For decorations we used:
7 skinny 8″ clear glass vases, 7 single flowers, one for each Value color (we used silk, but real may also be used)thin ribbon in each Value Color, and a large bouqet of “wildflowers” in the 7 Value colors, nicely arranged. A large Vase for the bouquet.
~ We took bits of each colored ribbon and attached them to the upper part of each glass vase, one color per vase (I used double sided tape to secure them) We secured the stems with clear glass decorative stones to keep the blooms upright. We had arranged to have the program in the Chapel and so we sat the vases along the rim of the stand, 4 on one sidee of the podium, 3 on the other. We took long strands of each value color and wrapped them around the large vase w/ the bouquet (like a belt) the effect was lovely. We placed the bouquet on the podium base on the side with the 3 individual vases to balance out the display. On the other side of the podium we placed a framed YW photo of Christ sitting with 4 YW, all dressed in white robes. The effect was stunning. For the individual flowers we used magnolias for faith, cornflowers for DN, a full red rose for IW, a green tinted cala lily for Knowledge, lovely open-faced orange flower (similar in shape to the magnolias, I dont recall the name)for C&A, a pretty yellow flower (similar in shape to the cornflowers, i again dont recall the name) for GW and a lovely purple Easter lily for Integrity. Though, any type of flower in those colors will work.
We also printed out invitations with our theme, time place and required dress (sunday dress) and hand delivered one to the parents of each girl along with a verbal invitation. This seemed to work well.
Because our Annual Theme revolved around the birth of the Prophet Joseph, we decided to have an Evening of Excellence to Honor not only our Young Women and thier many talents, but to honor Joseph Smith as well. Many of our YW are musically talented, so we focused alot around these talents for the program part of the evening.
Our Theme was “Carlilse Ward Young Women in Excellence Celebrates the Birth of Joseph Smith with an Evening of Talent & Testimony. We also printed programs highlighting the YW who had been chosen to speak and preform.
We had 4 musical numbers interspersed with 7 testimonies and a Tribute to a graduated LAurel who had recieved her YW Award.
The testimonies were assigned to specific YW who spoke on how the Prophet Joseph was an example of that Value and how they had learned to integrate that value into thier lives by performing their Personal Progress Value experiences.(3 minutes each)
The musical numbers were songs based on the Prophet (The First Vision, We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet, and Praise to the Man) and a YW song performed acapella by one of our YW, “Walk Tall, You’re a Daughter of
At the end of the Program, The Mother of our Graduated Laurel, read a statement on behalf of her daughter that I had asked the Laurel to prepare (about 5 minutes).[She had already left for college the day before and we still wanted to honor her and her wonderful accomplishment. We also had a special display set apart for her in the YW room.] Her thoughts and comments added to the evening even though she was not able to be with us.
We closed with the testimony of the Laurel President and a few comments form our Bishop, then we adjourned to the YW room for Refreshments that teh YW had provided. The Beehives were asigned drinks, the MM were assigned Cheese/crackers/fruit & the Laurels provided “sweet Treats” while the Leaders took care of decorations and paper products.
While our girls and parents were talking they were also provided with the many displays the girls had brought in and set up earlier, so not only were their musical talents displayed, but their other creative and athletic achivements as well.
It was a very spiritual evening and extremely low stress. We kept the decorations simple, with a simple white plastic tablecloth for the food table, we were cleaned up in under 10 minutes. (The YM were kind enough to dispose of the trash for us.) And the biggest lesson the Leaders learned was that an Evening of Excellence doesnt need to be overly frilly or complicated to be effective. We were able to enjoy it as much as the girls did. :)
Happy Planning! ~ A. Wilt, *snip*, PA Stake