The great thing about our country is we all can have different backgrounds, experiences and opinions, and still come together and work towards the common good. No matter the level of government – from your local school board to the Congress – people have to compromise – give up some things you want in order to support somethings someone else wants – in order to accomplish their goals. When you earn the Cadette Finding Common Ground badge, you will learn how governments do that – and how you can do it in your everyday life.
Step Five: Finding Common Ground Through Mediation
Mediation is the process by which a third party – called a mediator – helps people or groups find common ground. There are many different kind of mediators, including peer mediators, who are trained to mediate within their school, club or group. Other kinds of mediators help families who are going through a hard time, neighbors who are having trouble getting along, and employees and employers decide on fair compensation. In this step, you will be the mediator who helps other people find common ground and come to an agreement. Do one or more of the following activities:.
Follow the six steps of a formal mediation:
- Give your opening remarks: Review the conflict and set ground rules.
- State the problem: Let both people state their positions.
- Gather information: Ask open-ended questions (those without yes or no answers) to get to the heart of each person’s position.
- Summarize: Summarize the conflict, based on what you have heard.
- Brainstorm solutions: Brainstorm all together about possible solutions.
- Reach an agreement: Offer ideas about where you think there is common ground. If the two sides don’t agree, start with step four, and keep going until you reach an agreement.
Mediate a mural project conflict. Here’s the conflict: Your Girl Scout troop has decided to paint a mural for their Girl Scout Silver Award project. Your troop needs to decide the following things: Where to paint the mural, the subject of the mural, the design of the mural, when to paint the mural, and how to raise money to pay for the supplies. Before the mediation begins, give each person time to decide what they think the answers to all the decisions should be, and come up with three reasons why they think their solutions are fair to the group and the community. Using the six steps of a formal mediation above, mediate the discussion until a solid plan is agreed to by everyone.
Mediate with a pro. Invite a civil mediator or someone studying law or conflict resolution to come to your next online meeting. Ask them to share what they’ve learned about mediation, and have them teach you their favorite mediation skills.
Suggest solutions for a current international conflict. What are the issues both sides are facing? They’ve come to you for help on ending the conflict. On your own or with your troop, look for the common ground, and write a draft peace treaty that would be a fair compromise for both sides. Share what you’ve learned on our blog or with your history or social studies teacher.
We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.