In looking at my posts, I’m seeing a trend lately. Lots of missionary and young women’s stuff! It’s been on my mind a lot with two sisters on missions and my calling as Personal Progress Advisor.
In our ward, we only do Personal Progress nights on the 5th Wednesday of the month, which happens about four times a year. I remember when I was in Young Women’s, over a decade ago, that we used to have a night monthly that was dedicated to it. We usually had an activity that helped us pass off something in our book. Things are much different now, and girls are required to be more motivated, but I still wanted to help things along.
I decided to begin a Personal Progress Workshop Series. Basically, we meet once a month, generally the third Saturday, and we have a project or something that we are working on that will help them learn something new and pass off Personal Progress. And I didn’t want to be the one to teach them every month either. So I created a sign up sheet for the Relief Society binders asking the women in our ward to volunteer their time and talents to the girls. I also sent around a sheet in Young Women’s asking the girls what types of things they would like to learn.
Some of the things we have coming up are a Photography workshop, knitting/crochet, baking bread for the Sacrament, sewing, budgeting, journaling/basic memory keeping, jewelry making, and budgeting. It does sometimes take a little prodding to get ladies to sign up to teach, but after a couple of explanations and some reminders, we started getting names on the sheets.
Here’s a breakdown of how I plan these:
1. First, talk with the teacher and get an idea of what they would like to do. We do a 2 hour activity and no more, unless necessary. Also, be sure to let them know what the budget is and decide who is going to get the materials needed, if applicable.
2. I create an invitation to hand out on Sunday and mail or drop off to girls who aren’t coming on Sundays.
3. I ask who is coming so that we can plan on the numbers (see below for a lesson I gave the girls about follow through)
4. Send our reminders via text, Facebook, phone calls, and on activity nights
5. Touch bases with the teacher and see what they need.
6. Be sure to have a thank you note/little gift for the teacher that the girls can sign following the activity. I have some thank you cards I will be posting soon.
For our first workshop, we learned how to make Peach jam from one of the canning queens in our ward. She found the half pint size jars and then printed off the recipe for the girls to take home. It was fun! While the peaches were boiling and we had down time, it was fun to chat with the girls and spend some time with them. I also made a handout that related what we were doing to the Gospel. When it was over, they each got to take home a little jar of jam. This activity would apply an experience in Knowledge and Good Works (if the wrote a note and gave it to a friend/neighbor). It could also be the beginning of a 10 hour project if they chose to make jam for their family.
And now for the lesson on follow through. When I asked for RSVP’s, I had about 10 girls say they would come. I think most of us get used to having some then not show up. It’s how life is. However, I’ve been growing tired recently, not just in Young Women’s but in other situations, of people not doing what they say they are going to do. I think many people don’t realize how important it is to do what you say you are going to do or at least communicating with others if you can’t. I was especially concerned because we are involving other people in the ward. Out of the 10 that said they would come, we had three show up. Three! Not even half. Two girls that were planning on it did call to say they had something come up and were going to miss it. I took the opportunity the next Sunday to teach this principle. I bought some Peach Rings for the three girls that came and for the two that had called to say they couldn’t come after all (so five total). I presented it to them and explained why they were getting it to everyone. I think the message sunk in because I could see the “Oh’s”, and the looks on their faces. I wasn’t trying to rub it in, I did it kindly, but I let them know that, in the future, they need to communicate with us or whoever is planning the activity. I would have brought something for girls who initially said they weren’t coming, but we had every girl that was there that Sunday say they would come. Hopefully, it helps things better in the future.
I will be sharing invitations, handouts, etc. on the blog for all of our workshops. Next month is photography and coincides with our month of gratitude that I am doing. I will be posting more about that in a couple of weeks, but you can follow my Facebook page for updates. Also, we have a fun Halloween Personal Progress centered around skeletons! I am working on the final details and will post that in a couple of days as well.
For now, here are the printables that I used for the jam/canning activity. As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments. I would love to hear what your ward is doing! Leave a comment to share the ideas!