Stories from Climer Cards Users
Climer Cards have been used by educators, facilitators, coaches, therapists, and parents to name a few. Here are a few stories of their experiences.
I used Climer Cards for a University group as a debriefing tool for the end of our high ropes course session. This group was the new freshman Orientation staff for their University and were just getting to know one another. They had just been moving across wires and through obstacles together in teams of four individuals of all different backgrounds. Some had been on high ropes courses before, others were completely afraid of heights, but everyone completed the course. The cards were displayed out on a small platform with instructions for everyone to select a card that corresponded with their experience on our high ropes course. I had the group sit down and opened the discussion for each person to describe why they chose their selected card and how the card and their experience on the ropes course relates to their program as Orientation Staff of their University. The stories overflowed from so many young adults and the cards opened up the discussion in such a creative and unique way. The bonds that were forged during their high ropes experience were reinforced by the cards and the stories and encouragements that arose from them. The camaraderie was apparent by the end of their debrief and the Climer Cards were the avenue to open up and complete the experience. This is why I love what I do!
Cards for All Ages
Climer Cards are my new favorite tool for facilitation!! I have used it with adults in personal development classes, teenagers in reflection activities, and children in imagination-based play. All ages resonate with the images! Recently, I worked with 18 year-olds who were applying to university. We used the cards to represent three versions of themselves: 1) The “Me I show to others” 2) The “Me I do not show to others” and 3) The “Me I don’t know about yet”. After the students chose their cards, they reflected on the various sides of themselves and how they could represent them in a college-entrance essay. But, obviously the cards elicited more than just self-awareness for an essay– it gave them genuine understanding of who they are during such a dynamic, meaningful time period in their lives. Many of the students thanked me for “opening their eyes to their Self” after the activity. These cards work wonders! I could not recommend these cards more! If you are a teacher, facilitator, or anyone who works with helping others develop, now is the time to buy these cards– they will definitely return your investment the first time you use them!
What Are You Grateful For?
I use Climer Cards with a wide variety of groups in diverse settings, from board rooms to classrooms. Recently, I used them for an opening activity for an eclectic group of caregivers for children with special needs. The group included grandparents, nurses, teachers, parents, aunts, and siblings, and ranged in age from 22 to 76. Each person was delighted with the images and had a unique story to tell in response to the question, “What are you grateful for in your life?” Some stories made us laugh, and others moved people to tears. I don’t think these stories would have emerged the same way without the Climer Card images to open the doorway to people’s imaginations and hearts.
Processing Research Circles
I was able to use Climer Cards to process a series of conversations I had with community members in an emerging community. After numerous meetings the citizens were asked to pick a card that was reflective of how they might feel about their community now. The responses were overwhelming. Some related to the “light bulb” as they felt there were new ideas and energy created, while another related to the swimming school of fish and stated “I feel like we are all headed in the right direction together”. These cards are a great processing tool for both formal and informal processing. With my undergraduate background in recreation therapy, I am fully aware of the need for tools such as Climer Cards to enrich our conversations and feelings.
I’ve used Climer Cards to get people talking at the beginning, middle, and end of a training program and it has always worked beautifully. In fact, the last time I used them I actually had someone cry as they shared their thoughts, so they can be quite powerful!
Some of the presenting questions I have used:
- Select an image that illustrates where you feel the company is right now.
- Select an image that represents the company’s culture right now.
- Select an image that illustrates how you feel about giving presentations.
- Select an image that represents where you would like to take the company in the future.
- Given what you know now, select an image that illustrates your role in creating the new culture for the company.
I really think you could use the Climer Cards for just about anything to get people talking! I’ve used them in dyads, triads, small groups, and if the group is small enough then as a full group. Climer Cards rock! Thank you!
For a university workshop on balancing student involvement and academics, we used Climer Cards in order to spark ideas about a healthy work-life balance and some strategies that can be used to accomplish these goals. One student used the flamingo card to liken the experience of student co-curricular involvement to the growth of a flamingo – white to begin with, but their color shows over time with their diet. He stated that no matter the specifics, being involved in co-curricular activities changes you and that this growth is essential to becoming a more well-rounded individual. It was great to see students use the Climer Cards to think outside the box and learn a little more about themselves and their cohorts.
I recently got my license as a professional teacher here in the Philippines and started getting offering tutorial services. My first students were siblings and they particularly needed to learn to converse in English because they are moving to US as soon as their visas get approved. Since they are not native English speakers but have learned it at school, I thought of an activity that will help me gauge their level of proficiency so I can design a program that suits them. I laid down my Climer Cards and asked them to each pick 10 cards. I then gave them a paper to write on and asked them to think of the people who reminds them of their chosen pictures and write about it on the paper. Surprisingly, I did not only get an assessment result, but also a personal perspective on the children’s relationship with their family members especially with their mom. I showed it to their mother who was surprised as well. I think after a few days, it somehow create a positive change in how they treat each other. I realized, sometimes, it takes creativity to help people express themselves better so they can have better relationships. Thank you for Climer Cards. I’m looking forward on using them in my future students.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
During a program titled the ABC’s of Entrepreneurship, participants introduced themselves with Climer Cards. I asked each member to choose a card that reflected their ideas about the entrepreneurial journey. Responses included: the heart for the one wanting to open a Tea House; the puzzle piece, since it has four sides (home/work/kids/personal); the gears, so many moving pieces; the open door, for needing to walk through it. I had 10 people in the session and each card was excellent for each participant. Was a perfect way to get to meet everyone!
I use Climer Cards every time I do New Manager Orientation. I ask everyone to choose a card to use as part of their introduction sharing how the picture represents their view of their new role as a manager (they usually choose two or three). They love it and the introductions are so much more meaningful!
I also have every presenter throughout the program do the same thing – it provides a quick way for presenters to relate to the group and personalize their introduction while sharing a little bit of their management experience. Even our CEO participated and I loved that he chose the blank word bubble and the sign post. He said his job was to fill in those blanks and provide direction and then went on to say how he would do that! Powerful and personal! Our Human Resources Vice-President just asked to borrow the cards so he could use them with his new (remote) team because he liked them so much!
Work-Life Balance for College Students
For a university workshop on balancing student involvement and academics, we used Climer Cards in order to spark ideas about a healthy work-life balance and some strategies students can use to accomplish these goals.
One student used the flamingo card to liken the experience of student co-curricular involvement to the growth of a flamingo – white to begin with, but their color is revealed over time with their diet. He stated that no matter the specifics, being involved in co-curricular activities changes you and that this growth is essential to becoming a more well-rounded individual. It was great to see students use the Climer Cards to think outside the box and learn more about themselves and their cohorts. The students shared that they loved using the cards as a way to spark reflection about their involvement.
Climer Cards Store
This simple deck of cards has an amazing potential to transform conversations in groups. Using the power of metaphors, with the cards people tend to share more leading to more sincere, meaningful dialogue. They can also be used to generate creative ideas. Each deck includes
- 52 images based on watercolor paintings by Amy Climer
- Grouping tool to mix large groups into smaller groups
- Directions for how to use – get creative with endless variations
- Clear plastic storage container
Climer Cards are printed on high quality coated paper, just like a nice deck of playing cards. The colors are gorgeous! They have been used on all seven continents and by many cultures around the world. All images are watercolors paintings by Amy Climer.
How Climer Cards Were Created
One day in October of 2011 I was facilitating a team building program. I had some hand-painted images that I laminated and used to debrief an activity. A friend of mine was the client and as we were transitioning to the next activity she said, “Amy, these are cool. You should do something with these.” I looked at her, a bit surprised, and said, “Really? You think so?” Her offhand comment was like the initial pedal of a bike, it got my wheels rolling and four months later I started my Kickstarter.com campaign to generate the funds I needed to get the Climer Cards professionally manufactured.
I was nervous about the Kickstarter campaign. What if it didn’t work? I had spent hours, hundreds of hours actually, researching how to get the cards printed, painting all new images, many of them multiple times until they passed approval of my partner who I dubbed “Quality Control”, talking with colleagues about names, prices, and all sorts of details. What if it failed? Well, I knew better than that.
I knew that if it failed it didn’t really matter. It was just time. It wasn’t like I really lost the time or energy. I had more. It’s not a finite resource. The process was fun. I loved the painting, refining each image until it worked. It was much more fun than watching tv. I enjoyed the feedback from colleagues about prototypes. If the Kickstarter campaign failed that would be excellent feedback that they just weren’t quite right or that my marketing wasn’t strong enough or … Failure was an option, but not necessarily a bad one. I know enough about the creative process to know how the fear of failure can impede even simple ideas. I moved forward and pushed “submit” on the Kickstarter website. Then, I watched and waited. Well, not exactly. Then I worked hard for 4 weeks to get the word out about Climer Cards. My first Backer was a colleague who gave $100. $100! What! I thought I would get tiny contributions like $5. In 2 weeks I got an email from someone telling me they wanted to order 8 decks of cards, a $200 contribution, but that wasn’t a choice on the Kickstarter campaign. I quickly added higher options and emailed them back. Then, to my shock the project exceeded it’s goal. Wow! So cool! I was ecstatic. Other people liked this idea?! Who knew?
So, in June 2012 I got my first shipment of Climer Cards from the manufacturer. I immediately sent off nearly 200 decks to various clients. Then, the stories of the cards started rolling in. People shared stories of how they used them with their students and it shifted the feel of the entire group or how they use them at the dinner table to get their kids talking about their day. I didn’t expect them to have such an impact, but they have. If you have a story to share let me know. Submit your story to inspire others.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Virtual Climer Cards were born. This robust webapp is a great tool to use Climer Cards in your virtual meetings, trainings, or webinars. Experiment with ways to make your online experience more interactive and engaging.
Since 2012, Climer Cards have been used in 40 countries by thousands of facilitators with hundreds of thousands of participants. They have had a profound impact on many and for that I am so grateful.
I hope you find joy from using Climer Cards too!
-Amy Climer, Ph.D.
How Climer Cards Helped Me Overcome Imposter Syndrome
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