Coming up with ideas for events is easier than you think. You can start with the mutual theme for the year to spark some ideas. Then you can start brainstorming on general theme ideas like sports, medieval, etc. This is how the jungle theme came about for me. Another great idea is to use popular media elements – TV shows, movies, song titles, etc. Just put some gospel twists on it and watch it develop into a fun themed event! I’ve found that the girls really get excited and respond to these types of inclusions in planning things. For example, one year we did a popular movie theme for girl’s camp and everyone was so excited about it. As a leader, we were using the yearly theme of “Arise and Shine Forth” as our guiding post but we let the girls focus on the then popular Avenger movie for brainstorming. With a little guidance, absolutely anything can be taken in a spiritual direction.
New Beginnings, YWIE and Girl’s Camp Ideas
It’s A Jungle Out There
This was one of the most extensive and popular New Beginnings themes I’ve ever done. In short, we used the concept of jungle hazards, animals and survival tools to introduce the YW program and values. It was a huge success. We decorated one end of the cultural hall to look like a jungle. Leaders met the girls and their parents in the foyer and directed them to a meeting area for the “jeep ride” to the gym. They all took hold of a long rope and we led them through the hallway to the gym.
Leaders wore white shirts, safari hats and had Jungle Safari Staff Name Tags.
Our invitations incorporated animal crackers and the girls got a real kick out them:
Guests were given jungle map handouts as a program guide. On the map, we reviewed the JungleHazards. We spent time at each hazard discussing why it was so dangerous. The journey was all done with participants in their seats and me as the jungle guide leading them through a JungleOverview_Outline of jungle sounds and special effects. One hazard was insects and we had a few leaders standing at the back with handfuls of rice which they gently threw up in the air and around the audience when the sound of insects was played. Then we introduced the way we survive this jungle of life using the JungleCards of YW values. We gave the girls little safari bags (simply sewn jungle fabric, drawstring bags) with laminated copies of the hazards and values with accompanying items.
This was a theme from a popular movie at the time. We turned it into a New Beginnings program (Mission Possible ,Mission Possible Compiled) by making it an evening of gathering mission information (colored file folders and handouts for each value –Value Pages) and learning about new agents (new beehives –Beehive Name Tags).
Personal Progress Luau
In an effort to encourage our girls to work on their Personal Progress, we invited them to a special Luau. The invitation was for any girl who completed one experience or project during the summer. Several Sundays during the summer we gave the themed handouts to remind them.
The Luau consisted of a dinner and outdoor games of limbo and swimming volleyball. Each girl also received a bracelet for her completed value. The girls really loved it and worked hard.
One year we had our YWIE program through a Sacrament meeting. We coordinated with our bishop and stake leaders to provide the meeting program of talks and music. The program cover had artwork drawn by one of the girls for one of her projects. The program incorporated girls sharing their testimonies and experiences working on Personal Progress that year. Each young woman and her family received a special invitation to the program as well.
Excellence Buzz Created just for beehives when they are not able to attend a youth conference, this idea is adaptable to any event or activity.
Latter Day Avengers
This theme was one of the most popular and dearly loved by our girls as it was their idea. The leaders took the concept of the popular movie and put a gospel twist on it. The quote we used as the basis can be found on the T-Shirt IronOn file below. We pushed the positive qualities of the heroes and compared them to spiritual qualities the girls should strive to develop, also the theme of learning to support one another and be unified. The following file link has all the helpful information for planning a ward girl’s camp including schedules, meal preparations, grocery lists, etc. One of the first crafts was to create a duct tape purse – these were then put up on a board and used as secret sister collection boxes. It was a great hit!
These files were used to have the girls and leaders leave little notes on each other’s pillows. The concept was to catch each other doing great things and pointing them out.
A pioneer theme that had each ward camp take on a company name. One of the most successful things about this year of camp was having each girl give a compliment or positive thought to each other every day at camp. We made a little mail box for each of the girls to deliver their simple messages each day. It was a simple piece of material with levi pockets – one for each girl. We also had the Jr. Leaders work on some journal and scrapbook pages for the girls to fill out.
This theme was all nautical and the girls really enjoyed it.
We created pocket sized memory books for our girls:
I’ve been asked to direct two ward roadshows for youth in the past. The first year we were instructed to involve the youth in a production that was to be more like a musical. I ran with the idea of a fairy tale and simple tunes that would be easily recognized with new lyrics:
The second time we were given complete latitude to come up with a show based on a theme. I did a reader’s theatre style show to the song, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?”
This was a game I created for a combined YM/YW activity. It surrounded the theme of language from For the Strength of Youth booklet.
This was a class activity generated to help identify areas the girls already possessed knowledge in. It was also a great sounding board for generating future class activities to help acquire knowledge in other areas. The concept was simple – have each girl identify their comfort level with the skills listed on the checklist. We used the traffic light colors to mark them: green meant super confident, yellow was okay with some help or supervision, red was no idea.
A game for the youth centered around For the Strength of Youth topics.
A simple activity of putting a years worth of questions to answer into a jar. You pick one out each day to encourage writing in your journal.
An ever popular night on taking care of ourselves. The notes should be helpful for anyone who is not a cosmetologist as they were compiled by me and I am one.
Our version of this fun combined activity.
A special way to remember widows on valentine’s day and a great activity for any group.
Easter Egg Decorating
Looking for ideas on a combined youth activity? This was a real hit for us.