We gathered our YM/YW for Random Acts of Kindness this Wednesday. As they gathered at the building for opening exercises, each youth had a number written in washable marker on their hand. Boys were numbered separately from the girls so each group would have at least one young man or young woman in it. We live in a small town, a bit isolated from larger shopping areas, so we loaded up our vans and headed for the nearest mall. The group was divided into groups numbered 1-4 and given a bag with the following items in it:
A Tootsie Roll Pop
A pack of gum
A $1 bill
A diaper (wrapped in plastic and sized)
A helium balloon
A pass along card
An individually wrapped bag of popcorn
Pen/pencil/index cards/Post-It Notes/painters' tape
Random Acts of Kindness Cards
A list of kind acts to do
A copy of the safety precautions and rules
Once they were in the mall they were off!
Each item was given a point value that was chosen at "random." I did this by rolling a die and giving each item a point from 1-5. (The point value was only once no matter how many people they smiled at! :) The youth were instructed to tell people they were a church group and explain their activity. They met with some skepticism if they forgot to do this. At the end of the activity, points were tallied and the winning team was given a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to share. We gathered for smoothies afterwards to hear about their experiences and the reactions of those they encountered.
RULES FOR RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
**Please enjoy this experience! Watch for reactions and listen to comments. The point is to make someone's day a little brighter. Be bright! Smile!**
- All points awarded are randomly selected. Not one thing is given a higher point value because it is "harder to do."
- Stay with your group or in pairs at all times.
- ASK PERMISSION! "May I help you?" "Can I push your wheelchair?"
- DO NOT give anything to a lone child. Find one with a parent and ask the parent if you can given the child the balloon/candy, etc.
- DO NOT LEAVE THE BUILDING OR GO OUTSIDE.
- If an act has already been done, do not do it again. Do not give a woman with a flower, another flower. If a diaper and wipes have been placed at the changing station, do not leave 4 diapers and 4 packages of wipes.
- Giving a package of gum is the same as giving a stick of gum. There is no point value difference.
- No points are given for preprinted notes. You will receive a point for notes that you write yourselves.
- Please do not place anything sticky on something it may damage. If you have a sticky note to leave, please apply it where it will come off freely.
- Set your cell phone alarms to meet at the mall entrance at 8:00 p.m.for a return to the building. Please all meet at the same time so we can return for smoothies and to give out awards.
This activity took a little bit of planning but I think that most worthwhile activities do. We enjoyed watching them and they enjoyed the experience. It was a good missionary prep activity taking them a little out of their comfort zone to meet strangers with a smile. I think it is a good idea to have groups of mixed classes to have the older ones help the younger ones as many of the Laurels and Priests have had leadership experiences that they can draw on.