It's never too early to start planning for the new year, is it? In putting ideas together for future New Beginnings, I have come across some wonderful ideas on incorporating the value colors. I've been thinking a lot about the Young Women Values and the colors which represent them. (I'll be talking more about this is a future post.)*
Kim's ward used the as a night to sign off the goals their young women had achieved and to set goals on achieving their next set of goals.
They had pancakes, syrup, sliced fruits, whipped cream, and other yummy toppings for the girls to enjoy.
Throughout the night members of the YW Presidency met one-on-one with each young women and went through their Personal Progress books (you could also have laptops on hand and get them girls caught up online) marking off goals that had been acheived and then discussing what they were doing to focus on next.
While this was taking place, the advisors supervised the pancake house. :)
I know Kim tried to get balloons from their local IHOP, but they didn't have any left. Would have been cute.
It might even be fun to serve up something like this, using the value colors:
* In preparing for General Conference in October, I thought I'd share something I did for my girls earlier this year, for General Conference in April. * The night before Conference, I dropped off a box of Cap'n Crunch Treasures to each of my young women. They come in these small adorable little boxes. I thought the girls might enjoy having their very own box of cereal to eat during the morning session. Is there anyone who doesn't enjoy a bowl or handful of Captain Crunch? :)
I also left a simple note that read: "A little something to remind you to search for the sweet treasures your Heavenly Father wants you to discover during General Conference. Seek after these things."
AFTER THOUGHT It would have been cute to have it tied up with gold ribbon and attached a golden spoon to it as well. You can find these at Zurcher's, 24 for $2.37. What a deal!
Random notebooks, journals, and calendars where my ideas have been tucked away... I figure they're doing no one any good sitting in drawers and sleeping on closet shelves. I believe it is time to wake them up. Even if they do no one any good, it'll make me feel like I have accomplished something. I guess I'll start with this stack from one of my dresser drawers.
Girls, I saw this YW Camp Book from here and loved it! * What a wonderful keepsake for the girls to have from camp. Something they could place into their hope chest, and pull it out later in life when their own daughters are preparing for their first week of camp. A future memory share, bonding moment! :) * She said it took quite a bit of time to put them together, but said it was well worth it. That's why I decided to share this with you now. ;)
They purchased old books from a local library for $1.00 each. She mentioned that they were able to purchase a set of encyclopedias and a few dictionaries that were the same size. (perfect for pressing leaves and flowers, don't you think?) They spray painted the covers gold. (you could even wrap them in fabric or sturdy paper)
This is what filled the pages: (go here for a few photographs of the pages)
pockets for secret sister letters
pockets for their letters from home
a pocket for a strength of Youth pamphlet
Table of Contents, for the subjects of each devotional
blank pages in each section to write thoughts or memories
a keepsake pocket for leaves, flowers, little treasures they found in the mountains
blank pages for others to write on - similar to a yearbook signing
I came across this talk by Kathleen H. Hughes, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. It was something I needed to hear, and thought I'd share it with you.
We must not become weary of doing good,
and we must not become impatient;
the changes we seek will come about
“in their time.”
The words of the grand anthem of the Restoration sung at the opening of our meeting have been in my mind and heart since we first chose the theme. “Let Zion in her beauty rise; Her light begins to shine. … A people to prepare to meet the Lord” (“Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise,” Hymns, no. 41). It’s glorious to think of that promised time when the Lord will return, but it’s also sobering to contemplate the changes that may be necessary for us each to be prepared. Still, dear sisters, as I have met you and seen your commitment, I believe we are not, as a people, as wanting as we often feel. We have reason for confidence and hope as we prepare.
* September 1832 was a busy season of preparation for the early Saints. The Prophet was preparing to move to the John Johnson home southeast of Kirtland, Ohio; other brethren were preparing to leave for Missouri. In the midst of these preparations, Joseph Smith received the revelation that we now know as section 64 of the Doctrine and Covenants. After instructing the men going to Missouri, the Lord reminded them: “But all things must come to pass in their time. Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:32–33).
* These verses are a guide for us as we prepare ourselves and our families to live in “perilous times” (2 Tim. 3:1). We must not become weary of doing good, and we must not become impatient; the changes we seek will come about “in their time.” Most important, the great work we wish to do will proceed from “small things.”
* One of those small things, I have learned, is that I must find the time to fill my own spiritual reservoir each day. It’s tempting to make a massive list of my failings and then to work at them, as a friend of mine says, as though I am “killing snakes.” Self-improvement may seem a kind of work project, but it is—at heart—a change of heart. When we women struggle to keep up with life—raising children, providing necessities, attending school, dealing with issues of age or ill health—our own spirituality often ends up at the bottom of our long “to do” lists.
* Scripture study and prayer will bring change—but not automatically. If we read with one eye and pray with half a heart, we are engaging in a ritual, and while that time is not worthless, it isn’t fully productive either. We need, with the support of family, to clear enough time to study—not just read—to contemplate, feel, and wait for answers. The Lord has promised that He will strengthen us, fortify and refresh us, if we will take time for Him each day (see D&C 88:63). *
Sisters, we must prepare if we wish to serve, and we must serve if we wish to prepare. When I was 16 I was called to teach the three-year-olds in what was then called Junior Sunday School. (You know there was such a thing in the olden days.) I taught some busy children. They climbed on and under the chairs and table and never seemed to stop moving. I was dreadfully inexperienced, and during the first few weeks I wondered if I had done the right thing in accepting the call.
* But I persisted, and what I learned—quickly—was that I couldn’t just pray for help. I had to be prepared. That meant planning activities, stories, and lessons, and it meant having plan B ready, along with C through Z. Many years later, when I was called to lead a Junior Sunday School, I knew how to assist new teachers. I knew how to enjoy the children, and I knew the importance of being faithful in my calling. * I, like many of you, have had numerous callings in the Church. Some have been easier for me than others, but I have tried to magnify each one. But does the phrase “magnify your calling” ever make you nervous? It has worried me! Recently I read a talk in which President Thomas S. Monson said on the subject: “And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it” (“Priesthood Power,” Liahona, Jan. 2000, 60; Ensign, Nov. 1999, 51). Sisters, we can do that! I hear women say that their callings are wearing them out or that they don’t have time to serve. But magnifying our callings does not mean staying up all night preparing handouts and elaborate table decorations. It does not mean that each time we do our visiting teaching we have to take something to our sisters. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Let’s simplify. The message of a good lesson comes through spiritual preparation. Let’s put our focus on the principles of the gospel and on the material in our study guides. Let’s prepare to create an interesting exchange of ideas through discussion, not through extra, invented work that makes us so weary we come to resent the time we spend in fulfilling our callings.
* When we are called to serve, we are not offered a release date. Our lives are our service. Lois Bonner, a woman in my stake who is 92 years old, began serving as a visiting teacher when she married over 65 years ago. She still faithfully serves. The Nelsons from Canada and the Ellsworths from Utah, as missionaries, taught, mentored, and loved those of us who were in a small, growing ward in Missouri. We learned, through them, the joy of service and benefited from the wisdom of their experiences. I can think of no better way to thank our Father for all He gives us than to serve His children in every age of our lives.
* Finally, I’m coming to understand the meaning and importance of our offerings—specifically, our tithes and fast offerings. Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord admonishes us to care for each other and to give of our temporal resources to build the kingdom of God. In fact, our willingness to do this is one of the prerequisites for the Lord’s returning to the earth. Though each of our circumstances may differ, it is important for us to give all that we can. The Lord has seldom required individuals to give all, but it is important for Him to know that we would and could do it, if asked. In one stake where my husband and I lived, our stake president challenged members to double their fast offerings and prepare for the blessings that would come. I can now bear personal testimony that the Lord will bless us in unfathomable ways if we are true and faithful in giving generously.
* Spirituality through prayer and study. Service to others. Generous tithes and offerings. These are not new principles. These are some of the “small things” that are prerequisites to that which is great. In the verse that follows, we learn what the Lord requires of us. He requires “the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34). It is our hearts and our minds that must be made new. We each have our failings, our weaknesses, our less-than-perfect attitudes. The Lord asks us to open ourselves to Him, holding nothing back. He says to us, seek not “thine own life”; seek “my will, and to keep my commandments” (Hel. 10:4). The newness of heart comes when we do and give all we can, then offer our heart and will to the Father. As we do this, our Father promises us that our lives now and in eternity will be abundant. We need not fear. *
Sisters, don’t become weary in doing good. If we are patient, we can experience the change of heart we seek. For most of us this will require only a slight change of course, sending us toward true north. The adjustments we must make are in those “small things,” but that does not mean they are easy. Too many forces are confusing our compass. But the pull to the polar star is one we recognize. It is the direction toward home. *
I bear witness to you of the reality of the promises of the Father to us, His beloved daughters. I testify that as we attune our lives to emulate the life shown us by the Savior, we will know that the light of Zion is arising, that we are becoming a people prepared for His return. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Here are a few ways (found in the Personal Progress Booklet: Overview for Young Women section) to recognize the accomplishments the young women are making in the Personal Progress Program:
Young Women Meetings:When all of the experiences and the project in a value are completed, we are to recognize their accomplishments. This would be the time to present them with the appropriate emblem to place in their Personal Progress books (page 78), also presenting them with a ribbon for their scriptures.
Young Women in Excellence: This, of course, is a time we give them the opportunity to share their accomplishments.
Class Advancement: Success in personal progress may also be noted when certificates of advancement are received.
Now, here is the question and hopefully idea share:
"As leaders, how are you recognizing the accomplishments your young women are making in the Personal Progress Program?"
A simple shoe box can be a wonderful gathering place for handouts and mementos from time spent in the Young Women program. "I still have a box filled with handouts... which remind me of lessons I have been taught."
A shoe box would fit nicely into a young women's hope chest, wouldn't it? :)
This idea could be presented during a Sunday lesson on keeping a journal and preserving memories. You could have a box available for them if budget allows, or simply have the girls bring a small box of choice:
an old shoe box (make sure it is a sturdy one though - you want it to last)
photo storage box (you can usually find these for less than $5.00 at Joann's or Micheal's)
clear plastic container with lid (Dollar Stores are a great place to find these)
You could also set aside time during a week night activity to have the girls decorate their boxes. Wrapping them in gift wrap, scrapbook paper, photographs, really anything they would like. You can find instructions on decorating shoe boxes here. Or do an internet search for other ideas, there are so many out there.
If you really want to help them get organized, they could create sections within the box for different topics, such as dating, scripture study, or any/all of the young women values. Personally, I just like the idea of rummaging through the box and having random memories of lessons and activities.
Our youth celebrated the first week of school the end of summer, by taking a day trip to Avila Beach (we live about 3 hours away from the coast). The young men planned the activity and did a wonderful job.
After everyone had arrived, the youth were gathered together for a few activities on the beach.
* Pass the Ball *
Fill the Bucket: Each team was given a small paper cup. One by one, a team member ran to the ocean to fill their cup with water. The cup was to be placed on top their heads, and held there as they returned back to their starting point and poured the water into the bucket, which was sitting in the sand. First team to fill the bucket completely was the winner.
Sand Castle Building Competition: The youth were given 30 minutes to build a sand castle of their own design. When time was up, everyone walked together from castle to castle. Each was given recognition awards from our judges of the competition, our Bishopric.
There was a Human Sand Castle, A Temple, a Mayan Temple and a some kind of Whale Inspired Castle. Good times!
* LUNCH AND DEVOTIONAL
We gathered together for lunch and a wonderful devotional was given by one of our young women. She did a amazing job using our surroundings to teach. The photo below is an example of how she did this, asking all to gather a handful of sand.
* TIME TO RELAX, PLAY AND EXPLORE
After lunch, the youth were free to relax in the sun, jump in the waves, surf, walk the dock, explore the tide pools, play Frisbee, but most importantly - simply enjoy their time together.