The Giraffe Project

Self: Goals and Values
12-14 years, 14-16 years
Anticipate Time
1.5 hours min
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Assertiveness, Courage, Determination


Pathfinders select a topic they’re willing to stick their neck out over and participate in a debate on the topic.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Experience the feeling of standing alone
  2. Assess their own personal ‘courage quotient’
  3. Participate in a debate which on a topic chosen by the group

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

2 Timothy 1: 7, 8
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord...

‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ – Challenging words to live by in this age of moral relativism and post-modernism.
Even if we do determine to hold to beliefs which have been eroded by society, how true it is that ‘it is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.’ (Alfred Adler)
It would seem that people need the Lord.


  1. Assemble all materials
  2. The Commitment exercise will involve painting a bead a different colour to the rest of their collection. As a leader, decide what you would like to do with this: they may string them on a cord, frame a collection in a picture, (with just the one bead a different colour), pour them into a small jar… Prepare the necessary materials to go with your chosen activity.
  • A container of beads all the one colour.
  • Paint of a contrasting colour to your beads
  • Appendix material which outlines the format of a debate


Session One
1. Invite everyone to stand in a circle. Ask a series of questions. Start out with common questions such as ‘everyone who likes blue in the middle’, or ‘all those who like Pizza in the middle‘. Then build up to harder questions like: ‘All those who like ____ in the middle.’ (Other options: oldest child, youngest child, more than three siblings, has dog, has horse, likes sports, likes books, is from the country, has a divorce in their family history, was raised by two parents…) This exercise gives your group a chance to see not only what it feels like to be alone in your opinion, but also what it’s like to be alone or on the outside)


  • Did anyone not move even though they were a member of that group?
  • Was anyone confused?
  • What description felt proudest? scariest?
  • Did any one make you feel ashamed for what you expressed?

2. Talk about courage as being an issue where you are willing to stick out your neck for – in order to share your thoughts and beliefs. Talk about how some issues don’t grab us with their importance, other issues really get us fired up?

  • What issues really get your fired up?
  • Do they deserve your passion? (Are they worthwhile causes?)

3. Use cardboard or lino squares with the numbers from 1 – 10 (used previously perhaps in a debriefing exercise) and ask your Pathfinders to go and stand on the number which reflects their interest and belief in that topic (1 – being least and 10 being the most):

  • Child slavery
  • Homework
  • Legalisation of Drugs
  • Terrorists
  • Water conservation
  • Government involvement in Church affairs
  • Abortion
  • Jewellery
  • Hypocrisy
  • Skateboarding downtown

For personal reflection: ‘What is your courage quotient’ (on this scale of 1 – 10) for how willing you are to really stick your neck out on the issues that you feel are important?

4. Share how each person is going to have the opportunity to participate in a debate which will give them a platform from which to ‘stick their neck out’ in a giraffe-like manner over an issue. You may choose the topic or allow your Pathfinders to vote on a topic. If your numbers are large, you may form more than one set of teams.
Topics include:

  • If you love someone, sex before marriage is fine.
  • White magic is ok.
  • It doesn’t matter what music you listen to.
  • One drink a day won’t hurt you. (Alcoholic)
  • Lifestyle has no relationship to health.
  • I can buy my lunch on Sabbath.

You may wish to add to these topics and include ones you know your Pathfinders feel strongly about.

5. Brief your Pathfinders on the rules of the debating process and divide into two groups of three for each topic. Have judges ready. Allow 30 min. preparation time for each team. Tell Pathfinders that they will have from 1-3 minutes to present their arguments and to decide which speakers go first, second and third.

6. Conduct the Debate according to the Procedure Outline in the Appendix.

7. IMPORTANT NOTE: At the end of the debate, it will be VITAL to debrief and complete the commitment exercise and recording activity. The debrief section of this Pursuit is especially important because half of your Pathfinders will have been arguing FOR a topic that you DON’T want to them to believe. Even if that side wins the debate, explain that there are plenty of people who can argue against God. But that doesn’t make them right. God stands unchanged by human argument. Debates are a good way for us to explore both sides and make good decisions for ourselves.


Leaders, be sure to follow up on discussing when and how the Pathfinders saw the memory text in action throughout this Pursuit. 
Select from the questions below:

  • Did you really believe your arguments?
  • Who gave the most convincing argument? Did you believe what they had to say, or was their style simply convincing?


  • Should we ever expect to change someone’s opinion by simply telling him or her?
  • How does change in beliefs happen? (Through questions, and the person realising for himself the need for change)
  • Someone has said, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ What are your thoughts on this saying?
  • Someone else has said, ‘It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.’ What do you think of this comment?


  • What five things do you REALLY believe in? (Write these 5 issues in your Journal to form your record of this Pursuit)
  • How do you approach people who believe differently on these issues to you?


  • Give each participant a number of beads. Ask them to paint one of the beads a different colour and then follow through with your selected activity (See Preparation) as a reminder that they can feel proud to stand out of the crowd and be different when their beliefs are challenged.


The Debating Process

Here are four basic rules for your debate:

1. There are three speakers on each side. Each speaker should go for at least one minute and not more than three minutes.
2. There is a set order for speaking. Start with the first speaker for the affirmative, then first speaker for negative, etc….
3. Each speaker has a set role to play in the debate:

  • First speaker introduces the team and what the team hopes to prove to the audience about this statement. (First speaker for the negative can rebut as well)
  • Second speaker has to rebut what the first speaker from the other team has said. The second speaker then proceeds the team’s case.
  • Third speaker has to sum up their whole team’s rebuttal and at the end sum up what their team has said.

4. The adjudicator will score on:
Speaking ability including volume, presentation, and mannerisms.
Content including rebuttal, arguments and summaries.

Appendix B

How to Present Rebuttal

1. State the idea you are going to argue against. (ie… ‘it is incorrect that a mission to Mars would unite all humanity’.)

2. Explain what is wrong with the material they presented. (ie… ‘this is an unrealistic assertion which is simply not true!’)

3. Show the flaws in their idea. (ie… starving third world countries would not benefit from such a huge expense.)

4. Link the refutation to your own case to how it actually helps your side of the debate. (ie… instead of wasting time on space travel, it would be better for nations to unite in feeding the poor. As we have already shown, a mission to Mars is a waste of money.’)