Most of our youth are preparing for an upcoming music festival youth conference, so those kids (who will be 14 or older by the conference this summer) have singing practices for 2 mutual activities each month. Since these happen on our regular combined ym/yw or class activity nights, these either leave the younger beehives with nothing to do and/or leave the older yw (who choose not to attend youth conference) without an activity. So we’ve been planning special activities for these girls for the past month or so. This week we combined with some of the girls (in the same situation) from the neighboring ward and had a girls-night “GAL-entines Day party”
It happens to be Valentines Day this week, but you could do the same activity any time of year and call it something else :)
I told the girls that the point this activity was to have fun and celebrate Valentines Day without having to worry about boys or romance or any of that stuff :) We would just be celebrating our YW awesomeness and having a good time! We would also passing off a Personal Progress value experience, so they were asked to bring their books.
We started off with Personal Progress. I chose “Divine Nature Value Experience 1” which is: “What are some of the divine qualities of a daughter of God? Read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”; 2 Peter 1; Alma 7:23–24; and Doctrine and Covenants 121:45. In your own words, list the divine qualities discussed in your reading. Think about how you can discover and develop each of these qualities. Record your ideas in your journal”
We don’t do a LOT of Personal Progress Experiences together during Mutual (maybe 4 or 5 times a year), but when we do I try to have sort type of paper or substitute “journal” for each girl (because most Experiences require journal-writing, and they usually don’t have journals with them, even if I ask them to bring them). This way, they can ‘write in their journal” to pass off the Experience, then tape the page into their journal at home if they want.
I had picked up some memo pads in the Valentine section of Walmart (97 cents), so I planned to write the instructions on each page, but I needed to make about 20 and my hand was cramping, so I printed some instructions on printable stick-on address labels (that I had around) and attached them to the memo sheets (see photo example):
You could do this same type of thing with many of the Value Experiences that can be completed in one day. Many of the Value Experiences take longer than one night, so you have to really look for the ones that can be completed during Mutual (and be sure to follow the guidelines that specify that each girl completes her own Personal Progress Experiences & Projects). For example, in this Divine Nature Value Experience #1 that we used, they are to read certain scriptures, make a list, and write in their journal. Even though we did this together (at the same time) they each did their own. We even adapted this to make it possible for everyone (one girl has reading difficulties, so we had one leader in each group reading the scriptures aloud for the group, then everyone wrote their own lists and journal entry). What we need to avoid is doing the Experiences for them (ie, if I had read them the scriptures, printed out a pre-made list for them, and told them what to write in their journal, they wouldn’t have gotten anything out of the Experience)
This Personal Progress part of the activity only took about 10 minutes. I pointed out how quickly we were able to do it and reminded them that most Personal Progress experiences are just as easy to do (even the ones that take more time) – it just takes a little effort.
Our Laurel class president had found some cute ideas for food on Pinterest and we borrowed the ideas from these sources (click on the photos at the bottom of the post to see the original posts where we got the ideas with recipes, etc . Instead of just making the food for them, learning to make these treats was part of the activity. They were not hard to make, but it was a good chance to talk to the girls about some of the basics of cooking, oven safety, handwashing, etc.
I considered teaching them to make homemade pizza dough, but we were expecting a pretty large group, so I simplified. I tried to find pre-made pizza crust and didn’t have any luck, so we ended up using crescent-roll dough (I used the Pillsbury “big & flaky” variety, because I worried that my 3-inch heart cookie cutter would be too large for the regular size crescent dough pieces). There are 8 pieces of dough in a can and the 3-inch size heart cookie cutter worked perfect with 1 heart per piece of dough. (I know what you’re thinking, I could have probably pieced and pinched dough pieces together and gotten more pieces out of the dough, but I was going for easy this time!) :)
Everyone decorated their own pizzas. We had pizza sauce, mini pepperonis, and cheese. Cute! These are VERY SMALL pizzas (shown on tiny plates!), about 1/2 the size of a regular piece of pizza.
The YW leaders from the neighboring ward were in charge of the cupid floats and I was too distracted by drinking one to remember to take photos! They were really good!
We ended up with some leftover time, so we played “Whoonu” (a board game that I keep in the closet for occasions like this!). I like this game because everyone has fun, but nobody feels self-conscious – AND everyone learns something about the other players. I’m not sure if this game is still being made – I found some very expensive ones online, but it should be only about $20: