Here are some good ideas for classes for Youth Conference or other activities. Cincinati North Stake Young Men and Young women have posted their lineup of classes for an upcoming Priests and Lauel conference. I very much like seeing Career education and personal finance for the youth.
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. (more…)
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.
Here is a very different idea for a Mutual, or Stake Activity — stage a mini-TED conference.
A TED conference is described on TED.com:
The annual conference brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
The basic idea is that you have really fascinating people give short talks on something they are passionate about. We first did it on a Mutual night using:
- an artist who helped design the SLC Winter Olympic Medals, he spoke about design and form.
- a cheesemaster
- an artist talked about Picasso, her area of expertise.
We spent our budget on cheese and fruit, which became our refreshments after cheesemaster told us the fascinating history of Cheese and taught us how to properly eat the different kinds of cheese.
The event turned out great, It is impossible not to enjoy a good speaker talking about their passion for a short time (We limited speeches to 12 minutes.)
A short time later our ward was in charge of a Stake Youth Activity, so we decided to do it again on a bigger scale. We used the same speakers, but searched the stake for a few more. We found a musician who spoke on music through the ages, and a former actor who did a presentation on pick-up lines from Shakespeare’s plays.
After the talks, we gathered in the gym and ate the cheese and fruit and had a chocolate fountain. We had kids play classical music on piano and string instruments for background music, and had one of our artists demonstrating sketching of portraits. We also had artwork on the wall, and a “where’s Waldo” type game where they had to look for things in the art.
It was very successful, the kids liked it more than I thought they would. One of the amazing things is that it was a “calm” evening. Most stake youth events are a bit rowdy, which is great, everyone is having fun, but it was nice to have a different type of atmosphere for a change.
Suitable for: Whole Mutual or Stake Youth.
Equipment:: If the groups are of any size at all you need to a mike & PA for each speaker. Also you will need multiple laptops/projectors, as most speakers like to use powerpoints.
Cost: In our case we (over)spent our budget on cheese. Gouda and Port Salut are not cheap!
Prep time: This takes weeks of planning for a ward event, much longer for a Stake.
- This is all about the speakers, you need to work every angle to find out who is a great speaker and has interesting passions in your Stake/area. People like that LOVE to be asked to speak.
- If you break into groups, assign a youth to lead each group, assign one person to keep time and ring the bell for passing time.
- Timing is crucial during the event, you have to set out a realistic schedule, then stick to it.
- We called it “Arts, Beats and Eats”, which is easier to market to the kids than “TED conference” You could call it whatever you want though
- We may do it again, this time we would make sure to include at least one speaker on a Gospel topic, there is always someone around who has studied an interesting & faith promoting topic. Mormon History in your town or area would be great if you had a dynamic speaker.
- For the ward event we just kept the group together for the presentations, but for the Stake event, we split the kids into 5 groups and rotated them, every 14 minutes (12 for each talk, 2 for passing time.
- Quirky and diverse topics work the best.
- Make the speakers very organic to your area, don’t try to find someone to speak about cheese because it worked for us, ask everyone you know and find the best speakers in your area. Build from there.
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.
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.