Youth Conference Idea – BYU Athletes
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.
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. They typically send a married couple, both of whom are varsity athletes (if you specifically want want a football player, ask Brother Wakefield, I am sure he would do his best to get one).
I was thinking about the BYU athletic couples speaking to the youth in the context of a May 2005 CES fireside where Elder Oaks spoke of the disturbing societal trend of “permanent adolescents, … twentysomething Peter Pans”
This tendency to postpone adult responsibilities, including marriage and family, is surely visible among our Latter-day Saint young adults. The average age at marriage has increased in the last few decades, and the number of children born to LDS married couples has decreased. It is especially relevant in this current era where we see so many young men in society are having trouble transitioning into adulthood.
Think about it, what great role models for your youth to see, elite athletes (cool people) who are also following the Lord’s plan to start their families and embrace adulthood in their early 20’s’, all while still pursuing their passion and getting their game on.
The athletes typically speak, then stay around for most of the conference, spending time interacting informally with with the youth. Brother Wakefield said reports come back to him that the youth really bond with the athletes. The local Stake or Stakes are responsible for the transportation, and expenses. I think the athletes are usually fine staying with local members. I am not sure how many requests for Youth Conferences Brother Wakefield can fulfill, but it never hurts to ask.
Here’s an article about the Wakefields and BYU athletes service. Note the article says they only book the athletes locally, but the Youth Conference program is unique, and they have sent them all over the country, typically during “off-season”.
By the way, if you are wondering about those BYU player a pre-game firesides, here is how that works. They have a fireside the night before every game. They have gotten very popular, and now they are getting standing room only, sometimes with nearly 2000 attendees. For Home games they are held around Utah County. On the road, they hold them whereever the team is playing. Off season Coach Mendanhall speaks at a half dozen or so firesides out-of-town, he chooses the locations where he wants to speak, and Brother Wakefield sets them up. I have no idea about Bronco’s local firesides.
Reach the Wakefields at email@example.com