New Beginnings kicks off the Young Women program for the next year. It’s a fun event that is planned by young women class presidencies. It is intended to inspire young women and their families about the importance and value of participating in personal progress. New Beginnings introduces upcoming young women to the three young women classes (Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel), plus the class statements, logo, motto, and purpose of the young women program.
This event will contain planning information that will help families calendar for the upcoming year. You might hear girls camp dates, young women in excellence dates, or other major events.
New Beginnings is a welcome and review of the purpose of Young Women, with the intent of inspiring families to participate.
Our unit doesn’t have any girls advancing from Primary to Young Women this year. Do we need to hold New Beginnings?
Yes! New Beginnings is about so much more than just welcoming upcoming Primary girls! New Beginnings is an event that
- gives class presidencies the chance to plan a major activity
- informs parents learn about major events during the upcoming year
- welcomes new converts and move-ins
- encourages parents and young women to be involved with Personal Progress
- teaches about the Young Women values, theme, logo, motto, class symbols, and class purpose statements
- recognizes young women for their accomplishments in personal progress
- provides priesthood and young women leaders a chance to show love for each young woman
New Beginnings is one of the three required annual Young Women events (New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence, and Standards Night) Girls camp is an “encouraged” event. Youth Conference is a combined YW/YM annual event planned on the ward or stake level.
Choosing a date for New Beginnings
New Beginnings can be planned either at the beginning of a school year or at the beginning of a calendar year. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I’m going to list a few here you might not have thought about before:
New Beginnings at the beginning of the school year
One of the purposes of New Beginnings is to welcome new members. In our unit we get a lot of military and government workers moving in and out each summer. Holding NB at the beginning of the school year (end of the summer in the United States) makes a lot of sense to fulfill that purpose.
It isn’t required to introduce the new mutual theme at New Beginnings, but many units do. The new mutual theme is released at the beginning of August, so you could hold a combined YM/YW summer activity to wrap up your themed activities during the year and start off a new theme at the beginning of the school year.
As young women advance grades in school, it makes sense that you may hold New Beginnings at the same time to welcome new young women who will be coming up during the school year. One problem we had at last year’s New Beginnings is that we announced our girls camp plans. Several of the 11 year-old girls were disappointed to find out they could not attend the camp we had discussed in front of them because their birthdays were too late in the year. If you announced camp information only to girls turning 12 by the end of the summer, you could avoid that potential disappointment.
Since class presidencies should plan New Beginnings, holding that event at the end of the summer/beginning of the school year gives you time to organize without the complication of school classes and extracurricular activities.
Disadvantages – the mutual theme is not released until August, so if you use it to plan New Beginnings and your school year begins in early August, you may be rushed. There will be no official resources posted online during August and September from the Church. The theme probably is intended to go with the calendar year, so trying to use it in August or September may be awkward. Primary classes change at the beginning of each year, and you will end up inviting only part of Primary classes. This may be confusing for both adults and children.
New Beginnings at the beginning of the calendar year
In most cultures, the beginning of the calendar year is a time of renewal and setting goals for the upcoming year. It’s a natural time to invite families to make personal progress a part of their goals.
The Church does a terrible job getting information and resources out for the new mutual theme before the end of the calendar year. There have been times it came out after the calendar year began. If you wait to hold New Beginnings, you can use the mutual theme as your event theme and the church’s resources. Many other websites, like this one, post mutual theme ideas toward the end of the year that can make planning very easy.
Disadvantages – It’s often difficult for busy mothers and students to plan a big activity right after the October-November-December holiday season. Depending on when you hold Young Women in Excellence, you may end up with two activities very close together. In this area, uncertain weather in January means we often cancel activities, and New Beginnings often gets pushed off until February.
Do we invite young men to New Beginnings?
Young men are not included in the list of people invited to New Beginnings in the handbook.
How do I choose a theme for New Beginnings?
It’s not necessary to choose a theme for New Beginnings, since the purposes are so clearly laid out, but many do. Class presidencies plan New Beginnings program, so in our unit, we read the instructions from the handbook about New Beginnings and choose a theme afterward.
In our unit we usually end up using the mutual theme to plan New Beginnings. According to the mutual theme instructions, “the theme can be used to enrich Mutual opening exercises, as a topic for sacrament meeting talks given by youth, and to provide focus for youth activities—including camps, youth conferences, and devotionals”.
What are the class purpose statement and class symbol of which you speak?
How do we present the class purpose statements and class symbols?
Class presidencies plan the New Beginnings program, but there’s no other instruction in the handbook. Be creative!
Who plans New Beginnings?
Unlike YWIE, New Beginnings is planned by class presidencies under the direction of young women leaders. New Beginnings is the time for young women to practice planning major activities, and to have a role in orienting and educating their parents and advancing Primary girls about the Young Women program.
New Beginnings includes a recognition of girls’ achievements in Personal Progress. Do we present personal progress ribbons and medallions at NB?
“When a young woman completes the experiences and projects for each value, she receives an emblem and the scripture ribbon associated with that value. She places the emblem on the Personal Progress Value Achievement page of her book. She uses the ribbon as a bookmark in her scriptures. This recognition of her progress can be awarded in a Young Women meeting. Annually, at Young Women in Excellence, young women should be recognized for their accomplishments.” (Personal Progress manual, page 90)
“The bishop and his counselors recognize each young woman in sacrament meeting … when she receives the Young Womanhood Recognition. ” (CHI 2, 10.3.1)
When young women earn medallions, emblems, and ribbons, young women leaders ensure those awards are received as soon as possible.
Recognition, not presentation, occurs at New Beginnings.
Changes to New Beginnings
There have been some specific changes to New Beginnings in the new handbook. Here are some that I feel important:
Class presidencies plan the [new beginnings] program under the direction of the Young Women presidency.
The Young Women presidency may ask specialists to help (for example, to direct a choir or instrumental group, rehearse speakers, or direct a skit).
A member of the Laurel class presidency may conduct. (Church Handbook of Instructions 18.8.3)
New Beginnings Activity Ideas
Browse my collection of << New Beginnings Activity Ideas >> here.