Hopes and Fears

Friends & Mentors
Friends & Mentors
Feeling & Expressing
Feeling & Expressing

Open up a judgment-free conversation about some of the hopes and fears that people might have, illuminating the fact that others experience some of the same feelings as we do.


  • Cue cards of two different colours


Sometimes we may feel anxious in any given situation, feeling like we’re the only ones experiencing it, but the reality is that if one person is feeling a particular way, then there is a good chance that someone else is too. We just don’t think that because we don’t talk about it.


  1. Participants are given two different coloured cue cards.
    - On one cue card, they are asked to write down the hopes that they have for the session/training experience.
    - On the other cue card, they are asked to write down the fears that they have for the session/training experience.
    - The hopes and fears are to remain anonymous, so no need to write down names.
  2. All cards are collected, then redistributed so that each participant now has the cards of another participant. This is done so that specific hopes and fears are not attached to a particular person.
  3. Each participant reads aloud the hopes and fears written on his or her cards.
  4. The group selects the themes heard among the hopes and fears expressed and discussed. Often, this activity is followed with the setting of group norms or guidelines.


  • Consider expanding the theme of the activity by having participants write down the hopes and fears of  important life milestones like graduating high school, going to the dentist, or riding the bus alone for the first time (depending on your group’s age). 


If this is used as a closing, special care must be made to resolve the fears expressed in the group or to create a plan for follow-up in the near future.


If your group is feeling up to it, they can choose to reveal which hope and fear belonged to them. However, in order to avoid any singling out, all members of the group must agree to share aloud. Afterward, bring the group together and think about these questions:

  • What are the common themes, if any, amongst the hopes? The fears?
  • We are all different, so why do you think so many of the hopes/fears are similar?
  • What can we learn from this?

Submitted by Osgoode Youth Association. Originally sourced from the University of Minnesota. “Quality Matters Toolkit.”