When I was young, in the beautiful, small town of Alamo Nevada, I got my first taste of what scouting had to offer and from that moment on i felt encouraged to continue participating in scouting to this day. It all started in that […]
Hi, I’m Jackson your friendly First assistant and Crew President. In this post, I will be showing you how to plan a years worth of activities and how to plan big events like a youth conference or court of honor. By first defining a theme and then organizing information and activities in sections, the Youth can easily plan activities with little help from advisers.
Themes make it easier to brainstorm your ideas. If you have a theme to relate to, ideas for activities come to you easily. You can create your own theme, use an existing church organization theme or use the purposes of the church as a theme. Once you have a theme, write down four focus topics that go with the theme. One for each quarter of the year. Divide the year into those four focus topics and plan activities that relate to each focus topic.
For example, Our Young Men’s President asked that we create a theme that had to do with scouting. For our 2016 theme I chose, “Be Prepared for the Call.” We subdivided that theme into four focus topics; Spiritual Prep, Physical Prep, Mental Prep and Emergency Prep. For Spiritual prep we planned a Gratitude activity where we would learn to write thank you notes and send them to those that participated in the flag fundraiser. For Physical Prep, we planned an activity where we learned to sharpen knives and related it to Stephan Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw” which he defines as, “…preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life.” For Mental Prep we planned an activity where we would talk about having hope and enduring to the end with positive thinking and how that becomes faith and how powerful faith is. We planned on reading scriptures that illustrated the power of faith. For Emergency Prep, we planned an activity where we learned to sprout seeds.
Another example is using the 2016 theme;
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).
This theme can be divided into four focus topics: Press Forward, Be Steadfast, Have Hope and Love, Feast Upon the Word. Activities might include Parkour for Pressing forward and a discussion about overcoming obstacles, Learning Knots for Being steadfast and a discussion about how to stand strong and not break when tempted, Family History and Temple Work for hope and Love, Scripture marking (Click Here to link to my favorite scripture marking system) for Feast Upon the Word.
For a “Purposes of the Church” theme it is easy because there are four purposes, of the church; Feed the poor and needy, redeem the dead, preach the gospel and perfect the saints. Use these four focus topics to plan an activity for each to see how easy it is.
Once you have an activity idea and it has been approved, fill out a worksheet for every activity, so you can make sure to have the things you need on the date of the activity and everyone will know what is scheduled. The worksheet was adapted from the Ventures Activity Planning Sheet to fit any auxiliary.
The first field to fill out has to do with the general purpose of the activity including the theme, date, time and location of the activity. The next is supplies that may be needed for the activity, The next field has to do with a report on the perspective programs the group is involved in. For my purposes it is scouting. For YW it is Personal Progress, for Activity Days, it would be a report on the Faith in God program, For Relief Society it would be a report or two on the Pursuit of Excellence Program. It is a way to promote the program itself and at the same time give each individual an opportunity to share their accomplishments in a safe environment. Skill instruction is the next field to fill out. This is a short 7-10 minute lesson or instructions on the activity. The next section is the meat of the activity where the members of the group get to have a hands on experience doing the activity. Finally, the next field is a reflection and a review of the activity. This is an opportunity for the leaders to bring the whole activity together in a spiritual way. The signatures are to make sure that all leaders are aware of the activity and what the purpose is for it. That way there is not confusion about what is going to happen that week and it is less likely to get changed to something else. It is more set in stone when all of the leaders are on the same page, literally.
Once your activities have all been planned the next step is to put them on your ward calendar. This will keep the youth, the parents, the leaders, and the stake all connected and on board. Any leader of the organization can do this including the youth presidency and secretary as long as they have an account for LDS.org. To obtain an account, you will need your member number. Your member number can be retrieved by contacting your ward clerk.
No matter what auxiliary you are in, I know you will find this method of planning activities fast and easy.
Large Event Planning:
When you are in a committee trying to plan a large event, meetings can become long and drawn out when everyone is trying to do everything. When I was on the Stake Youth Committee, we were divided up into groups in charge of different aspects of the event. This made things a lot easier for everyone. At the same time we all came together in the beginning to learn and share in the purpose of the event. This united us with a common purpose even though we were divided into different groups. In smaller groups, individuals are allowed a little more creativity and feel as though they contribute more to the event and are less likely to find their ideas lost in the crowd.One way you can divide the committee into groups is to separate into; Opening/Closing and Decorations/favors, Set-up, Activity and Entertainment, Publicity etc. Everyone should have a job to call their own, where they can make a small impact in creating a wonderful event.
When it comes to the Activity and Entertainment portion, it can be divided into other sections as well.
Alma Heaton, the Professor of Fun, explains the entire process of planning the perfect large group activity in his book, Mormon Book of Fun. He says that a great event usually has five components in this order;
1. Pre-Opener- This is an activity that begins with the first person to arrive and easily continues as people are arriving. It is one that is easily explained, and easily executed. (Get acquainted games, conversational games, guessing games, skill games, paper/puzzle games.)
2. Starter – The activity that officially starts the activity. It is one where the leader is identified and the group becomes a unit. (Partner Pairing, Mixers, Circle Games, Grand Marches)
3. Socializers – Any group activity that is enjoyable to the whole group, with the purpose of helping the group interact, get to know each other better and unite. (Relays, Dance Mixers, Musical Mixers, Contests, Fun Dances)
4. Rester – An activity that entertains yet requires minimal active participation, with the purpose of entertaining the group while they rest. (Leader stunt, group stunt, songs, skits, comedy routine, musical presentation)
5. Finale- An activity that concludes all formal and leader lead activities, with the purpose of concluding the activity. (Special performance, calming activity refreshments, song and or prayer)
I hope you found this video useful. In the next episode I will show you how to create a binder system to help you keep good reports and find important information in hurry.
Until Next Time,
I’m not sure how to explain to you the things I’ve learned about God’s love for us with regard to the food we eat. I am not eloquent enough to explain the way Heavenly Father has explained this to me. The only thing I can do is to share scripture and my interpretation of these scriptures. Let me begin with John 6:27 – 35
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
This means to me that Jesus will feed us, just like He fed the 5000, just like He fed the 4000, and like he fed the apostles. We can seek Him to find the most nutritious food.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
The food that God the Father gives us does not perish. This is true with a natural start. First, the start does not perish. It becomes sour but it rises again when fed and watered. The bread itself theoretically dies when you bake it, but then it comes alive again, becomes more sour and when stored right does not perish in that sense. In fact if you take a piece of sourdough bread and add some flour and water, it will rise again.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
God gives us manna from Heaven too. I was talking to my dear Sister in Law, Melanie the other day. She is a Jehovah’s Witness. When I told her of the Natural Start I was working with, and that the yeast actually comes from the air. She said, “Like Manna?” I was so shocked, by the truth of it, It took me a minute to reply. She continued the comforting story from the scriptures that we both have known since our youth about the Israelites and the Manna from Heaven. But it had new meaning to me. Then, I remembered something my daughter had told me about when a woman kisses her baby, she takes in the germs and virus that may harm the child and creates the antidote and antibodies, specific to those germs and viruses, in her breast milk to keep her baby healthy and prevent disease. This made me think. Did Heavenly Father give the Israelites manna to clean their bodies of the impurities both spiritually and physically, to strengthen them to become a new nation? And is it possible that the Yeast the start collects from the air is an antidote to the germs and viruses embedded in the air we breathe?
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
There are so many similarities between Jesus Christ and naturally leavened bread. Here are just a few:
- Naturally leavened bread helps us digest our food, has antioxidant properties, and contains a lot of healthy bacteria. In the same way that when we follow Christ and His teachings we become healthy and pure, eating sourdough bread can keep us clean on the inside.
- Sourdough feeds us only as well as we feed it. The bread we make with sourdough taste only as good as we treat the sourdough itself. If we feed it regularly and keep it at a good temperature, the bread we make will rise beautifully and taste yummy. If we do not care for it, the bread will be hard as a brick and taste sour. Jesus Christ says to love one another. By loving and caring for the start, it will love and care for us.
- Every time we refresh the start we feed and water it. When it is sour the process can cure the start from it’s sour flavor and revive it to rise again. It reminds me of baptism and repentance. No matter how sour we become because of sin or anger, we can become clean again through repentance. It brings new meaning to the words, “Fresh Start.”
- That brings me to the idea that the bread never dies. It has everlasting possibilities. If left in a dry place, not in plastic, the bread will not mold, simply dry up, and when fed again and watered, will rise again. Like Jesus Christ, the bread made from the yeast in the air lives and gives us life. And while a start can look dead, it will rise again in the same way Jesus Christ was resurrected on Easter morning.
- In the end, there is much controversy about bread. The world would say, “Do not eat it. Stay away from bread of any kind. It will make you fat, ugly and or sick.” At the same time, the world says that the teachings of Christ are outdated, silly and uneducated. And if we live His teachings, we will be publicly shamed, ridiculed, fined, jailed and in some cases, publicly beheaded. Ironically, if Americans ate just a little less meat and more bread, everyone in the world would have enough to eat. What does that say about Christ? If everyone lived by His teachings, we would all eat and be filled. If a = Christ and b = Sourdough Bread and a is equal to b, than a and be are interchangeable. If the world says stay away from bread, they are also saying stay away from Christ. If the scriptures say, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” Then, we know that Heavenly Father gives us both Bread from Heaven and Christ from Heaven. One to save our bodies the other to save our souls.
There are so many questions about what to put into our mouths these days. So much worry goes into our meals, and what we feed our children. Let us no longer be afraid. Let us consider the health benefits of eating grains, naturally leavened by the heavens, and provided to us by a loving Father. Let us come unto Christ and never hunger and believe on Him and never thirst. This is my prayer for us all.
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