Wanna be a superstar YM Leader — Do this one thing
I had great Church leaders all through my teen life. I could not have asked for better men, they were just great. Yet as I look back over my 6 years in YM, a single act stands above all others. It was the most gratifying interaction of all, yet oddly, no words spoken.
My adviser attended my High School Track meet.
As a teen, outside of my family, I existed in 2 very happy worlds. My sports and Church. Both were great, but in all honesty my sports world was bigger than my church world, simply because I spent 3 or 4 hours a day competing or training, and church was about 3 or 4 hours a week. As I said, both were very happy, and I could not have asked for more favorable circumstances in both my sports and church worlds, but they just never intersected. I was active, so there was never any need to “work on me”, as good leaders do in attempts to re-activate kids who are not coming out, but one day my leader showed up at a meet. That made a big impression on me. He just watched, nodded as I jogged by, and quietly left when it was over. It made me feel pretty awesome. I remember it to this day, 3 decades later.
I am trying to do the same for the Young Men in my ward. When I can find the time to do it, it is appreciated. One time I went to a boy’s game, and as I sat down next to his parents, his mom got all teary eyed, apparently touched that I would care enough about her son to stop in. It humbled me that by giving a little time I can really make a positive experience for others. Truth be told, watching a high school sporting event is very enjoyable, so it is not a great sacrifice, it just takes an hour or two out of your schedule.
* Often their parents are in the stands, so I sit by them. It is a great time to talk about some of the individual needs of their boy in a very casual setting.
* I like to know the kids status on the team ahead of time, are they a star? A starter? A reserve? In casual conversation with the boy I usually say something like “You getting any minutes?” That acknowledges that getting playing time is not easy, and frees them up to complain if they are riding the bench.
* I don’t really approach the boy at the event, they have a lot going on. I just watch, nod if you can catch their eye. I try to get there early, as when they are warming up they are always checking out the crowd, which is often sparse early, then they know you are there.
* I watch carefully for their best play of the game, mentally note it, then bring it up when you see them at the next Mutual or Sunday.
* My work schedule can vary at the last minute, so I never promise to attend, I just show up when I can. I usually let the parent know that I hope to come, but ask them not to mention it to the boy in case I can’t make it.
* For football, Hockey, Lacrosse or other helmet sports make sure you know their number, otherwise you won’t know who to watch. For Varsity sports they often have rosters at the door, but rarely for lower levels.
* Scheduled seem to change, and I always call the school during the day to confirm gametime and location. Online schedules are often wrong.
* This is not limited to sports, attend a concert, play etc.
* There is always a guy in the ward who is way into sports, and would love to attend any game, invite him to come along.