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Posts Tagged ‘Activity Days’

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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.

Enjoy!IMG_4866

 

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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Sledding for an Activity Days activity.

Seems like a simple activity, right?  Even our simple activities need to have a plan in order to make them meaningful.  We can always make sure there is purpose in everything we do in Activity Days – not just the big events.

The Planning With a Purpose model outlines steps to plan and carry out leadership responsibilities, activities and real life decisions.  I learned it while serving in the student government at BYU and have practiced it ever since.

 

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Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Planning With a Purpose model.  And I’m using our sledding activity as the idea we are planning.

Click here to see how we implemented it using two of our 11-year-old Activity Day girls as the leaders for our Snowman Glove Service Project.  This model shows Activity Days but it is ready to be used for Young Women, Young Men, Relief Society – or any kind of planning you are doing.

THIS MODEL COMES FROM MY TRAINING
AT BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY.   GO COUGS!

Thank you, BYUSA for teaching me this wonderful method of planning!  I am lucky and blessed to have practiced it for the last 20 years.

Planning With a Purpose Instructions Planning with a Purpose Instructions

Planning with a Purpose Notebook Cover – 8×11

1.  What do we value?
Make a list of things that are important to us (you can use the download below if you choose).
What does the handbook say our purpose is?
What direction do we have from our bishop or other leaders?
What are the needs of the people in our group?

Holly & Sydney helped us decide on our values – use “guided practice” to help the youth learn how to do each step, including creating values. “Guided practice” can take the form of asking leading questions such as, “What does the handbook say our purpose is?  How should we included that in our values?”  It is ok to suggest ways to round out their thoughts to get a more complete end result.  That modeling is part of “guided practice.”

Whether you are training youth leaders or planning the activities yourself, use these same values while planning every activity.

  • 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)

Planning with a Purpose Values Sheet Planning with a Purpose Values Sheet

2.  What do we want to have happen? (goals)
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.

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

  • have fun practicing sledding
  • be safe
  • lots of girls to come and feel included

3.  How are we going to make this happen? (plans + implementation)
Plan what you are going to do.  Always remember to look at the values to make sure it’s really what you want to have happen.
Ask: “How does this help us reach our goals of what we want to have happen?”
If your plan doesn’t meet your goals in a meaningful way, try something different.

NOTE: Listen to the Holy Ghost as you plan.  
The Holy Ghost can help us feel peace about our decisions and even help us formulate ideas for how to carry out what you want to have happen.

Use this planning sheet or a piece of paper to make your plans.  (this download comes in 2 different sizes below the picture)

Planning With a Purpose Planning Sheet Planning with a Purpose Planning Sheet – Half Page Version

Planning with a Purpose Planning Sheet – Full Page 1

Planning with a Purpose Planning Sheet – Full Page 2

For the sledding activity, here is our plan:

1.  Turn in permission slips (attach to calendar so parents have them already) – Sister Denny in charge
2.  Meet @ Sister Denny’s at 2:30 (wear snow clothes and bring sleds – put info on calendar + text reminder)
3.  Sister Hall + Sister Denny will drive everyone to location (get other driver if necessary) – Sister Denny in charge
4.  Sled for about an hour.  Holly + Sydney will monitor the experience and make sure each girl is feeling included, having fun, and a part of the group.  They will bring them into the group if necessary.
5.  Go home – drop girls off at homes

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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?

This evaluation happens after the activity – it will help you plan future activities and build on what progress you are making along the way.  I encourage you to not skip this step!

Give Planning With a Purpose a try!  You can do it!

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10 Lovely Ladies + 27 Snowman Gloves = 1 Fabulous Service Project!

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Get ready – this is a long post but it takes you through exactly how I used Planning With a Purpose to teach these girls how to plan and implement a meaningful activity.  It will work for any activity – not just this one.  These are the words and plans of our two youth leaders, Holly and Sydney, after simple leadership training on the Planning With a Purpose model.  I will have the Planning With a Purpose booklet that we used for training available in the near future for download.

What we wanted to have happen (goals):

  1. We want lots of girls to come to the activity.
  2. We want the girls to understand that service can be fun.
  3. We want them to understand that some people don’t have gloves & be grateful that we do.

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How we made that happen (plans and implementation):

  • Invite friends and people who don’t normally come.  Tell them it will be fun – that we do activities and not just a lesson the whole time.
  • Create a flyer, announce it in our church classes, send texts to remind everyone.
  • Encourage everyone earn the money themselves for the gloves and candy boxes.
  • Have a lesson to talk about how some people don’t have gloves and why it’s important to serve others.
  • Create at least 20 candy box snowmen with glove hats to donate to a local charity.

FLYER

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We wanted the girls to be in charge of implementing the flyer.  In order to do that, they need guided practice to feel confident and to teach them how to do it.  We made a list of all the information that we needed to include on the flyer, organized and ready for the girls to use as a guide for the final flyer.The key to each step in the planning process is “guided practice.”  In order to learn how to do something, you have to stand by their side as they practice it.  Making a detailed plan of the flyer together was that guided practice.

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We asked them to do the flyer without parental help (if possible) and bring it back to me to check it one final time then we would send it out.

The only thing they ended up needing parental help with was creating the border on the flyer.  They did the rest – and were excited to learn how to create a border for future projects.

When the girls came to have the flyer checked by me, they told me that they wanted to roll up each flyer and tie it.  They also wanted to hand deliver the flyers to each girl so that they could connect with every person in the group.

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Have I mentioned that these girls are amazing?  Yes, they are amazing.  They had officially caught the vision of what we wanted to have happen.

TEXTING

Texting is by far the best idea for communicating in our Activity Days group.  Because the list of girls changes all the time due to girls coming in and going out at their birthday, I keep a running list of the girls and their birthdays on my phone and refer to it when I make a group text.  Everyone gets a calendar of events for 3 months but I always text the moms (or dads) the day before the activity as a reminder.  It takes about 4 minutes total but our attendance increases when we do a text reminder.

“Reminder: Activity Days is tomorrow at 2:30 pm at Sister Hall’s house.  Get ready to make our Snowman Gloves!  See you there!”

Or something similar to that.

For this particular activity, I texted a few days before the Jan. 6 donation deadline, two days after it to tell them they could still drop off the donations, and the day of to remind them and tell them to come even if they didn’t have a chance to donate gloves or candy.  Most activities I only do one text the day before.

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LESSON

I taught the girls a way to give a great talk or lesson.  They (with some help from their moms) used this 3-step plan to create a wonderful lesson.  They had practiced it and were prepared.  Plus, they did it together.  They had experienced success already with this planning process because of guided practice so when I asked them if they wanted me to help them with the actual lesson, they said they could take care of it.

Choose a gospel principle then you need 3 things:

  1. scripture or scripture story
  2. personal experience or a story that you make personal to you
  3. bear your testimony of the principle

As they left the house, with a lesson assignment in hand, I asked, “Are you feeling nervous or confident?”  Holly paused for a moment then said, “Confident.”   Guided practice is the key to confident, independent behavior.

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Here’s their lesson:

  1. Read Mosiah 2:17.  Ask: What does this scripture mean?  Share your feelings about the scripture.
  2. Sydney told a story about her mom stopping to help a family get gas when they were stuck on the side of the road.  Then she followed them in their car to the gas station to fill up their tank.  Sydney said, “You don’t have to do something big to serve.  She could have just filled their gas can and they would have been so grateful.  Just serve.  Even if it’s a small thing.”
  3. Holly read the book, “The Mitten Tree” by Candace Christiansen.  It is out of print so getting a copy will cost you thousands of dollars but the kindle version is only $6.99 and you can show the pictures from your computer or iPad while you read it.  Holly’s mom found it at a local library so we were able to see the real thing while she read this sweet story of service – using mittens!  Perfect!
  4. They bore a simple, sweet testimony about service, including a challenge to serve because it would bring them blessings.  (by the way, what they did was straight from “Preach My Gospel” chapter 11 – I could have kissed them, I was so happy to hear their testimony!)

After the lesson they turned the time over to me and we worked on the snowman project.

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SNOWMAN GLOVES

Supplies:

  • Snoman Candy Box Wrapper – Outline
  • 1″ fabric strips but to about 14″ long (2 per box)
  • candy box (Milk Duds movie theater size is best)
  • knit gloves
  • crayons or markers or colored pencils

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  1. Color the snowman wrapper (trim the download across the horizontal lines to fit all sizes of boxes).  Plan where the wrapper will be placed and crease the edges.  Wrap the paper around the candy box then tape the back very tightly.IMG_1131IMG_1134
  2. Place one glove over the top of the snowman.  Place the other glove right behind the one on the box and tie gloves together tightly with a fabric strip.
  3. Add another fabric strip to create a scarf.

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27 snowman gloves later (we surpassed our goal of 20 sets!) – it was a fun, meaningful activity that only took an hour.  The girls were so proud of themselves for earning the money to purchase the supplies.

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Holly and Sydney knocked it out of the park with their responsibility, capability and teachability.  It has been a joy to work with them through this process.  It’s worth the extra time and effort to go through the guided practice that it takes to actually teach these young people to lead with purpose.

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Enjoy this activity but love the leadership training that can happen with ANY activity you choose to do!

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We had a little planning meeting for Activity Days.  No.  A big planning meeting.  We are doing some leadership training with a few of the oldest girls and they are rockin’ it!  Holly and Sydney are headed to Young Women’s in a few months so we decided to go through the Planning With a Purpose model to teach them how to plan an activity effectively and with meaning.  I created a booklet for the training that I will try and share later – the printables will take some time to get blog-ready so I’ll work on that.

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What is Planning With a Purpose, you ask?  It’s a planning method that Jason and I were lucky enough to learn and practice over the three years we were involved in student government at BYU (BYUSA) way back when we were first married.  It is based on asking a magical question…. Instead of asking, “What do we want to do?”…

We ask “WHAT DO WE WANT TO HAVE HAPPEN?”

We have used this model for the last 20 years in our lives, our jobs, in parenting, in our church assignments, our community work….everything.  It works for everything.

And it’s so easy that even an 11-year-old can do it successfully.  That’s the flyer they created to explain our Snowman Glove Service Project – the one that they decided to hand deliver to each girl before our activity  (love that idea, girls!)  It was a reminder to me that we should never underestimate the capability of these girls.  Click here to see how we put it into practice.
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So, in this leadership training process, these lovely ladies have been taught the purpose of Activity Days, made decisions, been given assignments and have followed through on those assignments.  By serving in a leadership capacity, they are fully invested in the potential of what Activity Days can mean to each girl in our group.  It has been a choice experience to go through this leadership mentoring with them.

The result of the last few weeks of teaching and guiding have resulted in a plan for the next few months.  This is what will be coming for our Activity Days and I decided to share an overview with you if you are in the process of your own planning.

JANUARY:

(Service)
Snowman Glove Service Project
Girls are earning the money to buy boxes of candy (like Milk Duds) and knit gloves to donate to the cause.  This is what they look like (this was an example that Coleman helped me with).  The snowman gloves will be donated to a local charity for kids in need.  Click here for full activity.

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(Developing Talents)
Sledding at a Super Sweet Hill at the High School
We’re focusing on friendship, togetherness, being physically active, enjoying nature right here in our backyard, and developing our sledding talents (that’s a talent, right?).

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FEBRUARY:

(Service)
Heart Attack
Classic “heart attack the door with cut-out hearts and messages” activity.  Recipients: girls in our group that don’t usually attend Activity Days and the Bishop and Clerk’s Offices at the church.  (that idea received a giggle, giggle from our little planners)

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(Learning and Living the Gospel)
Scripture Superheroes
Found the idea here – we used it as a guide to plan their own activity based on the same idea.  Note: we wanted everyone to feel successful in this activity so the girls decided to each create two “back-up” scripture superhero examples in case someone doesn’t come with something to share.  Holly and Sydney will be in charge of welcoming each girl as they arrive and finding out if they need one of the “back-up” superhero examples to share.

We’ll do an invite for this activity but the links aren’t working to recreate this idea – we’ll think of something else.  And no cookies for us – we decided on superhero fruit snacks for a treat!

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MARCH:

(Learning and Living the Gospel)
Mother Daughter Recognition Night
POLKA DOT “T” PARTY
“T” stands for “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.  It will include a blindfold obstacle course activity and other games.  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.  We are asking the girls to bring their journals to write their own testimonies in them that night.

Of course, everyone will be encouraged to wear polka dots – and tea party cakes and treats will be served!  More to come about this activity later.  I have high hopes for this activity – I know it will be a treasured experience for these girls and their moms.  Can’t wait for March.

Will someone in our group create gorgeous concoctions that look as fun as these, please?

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Come back for more on each of these activities – to find out how they actually came together and to see the fabulous leadership of Holly and Sydney in action.

Enjoy!

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We did it again.  Click here and here for a detailed plan of how to carry out a Christmas gift swap “Favorite Things Party” for a group of girls or teens.  We invited all of our Activity Day girls, which means we had girls 8-11 years old.

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Here’s the invite for this year.  Look familiar?  I went with what worked and Hobby Lobby had the exact same gift tags for sale so I snatched them up, changed the date, clarified the instructions and they were ready to go.  Note the change in information we gave them this time:

1.  food was changed to include appetizers (thanks for  bringing the cheeseball and fruit plate, Ava and Sharrai – they were both almost gone at the end of the activity).

2.  we also specified that we wanted only 4-6 servings because there was WAY TOO MUCH FOOD last year.  Specifying the quantity definitely helped.  We had plenty to go around but not too much.

The girls did a good job of being creative in the food they brought – swirls and snowmen, hand-dipped chocolates and Oreo pie.  Lots of different treats and foods to share and feast on.  They are getting better at this party!

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For our lesson, we showed this age-appropriate but meaningful video, (The Reason Behind Christmas – Mormon Message)  talked about how each person in the video committed to giving a service for Christmas.

Then we asked each girl to follow the video example and share a service they were going to give this Christmas.

“This year for Christmas I am going to….”

They then gave their gift to the person who’s name they drew from “the hat.”  Once it was opened, the giver shared why it was their favorite.  Before we started giving, we practiced how to be a good receiver and encouraged the girls to say, “Thank you!  I love it!” to the giver.

Keeping the giving moving along was my job and with over 30 girls there, it was important to move quickly through each person and to remind the girls as time passed to show respect for one another, even if they have already received their gift.  The lesson and gifting took  about 50 minutes, then we spent about 25 minutes sharing about the food we brought and tasting each other’s treats.

With almost all of our girls attending, we’ve proven once again that the Favorite Things Party is always a hit.  I get a lot of traffic to last year’s Favorite Things Party posts so I hope that many of you are running with this idea.  Let me know how it goes so we can share ideas together!

Merry Christmas!

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