Thursday, September 26, 2013

Personal Progress Conference

Last night we had an all-girls (joint class) activity that I called "Personal Progress Conference." I borrowed heavily from an idea I saw on the A Little Crafting blog here but I adapted it a bit to fit our needs.

The main purpose of the activity was to show the girls that Personal Progress can be fun and is not difficult to do. I knew some of the girls probably wouldn't come if they knew what we were doing, so I wanted to make it sound EXTRA fun. I advertised that we would be doing a competition where they could earn 'tickets' and whoever ended up with the most tickets at the end of the activity would 'win' a prize - and the prize was being able to throw a pie in my face! You may notice from my previous posts that pie (and contests involving pie) is a popular theme with our youth. Anyhow, the girls were told ahead of time that they would automatically earn 1 ticket just for bringing their Personal Progress book to the activity!

We had 6 stations set up, each with a YW leader or a mentor (YW who has finished Personal Progress). 4 of them were stations where they could work on (and pass-off) a pre-arranged Personal Progress Value Experience. More on that below. For each Value Experience that they passed-off, they earned a ticket. There was also a station where they could write a letter to one of the missionaries serving from our ward (for an extra ticket). The 6th station was where they could have their Personal Progress interview (and earn THREE tickets!). I wanted the interview to be non-threatening, so I kept it low-key and didn't push the girls who aren't 'into' it.

The girls were able to rotate through the tables in any order they wanted. I provided instructions and all the materials they would need (scriptures, scissors, etc) at each table and each girl was given a mini-composition book to use as her 'journal' for the activity, since most of the activities required writing in a journal. A leader or mentor was at each table to assist them and sign their book/paper.

Only 2 of the girls brought their Personal Progress books, but I was prepared! I had made up a sheet for each girl that listed which Value Experiences were available to pass off during the activity and a place for the leader/mentor at each table to sign off that it was completed. They can then tape their paper inside their regular Personal Progress book when they get home.

Some girls had already completed some of the Value Experiences we were offering, but I told them that was ok - they could just go ahead and work on the project anyhow to get the 'ticket,' but wouldn't need to get it signed off in their book again.

The 4 Value Experiences we had available to do that night were:

  • FAITH VALUE EXPERIENCE #2 (need a Book of Mormon, pen, copy of "The Family - A Proclamation to the World")
  • FAITH VALUE EXPERIENCE #6 - (need set of scriptures, pen, scissors, crayons, & copy of full set of Plan of Salvation Visual Aids for each girl. I got mine here). I adapted this one- I had the girls set out and explain the visuals to the mentor instead of teaching it in a FHE like suggested in the book.
  • INDIVIDUAL WORTH VALUE EXPERIENCE #4 (need set of scriptures, pen)
  • GOOD WORKS VALUE EXPERIENCE #8 - this was an "personalized" Value Experience that I made up for the activity. Each girl decorated a baby onesie with a fabric applique and then we gave all of the onesies (a variety of sizes) to a soon to be mom in our ward.

For girls who didn't bring their books to get an extra ticket, I gave them an opportunity to earn a bonus ticket (at the end) by answering one of the following questions correctly:

  • TRUE OR FALSE: When you're done with Personal Progress and earn your medallion, you're done with the program (FALSE- you can either start earning honor bees, or start the program again)
  • TRUE OR FALSE: You can't finish Personal Progress until you're 18 (FALSE - I encourage the girls to finish before their senior year - they can still work on their honor bee after that)
  • TRUE OR FALSE: Only a member of the YW Presidency can sign your Personal Progress book (FALSE- a parent/guardian can also sign your book)
We ended up with 4 girls who tied for 1st place for highest number of tickets*, so I got 4 different (whipped-cream) pies in my face! It was really fun! By the 2nd or 3rd pie, we had attracted a big crowd of YM from our ward (plus youth & leaders from the other ward)! We were in the kitchen and they opened the doors so everyone could get a better view!

Please note that doing Personal Progress as a group is generally discouraged because they are supposed to do the actual work/reading, etc themselves. However, it is sometimes appropriate to work on Personal Progress during Mutual. How do we know what is appropriate and what is not? What we want to avoid is doing the work for them just to get them to pass something off- just reading the scripture aloud, discussing as a group, and then lining everyone up to sign their book is a no-no. Really, would they be learning anything?

Even though we were doing some Value Experiences together on the same night during this activity, each girl actually did her own Value Experiences (or not if she didn't want to).  This keeps Personal Progress PERSONAL. I did this as more of a jump-start for girls who are new (or a boost for girls who haven't been working on Personal Progress for a while)...I will not be doing this frequently because most of the Value Experiences and Value Projects need to be done over time, at home, or privately. But it was fun to do for a Personal Progress Conference and we may continue doing something like this once a year or so....

*The original idea on A Little Crafting featured a raffle (all tickets were put into a raffle and one name was chosen to win), which honestly think about have worked better. I personally chose not to do a raffle because I remember reading in the Ensign that raffles should be avoided at church (even when money is not involved) because no matter how well-intended, it is still a form of gambling. I had the feeling our Bishopric would not approve. That is why I chose to do the (more complicated) "winner" method. I could have ended up with all of the girls having an equal number of tickets and I would have had a dozen pies in my face! Some of the girls chose not to finish all of the possible projects, so ours worked out with 4 "winners"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beauty & the Geek dance theme

This last weekend was our ward's turn to host the Stake youth dance. The youth voted on a theme (they picked "Beauty & the Geek"). We posted information about the dance on the stake's youth facebook page. We invited them to come dressed fancy (dress up) or as a geek/nerd (pocket protectors, nerd glasses, etc).

I had seen a post on sugardoodle where someone suggested decorating with toilet paper streamers  to make a sort of canopy over the dance floor. I thought this would be perfect to go along with the theme, since toilet paper stuck to the shoe is classic 'nerd'

Original idea posted here

It took 3 young men, my husband, and the hugest ladder I have ever seen to get the ropes hung up. We had a little (or a lot of) difficulty getting the TP across the ropes because our (pre-existing) hooks were spaced pretty far apart. So instead of being a canopy over the top of the dance floor, we settled for 2 "walls" of toilet paper, one on each side of the dance floor. See photos....

It looked much cooler with the dance lights on (and the main lights off), but you'll just have to use your imagination. It really had that "TP'd" look! Having the two "walls" of TP made the gym seem smaller and more cozy, so it did seem like more people danced. But since they were easily see-through with all the gaps, there wasn't a problem with visibility for the chaperones.

For refreshments, had divided a long table into two halfs- "beauty" (fancy pink cupcakes) and "geek" (mini cookies and rice krispy treats with nerds candies on the top). The youth made a bunch of tissue-paper roses and thick 'nerd' glasses cut-outs that we put all over the table.

We had a budget of $75.00. I bought $25 worth of TP ($1/4-pack at Dollar Tree = 100 rolls). Other supplies: rope (about $3), tissue paper and floral tape (about $4), tablecloths ($2), black cardstock and poster board ($4), cups ($3), and about $20 for refreshments.