LDS Young Men

Youth Conference Idea – BYU Athletes

Posted in Youth Conference by ldsym on September 30, 2008

BYU Football is pretty hot right now, and for good reason, they just cracked the top ten rankings.   How about spicing up your next Youth Conference by having a football player speak…along with his wife.

BYU Football Player Gary Nagy, left, sits to eat breakfast with students at Springville Junior High School to support National School Breakfast Week. Photo from

I recently heard Bob and Cindy Wakefield speak, they are full time volunteers in the BYU athletic department, and their job is to set up firesides and other service opportunities for BYU athletes.    They said they love to send speakers to Youth Conferences around the country.  (more…)


The Boy Who Mooned the 12th Ward Relief Society

Posted in monson list by ldsym on September 29, 2008

This is one of my favorite stories off my Monson List. It is about a young man who showed up to play ball with his buddies in the church gym, only to find it occupied by the Relief Society:

“What are you doing?” the homemaking leader asked when Travis peeked into the hall.

Travis smiled. “We were gonna play some ball,” he said.

“Well, not here,” the good sister replied, maybe just a little tersely. “We’re not moving.”

“But you could do that anywhere,” Travis argued. “We’ll even help you move your stuff.”


“Then when are you going to be finished?” Travis asked. “We’ll come back then.”

“It’ll be too late,” the sister said. “Now, get out of here before I call your parents!”

Travis led a hasty retreat into the hallway, where the boys gathered to reassess their options. At least, I’m assuming that’s what they did. To tell you the truth, the story gets a little fuzzy at this point. All I know for sure is that the boys wanted to play basketball, the sisters weren’t about to let them, and for some reason that I still don’t completely understand, Travis decided that the time was right for a lunar eclipse.

That’s right — he mooned the Relief Society. Right there in front of the baby blankets

Read the rest of  article here

I love the story because that boy is now an adult and talks about how his this action has followed him around.    One of the more interesting aspects of the story is that this young man complains about the lack of forgiveness for his action, but I see no evidence that he has forgave the sisters for their reaction.

This Church loves it’s teenagers…

Posted in aaronic Priesthood, Lessons & Talks, The Sacrament by ldsym on September 28, 2008

During an accidental bout of honesty, one of my Young Men mentioned that he was not getting much out of attending Church.  That has been on my mind, so when I saw a DVD at Deseret Book called The Best 3 Hours of the Week; Getting the Most Out of Your Church Meetings by John Bytheway I picked it up.   It is excellent, and basically teaches that the responsibility for being edified at Church is on you, not the speaker, teacher or leaders.   That is not to say we, as leaders, shouldn’t be doing a better job, but it ultimately puts the responsibility where it belongs.

Brother Bytheway made a number of points about importance of Young Men in our Sunday Worship:

“What is the most important thing we do on Sunday? Take the Sacrament. Who should we put in charge of that.. how about the teenage boys”


Man Skills

Posted in Scouting by ldsym on September 26, 2008

Popular Mechanics has posted it’s list of 100 Skills Every Man Should Know.

Just for fun I went through and counted how many of those skills I had learned, used or have taught in the Young Men’s/Scout Program.    I came up with 42 out of the 100 (I changed #17 to “home brew rootbeer”).

The skills I saw on the list that I most want to teach the boys is “how to drive a stick shift” and “how to use a french knife.”

Youth Super-activity: Scripture Camp

Posted in Activities by ldsym on September 26, 2008

A ward in my Stake had a very impressive event this summer.   The Youth planned and ran a week long scripture camp for the Primary kids in their ward.   I did not get a chance to see it, but it sounds like one of the most worthwhile youth activities I can think of.   It really fulfills the mission of the YM & YW program on every level.

The Youth and Primary kids were out of school for the summer.   Each youth planned and carried out  portion of the week.   They used costumes and props to act out scripture stories.  They played games, did crafts and served snacks.   They held it over 5 mornings.    Apparently the ward had a tradition of doing this camp, started by the primary program, but the youth decided to organize and run it this year.

I am just so impressed with this activity I thought I would share it, even though I was not involved in it.

Hack: Use your laptop computer as a teleprompter for your next Church talk.

Posted in Lessons & Talks by ldsym on September 25, 2008

I have taken to using my laptop computer as a teleprompter for Sacrament Meeting talks. Trust me, it is not as garish as it sounds.   It is actually very easy to do, and is much less distracting than shuffling papers.   It also forces me to get the talk written early so I can put it in the computer.

Here is how to do it:   (more…)

REVIEW: New Scout Uniform Shirt

Posted in Scouting by ldsym on September 24, 2008
Breast Pockets look better than this

Breast Pockets actually look a lot better than this photo

I saw the new scout uniform shirt for the first time at our Court of Honor last night.   I wrote about it last month, but this is the first time I have actually seen it.    My impressions are as follows:

The Breast pockets are not  nearly as “blousey” as the official photo made it look.   They lay flat, and looked good.

I didn’t realize they were getting rid of all the red, including troop numbers. It is all khaki and forest green. I think I like it. (more…)

Scout Killed in Sand Tunnel Collapse

Posted in Scouting by ldsym on September 23, 2008

Another reminder of how important it is for Young Men/Scout leaders do everything possible to keep the boys safe on outings.    In this case a Scout died when a sand tunnel that he was digging collapsed in Southern Utah.

Caleb Wililams, killed in a sand tunnel collapse

Caleb Wililams, killed in a sand tunnel collapse

Boy Scout killed when a sand tunnel collapes

Ironically, after another child died in a tunneling accident a few years ago, a Scout made it his Eagle Project to post signs warning of the dangers of sand tunnel digging.

Of course this will bring out critics of the Scout program, but the reality is that when you take hundreds of thousands of young men into the outdoors every year, there will be accidents.    I would say to those critics: prove to me that the accident rate of teenage boys at home is any lower than kids on Scouting outings.   Teens have this feeling of invicibility, and it is tough to convince them to use their common sense.    I have a gut feeling that the accident rate on Scout outings is no higher than the accident rate at home.

Now will you get a Facebook account

Posted in Online by ldsym on September 17, 2008

A very interesting bit of analysis has come out.   One web watcher says social networking (Facebook, myspace, linked-in, Twitter. etc) has surpassed porn as the number one online activity.   (Social Networking Passes Porn) It seems that a good (or at worst, neutral) online activity is surpassing a bad one. Obviously Elder Ballard was onto something when he basically pleaded with the Saints to not abandon the Internet & new media, but to learn to use it wisely, and for good.

A few months ago I wrote about the controversy over Facebook and LDS kids. I find that parents who don’t know much about social networking fear it because they think predators are lurking out there waiting to pounce. Once parents get some experience in social networking they realize the bigger problem is the amount of time youth can waste on it. While there are clearly risks, they can be managed and I remain a booster of social networking, provided it is supervised and used wisely.

Marketing the Boys

Posted in Activities by ldsym on September 16, 2008

A while ago I wrote about marketing TO the boys; i.e. using marketing tools to get them excited about upcoming events and programs.  Here is a twist on that, why not use the same concept to sell your boys to the rest of your ward.

Some years ago a sister that I know felt the ward adults were not supportive of the youth.   To prove her point she took large photos of each young man and woman in the ward and during a Relief Society lesson she showed each picture to the sisters and asked them the name of each youth.    The results were startling.   The vast majority of the the sisters in the room did not know a single first name.   I find that stunning, and made me realize that adults not working directly with the youth can easily just ignore them.

One strategy to combat this generation gap is to advertise the spritit and energy of the youth.    In this case I put up a big bulletin board highlighting our High Adventure trip.   I used a lot of photos.  I labeled every picture with the name of each young man in the picture, and a sentence about what they are doing..

It not only puts your boys in they best light, but by highlighting spiritual and other learning opportunities on your activities you can also market your YM Program.  Too many wards allow their adult members to think their YM program is just playing basketball on Mutual night.    If you got a quality program going on, let the rest of the ward know.

Tip-  you can print most pics on your home color printer, but Costco will print a big 11×17 print for about $3.   We have also put digital pictures on a DVD and ran pics in the foyer after a High Adventure or other big event.    Unfortunatley that causes a crowd to gather, and the Bishop shut us down because people were getting to classes late.