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Archive for the ‘Activity Days’ Category

You will love this.  It’s one of those things that I looked forward to before it happened but after the fact, I loved it so much that I feel the need to share it with everyone.

It’s a party.  A family party.

But not just any family party.

A party dedicated to celebrating….really celebrating….EVERYONE in our immediate family.  Here’s the thing, though.  It is a family party that will work for ANY group – youth groups, Activity Days, even co-workers.  Totally applicable – just tweak it to fit your needs.

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There have been a lot of great things happening in our family recently and my sister, Kara, decided to throw a party for all of us to recognize what an awesome family we have.  We are the Coleman family and COLEMANS ROCK!  This party included our parents and our siblings’ families.  There are 6 siblings in my family and 17 grandchildren.  Everyone who could make it came to the celebration.

1.  INVITATIONS – ask everyone to send in 3-4 things about each person in their immediate family.  Some people had no problem sharing their awesomeness on their own and some people needed a family member to submit their accomplishments for them – either way is fine.  Just find 3-4 things that you can share about each person.  It was easy to email the lists to Kara before the party.  But be prepared to hound some of the people to get their lists in or to help them come up with ideas.  You can also assign food for a dinner or lunch if you choose.

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2.  ACCOMPLISHMENTS – we kept it simple and just hand wrote each person’s accomplishments and talents on bright colored paper squares.  Multiple people helped write them because it took forever.  It’s ok if they’re not perfect or the same or extravagant.  Remember the purpose – to share why each person in the family ROCKS….it’s not about perfect-looking writing.

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What do you think happened as people trickled in to the party that day?  Reading.  Laughing.  Talking.  Sharing.  Celebrating.  “Wow, you ran a half marathon?  I didn’t know that!  Awesome!”  “That is so exciting that you got into the Nursing Program.  You will be great!”  “Tell me about your new job.”  “Hey, did you see Mackenzie’s over there?  That’s a good one!”

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Keep in mind that EVERYONE who was going to be there that night had their own accomplishments included.  My niece brought her boyfriend – we learned that he won a 4-wheeler in a milk-drinking contest.  My other niece had brought her friend with them on their family vacation from Washington.  We learned that she is #1 in her class and on track for Valedictorian next year.  What???!!!  Awesome!

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3.  DINNER – we like planned pot lucks in our family so Kara planned the Mexican menu and everyone contributed something to the cause, helping to get it ready all together.

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4.  PROGRAM / LESSON – Kara was brilliant in planning the lesson portion of the evening.  Very short.  Kept it light but meaningful.  Perfect.  My brother, Kyle, gave a short lesson about magnifying your talents (see below).  Jason spoke about his Grandma Hall who was a celebrator.  She liked to play the game, “Why is it Like Me?” and for each person’s birthday, they did “I Love ___________ Because….” (see below for instructions of each game).  He shared why these habits were so important for their family to do together and how amazing it is that we can share that same celebrating attitude in our family.  Colemans Rock!  We love celebrating each other!

The messages were short, taught important lessons, and were applicable to all ages in attendance.

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Talents Lesson Overview:

  1. Pass around clear pebbles or marbles and have everyone take one.  Discuss how each is individual just like each of us.
  2. Ask everyone to think about a talent that they have and how that talent has helped someone.  Have a few people share (Kyle knew who he wanted to share in advance – people who don’t normally want the spotlight, and people of different ages – this was a really special part of the lesson when we got to hear why each person is awesome).   Ask one person in advance to choose NOT to share something about themselves when asked – this is a secret.
  3. When each of the 4 people share, give them another pebble if they share their talent with us.  Take away their pebble if they choose not to share.
  4. Retell the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.
  5. Each of us has been given our own talents and when we share them with others, we are given more talents.  God wants us to recognize our talents and share them with others for good.  Where can we find out what our talents are? (patriarchal blessing, work opportunities, prayer and personal revelation, others can tell us, etc.)
  6. When we recognize our talents and work to develop them and share them, we are given more talents and we are happy.

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“Why Is It Like Me?” Game

  1. One person goes out of the room.  As a group, the other people in the room choose one item in the room that they want the person to guess.
  2. The person comes back in and says, “Why is it like me?
  3. Giving positive clues, the group tells them why the item is like that person.  “It is bright.”  “It shines.”  “It smells great!”  Whatever you choose – the clues being harder for older people and easier for younger ones.
  4. The person guesses till they discover the item – feeling GREAT because everyone just said such nice things about them!
  5. Repeat.

 

“I Love __________ Because….”
This family tradition has lasted through to our generation.  On your birthday or other special day, everyone goes around the table and tells why they love the birthday person.  It doesn’t matter if you are a friend visiting and you just met the birthday person for the first time that day or not – everyone tells why they love the birthday person.  We have warned many friends attending our family events to be prepared because they will not be given a pass!

This tradition does two things: 1.  It teaches everyone how to celebrate each other.  2.  It teaches YOU to accept compliments and love from others.

I believe that this is why Jason’s family is so good at recognizing each other’s talents and why they have a strong sense of self.  They have PRACTICED it their whole lives so now they are good at it.  It is an amazing quality to develop in a family.

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5.  DANCE PARTY – the evening ended in a spontaneous dance party, complete with a Congo Line and singing along to the “Frozen” soundtrack, of course.

Simple.  Meaningful.  Fun.  My three favorite descriptive words for any event.  Don’t you wish you were there?

Enjoy!

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I just attended a Recognition Activity for Activity Days where they focused on Developing Talents.  I’m going to share it with you – I’ll tell you a little bit about how they carried it out and also how it might be adapted to fit your resources (i.e. people) and needs.

Here’s the gist of it:  they invited a couple who have strong musical talents – she is a professional violinist and he is a vocal coach and recording artist.

1.  She gave a talk about talents that we normally think of (music, sports, academics, cooking, etc.) and about spiritual talents that we can develop (Christlike characteristics, reading the scriptures, friendship, etc.) and encouraged the girls to develop more than just one talent.  Everyone has many talents if we choose to look for them and then work at developing them.

This lesson can be taught by anyone.  She brought her experiences of being a concert violinist into the lesson but anyone can do this same thing referring to their specific talents.

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2.  He then taught a short vocal coaching lesson to the entire group.  This was a challenge and would work better in a smaller group but it was interesting and fun to learn about something that many of the people didn’t have much experience.

This part can also be done by anyone with a talent that you want to share with the group.  Maybe acting or storytelling or something where everyone can participate in the instruction then “perform” for each other.  There are MANY talented people in our wards and stakes who aren’t “professionals.”  Think about YOUR resources and use what you have to develop a fabulous lesson that everyone can participate in.

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INVITATION

I LOVED this idea for an invite.  The leaders asked the Activity Day girls to draw a picture of a talent that they had or a talent that they wanted to develop.  These pictures were scanned in and became the border of the invitation.  Come on…don’t you love that????  The purpose of Recognition Activities is to share the girls’ growth in the gospel.  This is a great way to accomplish “sharing.”

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DECORATIONS

They created little vignettes of different talents throughout the room.  Cooking, music, art, sports.  Simple and effective.  But my favorite part had to be the display of each girls’ talent picture that they had created.  Each girl took home their picture at the end of the activity.

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TREAT

Keeping it simple, they  sent everyone home with a little favor box filled with jelly beans.  What girl doesn’t like little boxes?  It was a sweet way to make the treat special.

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GO FOR IT!  Find the people in your sphere of influence and think about their talents.  Someone will come to mind that can teach a group a new skill and have fun at the same time.  Paired with the girls sharing their own talents through their artwork on display, this made a great Recognition Activity opportunity for families to connect and celebrate these girls.

Enjoy!

 

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I started to help plan this activity but then got a new calling in the Stake.  My new job requires me to attend each Recognition Activity in our area – lucky me!  Our ward finished the plans we started and I got to attend the event tonight!  Here is the plan and some pictures of how it was carried out.  Plus some downloads are coming to help you with your own activity.

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Mother Daughter Polka Dot “T” Party – Recognition Night

“T” stands for Testimony :  D.O.T. – Develop Our Testimony
We are going to have a fun but spiritual night where we learn about how to recognize the Holy Ghost and then act on promptings we receive.
Girls and moms are invited to bring their journals.

Opportunities to share their individual growth in testimony development will happen one-on-one with mothers in the Faith Walk.

From the Faith in God Book (Learning and Living the Gospel): Mark these verses about the Holy Ghost in your scriptures: John 14:16–172 Nephi 32:5, and Moroni 10:5. Discuss ways the Holy Ghost helps you.

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WELCOME + SHORT LESSON
One of the 11-year-old girls will do the conducting for the meeting and another lead the music.
“Left-Right Game” (We are using this post for inspiration – including the “Left Right Game”)

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HOLY GHOST OBSTACLE COURSE: We’ll do a blindfold obstacle course where the moms will guide their daughters through a course set up with found objects.  The other participants will serve as distracters and the girls will work to listen to the still small voice of Mom.

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Following the obstacle course, share the pocketknife story from this article: “Learning to Hear and Understand the Spirit” by David McConkie in the February 2011 Ensign.  Discussion:  How is the obstacle course experience like the pocketknife story?  How can we recognize the Holy Ghost?  How does the Holy Ghost speak to us?  What can we do to increase the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives?

 

FAITH WALK: We will give the mothers and daughters one-on-one experiences in a “Faith Walk” to talk about things of the Spirit and how to increase their commitment to listening to the Holy Ghost.IMG_4846

We’ll have different 2-minute “stations” will be set up around the church with a small/short learning activity such as unscrambling the letters of a word puzzle or cracking  a secret code to spell a word or a scripture to look up and read –  maybe the word is “Holy Ghost” or “Joseph Smith” – including the 5 parts of a testimony found in “The Testimony Glove“.   Then it will have a question or scenario to discuss that goes along with each phrase or scripture.   Moms and daughters will talk about each scenario or scripture and make commitments for how they can increase their testimony.  One station will include the Faith in God requirement listed at the top of this post.  Each station will only be about 2 minutes long – a quick puzzle/code /scripture to look up with a question or prompt to discuss with moms.

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Example: Joseph Smith (unscramble letters to create the word): “What do I know about the story of Joseph Smith and the First Vision?”  “What can I do to increase mine and my family’s understanding of the First Vision?”

See what I mean?  Sharing about their growth in the gospel, setting goals together of how to move forward in their testimonies….pretty awesome sharing going on.

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Throughout this walk, give girls opportunities to share what they are doing to increase their faith & strengthen their testimonies of various gospel principles (this is reporting progress of Learning and Living the Gospel).

(Use the Testimony Glove printable found in the Friend here) or just make your own like our group did!  Each station earned a sticker that is applicable to the testimony principle.

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LESSON + JOURNALS: We are asking the girls to bring their journals (because they already have so many and we don’t want to spend budget money).  We will meet back together to have a short lesson about testimonies using “How to Acquire Spiritual Guidance” by Elder Richard G. Scott.  Consider reading “How the Holy Ghost Makes Me Feel” by Michele Leigh Carnesecca.  Have each person (moms, too) to write their own testimonies in their journals.  We will have a few spare journals or journal sheets available if someone doesn’t bring their own.  Click below to download this page.

Journaling Page - Polka Dot Journaling Page – Polka Dot

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INVITATION INSPIRATION: Of course, everyone will be encouraged to wear polka dots – and tea party cakes and treats will be served.  I was thinking that a version of this is great invitation inspiration.  Easy, unique, special…but easy.

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Here are some 5 x 7 and 6 x 6 versions of this royal printable, inspired by a recent Daddy Daughter Ball – Activity Days Recognition Night I attended.  Click on the name below the image to get each color.  If it pulls up as a new page then simply right click to save as a new file somewhere that you can find.  Click here to see where I got the magical inspiration for this printable.

Enjoy!

Be Loyal to the Royal - 5x7 teal5 x 7 teal
5 x 7 raspberry
5 x 7 navy
5 x 7 coral

Be Loyal to the Royal - 6x6 raspberry

6 x 6 teal
6 x 6 raspberry
6 x 6 navy
6 x 6 coral

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I only attended this activity as a guest so I can’t give you the play-by-play, behind-the-scenes plan.  But I will share what I have because….this is worth sharing…and doing.

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It was meaningful.

It was simple.

It was about connecting.

It was about developing relationships.

It was about celebrating these girls.

It was a lovely evening and I invite you to try it with your own Activity Day group.  Here’s how it went down:

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Everyone dressed up – looking darling and handsome.  They gathered at tables for a short program, had dessert and a photo booth opportunity, then the dancing began.  That was the extent of it.  But from the twirls and spins and dips I saw on the dance floor, it was a magical night for these darling girls and their dads.

  1. welcome
  2. short message from a member of the bishopric
  3. chocolate fountain bar for dessert
  4. photo booth (with props)
  5. dancing

DECOR:

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I wish I had a copy of the invitation, but I don’t.  We will settle for the pictures I took that night with my phone.  They strung a few strands of twinkling lights criss-cross across the gym to create a “dance floor” vibe.  Kind of retro.  Kind of Town Square Courtyard feel.  Festive enough to feel special.  The girls were taught how to create tissue paper poms at a previous activity (a life-skill if I’ve ever heard of one) and those added to the decor.

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The tables had simple vases with silver branches to add some sparkle.  There is never much of a budget for these things and I loved seeing them use their money on the most important parts of the event – the dessert was a special treat and the “gifts and favors” were meaningful and added to the event.

FAVOR:

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The bishopric counselor gave a wonderful (and short – about 5 minutes) message introducing their theme, “Daughter of a Heavenly King.”  He talked about the song “Daughter of a King” by Jenny Phillips as well as a quote, “Be loyal to the royal within you.”  Both became a little bundled favor for each girl to take home – a copy of the song and the printable.   (There are many printables available online with this phrase if you do a simple search.)

Playing the song for the girls and their dads would have been a simple addition.  Or perhaps have this song playing over and over as they arrived at the event.  Either would have been a way to incorporate the actual song to the evening if you wanted to.

CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN BAR:

I thought that this dessert option was genius for a couple of reasons.  I believe (this is totally my opinion) that serving a meal is often over-rated and an interesting dessert can usually (not always, but often) serve the same purpose.  The reason I say this is because of the time and money it takes to do a meal is high and we can often get the same result just doing a dessert or smaller food item.

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The second reason why this idea was so fabulous was because it was SPECIAL.  Who has a chocolate fountain for dessert on a regular basis?  Not me!  It is fun and interactive and individual and SPECIAL.  It made everyone there feel important and made the night feel magical.  Plus, it probably didn’t cost a huge amount of money to provide the chocolate, some cut fruit, pretzels, cinnamon bears, marshmallows, etc.  Great idea, ladies!

PHOTO BOOTH + PROPS:

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Girls and dads chose props and had their pictures taken in sets of 3 – just like a photo booth.  I have a feeling these pictures will find their way back to the girls in strips of 3 photos (just like a photo booth would produce) and it’s a great idea.  If you don’t want to tackle that photoshop task, one picture is just as fun to commemorate the evening.

(UPDATE) – I was right!  Here’s an example of the 3 photos each Daddy/Daughter pair received from their awesome leaders.  So fun!

 

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GIFT FOR DAD:

If dancing with your little princess wasn’t enough, each father received a gift from their daughter.  I loved what these leaders helped the girls do for their dads.  They decorated a frame but the photo inside was darling – an individual black and white shot of each girl (with a white background).  Someone is good at this photography thing in the group because the photos were great and then they photoshopped a little crown and “Daughter of a King” label onto each image before inserting them into the frames.

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With each photo was a letter to Dad from their daughter.  This was a great opportunity to share their growth in the gospel, their goals, their achievements, and their love for their fathers.  This letter was one of my favorite parts of the whole activity.  What a treasure for these fathers to take home.

DANCING:

The dance took up about half of the hour and a half event.  Disney tunes, upbeat versions of Primary tunes and other completely uplifting and wholesome music was played once the dessert and dance started.  Lots of giggling, lots of twirling, lots of cool dance moves were going on.  Most of all – lots of love was being shared.

It was a magical night to remember.   It made me wish I was 10 years old.

This activity inspired me to design this printable.   Thank you to the wonderful leaders who created such a fabulous evening!

Enjoy!

Be Loyal to the Royal - 6x6 raspberry

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I loved this activity on identifying and talking about Scripture Superheroes and was happily surprised that our youth leaders were excited to do it as well.  Here’s our plan – in Planning With a Purpose format.  Refer to this post for more info on how to do Planning With a Purpose and for downloads to help you in the process.

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I am now serving as the Stake Primary Counselor over Activity Days – that means I am no longer carrying out the activities.  But we had already planned these activities with our two youth leaders so I want to share them even though I don’t have photos of the actual activity.  I will continue to share ideas as I see them in our Stake.  Enjoy!

1.  What do we value?
click here to see “Value Sheet” download – we use the same values for all of our activities

  • We value accomplishing the Faith in God requirements.
  • We value everyone feeling included.
  • We value people coming.
  • We value making friends.
  • We value respect toward each other.
  • We value learning in a fun way (short lesson plus activity of some sort)

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2.  What do we want to have happen? (goals)
click here to see ” Planning Sheet” download

Instead of asking, “What do we want to do?” always ask, “WHAT DO WE WANT TO HAVE HAPPEN?
Refer to your list of values to help you answer this question – your values and goals should go hand-in-hand.

From the Faith in God Book (Learning and Living the Gospel): Tell a story from the Book of Mormon that teaches about faith in Jesus Christ. Share your testimony of the Savior.

For our Scripture Superhero activity, we adapted the above Faith in God requirement in the following way:

  • we want each girl to know more about a scripture person
  • we want to make scriptures more personal
  • we want everyone to feel successful at presenting
  • we want everyone to commit to be more like their scripture heroes

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3.  How are we going to make this happen? (plans + implementation)

NOTE: We are sending out an invitation for this activity because there is something for the girls to prepare before they come.
The youth leaders also committed to preparing 2 extra scripture superheroes each (4 total) for girls to choose from if they forget to bring their superhero information.

ACTIVITY PLAN
1.  Youth leaders greet each girl – find out if they have their Scripture Superhero ready.  If not, offer to let them choose one from the extras that our youth leaders prepared beforehand.  This will allow everyone to participate even if they forget to come with a Scripture Superhero.
2.  Welcome (opening prayer) – 5 min.
3.  Short lesson about heroes in battle (who’s side will you be on? – refer to idea found in original Scripture Superhero activity here)
4.  Scripture Superhero Share: before everyone shares their superhero, explain that everyone needs to pay attention because when it’s over, each person will share something they “Liked and Learned” about someone’s superhero.

“I liked Holly’s _____________ because I learned ____________.”

5.  Journaling Capes: using the journaling pages found here, girls will write something that they are going to commit to do to be more like one of the heroes we talked about today.
6.  Treat: we don’t normally have treats because it’s not necessary and it starts to cost too much money.  However, we decided that this time we would have a simple treat of superhero fruit snacks!  Cute.
7.  Closing prayer.

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HOW WE WILL LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THE ACTIVITY:
Invitation (use the idea from here to make our invite – send out by 7 days before activity)
Calendar (we deliver a 3-month calendar to all the girls before the activities start)
Text Reminder to Moms (the day before – with reminder of what they need to have prepared)

4.  Evaluate the process and the implementation
Ask yourself often:
What DID we want to have happen?
Is that actually happening / did that happen?
Do we need to change something to get closer to what we want to have happen?
How can we do that?

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We planned a great activity to do before Valentines Day – here it is, in Planning With a Purpose format.  Refer to this post for more info on how to do Planning With a Purpose and for downloads to help you in the process.

Heart Attack Service

As of last Sunday, I am now serving as the Stake Primary Counselor over Activity Days – that means I am no longer carrying out the activities.  But we had already planned these activities with our two youth leaders so I want to share them even though I don’t have photos of the actual activity.  I will continue to share ideas as I see them in our Stake.  Enjoy!

Want to see a Heart Attack activity in action?  This video from the 2013 Primary Auxiliary Training will inspire you.  Click here.

1.  What do we value?
(click here to see “Value Sheet” download)

  • We value accomplishing the Faith in God requirements.
  • We value everyone feeling included.
  • We value people coming.
  • We value making friends.
  • We value respect toward each other.
  • We value learning in a fun way (short lesson plus activity of some sort)

2.  What do we want to have happen? (goals)
(click here to see ” Planning Sheet” download)

Instead of asking, “What do we want to do?” always ask, “WHAT DO WE WANT TO HAVE HAPPEN?
Refer to your list of values to help you answer this question – your values and goals should go hand-in-hand.

From the Faith in God Book: Read and discuss the parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30–37). Plan and complete a service project that helps a family member or neighbor. After completing the project, discuss how it helped your faith grow stronger.

For our Heart Attack activity, this is what we came up with:

  • serve girls in our group who don’t come to activity days by showing love
  • show thanks to bishopric
  • have fun while learning a new way to serve
  • make sure everyone is part of the serving

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3.  How are we going to make this happen? (plans + implementation)

NOTE: Holly + Sydney will cut extra hearts before the activity because we probably can’t cut them all and decorate the doors in 1 hour.
Use extra cardstock and paper from Sister Hall so we don’t have to use the budget.

ACTIVITY PLAN
1.  Welcome (opening prayer) – 5 min. (Sydney is in charge)
2.  Read and discuss the parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30–37).  Discuss that service increases faith.
3.  Heart Preparation: everyone cuts out hearts from donated paper, write messages on some hearts, group into 4-5 piles – 20 min.
4.  Closing prayer before we leave
5.  Divide into 2 groups – each do a bishopric/clerk door and at least one home of an activity day girl who doesn’t usually come.  (The youth leaders thought thought it was so funny to do the doors of the bishopric.)
6.  Heart Attack: use painters tape to attach hearts all over the doors of the bishopric/clerk and activity day girls – try to keep it a secret (Sister Denny get the key to the church)
7.  Leaders take girls home when finished

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SET UP PLAN:

  • cardstock and paper for hearts
  • scissors
  • sharpies / markers
  • painters tape or masking tape – enough for 2 groups

Use the kitchen counter and kitchen table to create hearts (cover table with cloth)

CLEAN UP PLAN:
Everyone helps clean up the mess before the closing prayer and heart attack delivery (Holly in charge)

HOW WE WILL LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THE ACTIVITY:
Calendar (we deliver a 3-month calendar to all the girls before the activities start)
Text Reminder to Moms (the day before)

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4.  Evaluate the process and the implementation
Ask yourself often:
What DID we want to have happen?
Is that actually happening / did that happen?
Do we need to change something to get closer to what we want to have happen?
How can we do that?

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