Frankie shares her wisdom

Smooth 4

Here’s our second installment of advice from the ’06 team. This time, it’s Frankie Grooms, the leader of last year’s Group #4.

ML: What tips do you have for a successful first meeting with your group?

FG: Go with what works for you. There is something special within everyone that can grab anyone’s attention. Figure out what that is and use that. For me, quirky sarcasm and humor worked. It is important that you show confidence from the start – that is how you gain their respect. All of you should be confident knowing that you are an experienced UGA student and (hello!) an Orientation Leader.

ML: What tips do you have for a successful evening meeting with your group?

FG: This is the time when you really get to talk to them and tell them what golden nuggets of wisdom you possess that will help them to succeed. An icebreaker that involves getting the freshmen to learn more about each other is always good. After that, you are more likely to get them talking to you and each other. Also, make sure you leave enough time for working on a group cheer. Have one or two handy in case the group has trouble coming up with one.

ML: How did you encourage discussion in your meetings?

FG: I asked them questions about typical college issues, i.e. alcohol, Greek life, time management, etc. Probably every group I had wanted answers to these questions.

ML: Did you use icebreakers, and, if so what did you use?

FG: I try to loosen up the group by having them stand in a circle and sway from side to side chanting something that had to do with “Smooth 4” or something similar to it. Next, I had everyone introduce themselves and say an interesting fact such as their favorite ice cream. If there was time at the end of the first meeting, I did another one which was to have everyone stand in a circle and to have each make a sound to create a song that was unique to the time in which it took place. This “group concert” is a relatively short exercise and can be done when you have a few minutes left in the meeting. Oftentimes, I ended this icebreaker with one of the quotes that EJ and Milly gave us.

For the evening meeting, depending on the feel of the group, I had everyone play Five Deadly Venoms or the Music Video Name Game. Five Deadly Venoms is a game that involves the group standing in a circle and taking turns striking the pose of a rabbit, dragon, snake, monkey, or crane. If two people do the same animal, they are both out.

For the Music Video Name Game, I had the group split up into smaller groups and make a song using their names and dance moves that everyone in the small group has to do. For more details, please e-mail me (

ML: Any tricks for remembering names?

FG: You are more than likely to remember the names of people who stand out in your group. For some of the groups, I did nicknames and I had an easier time remembering those. However, when parents of these freshmen came up to me asking about their child, I didn’t know who they were talking about. The best advice is to try to associate their name with something about them and to try to use their name in a sentence to solidify their name in your brain.

ML: What surprised you about leading small groups?

FG: I was surprised at how influential I could be to my groups. I could voice my opinions and my wisdom to them – anything that would help them to succeed at UGA. I was also surprised at how much the students look up to you. As an orientation leader, you truly are a role model in their eyes.

ML: What would you do differently in your group if you got to do it over again this summer?

FG: I would have made an effort to get to know them more. Aside from what I learned from the small group meetings, I knew nothing more about them nor did they know much of me. I am not saying that you should be responsible for finding out their entire life story, but get to know them enough so that your job is not just a job, but it is making a difference in the lives of the people in every group that you encounter this summer.



  1. I really like Frankie’s advice of DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! That’s so crucial for each of us. And also, the confidence advice is good too! I’ll be the first to admit that I am a little nervous about the group meetings (I know, you would think I have this kind of stuff down, being an RA and all), but honestly, we do have such an amazing opportunity to be really intentional with the kids and impact them from their first two days at UGA! That scares me just a little..but with a team like we have, I know I’ll have tons of support. That makes me more confident in itself 🙂

  2. Finally, someone else comments on this blog! Woohoo! And I totally second everything Josh said. I personally am looking forward to — like Frankie said she did in her group meetings — injecting some sarcasm into the conversation. I’ll try to make it easy to identify though, so they don’t take me too seriously. I like her idea about asking THEM questions about Greek life, alcohol, etc. I’m pretty nervous about broaching those topics — as I’m sure a lot of us are — but maybe getting them to talk about the issues first and gauging their opinions and knowledge first is a great idea. Only…23 more days until we’re back in C-Well moving in!!!! Aaaahhh!!!!

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