In this session, participants will explore the characteristic of courage and its importance as a personal value.


  • Character
  • Positive Self-concept


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of courage as a personal characteristic.
  • Develop a plan for accomplishing a goal.


  • Overcoming Fear activity sheet—make a copy for each participant
  • Pen or pencil for each participant


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.



Ask: What is the difference between courage and fearlessness?


Share the following points as participants offer answers.

  • Many people would define courage as being fearless—having the ability to do heroic deeds beyond the reach of the rest of us.
  • Others have said courage is learning to act despite fears. Courage takes many forms in everyday life. Courage is making a speech despite a fear of being in front of people. It’s telling the truth when our peers are pressuring us to lie. It’s befriending someone whom everyone else has ridiculed or ostracized.

Activity 1

“I am Strong”

Ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the room and stand facing the other participants. The Advisor should stand facing the Explorer, slightly less than an arm’s length away. After ascertaining that the Explorer has no problems with his or her arms, ask the Explorer to make a fist with either hand and then extend that arm out to the side. Ask the Explorer to resist with all of his or her strength as you try to push the outstretched arm down. Susan Jeffers, an author who challenged her readers to develop courage, has said she was never able to push a person’s arm down.


Now ask the volunteer to close his or her eyes and repeat the following negative statement 10 times: “I am a weak and unworthy person.” Tell the Explorer to do his or her best to “get into the feeling” of that statement. Then have the Explorer open his or her eyes and repeat the demonstration exactly as before. Remind the Explorer to resist with all of his or her strength. Jeffers has said she was always able to push the arm down.


Finally, ask the Explorer to close his or her eyes again and repeat the following positive statement 10 times: “I am a strong and worthy person.” Then have the Explorer open his or her eyes and repeat the demonstration exactly as before. Remind the Explorer to resist with all his or her strength. This time, Jeffers has said, she was unable to push the arm down.


Let several Explorers try this demonstration.

Activity 2

Overcoming Fear

Give each Explorer a copy of the Overcoming Fear activity sheet. Explain to the Explorers that sometimes when we are scared of doing something or we postpone doing it, the reason may be that it just seems too large of a problem to handle. One technique that can help us face our fears is to divide that one big task into smaller steps and set realistic deadlines. As we move from one step to the next, we gain confidence in our ability to accomplish the tasks.


Ask the Explorers to think of a task that makes them anxious or fearful, or something that they have been postponing. Have them enter the goal in the box at the bottom of the activity sheet and write a date by which they plan to accomplish it. Then have them break that one task into six smaller steps—each with a deadline for completion. After Explorers have had sufficient time to complete the activity sheet, ask for volunteers to share their goal and the steps they will take to accomplish it.


Use the questions below to carry out a closing reflection.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What do you think is the difference between being brave and being fearless?

Analysis Questions

  • How is courage an important characteristic for leaders?
  • How might you use this in your potential career?

Generalization Questions

  • What did you learn about yourself when you filled out the Overcoming Fear activity sheet?
  • What are some small ways that Explorers can practice the big habit of developing courage?
  • How might you use this in life or in college?
  • Why is this important?
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