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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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