A few nights ago, our young women group held the annual New Beginnings activity. We get together and talk to incoming girls about the church's Personal Progress program and the values we try to develop in ourselves and emanate in our lives.
The theme this year is Stand Ye in Holy Places. We decided to have a shoe theme. We also decided to let one of the girls take charge of the activity, as one of her Personal Progress experiences so she could earn her medallion.
As a youth leader, it's hard to let go of an activity where so many people are involved. We have the incoming 12 year olds and their parents, and we have the current young women and their parents, and we have the stake leaders and bishopric. Lots of people are there to witness whether it's a success or not.
I didn't need to fear. This young woman was low key about it, and she didn't even give out assignments until a week before the activity (which worried us leaders). But it worked.
We were each assigned a value or two to discuss for a few minutes.
I was assigned Faith and Virtue.
For faith, I talked about Horton Hears a Who, and how he had faith in a voice that nobody else could hear. And the other animals were pretty cruel, but he never backed down. He had faith in this little voice, and worked hard to do what was right.
For Virtue, I pulled out the picture book version of the Parable of the Bicycle (this link will take you there, but the story isn't until the very last section of the article). We all have something we want (to return to our Heavenly Father), but we can't make it there all by ourselves (like the girl in the story who didn't have enough money). If we live our lives with virtue, and try to do what right, Christ will make up the difference.
Then we had a shoe activity. Everyone brought a shoe that represented themselves. We put them into a bag and passed them out randomly. We had to guess what the shoe represented and who it belonged to. The girls loved it. Since we have such a small ward, we invited all of the girls 8 years and older to join us.
Ashley brought a fuzzy slipper and said she liked to stay home and read and do crafts. I brought a running shoe and explained that my degree was in heath, and I enjoyed trying to live a healthy lifestyle. My shoe also represented me as a mom, because I have to run around and do errands a lot.
Ashley was still giggling about the shoe activity the next morning.
But at the same time, I was totally pleased to see the girls take ownership over this activity and how much they interacted with and included the girls who will be entering the Young Women Program later in the year.
Everyone felt the warmth of the spirit, and also had a good time, so I'd say it was a successful activity all around.