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Protocol Toolkit Item: 3d

Power Ball

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This protocol builds rapport and strengthens relationships in a fun and interactive process incorporating movement, music, and quotes. It focuses a group on their collective “superpower.”


  • Tape
  • Paper (for preparation)
  • Markers (for preparation)


30 Minutes


  • This protocol works best in an open space where participants can move about easily.
  • Break up the Superhero quotes below. During the protocol, the quotes will be pieced back together by participants. 
  • Each quote will be broken into words or small phrases based on the number of people in your group. There must be the same number of papers as the total number of participants.
  • Write the individual words or phrases on a piece of paper as you break up the quotes—one word or phrase per paper.
  • Each quote should be written in a DIFFERENT color. The colors will indicate to participants that the words/phrases go together!
  Note: Fewer quotes can be used if the participant group is small; additional quotes can be added to the list if the group is large. You can select the quotes that most resonate with your community. Superhero Quotes: “You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.” – Superman “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” – Shuri, Black Panther “Life doesn’t give us purpose. We give life purpose.” – The Flash “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”  – King T’Challa, Black Panther “You only have your thoughts and dreams ahead of you. You are someone. You mean something.” – Batman “Now I know that only love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be.” – Wonder Woman “If there is nothing but what we make in this world, brothers…let us make it good.” – Beta Ray Bill (from the Thor series) “Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”– Iron Man “You’re going to make a difference. A lot of times, it won’t be huge; it won’t even be visible. But it will matter just the same.” – Jim Gordon (Gotham City Police Commissioner; an ally to Batman) “Everything doesn’t have to be about fear. There’s room in our line of work for hope, too.” – Batgirl “Which will hold greater rule over you? Your fear or your curiosity?” — Wonder Woman


Step 1:

 Power Ball Throwing (5 minutes) Share the following information with participants:
  • Everyone will receive a piece of paper, face down. There will be a word or words written on it in colored marker. These words correspond to a quote that will be used later in the activity.
  • Participants SHOULD NOT look at the writing at this time.
  • Participants will take their paper and crumple it into a ball when the signal is given. The participants will move around the room, throwing their “Power Balls” to others.
    • After throwing a “Power Ball”, participants should try to catch another or pick one up from the floor.
  • Music will play during the throwing time, and participants should move around the room as they throw and catch “Power Balls”. When the music stops, participants should stop throwing.
  • Encourage participants to have fun during this step. To be safe, they should make eye contact with the person they are throwing their “Power Ball” to so others see the “Power Balls” coming.
  • Facilitator should ask if there are any questions from the participants.
Facilitators can now start the “Power Ball” throwing.
  • Hand out the pieces of paper face down. 
  • Instruct participants to crumple their papers and stand up.
  • Begin the music; let it play for 3-4 minutes.
    • Encourage participants to move around the room, continually throwing and catching “Power Balls” with as many people as possible.
  • After 3-4 minutes, stop the music; all participants should freeze where they are, each should have a “Power Ball” in hand (if a participant does not have a “Power Ball”, they should find one on the floor).

Step 2:

 Quote Building (8-10 minutes)
  • Participants should open the “power ball” they have in their hands.
  • Remind participants that each paper has a word or phrase that is part of a more extensive quote and that each quote is color coded.
  • Participants should find others with the same color word or words, forming a quote team. A quote team works together to put the papers into the correct order, thus completing the quote accurately.
  • Quote teams should tape the quotes on a wall in the correct order.

Step 3:

 Partner Share (2-5 minutes)
  • Participants now partner with another person on their quote team and reflect on the quote by sharing their responses to the following questions.
    • What does this quote mean to you?  
    • How does this superhero quote relate to our work?
  • After 2-3 minutes, ask participants to thank their partners and return to their seats.

Step 4:

Whole Group Debrief (10 minutes)
  • The facilitator reviews all the quotes that have been posted up on the wall.
  • Pose the following questions to all participants and select volunteers to reply.
    • As you look around the room, what quote most resonates with you and why?
    • What do these quotes have to do with our work as a collective?
  Note: If extended time is available, the debrief can be done with table groups before asking for volunteer responses from the whole group.

Resources & Further Reading

Examples of Use

While this protocol focuses on helping groups see their power individually and as a group, other topics and quotes can be substituted. For example, if a group needs to focus on the value of diversity or building trust, other quotes that may not be from superheroes can be found and used in a modified version.
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