Wednesday, August 21, 2013

As your YW are headed back to school and the days are still long, it's a good time to have a class on auto-safety.  These can be literally life-saving skills.  Make your YW aware of the dangers of the road and the lures of predators.  What do you do if someone bumps into your car and wants you to get out?  Where do you pull over on a busy freeway?  What do you do if you are stranded in a car in the cold?  What to do if there is an earthquake/tornado/etc.?  How do I jump start my car?  Do I even have jumper cables?  Where should I park when I get out of class late in the evening?  Teach them to trust their instincts and the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  (Better to be embarrassed than a victim.) Tell your girls to never let their gas tank get below 1/4 of a tank of gas!

For fun, have them bring a cute box, backpack, or old, favorite handbag that they no longer use and put together an emergency kit for the car with some basic tools and snacks.  Don't forget to add water!  As leaders, we can help them have a sense of self-reliance and help be prepared for unexpected circumstances.

Some basic ideas for your car kit:

Granola bars/trail mix/dried fruit etc.
Basic first-aid kit
A couple of large trash bags
Flashlight (Batteries)
Kleenex/Paper towels
Feminine items
Duct tape

Hand sanitizer

Also consider:

Pocket knife
Flares (and know how to use them)
A blanket
A fire extinguisher (and know how to use it)
A small shovel
Matches or lighter
A disposable camera
Bug Repellent
A book/cards
A small can and candle for melting snow
Cat litter for traction
An ice scraper
A map and compass (They learned how to use them at Girls' Camp-right?)
Extra clothing and shoes
A length of rope
A bar of soap
Tool kit

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Have the girls get together on a YW night and do silhouettes.  Use a strong flashlight or goose-neck lamp that will give you a definitive outline.  Bring black construction paper and a pencil or white coloured pencil.  Have the girls or leaders trace the silhouettes of the young woman.  They can then cut them and mount them in an inexpensive frame.  This is a great an activity on Individual Worth or Divine Nature.  It can be given as a gift or it can be mounted on top of a photo of the Temple to remind them or their goal to look toward the Temple.  This would also be an awesome camp craft.  Wouldn't this make a fun display at YW in Excellence?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Embroidery and Lace

lds distribution
LDS Distribution has women's lace handkerchiefs for $1.50 (US).  It's a great price and a wonderful handout to support this month's lessons on Marriage and Family.  Use a mutual night to have the girls learn to embroider their initials (first or both) on the handkerchief and save it for when she goes to the Temple.  It can be a one night, quick, and easy activity and can also be a reminder of her commitment to "go there someday."  I have a lovely handkerchief I received as a wedding shower gift and carried it with me when I was sealed to my husband.  It is very special momento.  This activity will fulfill Personal Progress value experience #2 for Knowledge.

Here is the link for the handkerchief:

Monday, July 22, 2013

What Did You Do for Someone Today?

Part of teaching the YW about their Divine Nature is to help them develop their desire for service.  Service projects are always uplifting and fun.  I think our YW, by virtue of who they are, want to make someone's day a little brighter.  Beyond that, service can be performed everyday in the home, at school, at work, and at church.  Give the girls a small card, perhaps a 3 x 5 card, and have them stamp, decorate, and color it.  Head it with "What did I do for someone today?" and number the lines.  Have them place it with their cell phones to remind them to do a good turn, compliment someone, or smile!  Secret Sisters, Adopt a Grandmother, or just Thank the Bishop is a great way to help them get started.   Fill an ivy bowl (Doesn't each YW closet or leader have ivy bowls they don't know what to do with?) with a candy of choice and decorate the neck with a wire garland.  This can be done at the beginning of mutual and doorbell ditched, delivered, or stashed to give to someone during the week.  It's quick, easy, inexpensive, and is a fun presentation.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mix It Up

For a change of pace in your classroom, change your seating arrangements.  Sit in a circle or sit around a table.  Have the girls make a "word cloud" out of the principles taught in the lesson for a display or have them share scriptures or reading material.  If weather permits and you can find a quiet place, take a blanket and sit outside on the grass under a tree.  You can sit on the steps outside the building if your class is of a moderate size.  The wonder of Father's creations are always appreciated by the girls if they have been sitting inside all day.  Sit among the girls and have a girl act as a "scribe," placing thoughts on the chalkboard.  Assign parts of the lesson to your YW and have them stand at the front while you take a seat as a participant.  A little change can make the day interesting. Often it can be more conducive to discussion and participation. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Scripture Cookies

Scripture Cookies

The YW made these cookies last night.  They were yummy, fun, and quick to make.

3/4 cup Psalm 55:21
1/3 cup 2 Nephi 26:25
1 1/2 cup Jeremiah 6:20
2  Isaiah 10:14
2 cups 1 Kings 4:22
1 tsp Exodus 30:23
1/2 tsp Matthew 5:13
3 cups D&C 89:17
1 cup Proverbs 17:1

1. Mix the first 4 ingredients together; mix in the rest.
2. Make tablespoon-sized drops onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.


The translation: 
Psalm 55:21 (butter)
2 Nephi 25:25 (milk)
Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)
Isaiah 10:14 (eggs)
1 Kings 4:22 (flour)
Exodus 30:23 (cinnamon)
Matthew 13:33 (baking soda)
Matthew 5:13 (salt)
D&C 89:17 (oatmeal)
Proverbs 17:1 (chocolate chips or M&Ms)

We combined this activity with a planning meeting.  We enjoyed sitting around the table in the setting sun outside, eating cookies, making plans, and setting goals.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Bear"-ing one anothers' burdens

123rf photos
When one of my YW is sick, injured, or having surgery, I like to let her know that I am thinking of her.  I like to buy a Teddy bear and place a Band-aid or bandage that corresponds with her illness or injury, tuck in her favourite candy bar and deliver it.  For example, I had a Laurel who was having nasal septum surgery so I put a Band-aid across the nose of a Teddy bear and delivered it.  It's a cute way to remember them and give them something to cuddle while they recuperate.  A class of girls can visit a sick YW as a group and deliver this as well.  Unfortunately, plain Teddy bears are getting harder and harder to find but I find the rewards for the search and delivery of the bear far outweighs the small inconvenience. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Teaching YW Budgeting
Choice and Accountability #7 talks about learning to budget.  Let's face it!  Girls will get money and then spend it on movies, make up, and fun stuff.  Most of them will pay their tithing (Yay!).  As a teen, I earned my babysitting money and spent it without much thought about tomorrow.  After all, as a teen - tomorrow is a long way away...until you are a Senior  Laurel and facing college or a mission.

A great Personal Progress activity is to have them learn to budget.  This is my form but there are some great others out there for your use.  I will add their links at the end. 


1.  What do I do to earn money?
2.  How much do I earn or how much is my allowance?
3.  What do I spend the money I earn on?
4.  How much do I save and where do I put my savings?
5.  Do I owe anyone money?  How much?  Am I paying off my debt?
6.  What do I spend only on myself and what do I spend on others?
7.  What skills am I developing to help me earn the money I need to meet my future goals?
8.  Do I keep a financial record?


Budget For:________________________________

Income                                                       Planned                           Actual         

Wages/Salary (after taxes) -
Other Income -



Church Donations -
Savings -
Food -
Rent -
Utilities/Cell Phone -
Laundry -
Fees -
Transportation -
Insurance -
Medical -
Clothing -
Other -

When my daughter left for BYU, we paid her tuition, books, and meals.  For extras, she had to earn her own way.  It was a wonderful experience for her and she has become a very frugal and thrifty mom today.  She was amazed at how much of her paycheck went to taxes and there is the never-ending saving of quarters for the washer and dryer!  This activity can be added to a lesson on tithing and fast offerings as well as meal planning or shopping.

A funny lesson taught by Bill Cosby to his son on the Cosby show: 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Leadership for the Youth
Our time with the youth is full of lessons, Personal Progress, activities, camp, and meetings.  It is our responsibility, and indeed a blessing, to teach these young people leadership skills.  The Church has provided a wonderful resource for us at: .  Each one of these lessons is designed for the YW to give to EACH OTHER in their presidency meetings.  

We often train our class secretaries to take roll and our class presidents to conduct.  This is the beginning of the training they receive for going out into the world as LDS leaders when they leave the Young Women organization.  When they are called as a presidency, these lessons should be assigned in turn, one to each member of the presidency, to be given in their presidency meetings.  I use them in lieu of a spiritual thought or scripture reading.  They are very short and do not require an enormous amount of effort to present.  This oftentimes gives them their first opportunity to teach.  It builds confidence and teaches important principles that they should incorporate in their presidencies.  

As in all things, this will require a little advanced preparation and some encouragement on your part. There are 18 lessons in this section, 6 for Counseling Together, 4 under Spiritually Preparing, 3 for Service, and 5 regarding Teaching.  If you are new to the YW organization, this can be a great support to you as well. (We oldsters benefit as well!)  Teaching these lessons inspires self-assurance in each member of your class presidencys.  They can bring the Spirit into their meetings and help them to plan activities that will build your organization in a wonderful way.  

It is an amazing opportunity to see a Laurel President lead the YW in your ward and to realize that she will be doing the same thing in her Young Adult ward in the near future.  This training will also be invaluable to them as they prepare to serve missions.  My daughters have expressed to me how much these leadership skills have helped them in their college careers, as single women, and in their married lives.  They have felt that the Church has given them skills in speaking, leadership, and organization often not found in the secular world.  The leaders of this Church are truly inspired in the ways they help our young people prepare for their adult lives!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Teaching the Only One
Have you ever found yourself in a classroom with only one active YW?  In small wards, oftentimes there is only one Laurel, one MIA Maid, or one Beehive in your class.  Although this can be challenging, in some ways, this can be a blessing to you and to her.  Living in a small area, this has happened to me several times in my YW service.  Because of this, I have developed a deep bond of friendship with a few of my sweet girls that has lasted now into their married lives.  

I think the new curriculum is much more conducive to teaching one-on-one.  You and your young woman can learn together and teach each other in a way not possible with a larger class.  There is little distraction and little peer pressure.  It is important that she feel your love, interest, and dedication to her.  Try to make this a special bonding experience so she will not feel the desire to quit coming because she is "the only one." 

Sunday lessons, for me, are much easier than weekday activities when there is only one girl.  Begin by discussing  what her goals are for her year.  Does she want to prepare for a mission?  Is she getting ready for college? What does she like to do?  What has she always wanted to know or learn?  Use these to plan some activities together.  

On Sunday, set up a small table with two chairs set catty-corner, close enough to talk freely and maintain good eye contact.  This allows for talking freely, sharing openly, laughing, and whispering as the Spirit moves you.  Continue to prayerfully prepare your lessons for Sunday.  Seek the Holy Ghost.  You may need His influence now more than ever.  Read scriptures together and ask for her insights or how it applies to her life. Give this special girl the same attention you would give a class of 12 girls.  Have a handout; share a video or story; read and mark a talk by a General Authority together.  Encourage her to invite friends and be a missionary.  If you have the time, visit some of her activities, games, or performances.  Root for her at scripture mastery and sit, smiling, when she gives a talk in church. 

It is important to meet with the other girls when given the opportunity.  She should meet for combined YW and YM/YW activities, opening exercises, and firesides so she feels connected to the group as a whole.  You may occasionally feel the desire to combine with a class in the next age group to hers.  This can be beneficial for all involved.  It can also soften the blow when two good friends are separated enough in age to be in two different classes as well as lessen the feelings of isolation.  Laurels, especially, are so busy.  This can be a wonderful way to teach and "fit" her activities into your mutual schedules.  

It can be such a blessing to teach this one sweet spirit and get to know her.  What a trust it is to be her leader and watch her testimony form before your eyes in a way that you may have missed before.  What a joy this can be!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Visual Lessons

It is nice to go beyond the chalkboard and do a visual lesson.  Although these YW are a bit older, they are still in many ways children and enjoy the difference visual aids can bring to a Sunday presentation.  This can also be helpful when you have a chatty bunch of girls or when there is a Sunday when you cannot seem to keep them focused.  Some individuals are also very visual learners.  You need not be an artist (as you can tell by my visual aid this week) just a little bit creative. 

The new lesson curriculum for May is on Prophets and Revelation.  Our lesson was:  "How can I strengthen my testimony?"  I found a wonderful conference talk by Elder Wirthlin that addressed this topic and was very adaptable to visual aids.  The talk is entitled "Siritual Bonfires of Testimony" and compares dangerous wolf packs of the Ukraine to dangerous temptations of the adversary and how to keep the fires of testimony burning bright for our spiritual safety.

I gave each girl a rectangular piece of brown paper that represents a "log" and had them write something that helps build testimonies.  As each girl did so and explained her ideas, we build a fire on the chalkboard.  We had a girl who was the "Keeper of the Flame."  She added the embers to our bonfire making it bigger and brighter, keeping the wolves at bay.  We then subtracted the kindling, one by one, and watched the fire get smaller and smaller, making us more vulnerable to attack.  

I occasionally like to have a "scribe" to write on the chalkboard for me or a helper of some kind (such as a Keeper of the Flame).  This often draws in a girl who is less engaged or not really paying attention.  

My end-of-lesson handout was a snack bag filled with Tootsie Roll logs and a flame that said, "Fuel your testimony."  

The new curriculum is keeping me on my toes!  After years and years of the old lesson manuals, I find that I too am greatly benefited by this new way of doing things and "Teaching in the Saviour's Way."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prayer ROCKS!

May's lessons include meaningful prayer, personal revelation and, following the prophets.  I admit I had a difficult time narrowing down what I wanted to discuss about prayer .  There are so many wonderful principles taught in these lessons.  A sister in our ward mentioned how Heavenly Father was a "parent" in the true sense of the word, a perfect parent.  This touched my heart and I felt the prompting to talk about conversing with your Father in Heaven as your Heavenly Parent.  Remembering back many years, I contemplated the first time I was away from home and how I missed my mother.  I missed the talking, the counseling, as well as the small daily physical and emotional contacts with her and her love and wisdom.  I believe that our spirit often misses contact with our Heavenly Father in the same way.  How wonderful it is to have that kind of a connection to our Father in Heaven!  How wonderful to know that he cares and WANTS to know about us!  He wants to have real conversations with us, to teach us, guide us, and show us his love!

In the end, I turned to an old faithful handout....prayer rocks.  I hand painted a few using paint pens (Sharpies did not work well) that I found at the craft store and attached the little prayer rock poem that goes with it.  As I bore my testimony, I told the girls how wonderful prayer is that it literally ROCKS!  Although I started with struggles in this lesson, I felt I gained a great deal from the lesson myself.  Is it not wonderful that the Gospel is so diverse and giving in this way?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ really ROCKS!

Prayer Rock Poem:

I'm your little PRAYER ROCK and this is what I'll do:
Just put me on your pillow till the day is through,

Then turn back the covers and climb into bed,
And WHACK!-your little prayer rock will hit you on the head.

Then you will remember as the day is through,
to kneel and say your prayers as you wanted to.

Then when you are finished, just dump me on the floor,
I'll stay there through the night to give you help once more.

When you get up the next morning, CLUNK!  I'll stub your toe,
So you will remember your morning prayers before you go.

Put me back upon your pillow when your bed is made,
your little PRAYER ROCK will continue in your aid.

Because your Heavenly Father cares and loves you so
He wants you to remember to talk to Him, you know.

Charles M. Schultz