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):
- We want lots of girls to come to the activity.
- We want the girls to understand that service can be fun.
- We want them to understand that some people don’t have gloves & be grateful that we do.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
- scripture or scripture story
- personal experience or a story that you make personal to you
- 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.
Here’s their lesson:
- Read Mosiah 2:17. Ask: What does this scripture mean? Share your feelings about the scripture.
- 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.”
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add another fabric strip to create a scarf.
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.
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.
Enjoy this activity but love the leadership training that can happen with ANY activity you choose to do!