect of relationship building for granted and keeping the above simple concepts in mind could lead to stronger friendships and better relationships in group settings.

Young people's enterprise stall @ the Blaze festival which was part of Preston Guild and supported by the Cultural Olympiad

Posted on 22nd September 2012

All items were made by the young people at Clayton Le Moor youth club with the help and guidance of Sissy from the Street Style Surgery.  The young people where buzzing that they where making a profit on things they had made!

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all the young people's items are all laid out, let the selling begin.

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Their label was called PDQ which stands for pretty dam quick! (as all items where made in a 6 week project


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Selling taking place (how exciting)

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Super stylish necklaces that sold out!

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Recycled books in to hedgehog letter and card holders

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A very proud Sissy!!

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This was all part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012 

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SSS attends MADE in Britain entrepreneur festival

Posted on 21st September 2012

I attended MADE in Britain entrepreneur festival yesterday in Sheffield. I had a great day at the event watching Wayne Hemingway, Peter Jones and other successful entrepreneur's talk I even got matched up with a mentor and made lots of new contacts.

When the event had finished I went round to one of the fringe events run by MITIE where you had to pitch your business, I wasn't intending to pitch I just wanted to accompany Eliot but I did decide to stand up and pitch at the very last minute and to my surprise I won the second prize of £500, the judges said they loved my passion and companies ethos and my new ideas for expansion.  So all in all an excellent day for my company! www.streetstylesurgery.co.uk


Peter Jones inspires the room

Me at the pitch where I won 2nd prize of £500

Big thanks to Intuit for supporting me and believing in my company

Getting back on the right track with fashion - Sissys story

Posted on 12th September 2012

Have aread of Sissys insperational story here


Sissy attends a BBC event and gets all crafty

Posted on 10th September 2012

Sissy took part in a BBC learning day for a new concept called meet the crafter, where a room full of people met different crafters and got all creative with some hands on activities.  Our group designed a full costume out of old clothes and scraps of fabrics.


SSS works with CBBC's Trade Your Way to the USA

Posted on 7th September 2012

Screen-grab from CBBC's website

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