Wednesday, February 19, 2014

YW Value Buckets

We've started using the "Real Heroes" posters that correspond with the YW Values (click on photo below to go to the site) on Sundays. The posters we had been using previously were a little old-fashioned and we wanted something new and interesting.

The Real Heroes YW Poster Set has a woman from the scriptures or church history that corresponds with each YW Value (ie, Mary = Virtue, Hannah = Faith), but the poster itself does not state the actual YW Value. So, when we put up the poster featuring Mary at the beginning of the month, I explain how she represents the theme, but it doesn't exactly get the message across to the YW that the theme for the month is Virtue for all the other weeks in that month.

To solve the problem, I made these little 'theme' buckets using mini metal buckets (Walmart $1.00 each). I hot-glued a fake flower (matching the color for each monthly theme) inside each bucket. I couldn't find gold flowers, but I had some gold spray-paint, so I improvised. Then I attached the name of the theme to the front of the buckets using scrapbook paper & double-stick tape. We put the corresponding bucket beside the poster we display for the month. You could also use the entire set for display during New Beginnings or YWIE.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Most of our youth are preparing for an upcoming music festival youth conference, so those kids (who will be 14 or older by the conference this summer) have singing practices for 2 mutual activities each month. Since these happen on our regular combined ym/yw or class activity nights, these either leave the younger beehives with nothing to do and/or leave the older yw (who choose not to attend youth conference) without an activity. So we've been planning special activities for these girls for the past month or so. This week we combined with some of the girls (in the same situation) from the neighboring ward and had a girls-night "GAL-entines Day party"

It happens to be Valentines Day this week, but you could do the same activity any time of year and call it something else :)

I told the girls that the point this activity was to have fun and celebrate Valentines Day without having to worry about boys or romance or any of that stuff :) We would just be celebrating our YW  awesomeness and having a good time! We would also passing off a Personal Progress value experience, so they were asked to bring their books.

We started off with Personal Progress. I chose "Divine Nature Value Experience 1" which is:  "What are some of the divine qualities of a daughter of God? Read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”; 2 Peter 1; Alma 7:23–24; and Doctrine and Covenants 121:45. In your own words, list the divine qualities discussed in your reading. Think about how you can discover and develop each of these qualities. Record your ideas in your journal"
We don't do a LOT of Personal Progress Experiences together during Mutual (maybe 4 or 5 times a year), but when we do I try to have sort type of paper or substitute "journal" for each girl (because most Experiences require journal-writing, and they usually don't have journals with them, even if I ask them to bring them). This way, they can 'write in their journal" to pass off the Experience, then tape the page into their journal at home if they want. 

I had picked up some memo pads in the Valentine section of Walmart (97 cents), so I planned to write the instructions on each page, but I needed to make about 20 and my hand was cramping, so I printed some instructions on printable stick-on address labels (that I had around) and attached them to the memo sheets (see photo example):

You could do this same type of thing with many of the Value Experiences that can be completed in one day. Many of the Value Experiences take longer than one night, so you have to really look for the ones that can be completed during Mutual (and be sure to follow the guidelines that specify that each girl completes her own Personal Progress Experiences & Projects). For example, in this Divine Nature Value Experience #1 that we used, they are to read certain scriptures, make a list, and write in their journal. Even though we did this together (at the same time) they each did their own. We even adapted this to make it possible for everyone (one girl has reading difficulties, so we had one leader in each group reading the scriptures aloud for the group, then everyone wrote their own lists and journal entry). What we need to avoid is doing the Experiences for them (ie, if I had read them the scriptures, printed out a pre-made list for them, and told them what to write in their journal, they wouldn't have gotten anything out of the Experience)

Busily writing qualities of daughters of God!

You would not believe how long their lists were!

This Personal Progress part of the activity only took about 10 minutes. I pointed out how quickly we were able to do it and reminded them that most Personal Progress experiences are just as easy to do (even the ones that take more time) - it just takes a little effort.

Our Laurel class president had found some cute ideas for food on Pinterest and we borrowed the ideas from these sources (click on the photos at the bottom of the post to see the original posts where we got the ideas with recipes, etc . Instead of just making the food for them, learning to make these treats was part of the activity. They were not hard to make, but it was a good chance to talk to the girls about some of the basics of cooking, oven safety, handwashing, etc.

I considered teaching them to make homemade pizza dough, but we were expecting a pretty large group, so I simplified. I tried to find pre-made pizza crust and didn't have any luck, so we ended up using crescent-roll dough (I used the Pillsbury "big & flaky" variety, because I worried that my 3-inch heart cookie cutter would be too large for the regular size crescent dough pieces). There are 8 pieces of dough in a can and the 3-inch size heart cookie cutter worked perfect with 1 heart per piece of dough. (I know what you're thinking, I could have probably pieced and pinched dough pieces together and gotten more pieces out of the dough, but I was going for easy this time!) :)

Everyone decorated their own pizzas. We had pizza sauce, mini pepperonis, and cheese. Cute! These are VERY SMALL pizzas (shown on tiny plates!), about 1/2 the size of a regular piece of pizza.

The YW leaders from the neighboring ward were in charge of the cupid floats and I was too distracted by drinking one to remember to take photos! They were really good!


We ended up with some leftover time, so we played "Whoonu" (a board game that I keep in the closet for occasions like this!). I like this game because everyone has fun, but nobody feels self-conscious - AND everyone learns something about the other players. I'm not sure if this game is still being made - I found some very expensive ones online, but it should be only about $20:

Here are the sources for recipes:
Original idea for cupid floats (click on photo for site)
Original idea for heart pizzas (click on photo for site)

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This week we had an all-girls activity planned by the Beehive class. We borrowed heavily from the Sisters in Zion blog where I saw the original idea, "Say Yes to the Dress". We did our activity differently, but the wedding dress making contest idea was the same. Check out the original activity idea by clicking on the photo (from the post on the Sisters in Zion site) below:

We called our activity "Say Yes to the Dress/Project Runway". For what I call the "educational" part of the activity, we reviewed what the clothing standards are in For the Strength of Youth. We talked about why the standards for a dress you would wear for getting married in the temple is different than most wedding dresses you see on TV/movies, etc. We talked about what a modest wedding dress looks like (got into specifics of neckline, etc because this would relate to the dress-making part of the activity).

I also shared some quotes that I found in an article about how becoming more spiritually mature and gaining a testimony turns standards from being an annoyance to being a welcome part of our lives. We have a number of young women who would rather be fashionable than modest, so I hoped that this would help them understand that the standards are a positive thing that they may choose to embrace as their personal testimonies grow. The talk, titled "Making A Mighty Change" by Marlin K. Jensen can be found on here. I tried to keep it positive and encouraging.

I also read them this story (which I found online at "The Thirty-Dollar Wedding Dress"
and we briefly discussed how the bride had been disappointed in her simple wedding dress and lack of fanfare surrounding her wedding day, but the most important part of her marriage was who she was marrying and where she was being married.

Finally, I showed photos of brides from 3 recent weddings (in the past year or 2). I chose young and fashionable brides that the girls would know (people who are/were in our ward or stake) and each of them was gorgeous and had a beautiful (and modest) wedding dress. I specifically chose photos taken in front of the temple. The girls ooooo'd and aaaaaaaah'd over the wedding dresses and I hope it helped make the point that modest can be glamorous and beautiful.

Then the time for the competition had finally come- we split the girls up into teams of 4-5 and had them go to separate classrooms to work. They were each given 1 roll of clear packing tape, 1 roll of white paper towels, and about 100 white paper napkins. I bought the cheapest materials possible, so the cost for the dress supplies (for 3 teams) was about $9 total. Don't forget that they will each need a pair of scissors for the tape- I forgot scissors and we had a hard time finding enough pairs at the last minute.

I gave the girls 30 minutes and the leaders went around every 5 minutes or so and checked on their progress. Everyone was reminded that dresses that did not fit the standards in FTSOY would be disqualified. Near the end, we gave them a 5-minute warning. After time was up, we then had all the designers go back to the Relief Society room while the brides line up in the hallway. When the brides entered, the reaction of the girls was really fun.  After the modeling, the girls ate cupcakes and drank punch while the judges (the leaders) conferred. We had 3 brides, so we decided to have 3 different "winners" - "Best Overall" "Most Glamorous" and "Most Classy"

I think all of the brides wore their dresses home - it was a lot of fun!

Can't have a wedding without cupcakes and punch!