I ran across a mention of a mutual Activity called “records night” on blog called “A year from Oak Cottage“. I wrote Marie and asked her for details. Here’s a description of what sounds like a fun activity:
We plan this as a combined mutual. You know how competive the youth can get and they really enjoy seeing who can one up the other on this. We plan about half a dozen or so competetions for the night. We assign a records keeper as this is important because the activity will be repeated at a later date and we try to beat our own record again, not to mention each other! Some of the competions we have are: relay races (self explanatory) Michelin Tire man where we give each team a set of long underwear. They choose one member as the micheline man and that person puts on the long underwear. Then the rest of the team have a set time period to stuff as many balloons as they can into the long underwear. The one with the most balloons wins. The kids really enjoy this one. Another one is cake decorating. We bring in three small cakes, and the things to decorate them. Last year we decorated them as pigs. One of the leaders takes a few minutes to show them how to do it, and then the teams each pick one person to be the decorator and they have a set time to decorate their cake in the same way, then an independant judge picks the best one, not knowing of course who did which cake. There is a scripture chase game, etc. All in all it is a real fun evening and they get to eat the cakes at the end, which they all enjoy as well. We keep the results and then repeat the activity six months or so later, so that they can have the opportunity to beat their own records and each other again! It is great fun!
Thanks for the info Marie!
We had a big Scouting event recently for the ward and decorated the gym to reflect the occasion. We used Huge Murals of group shots of our boys on recent High Adventure trips. We used one on each side of the podium, and used the screen in the middle for Powerpoint presentations. They were big, each photo mural was 9 feet tall and 17 feet wide. It is pretty easy to do, it just takes a bit of time, a laser printer, paper, tape, scissors and a free downloadable program. The program is called, of all things, “Rasterbator” (sounds dirty, I know, but it is an awesome tool). Find it here. It basically takes your photo and makes it into a bunch of dots don’t make any sense up close, but step back a few feet and you see the image, think of looking at a newspaper photo under a magnifying glass. It gives you a file with PDF’s, which you can print. You then have to trim the pages, them tape together. It really makes a statement when people walk into the gym that this activity was not just thrown together at the last minute.
* you can upload a picture, the download the PDF’s, or you can download and install the the program and rasterize it on your own computer. I like downloading the program, since online there is a 1 mb limit on uploading your pic.
* You can use regular 8-1/2″ by 11″ paper. In this case I had a printer that could do 11″ x 17″ paper, so I used it to lesson the number of pages needed to cut a paste.
* It takes a while to cut and paste, but it is easy. When we did it before we used a Mutual night to work on it.
* When they are printed they do not have page numbers, I would strongly suggest handwriting a number on each page, as if the stack it dropped it is VERY tough to put the “puzzle” back together.
* I used regular scotch magic tape on the front, then used clear packing tape on the back to give it extra strength.
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.
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.
Here is a great end-of-summer Mutual Activity, the classic slip-&-slide.
When I was in California I saw a great one at a Stake Pioneer Day Celebration. It was about 45 feet long, and ran down a perfect grassy slope. As you can see in the picture, it was awesome! The Young Men were all over it. I have done a slip-&-slide with my kids, but never thought of it for a Mutual Activity.
At the Sons of Liberty Encampment they built the greatest Slip & slide ever. It was actually more like a temporary waterslide. Check out the video here (click on the “2008 water slide madness video” link)
I am guessing the Church risk management folks may not approve, but that is part of the appeal isn’t it.
Suitable for: Quorum or Whole Mutual.
Equipment: Need a water source & hose and a big sheet of plastic.
Cost: $10 for a large plastic sheet.
Prep time: half hour to get supplies before-hand, but I would make building it part of the activity.
- A gentle slope on grass is best, for obvious reasons steer clear of pavement
- Put a bit of diluted dish soap in a spray bottle, and coat the plastic for some really good sliding.
- The grass will look trashed when you are done, but it will bounce back quickly.
- Look for a way to secure the top of the plastic sheet, usually with stakes that can be pounded down below the surface they they will not injure the sliders.
The post on the Wisconsin Youth Conference reminded me of an interesting Youth Conference Activity.
Youth from 4 Detroit area stakes did a unique service project at their 2008 Youth Conference. The Youth helped knock down a crack house. They got some to see a slice of life they normally don’t experience, and some great local TV coverage for their efforts.
I love hearing about successful Youth Events, here is a great report on the well respected Mormanity.org . Some great ideas in here, including staging a Book of Mormon Battle, and how to get Wisconsin girls.
I am going to share the Altoids trick with the Young Men in my ward.
I have been in Northern California for the last 2 weeks on a family vacation. Young Men leaders there have put together and incredible activity for their Young men. It is called Sons of Liberty Encampment.
14 Stakes are banding together to turn a dusty piece of desert into a small town. From what I understand, they have bring in water, power, sanitation, everything they need. In all they will have about 5000 Boys & Leaders. I talked to one Priest who is going up to the site with his quorum 3 days early so set up temporary swimming pools so the boys can learn to SCUBA dive. They are also bringing in top speakers, including L. Tom Perry and John Bytheway and some professional athletes.
My hat is off to the leaders there for thinking big, and coming through with what looks like a really amazing event. I took these pictures from their website, go check their site, you’ll be mightily impressed with the effort. It makes our Mutual event planned for this week look pretty puny.
Here is a really fun outside activity. It is impossible to resist laughing and having a great time as a white cloud envelopes you, trails of white streak the sky, and all your friends and adult leaders look ridiculous covered in flour.
It is pretty simple, it is capture the flag with ammo!
The flour bombs are actually a handful of flour inside a “nylon” stocking. Each kid starts with a couple of bombs, and is free to pick up used bombs from the ground. Players can go anywhere on the field, when you get tagged with flour you are out. Line teams up on opposing sidelines, place their flags near their sideline. Teams defend their flag, while trying to capture the other team’s flag and return it to their sideline. If you get tagged while carrying the flag, you drop it. Games go quickly, kids are not out very long. I guarantee everyone will love this messy game.
Suitable for: Large quorum or any combined activity.
Equipment:Flour bombs, Markers for field boundries, 2 flags, ref stuff, jerseys or pennies.
Cost: couple bucks for for flour, scam the nylons from a shoestore.
Prep time: Medium, collect flour and nylons, takes 45 minutes to assemble a couple of dozen bombs.
* Have an adult referee, get a striped shirt & whistle. This will quickly be chaotic, you will need the whistle.
* Make sure referee is your most outgoing, self assured borderline obnoxious adult. They will need to shout down the Priests, it won’t do to have a timid soul in that role.
* When reffing remember the goal is to make sure everyone is having fun, be quick to change rules as you go to alter the game so everyone is having fun (throttle strong players, help weaker ones.) If the game is at an impasse, bring a couple of players back from elimination to get it back on track.
* ID teams with jerseys, borrow from ward basketball team.
* After each round, pick up the flour bombs and re-use, they are good for multiple rounds.
* You can collect old nylons from ward members, but it is much easier to stop in a womens shoe store and talk them out of a few dozen of those little footie nylons that they have available to put over bare feet when trying shoes on.
* Obviously this is an outside game, and does not work in the rain, so have an indoor backup plan.
* Mark off a defined field of play, otherwise it is just a prolonged chase around the building. Adjust the size of the field between rounds to get the best quality of play.
* Get word out to wear old clothes.
Note: I got this idea from a book that I can not find right now, so I can not give proper credit. It was something like “Ward Activities for Dummies” or something like that. If someone knows the book, let me know so I can give proper credit.
Last summer we had the greatest high adventure trip that I can imagine. We went backpacking Isle Royale. It was a big trip, so this year the overlords have us on a short leash. That leads to the problem: how to get the boys interested in a less awesome trip this summer. When one boy was overheard saying that they were not interested in a “nature walk” we knew we had a problem.
Simply “talking up” the trip was marginally effective, so we came up with a different idea. We put up a billboard in the hallway in the church building. Actually, it was a bulletin board hyping the trip. We used pictures, maps and descriptions of where we are going. The boys walked past it every time they were in the building. It did rev up interest.
One tip — There were not a lot of good pictures of the trail available from traditional sources, so we used Flickr. Which was a goldmine. We made sure to give proper credit.