Around a year and a half ago I was asked to lead the group of girls at church from the ages of 12 to 18. I do this in a volunteer capacity and there are a few other great women who help me with this assignment. The program is called Young Women. Aside from Sunday lessons and midweek activities there are a couple of big programs a year for these young women. The program at the beginning of the year is called "New Beginnings" and it is a nice event that the girls who are turning 12 this coming year are invited to attend along with their parents and the other young women. We talk about the Young Women program and explain a really vital element of the program called "Personal Progress". Personal Progress is a way for young women, their parents and leaders to set goals in specific areas (the Young Women values: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue) that will help them grow and mature spiritually.
The church also chooses a scripture for all the youth (young men too) to focus on during each calendar year. The scripture this year is from a book of scripture in our cannon called Doctrine & Covenants. It is from section 4, verse 2:
We decided to focus our New Beginnings program around the same scripture with a theme of "Embark."Some of my ideas came from Pinterest. This is no secret. I like to think I'm good at executing other people's ideas and putting my own spin on them. I hope those women with the original creative ideas won't mind. I know on those rare occasions when I do get some creative genius, I am excited to share my ideas with others.
So first, to give credit where credit is due:
Creative inspiration for the scripture print: here (sorry, when I repinned it there wasn't an original source) and here
Creative inspiration for the decorations and favors: here, here and here.
I came up with the ideas paralleling Personal Progress with embarking on a journey, on my own.
So, now that all that business is out of the way, here's the fun stuff--pictures from our event.
We kept the refreshments simple. We wanted mostly finger foods. We had chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, two kinds of chips and dips, vegetable and fruit platters and the cutest sailboat cupcakes that my friend Liz made. We had water with lime slices (you know, to help prevent scurvy. Haha!) and lemonade on a separate drink table.
I love maps and globes and when you embark on a journey you have to chart a course so we incorporated those things into the decorations.
This was my husband's grandpa's suitcase. I filled it with visual aids for my talk and things that the young women and parents might like to see up close afterwards.
I found a map in the library and I loved the way the map looked in the inspiration that I linked above so I put it up with magnets and sketched out the first part of the scripture theme above it.
I wanted to have some kind of small favor and I thought life savers would be perfect since we were using boats as a big part of our decorations. I found these cute little mintbook covers on Pinterest so I made a bunch and had them in an apothacary jar at one end of the food table.
The cute sister missionaries in our area had come earlier in the week and helped me make paper boats so we had those scattered around the room as well.
Lots of people helped with all the work and providing the food, so it was a lot of fun and a big success.
Here's the run down of our program:
The meeting was presided over by our bishop and conducted by one of the young women.
Opening Hymn--Master, the Tempest is Raging
Opening Prayer--given by one of the young women
Young Women Theme--everyone stood and recited it together, lead by one of the young women
Youth Scripture for the Year--lead by one of the young women
Presentation of the Young Women Logo and Motto by one of the young women
Explanation of Personal Progress by me
Remarks from the Stake Young Women President
Remarks from the Bishop of our ward
Closing Hymn--As Zion's Youth in Latter Days
Closing Prayer--given by one of the young women
My talk paralleled the different aspects of embarking on a journey and elements of the Personal Progress program. I'm just going to sum up so you can get the gist of it.
Embark on Personal Progress
Personal Progress is a journey you are going to take through your years in Young Women. This is a lot like other journeys. You will need some help along the way and you will need a few things to make your voyage a happy, successful experience.
1. Passport--your personal progress book; you get stamps in your passport by completing goals (value experiences or value projects) and having your YW leaders or parents sign off on these.
2. Travelogue--your journal. Use it to keep track of where you have been and the experiences you have.
3. Map, Globe or Compass--this helps you know where to go. In Personal Progress your compass will be prayerfully considering value projects and experiences. The standards in For the Strength of Youth will also help keep you on course.
4. Tour Guides--Young Women leaders, your parents and priesthood leaders will be able to help you, point out opportunities and show you the sights along the way.
5. An itinerary--allow time regularly to work on Personal Progress. Plan to complete 1 value experience a month and 2 value projects (10 hours each) a year to stay on schedule. Your itinerary also includes coming to youth activities and Sunday meetings.
6. Lifesavers--for a safe journey you need to be equipped with a flotation device. The 8 Young Women values, when practiced and lived will keep you afloat.
7. An Anchor--provides stability and keeps the ship from drifting. Jesus Christ is our anchor. Following Him and reading his teachings in the scriptures will anchor you.
8. Souvenirs--mementos to remember your travels through Young Women include certificates, the Young Womanhood Recognition award (a beautiful gold or silver medallion) and the Honor Bee (a cute little bee charm)
9. A destination--our ultimate destination is to return to live with our Father in Heaven on day. Other ports of call along the way include callings, service opportunities, missions, and temple ordinances.
Personal Progress is the vessel to transport Young Women to where they want to be in this life and in the life to come.
I had several of these things as visual aids in the suitcase on the table at the front of the room.
We had some young women that weren't able to make it and it is always sad for them to miss out, but I think the ones that were there had a good time. Now we can breathe easy. At least until the next big event. :)