Extension - Student-Developed Leadership Activities

Extension - Student-Developed Leadership Activities

Student-Developed Leadership Activities

These leadership activity resources were developed by University of Kentucky students participating in Community and Leadership Development (CLD) 430: Leading in Community course. The CLD 430 course examines the nuances of effective leadership within communities. In this class, students explore existing leadership research and theory and consider how context and power shape the effectiveness of leadership outcomes. Using the knowledge and skills gained here, students develop leadership activities to present to the class and, ultimately, to benefit community leadership programs.

Each activity should state a clear outcome or activity goal and provide an experience that results in the achievement of that goal. It’s important to note that because these resources have been developed as part of an undergraduate class project, they have not been tested. This is where you come in. The Community and Leadership Development Department is interested in crowdsourcing feedback on these materials. If you wish to use these resources, we will ask you to fill out a brief survey about their effectiveness.

To receive the text and supporting materials for any activity listed on this page, please contact Dr. Daniel Kahl


Interpersonal (Group) Skill Development


Calm Circles Thumbnail

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C.A.L.M. Circles

Byron Mitchell, student in CLD 430, author

Allow group participants to develop more effective personal listening skills and develop relationships while increasing group cohesion. C.A.L.M. Circles promote active listening and mediation to share competing viewpoints and build consensus to spawn change. Best for use with groups of 12 or fewer.


Murder Mystery ThumbnailBlank White SpaceMurder Mystery

Lauren Frey, student in CLD 430, author

Groups will find this activity fosters good communication skills and builds closer relationships among individuals. The goal of the Murder Mystery activity is to find who in the group tends to be the leader and who is more of a follower. Works well for groups of 10 to 20 students or adults.


Star Story Circle ThumbnailBlank White Space

Star Story Circle

Thailand Wilson, student in CLD 430, author

Promote a sense of group trust with this activity. Everyone has a chance to practice accepting diversity and expressing inclusivity. The goal is for participants to grow as individuals and as a team. The team should be able to gather a better idea of who they are working with. The optimal size for this activity is 3-7 people.


Stranded on an Island ThumbnailBlank White SpaceStranded on an Island

Ask participants to work as a group to solve a problem and use quick-thinking problem-solving skills. This activity allows for both participants and facilitators to reflect/assess these skills, which can lead to skill improvement. The ideal group size is 15 to 20 people, with the participants split into multiple groups of 3 to 5 people. Any age group can participate.



Poverty and Resource Simulation ThumbnailBlank White SpaceThe Poverty and Resource Stimulation

Give participants a better understanding of the needs of everyone in a community. This activity helps people understand what it may be like to have limited resources. It helps groups work together and deal with conflicts while learning how to take advantage of the resources given throughout communities. 




When the Walls Fall ThumbnailBlank White SpaceWhen the Walls Fall

Encourage participants to develop and build a toolkit for their non-verbal communication skills with this activity. The way we communicate with each other continuously changes, especially with technological advancements. Therefore, it is important to understand how to effectively communicate in various ways.




Individual Leadership Development


Another Pair of Shoes ThumbnailBlank White SpaceAnother Pair of Shoes

Allie Roberts, student in CLD 430, author

Use this exercise to challenge participants to practice empathy and allow themselves to imagine what other people go through. For those who study and work in community development, empathy allows us to better understand the world around us. Empathy allows us to communicate our ideas with others, build social interaction, and create powerful change. 


Defining Your Drive ThumbnailBlank White SpaceDefining Your Drive

Lily Beasley, student in CLD 430, author

Draw upon Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model of inspiring leadership to help the learner identify their core values and purpose so that they can then lead in the way that empowers them most. When individuals understand what drives them, they become unstoppable forces on a mission to change what they see in the world. 



Civic Leadership Development


Best of Bourbon ThumbnailBlank White SpaceBest of Bourbon

Olivia Dotson, student in CLD 430, author

Increase community agency, morale, and civic engagement with this event-planning activity. Strong community connections are vital to community development. An event where youth and residents come together creates strong community connections, builds community morale, gives community members a sense of belonging, and promotes community agency.


Contact Information

Dr. Wes Harrison, Ph.D.
Department Chair

500 W.P. Garrigus Building Lexington, KY 40546-0215

(859) 562-2788