LDS Young Men

Wanna be a superstar YM Leader — Do this one thing

Posted in Youth Leaders by ldsym on February 5, 2009

High School Football Game

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.


Scouters: Recall on Jetboil Backpacking stoves

Posted in high adventure by ldsym on February 5, 2009

jetboilJust a note to those who may have a Jetboil backpacking stove, certain models have been recalled.

The stoves being recalled were sold begining last summer.    According to the jetboil website, certain valves are leaking, which is a major fire/burn hazard.

If you have one go here to see if your stove is covered under the recall.

BTW,  I have a jetboil,  have used it on 3 backpacking trips totalling  over 100 miles and love it, it is a great stove.

Mutual Activity: Records Night

Posted in Activities by ldsym on February 4, 2009

oak-cottageI 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!

Is a GA checking out your blog?

Posted in LDS Online by ldsym on February 2, 2009

I recently read a post by a blogger reporting that a General Authority read his blog, and contacted his local leaders and had him banned from working with the youth in his ward.   Assuming the post is true, it is interesting on many levels.       I am very pro-blogging, but I am also very much for good old fashioned modesty, both in real life, and  in blogging.   I hate TMI.    In this case the blogger says he talked about repenting of something related to  same sex attraction some 30 years ago.     My first reaction was that banning him from working with the youth seemed a bit harsh, but I can’t blame a leaders for erring on the side of caution when it comes to the well being of the youth.

As Paul Harvey would say — but now the rest of the story— tagcloud1so I was feeling like the right decision was probably made,  but definitely had some sympathy for this blogger, who laments being left  behind while the other dads go camping for something that he did 30 years ago.    Then I looked around his site a bit, and found his this blog’s tag  cloud.   Judge for yourself if the GA& Bishop  made the right call.

I am old-school and think overly personal stuff just does not belong in blogs, certainly not confession of sin.

I am not as clever as those Mormon Bloggers who can wrap everying up at the end of their blog entry, I just thought this brings up some interesting issues to think about.

Note: this post is not about SSA, I empathize with those who struggle with that.   It is about using your common sense and avoiding  TMI.  I wish this good brother the best, and did not identify his blog because I don’t wish to belittle him personally  or cause him any further criticism.

No-Cinci brings common sense to LDS blogging

Posted in LDS Online by ldsym on January 20, 2009

July 2008 Ensign Magazine

July 2008 Ensign Magazine

When checking out the Young Men’s Section of the Cinci-north Stake I noticed their Stake’s excellent approach to getting their Stake members on-line. They have a blog up for every auxiliary, some being used right now, some not.

What really caught my eye is the “blogging ettiquete” post.  The writer demonstrates not only a very good grasp of the online world, but also how members can contribute without embarrassing themselves or the Church.    You can’t ignore the fact that blogging and other on-line endeavers have some amount of risk, but I like seeing a Stake that is not afraid of tapping into the power of blogging, while also taking a common sense approach to minimizing that risk.

Good Ideas from No-Cinci YM

Posted in Youth Conference by ldsym on January 18, 2009

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.

Mormon Times: Quorum or Posse?

Posted in aaronic Priesthood by ldsym on January 16, 2009
Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card

mormontimesOrson Scott Card has written a very insightful columm over at Mormon Times about the transition of Priests into the Elder’s Quorum at age 18.

In our ward the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums tend to be very tight knit.   We are not very dense in members, the total population of people living in our stake boundaries is about 1.8 million.   Typically we have less than a dozen LDS kids in a high school of 1800+ kids, so all their LDS friends are from their ward.    For that reason it is tough to leave the Quorum

One way we manage the problem is keeping the boys in the Priests Quorum, and have them attend Youth activities until they are out of High School, even if they turn 18 in their senior year.    Not sure what the Church policy is on that, but that is what we traditionally do.     After that they typically will go away to college, so there is a forced transition.

I do notice that when they are home from School, they do seem to be in limbo.   Card’s post is mainly about what the Elder’s Quorum can do to help, but there are some things that our YM leaders have stumbled upon that seem to help.    I recently posted about having our 4 Priest Quorum Alumni that were home on Christmas break come into the quoum and talk about college life.   That was a rite of passage that benefited both the alumni and the current Priests (this time it was out of necessity, because we didn’t have a lesson ready, but it turned out very well, and we will repeat it annually).      We also have had good luck in getting the 18 year olds interested in our High Adventure trips.   The preparations and social aspects of preparing for that can help keep them plugged in during the summer between High School and College.

Social Networking: stay aware

Posted in LDS Online by ldsym on January 15, 2009

I have been generally pro-social networking on this blog, but stories like this one over at Millenial Star reminds us all how important it is to be fully involved in your child’s online activities.

YM section of falls short again

Posted in LDS Online by ldsym on December 29, 2008

Back in July I wrote about the YM section of being late in posting the theme for 2009.     Unfortunately, they are again out of date.

2009 starts in 3 days, and they have dated info posted on lesson manual usage.

December 20, 2008 Screen Capture from YM section of

December 20, 2008 Screen Capture from YM section of

As the screen-cap above shows, there is no indication what manual is to be taught from in 2009.   Obviously you can surmise that the rotation holds, and it is back to Manual #1 in 2009, but we should not be left guessing.  In all fairness, If you search around enough on the site you can find another page that indicates to use Manual #1 in 2009, but dated info prominently displayed on the site is an unacceptable oversight.

Frankly it is not like the Church to do anything for public consumption that is not perfect, and there is no excuse for outdated info in a lead website for a 13 million member organization.

Very Interesting Lesson: College Life

Posted in Lessons & Talks by ldsym on December 22, 2008

We found ourselves scrambling to cover the Priests lesson this week. The brother teaching the Priests lesson got called into work at the last minute. Four former Priest Quorum members were there, all freshmen at College this year who were home for Christmas vacation. We called an audible, and had the older boys come into the quorum and talk about their college experience (our ward is pretty white collar, so pretty much all the boys are planning on heading to college). 2 are attending a large state college, 2 are at BYU. They got up one at a time and talked about their transition to college. The Priests were very interested, and paid pretty close attention, after all these college kids were just in their quorum 6 months ago.

The advice dispensed by the older boys was excellent. All 4 talked about how it is a shock to no longer have anyone telling you what do do all the time, and you will have to be self motivated. They also talked about how they had been top dogs academically at their High School, but now they are just one of thousands of academic hot-shots, and they have had to work harder than high school to compete.

It was also a great thing for us leaders to see the boys who came through your program speaking and acting so mature. It was a great meeting, sometimes it it better to be lucky than good.