The Residents’ Activities Committees, one for the boys’ community and one for the girls’, are made up of residents who have volunteered to take on an active role in the programming at Portage Elora. Having discussed the needs of the community with their peers, they get together once a week to identify a theme for the following week, along with activities and topics for discussion.
Recent themes include Building Bonds, Behavioural Relapse, Tools of Therapy, and Back to Basics. During the “Tools of Therapy” week, each of the girls in the committee chose a tool they have learned at Portage that they would like to help teach to some of the newer members. They created posters and handouts and led roundtable discussions and role playing activities. During the “Building Bonds” week, residents had to choose someone that they did not know well as a partner for the week so that they would step out of their comfort zones and get to know someone new. “Gratitude” was the theme of the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and residents initiated a hike to go collect items in nature with which to make centerpieces for the table.
Committee members get constant feedback from their peers and guidance from the staff members. Though anyone can volunteer to sit on the Residents’ Activities Committee, staff members also seek out residents who, though they may be hesitant, seem to have a lot to offer the community or who would benefit greatly from this leadership role.