Challenge #31—Young People

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Are you in shock?  What’s this…a new challenge?  Yep, it is!  It’s been awhile forever, since there’s been a new one.  I apologize profusely if you have been waiting on edge for the next one to come. 

Here’s the newest challenge for you today…

What was your favorite part about YM/YW? 
(As an adolescent and/or adult leader.)

Remember, there are so many ways you can complete challenges!  Just getting it recorded somehow and in some way is better than nothing!  Write it, video it, scrapbook it, audio record it and if you’re ambitious, you can make a movie or write a play or book! 

Also, remember that we are all human, and it’s okay to write about things you’ve struggled with, and some of your flaws.  It will make you more real to your posterity…just imagine when your grand-daughter is reading your journal in 50 years, do you want her to feel so inadequate to this “perfect” you?  Probably not, so don’t hesitate to write the bad as well as the good.  Tell it like it is/was!

Here’s a look at what Robin and I did to help jumpstart your recording process. 
What Robin did:

Well, I have actually been blessed enough in my life that I get to speak about both perspectives. I was just released just about a year ago as the Mia Maid Advisor, which I was saddened by, but I wouldn’t have traded my time with those girls for anything in the world!

My experiences in young women’s growing up were incredible. I loved all of my leaders, but just a couple of them still stick out in my mind, Bobby Jo John and Teresa Southwick. What made them stick out to me was that their lessons always held the spirit. I FELT it every time they taught. They taught with such conviction, confidence and love. I also remember that with every lesson that they taught, they always had a special handout to go with it. Not just a simple piece of paper with a quote on it, but some kind of object WITH the quote to help us remember. I still have nearly every hand out they ever gave me in my memory box, a couple of them are even displayed in my house now.

I knew that when I became a leader, I wanted to be everything to those girls that those leaders were to me. I wanted to make sure that I took the time to study those lessons, to be able to teach those lessons without reading from the manual. I wanted to make sure those girls felt comfortable talking to me, to their peers, and speaking up during class. Of course, I also wanted to make sure they got a hand out each lesson, and I always spent extra time throughout the week trying to make them perfect.

Of course my calling came with its challenges too. When I was first called to the position, I was terrified. I was going to be working with girls in high school, and I felt like I was going back to high school all over again. It made me nervous because I didn’t want to be judged again. If there is one thing I think we all know and remember from high school is being judged. I didn’t want to be the girl who wasn’t noticed anymore. I wanted to be the girl that everyone liked. For once, I wanted to be popular.

And to start out with, I was far from popular. My hands and voice shook as I taught lessons. My conversations outside the classroom and activities with the girls felt awkward and forced, and to top it all off, I found myself jealous of my partner in young women’s. She had already been in her calling for I think at least a year before me; she was best friends with the young women’s president and best friends with each of the girls. I found myself jealous because she had the kind of relationship with the girls that I DREAMED of having.

I know, I just revealed a not so pretty side to myself, but it’s the truth. I didn’t want to go unnoticed once again. In all honesty though, no matter how much I tried, the girls still didn’t seem to want to open up to me, to allow me to not only be their leader, but to be their friend. It wasn’t until my partner got released and I got a new partner that the girls started opening up to me.

Thinking back now, I definitely took for granted my time with them, because it seemed that just as soon as the girls had accepted me, I was released. Even as I write this I find myself feeling ashamed. Looking back, I was selfish. I took that calling as a way to feel accepted, a way for me to replace that hollow feeling that I had in high school. Now don’t get me wrong for those of you who know me and are reading this, I had some pretty incredible friends, who I still am close to to this day, but I still wanted more. I wanted so badly to be part of the “cool kids” group. Most of them were LDS girls, who dressed modestly just like me, who went to church and young women’s just like me, who had LDS families just like me. Why couldn’t I be just like them? Why couldn’t I have everything that they had?

I don’t mean to turn this into a sob story, a “poor me” story, but honestly, as I am writing this, I am having a HUGE insight as to why being released from my young women’s calling was so hard on me. I truly felt like I had been rejected. That I had finally been accepted into that “cool kids” group, and here I am, not even 3 years after being called, and I still ache for that feeling that I felt with those girls. I shared a connection with those girls that I can only compare to my connection with those 2 leaders I had growing up. I love those girls. I felt the spirit with those girls. I see those girls as daughters of our Heavenly Father and I still want nothing more that to make sure that those girls know their Heavenly Father, know that they can turn to him (and their parents and their leaders) for help and understanding. I don’t want those girls to feel lost in their youth like I often did.

I have a testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and for all he has done and still does for me in my life. I believe that Joseph Smith was truly called by our Heavenly Father and his Son PERSONALLY to bring the gospel back to the people on this earth. I believe that Thomas S. Monson and all the prophets before him were also called by our Heavenly Father as well. I believe in the Church and the Book of Mormon AND the Young Women’s program and all it has to offer for today’s youth. I’m so thankful to the leaders who taught me and for the young women who accepted me. Thank you for befriending me, for being there for me, for loving me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post/journal entry/personal confession.

What Natalie did:

I enjoyed being a part of the Young Women's program of the church.  I have several wonderful memories of those years.  One of my favorite activities occurred each December.  The young women would adopt an elderly Sister in the ward, as a secret Santa for a month. In January we would have a special dinner and tell our Adopted Grandmothers who we were.  It was fun to try to keep our identity a secret!  One year I adopted Melba Williams.  I remember going with my mom to Sister Williams' home to drop off a secret gift, and getting caught.  Sister Williams insisted that my mom and I stay and visit with her for a little while, which we did.  It was so fun to learn about Sister Williams' life when she was my age!  She also made the worlds BEST Lemon Bars!  This friendship lasted for many years.  When her husband passed away, Sister Williams called and asked if I would play "Danny Boy" on my flute at the funeral.  As we were visiting before the funeral, Sister Williams told her children that I was her adopted Granddaughter.  From this moment on, they all adopted me as one of their own.

Several years later, Sister Williams passed away, and I was invited to play a song at her funeral.  Following the services, I was going to drive my own car to the cemetery.  As we were all getting ready to leave, Sister William's family invited me to ride with them.  When I was on my mission, this sweet family sent me letters and packages, which brightened my day!  I cherish this sweet family, and am grateful for the opportunity that I had to get to know them and to love them!

I've always wanted to serve in the Young Women's program, and I hope that someday I can.  I would love to provide the young women with the same great experiences I had, and help them to gain a testimony of the Savior.

What I did:

I made a digi scrapbook page telling about my feelings of being both in YW and my short time as a leader.  I do have some pictures in mind, but I have to find them, scan them, and then put them in…and I can’t get to my pictures right now, so it will have to wait. But at least I have the hardest part done!

young women's copy

Credits: Template, Scrapping With Liz.  Papers & Elements, Persnickety Prints.  Fonts, Smiley Monster and SS Fun. 


Now I challenge you to record some of your YW/YM experiences! 

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