The following are guidelines/procedures for handling situations that may come up during the TEAM program. These guidelines should be reviewed with participants and referenced throughout the program as needed.

 Defining “Participation”

All mentors and mentees are encouraged to participate at each event. However, TEAM recognizes that there are many different ways to participate, and not every person will participate in the same way.  

Some ways to participate in TEAM are:

  • Being a leader by explaining the activity to the team or reading the instructions
  • Being an active listener by paying attention to what other team members are doing and listening to what they are saying
  • Helping a fellow participant if they are having trouble
  • Working together with other team members

 Taking a Break

Participants sometimes might need to take a break from their teams. A good process for taking a break is:

  1. Informing the team facilitator
  2. Talking with the facilitator to determine how long the break should last. Breaks are meant to be a short pause, so they should not last the entire event.
  3. Deciding with the facilitator how to know when the break is over. This might be by getting a reminder from the facilitator or setting a timer.
  4. Taking the break
  5. Returning to the group when the break is over

Participants may need to take breaks because they are feeling upset or because a facilitator recommends one. A facilitator can help participants make decisions about how long and when the break ends, or make the decisions for them if the process is difficult for the participants.

It might be a good idea for participants to plan the specifics for taking a break with the facilitator at the beginning of the event.

 Strategies to Handle Problems

Problems may arise if there are disagreements among participants or something goes wrong. A few strategies to handle problems are:

  • Taking a Break: stepping away from the problem to calm down and re-focus
  • Letting it Go: deciding to do something else
  • Finding a Compromise: working with someone else to find a solution that is good for everyone
  • Saving it for Later: putting the problem aside and moving on to another part of the activity

Participants can also consult a facilitator, the TEAM coordinator, or other staff.

 How to Be Safe

It is the responsibility of all participants to make sure they are being safe, both with their own selves and with other participants. Facilitators help ensure this.

To stay safe, participants should:

  • Stay with the group
    • If the group is in a particular room, all participants will stay in that room and let a facilitator know if they need to leave.
    • If the group needs to move from one place to another, all group members will move together.
  • Use equipment for its intended purpose
    • If the group is using special equipment for an activity, like trash grabbers at a trail clean-up, participants will only use the grabbers to grab trash.
  • Make safe choices with their bodies
    • Participants will keep their hands to themselves and not hit, grab, push, or touch any other participants or facilitators without permission.
    • Participants will be aware of their body in the environment and avoid putting themselves in danger.
  • Follow facilitator directions
    • If a facilitator sees that a participant is doing something unsafe and tells them to stop, the participant will stop.
    • If a facilitator decides that a participant needs to take a break, the participant will take a break.

Because TEAM is a volunteer-staffed program, there is a strict behavior policy in place. If a participant is being unsafe at an event:

  1. A facilitator will ask the participant if they need help, and help them make a safe choice.
  2. The facilitator will work with the participant using problem-solving strategies to continue with the event.
  3. The facilitator will alert the TEAM Coordinator that there is a problem, and the TEAM Coordinator will assist with problem-solving.
  4. If the problem cannot be solved and the participant cannot continue being safe at the event, the participant will have to leave.
  5. Following an unsafe incident, program staff will work with a participant/their family to make a determination about the participant’s continued involvement in TEAM.

 Visual Supports

TEAM uses visual schedules to let participants know what to expect at each event.

Click the boxes below to download sample visual schedule that was used for a community service event with the Boston Nature Center, a sample first/then board, or a sample conversation topic board.