Thursday, July 17, 2014

Girls Camp Treats 2014

We usually send treats up with the Bishopric to Girls Camp on their Bishopric Night. The Bishopric also bring their own treats (usually ice cream sundaes) but I like to send along reinforcements from the YW Presidency as well. Most of us in the Presidency haven't been able to go along because of work, health, or other obligations, so we like the girls to know that we're thinking of them. I also make one for each YW Leader who is there from our ward (whether they are there in a Ward or Stake capacity)

We have one girl and one leader with Celiac disease (very serious gluten allergy), so I have to be careful about what I send. I don't want anyone to feel left out. 

I've seen on Pinterest that Starburst candies are delicious when roasted over a campfire (like you would roast a marshmallow). I haven't tried it myself, but it seemed like something the girls would like (and Starbursts are gluten-free).

I bought a couple of big bags of Starbursts and put several in some small jewelry-sized bags (I already had these, you can buy them at Walmart in the jewelry section).  For the bag sizes I had, 3 Starbursts fit inside perfectly.

I made instruction labels (I put them inside the bags) and name labels, then stapled them to the bags of candy with ribbon.

Easy and inexpensive!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Personal Progress Board UPDATE

Our Personal Progress Board was starting to look a little rough over the past few months. Some of the chipboard letter stickers kept falling off, and a few of them were lost somewhere between the YW room and the closet. For the past few weeks we've had a "Personal _rogress" board that I was too embarrassed to bring out of the closet. We had also had a bunch of new girls come into YW, so we were needing to update the charts as well.

So I brought it home this last weekend after church and gave it a makeover. I added new letters and printed new charts. This time I also made a separate section for the Honor Bee charts.

To make the charts, I simply made a Numbers spreadsheet (I have a Mac, you could use Excel) with the number of rows/columns I wanted, then added color to each row to correspond with the value color. Each chart has its own name at the top. For the Honor Bee charts, I also used a Numbers spreadsheet and then included a spot to mark completion of the Book of Mormon and mentoring.

See my photos of the new and improved board!

You can find the post about the original board and its predecessors on my blog HERE

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Last night we had our 2nd Annual Family Home Evening Mutual Combined YM/YW Activity! 

Unlike our other Mutual activities, the leaders plan & carry out this whole activity so the kids can just enjoy (and see how its supposed to go). 

We started this activity last year after some of the YW in our ward commented that "nobody does Family Home Evening anymore Sister Rogers- thats old-fashioned" and I began to worry that they were right. How many of the kids were having FHE (or even knew what FHE was)? We have a number of less-active and non-member kids that attend Mutual but don't attend Church. This is a great way to get kids excited about FHE and maybe encourage it in their own homes. We try to emphasize that FHE should be fun and that the most important thing is that you spend time together.

We had this handy board (that I made from a poster-board and word-strips that I printed on scrapbook paper at home) so the kids could see what was coming up next....

We asked youth to do the prayers, the leaders did everything else.

One of the YW leaders taught some Primary songs (with actions) like Popcorn Popping, Once There Was a Snowman, and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

I did the lesson, which was a short explanation of what FHE is and why its great (helps families get along better, good opportunity to spend time together, a chance for everyone to be heard, etc). 
Then I gave them an example of what a FHE lesson could be:

Then I demonstrated an object lesson on media standards by offering the youth some s'mores candy* that I had made earlier that day, but had "accidentally dropped" in the grass on the way to the car, right after my husband had mowed the lawn. (Really, I had purposefully sprinkled some dry dill -sort of looks like grass clippings- on top of the candy and roughed them up a bit to make them look like I had actually dropped them). 

When I offered the candy to the youth, they were hesitant. I told them that they were still mostly good, and they could probably just pick the grass out and they would be okay. A few kids were about attempt it when I mentioned that there MIGHT have been some dog poop on the lawn, but that I thought I'd wiped most of it off. Suddenly, nobody wanted the candy anymore! I said that they could probably just eat around any part that might look like it had touched dog poop, or maybe try to rinse them off or something, but that the candies were still mostly good. You should have seen the looks on some of these kids faces - they were totally grossed out! Some of them thought I was nuts! "Sister Rogers - are you trying to kill us?" I made my way around the room, offering each person a candy, and nobody took one!

Finally, I admitted that I hadn't dropped the candies at all - it was an "object lesson" meant to teach a principle. Many times we justify watching a movie or listening to a song because there is just "one bad part" or "just 5 or 6 bad words". If "just one part" isn't good, is watching or listening to or reading it really that great of an idea?

*you could use any kind of candy, cookie, brownie, etc. You don't really have to use the fake grass, but I think the "grass" really convinced them that the candy had been dropped. This idea has been around for a while - I was sort of surprised that the youth didn't catch on right away!

To wrap up, I showed them this classic Mormonad:

and we discussed how it related to my "tainted" candy. You can find all of the Mormonads (printable) on the church website by clicking on the photo above.

The crowning event of our annual FHE activity is our pie-eating contest, which is always tons of fun! We've found it easiest to use whipped-cream-only pies (no crust) in mini pie tins.

Here are a few photos from this year (this was a combined ym/yw activity and we had a pretty big turn-out, but strangely the only photos that turned out were mostly of the girls!)

For more specifics on how we run our annual FHE activity, see the original post about how to do a FHE Mutual Activity here 

Saturday, June 7, 2014


"No-Bake Cookie Cook-off" - try saying THAT fast 5 times!

For a recent Beehive Class Activity, we learned to make no-bake cookies.

Ever competitive, the Beehive Class Presidency thought it would be fun to make it a competition. We selected 3 different types of no-bake cookie recipes and purchased the ingredients ahead of time. We also printed the recipes so that each team would have a copy of the recipe they were working on.

We did 3 teams (2 girls on a team), but if you have a larger class you could either have more teams or more girls per team.

We made Peanut-Butter No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE), Nutella No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE), and traditional No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE)

I thought for sure that the Nutella cookies (a big favorite among some of our YW) would be the winner, but everyone liked the Peanut-Butter and traditional versions of the cookies best.

I would recommend making the cookies at the beginning of your activity and refrigerating them so that they "set" - then you can play a game or something and eat/judge the cookies at the end!

This was a relatively low-cost activity, since rolled oats, sugar, etc are fairly low in price and you don't use much of the more expensive ingredients (peanut butter, nutella, etc).  A bonus is that the refreshments are part of the activity! And if you are careful with the ingredients, these cookies can be gluten-free, if that is a concern for any of your girls (there is no flour in these recipes, but check the label

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Adapting the Virtue Value Project (Personal Progress) for Special Needs

After reviewing (adapted) Personal Progress Value Experience with a young woman in our ward, she asked me how many more projects she needs to do to complete the program. I explained that there are ___ experiences left, and also eight 10-hour projects. 

I told her that one of the projects she can start right now is reading the Book of Mormon. I suggested that she start with that now, since it may take quite a while. She seemed excited about that, but wondered how she could keep track of what she's read, especially since she reads scriptures on her father's Kindle. She asked if there was some sort of chart that she could get to help her remember.

I have seen many charts that help you track scripture reading, so I set out to find one for her today. Most of them available online show the entire Book of Mormon on one chart, but I thought that might be confusing or overwhelming for her.

Then I came across these charts that track scripture reading one book at a time (and it looks like some of the longer books of the Book of Mormon are broken up into several different pages).  I've included some examples below- Click on one of the pictures to go to the source site. They are free to use.

I plan to include one of these at a time in her Personal Progress notebook (as explained in my post "Adapting Personal Progress for Special Needs") and replace with the next new chart as needed

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Wait- you don't have a plaque for your YW? Why you need one, and how to get started

A few years ago, one of the Young Men leaders in our ward mentioned that they were going to order a set of 2 perpetual plaques to display in the foyer of our ward building. One would be for Duty to God and the other would be for Eagle Scouts. We loved the idea and went ahead with ordering a plaque for the Young Women also- a plaque recognizing those who complete the Personal Progress program (i.e., earn the Young Women Recognition Award).

Of course I've seen plenty of other wards with these sort of plaques- some with multiple plaques dating back to the 90's (or maybe even earlier!). Many wards also have plaques for other things (such as a list of those who have served full-time missions) and may also display plaques for those currently away on missions.

For some reason, we didn't have any plaques in our foyer at all. It had been a while since anyone had earned their Eagle Scout or completed Personal Progress, so I'm not sure if order plaques were taken down at some point because they were so outdated or if we never had plaques in the first place. Or maybe we had plaques they stayed with the other half of our ward when the ward split, many years ago?

Regardless of the reason for our lack of plaques in the recent past, we wanted a plaque for the YW for the same reason that the YM leaders wanted the plaques for the make completing these goals a prominently recognized and celebrated event. It gives the other youth something to look forward to and work for. They see it on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. It reminds them of what they can accomplish and gives them good examples to follow.

How do you keep the lettering/look uniform? 

We ordered all 3 plaques for our ward from the same company. I think that its important to have a clean look, so having matching plaques (or at least coordinating them as closely as possible, if you already have some plaques on display). There are a wide variety of styles available, but a consistent look is generally more professional. Check with your Bishop to see where you can place your plaques (I've seen them in foyers and other hallway areas).

Here are just a few examples of styles that are available (from various companies). If you click on the photo it will take you to the site that sells that particular plaque. Many sites who sell Eagle Scout plaques and missionary plaques also sell these Young Womanhood Recognition award plaques. You can also ask around or do your own online search to find a particular style or price-range you are looking for. I just did a quick Google search to find the examples below:

In addition to having a plaque that coordinates with other plaques that are on display, you'll want to keep the lettering consistent as well. It would look a little strange to have the YW plaque with names in a blocky all-caps text next to an Eagle Scout plaque with cursive text. Even worse would be to have multiple text styles/sizes used for names on the very same plaque. 

Some styles of plaques require you to order separate name plates that are later ordered and engraved as-needed, then sent to you to attach to the plaque. We ordered a plaque with all of the blank name plates already attached. Instead of trying to remove the name plates when we need to add names, I just take the whole plaque with me to an engraving shop.

I use the same local shop for engraving every time, to try to get a consistent look. They've kept a record on file of the text type/size they use for the plaque so that they can duplicate it easily when a new name is added. Some adjustment has to be made for very  short or long names, but in general they look pretty uniform. Having a name and year engraved onto a name plate costs about $6 in my area.

In case I'm released (or the YM Presidency needs to add a name to one of their plaques), I've taped a business card of the engravers shop on the back of each plaque, along with a little note with instructions (what name the text information is filed under, etc).

Why no mention of "Personal Progress"?
Although the program is called Personal Progress, the actual name of the award is the Young Womanhood Recognition Award. Thats what the certificate they receive says. You'll notice that all of the examples of plaques above use the phrase "Young Womanhood Recognition Award" instead of "Personal Progress". Its just more fancy-sounding, I guess!

What about YW leaders - do their names belong on the plaque?
I've seen some wards include the names of YW leaders on their plaques that recognize completing Personal Progress. While I would never want to diminish the accomplishment of anyone who completes the program, I opted not to include adult YW leaders on our plaque. When we received the plaque, my daughter was almost finished with Personal Progress and I was very close to completing the program as well. Believe me, I would have loved to put my own name on there, too (I know very well how much work it is to finish!) but I felt like it might take away from honoring the YW (especially my daughter) in some way. I felt like it was something special just for them, and that putting myself on there so close to my daughter might feel like self-promoting and could distract from her accomplishment in some small way. That was my personal choice, but there isn't anything necessarily wrong with honoring YW leaders in this way. Like I said, I've seen lots of wards do it.

How far back do you go with the names?
To be honest, there has been a little grumbling about who's name was (or more specifically who's name wasn't) put on our new plaque. Since nobody could remember when (or if) we'd ever had a plaque for the Young Womanhood Recognition (or anything else!), I knew that there were undoubtably at least a few girls who had completed the program in past years who never had their name on a plaque. We don't have a large number of youth in our ward, so we're not talking about a lot of girls... I only know of a few people who finished the program sometime between 2006-2011. The last girl in our ward to have completed the program graduated the year before we ordered the plaque and had long ago moved out of the ward. I felt like it would be best to start with girls currently in the YW program.

However, if we'd had someone who had finished the program the same year we ordered the plaque, I would have considered that (especially if they were still in our ward). One person complained that their daughter's name should have been listed, because she had completed Personal Progress. The daughter they were referring to was another example of a YW who had completed program years ago and is now a married adult (and no longer in our ward).

My purpose was not to exclude people, but I did have to be realistic. It would be impossible for me to accurately track down everyone who had ever been a YW in our ward in the past 20 years to ask if they completed Personal Progress and try to verify the date of completion. To be fair, if I were going to list any previous recipients, I would have to list them all. An impossible task. So, "current YW only" it is!

Is a plaque really THAT big of a deal?
Whether you have a plaque or not, please make a big deal out of Personal Progress. It IS a big deal. I have many posts about how to get your YW excited and interested in Personal Progress, so please check them out (see the Personal Progress category at the top of the page). Since we ordered out plaque, we've had 5 Young Women and 2 YW Leaders complete the Personal Progress program. Thats an average of 3-4 people completing the program a year. That is an astounding number compared to what has been done in the previous years! A plaque by itself won't make a big difference, but an overall effort and emphasis on Personal Progress definitely does!!!