Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday Special: Young Women in Excellence

Last night at church we had our Young Women in Excellence Program. Each year we celebrate the accomplishments of the young women in our ward. We decided on an Oscar theme this year, inspired by this blog post. Ours was very similar, we even had the same value cards in frames! The invitations stated "Black Tie Optional," and our attendees did not disappoint.

We had a red carpet through our foyer into the Relief Society Room, lined with lights. We wrote out the girls names on stars and laid those on the red carpet also.

In our room we hung some stars and twirls from the ceiling and had lights around the chalkboard.

We started the evening with a song and a prayer. After an introduction by our YW president, we had each of the young women come up and talk about a value of their choice, hopefully one that they have been working on throughout the year. Then, each girl presented an award to a woman in our ward who she feels exemplifies that value. We handed out star shaped ornaments to the ladies (and to the girls afterward) and thanked them for being a shining star in our ward. We wanted the awards to be cute and functional, so now everyone has a new ornament for their Christmas tree. I'm always surprised at how well the young women prepare their little talks for these events. The same thing happened at New Beginnings earlier this year. We don't always get to see it in class when they have to spontaneously answer questions, but when they prepare and read something, their testimonies shine through like spotlights (ha!). We have a small but wonderful group of young women and I love being able to work with them.

We also had each of the leaders give a small recap of one or more of the activities during the year that stuck out to them. Our Bishop gave some closing remarks and then we ended with a song and prayer, followed by sparkling cider and golden treats.

It was a wonderful evening and everyone had a great time. I believe we are going to try to make this an annual event.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Combined: Bowling

Last night for mutual we went bowling! I love bowling: my family is really big into it, my brother is a professional in Japan, and I was even on my high school's bowling team. So I had a great time last night, and I think the young men and young women did too. Some of our kids had never been before, or only been once or twice, so I was able to offer lots of help, which they accepted very well and not begrudgingly. There were lots of high fives and camaraderie all around, so it was a great night. Here are some pictures.

My 18 month old had an amazing time!!

Since we have a smaller ward and youth group, it was within our budget to have this night. We usually plan all of our combined activities at the beginning of the year and allow room in the budget for 2 activities that spend money. This was one of those activities. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indexing again

Last night for mutual we did some indexing. We knew that 2 (half) of our girls would be gone (one of them is getting her patriarchal blessing, yay!), so we kept it small. The other 2 girls are fairly new to our young women, so we decided to teach them how to index. We had to sign one girl up for an account, and then we set to work. I just brought my laptop to the church and signed them into the software. They shared a batch of British names. When they were done one girl, who is pretty sarcastic, told us that was fun, and we laughed a little. But then she said "No, that really was kind of fun." Indexing really is a fun activity.

We also did some more planning for our YWIE night coming up. We are getting set to send out invitations, including to some sisters in the ward who we feel exemplify certain of the YW values. I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

Last night for mutual we did some random acts of kindness. We have been meaning to do a service project with the girls for a while now, but all of our plans for big projects kept getting ruined somehow. So we decided to have a night of small acts of service. We were inspired by this lovely blog and used the great printables found there. The printable came out black and white, sow e let the girls color them before we headed out. We asked the girls to bring any spare change they had, and our president traded them for quarters. We also had all the girls write a note to bring to school tomorrow thanking their favorite teacher. It could be anonymous or not, we let them choose.

First, we headed to our local grocery store and put away a bunch of carts that were scattered around the parking lot. We also left some money on the vending machines and the redbox machine at the store with notes tagged to them.

Next, we headed over to our local hospital. We handed out a few full size candy bars to some people working and waiting there with notes taped to them. This was a great lesson in social skills also. We had some girls too shy to hand them to people, and some girls who said kind of weird things. Hopefully they learned a thing or two by the example of the others in the group. We also went to the cafeteria vending machines at the hospital and taped more quarters to those. Fortunately, since it was night time, the cafeteria was empty and we could do our work in secret. Unfortunately, hospital vending machines are expensive! Here are some pictures of the girls taping quarters.

I asked the girls how they felt afterward and they all said they felt really good. They liked the high of helping someone, and doing it in secret makes it even better. This was an awesome service project for us!