Sarah + Tim

a canadian, american and calico living in perfect harmony

Your Young Women’s Experience March 4, 2008

Last Sunday, I was asked to be the 2nd Counselor in our Young Women’s presidency!


I have since been channeling and reminiscing my Young Women’s years, the leaders that made a difference, and the ways in which I was mentored by them and the unforgettable lessons I learned: how to put on make-up, my hemlines and the affect it has on boys, that you marry who you date, and much more.

Earlier this afternoon, I asked my younger sister to remind me what it’s like to be 13, the things that matter in her life right now, the fun activities in YW and got some GREAT answers.

So now I extend this question to you – What was it like when you were 12, 13, 14, etc? What was important to you? What do you remember about your Young Women’s experience?  What were some of the fun activities you remember?  Who were the leaders that made a difference in your life and why? Any thoughts or suggestions would be most appreciated! Look forward to hearing all about it!


8 Responses to “Your Young Women’s Experience”

  1. Thora Lisa Jewell Says:

    Ahh Sarah,

    My YW years were interesting and I think that a good many of the leaders who would have had a larger impact didn’t because my mom was somewhat anti-activities etc. in trying to teach her children. What I do remember about those years I’ll write, as well as a few thoughts that I have had since as I served as RS Pres. in a singles ward, and as I worked with “troubled” teens on the ANASAZI Trail. Please feel free to skim…I hope my thoughts are useful but can promise nothing more than mere rambling.

    First, my teen years. Interestingly, my testimony grew firm between the ages of 12 and 18. I was 16 when I realized that I had probably read the Book of Mormon through at least ten times by the time I took into account the times my family had read it, the Primary, young womens etc. read-a-thons etc. But I had never read the Book of Mormon for me. I had never read it and prayed to know that it was true. I had never read it for the message that it contained for me in my life. It had always been a book that I, as a mormon thought was good to read…So I decided to read it. The summer of my 16th year I got up early every morning and read, and prayed. The answers I received and the overwhelming sense of my Savior’s love for me that I received that summer braced me for my father’s death the following February.
    It’s interesting how, when a loved one dies the world changes. My grandmother had passed away in our living room the previous year after a long illness. While we greived at her passing, it came as a welcome release from a life that had been well spent but was spent. It wasn’t the same, obviously, with my dad. Just before my 17th birthday, I realized that there is no mortal balm for grief. There are no words taht can be spoken after a death that can mend a word one wishes she had spoken before. It is final. There are no make up interviews with the one who has gone on, there are no magical cures to be found at the hand of medicine, or eclesiastical authority or friends, that can sooth the pain of the finality of death.
    At such a time of emptiness and pain, there is no comfort so encompassing, so warm, so complete as the love of our Savior as he answers a plea for help to cope with waves of perfect love.
    There is a tendancy to “wait for a mission” to gain a testimony. A mission is too late for such preparation in today’s world. Know your Savior as a 12 year old, as a 13 year old, as a 14, year old as a 15 year old, as a 16 year old, as a 17 year old, as an 18 year old. There is no place in the gospel plan for the “teenage behavior” sought, expected and programed by the world and it’s influences. Sisters, grow closer to your families as you define who you are as a daughter of God and gain the strength to stand alone, independent of anyone or thing. The woman you want to become needs to stand with family first and foremost.
    In this last light, Sarah, please make sure that the activities are worth the girl’s time. Entertainment is great and there is a very limited place for it. Wholesome activities and enjoyment can be found in activities that are full of meat. As a young woman I was often in the white water rapids of life without a second to spare. Fun activities did little more than make me tired, further behind and a little resentful. This brings me to ANASAZI.
    In about 8 weeks of camping and hiking with student body officers, basketball stars, all state volleyball players, Juliard Music School Schalarship hopefulls etc. i realized that I was working with the leaders. The youth trying to overcome drug addictions were the ones who came from stake president’s homes, they were the ones who’s mothers worried about them, they were the straight A students. They were the brightest, the best. They were the ones that came from good homes. They were the ones who did everything right for the wrong reason, until it broke them.
    As one 16 year old said, “the group that got me in trouble was the group that six months ago I thought didn’t have anything to say. They were boring. They were empty. But when I was too busy and my family was too busy running every direction, they were the ones I drifted to because it didn’t matter what I said.” When asked what she was going to do to make sur e that she didn’t fall into the same traps again she said that she would 1, make it a point to have time to ponder and pray alone daily, and 2. make sure her family did something together daily (note, my brother gets home at 7:00 pm daily, if that is when the YW activity starts, you have effectively made sure that girl does not have time with her family that day…) she had suggested eating dinner as a family to her parents.
    Finally, as a RS Pres. I realized that many of the young adults did not know the gospel. So often we scoff at the Catholics who are fifth generation and firm Catholic although they haven’t been to a mass in ten years. I often feel that because the church is so social, we make it to church five out of the seven days of the week but we know little more doctrine than do the above mentioned Catholics. Worse still, we don’t even manage to live “Christian” lives of service because we are too busy going to all of the church activities to notice the neighbor who isn’t a member who is in dire need of service.
    In bullet point:
    1. teen-age years are busy – probably the busiest in life. Make sure that any activity planned is worth the time you ask the girls to give
    2. This is the last chance to prepare. Testimonies have to be strong before the YW Medalion is worn or temple covenants are seriously threatened.
    3. Young Women are not too young for the gospel in it’s entirety. Do not sugar coat it. (My YW and YSA years are probably characterized most by being absolutly disgusted with leaders who would not give me anything but twinkies although they publicised a steak dinner. Give the youth steak. Satan is.)
    4. Pay attention to the little things. The role of leaders is not to give the youth worldly entertainment modified to meet minimal gospel standards, rather it is to teach the superior taste of gospel entertainment by the highest gospel standards.
    5. Lastly, heed the counsel of the last training broadcast. Often the girl who needs all of the activities etc. will be better off one on one with the leader than at a zillion activities that pull the girls who are on track into danger of being over programmed.
    6. Sorry, one more. Don’t teach the behavior, teach the principle and the girls will make the right choices when the situation requires a new behavior.

    (Modesty is not dresses with sleeves, modesty is a reverence for one’s body and and understanding of virtue. Valueing the young men who don’t whistle, and understanding that the dress that everyone looks at as sexy is what turns the good guys off and the bad guys to sex. If a girl wants to be more than a sex toy, she shouldn’t dress like one…blunt but often missed. hence the girl pregnant for the second time out of wedlock who couldn’t understand why the bishop was asking her to move apartments.)

    Sarah, you’ll do great in your calling. Sorry for the long rampage, I have evidently thought a lot about this topic. Thanks for the opportunity to vent a little. Take what the spirit whispers might be of use and trash the rest. Most of all, pray to know and have the courage to go against the grain as you follow the promptings of the spirit. The girls are daughters of Heavenly Father. He loves them and will guide and direct you in leading them if you will put your trust in Him and do as he directs no matter how crazy and unpopular it may seem.


  2. Chandra Says:

    You are so lucky to have this calling. I was that mia maid advisor for 4 years in my old ward and absolutely loved it! Those girls bring out the kid in you. I really think you will do a terrific job. I also remember the leaders I had and still look up to them as strong wemon in the gospel. I think that one of the big things you might find is dealing with girls who just dont come to the activities. And parents who dont make them go because they attend church every sunday or they are doing lessons or work. It’s the whole choosing better or best thing. Getting those girls to every activity is hard. I used to just tell them I will come and pick them up (that didn’t always work) but at least they knew you wanted them there. The best thing for any teen as you know is to love them and teach them the gospel in all it’s truth. Which brings me to another question concerning teachhing… were you released from teaching in relief society??? I really hope not.

  3. Chandra Says:

    wow sorry about all the misspelling. I guess I should have proof read.

  4. Melissa Mae Says:

    Well, I’m no expert. But I was a camp counselor for one summer up at Brighton LDS girls camp, and it was the most amazing summer of my life.
    The things I learned from those girls were:
    -The BEST thing you can do, is to be an example! I can’t begin to tell you how important this is. Those girls look up to you. You are a celebrity to them. Seriously. And they will copy everything you do. I felt the same way about my counselors when I was a camper there.
    -Have fun! I didn’t like leaders that just sat around and couldn’t joke and play with me. I’ve always been loud and obnoxious, and I loved people that were the same. While I was a counselor, I was obviously drawn more to the girls that were like me. And I noticed I’d forget about the shy girls. So I really had to put forth effort to get to know them and make them feel important. Make sure you make EVERYONE feel like they’re your favorite. 🙂
    -Pray pray pray. Read your scriptures. Do all those things that will invite the spirit to speak to you and inspire you.
    -The things I cared about when I was 13? Clothes, boys, friends, and my hobbies, like art and gymnastics. I loved talking to leaders about these things, and hearing their advice. And I especially loved the leaders that I could talk to and I felt like they were my friend, not an adult that was judging me, etc.
    Well, I think thats all I’ve got! Good luck, you will be great!

  5. Frany Says:

    well yw wow there wheresome bestyearsof my life i met everyone i no now there pretty much thats when i joined the church when iwas 14 years old wow time sure goes bye fast… erll do some activities that well i always loved the road shows and talent shows and dances and everyons talks make it laid backand comfortable n encourage everyone to join in i think youll do good you where a good yw lol good times we had then!@!!!

  6. Henrietta Says:

    Congratulations on your calling! I had that same calling before I moved to the Vancouver ward. It was such an awesome time. You don’t really know how much the girls look up to you and the respect they have for you and how much influence and inspiration, you can be to them. The young women are so full of life and energy and they really do want to feel like they belong somewhere. YM’s are so grown up they can talk easily about what is important to them in their lives. And yet, there is so much they need to learn and want to learn and will learn when they are being led by someone who is somewhat close to their age. Not some one, in their mind is “old” and not with the current times. I know these young women will be delighted to have you as a leader. You are young, hip, cool, you dress awesome, have a loving family, you’re creative, you own your own company, you are so personable and most importantly, you can feel the LOVE that comes from you! You are a wonderful role model!!

  7. Cassandra Says:

    I served in that postion a few years back. I read your email and I got all warm remembering the love that was shared in that place at that time.
    The thing that sticks out the most in my mind is the individual relationships that were formed with some of those young women. There were some girls that I understood and related to better than others and that was what I had to offer. It was brought up the other day in a meeting that I had given my beehives sketchbooks to draw in while I taught because it helped them to concentrate. Sevral of them are pursueing tht practice and I was pleased that I had made that little contibution.
    My favorite activity was a mock prom/manners dinner that I got to be in charge of. Our class shopped at DI for dresses and danced the night away after a lovely meal served by the bishopric.
    Fun times.

  8. Lauren F. Says:

    Just love them. That’s really all you need. It’s corny, but all the activities and lessons in the world won’t matter if you don’t love them.

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