Sunday evening we held our stake Young Women in Excellence. Since our stake is small with five wards and two branches Young Women in Excellence is held on a stake level every other year. This is the chance for the young women to show something they have been working on in their personal progress books. We sent out personal invitations to the young women, their families, and the young women leaders.
The theme we chose is “We Can Change the World.” One of my counselor’s niece created the artwork for our invitations and signs. Aren’t they just darling? You can find them on her etsy shop here. Sunday after church one of my counselors and our secretary came (both live out of town) and we set up the cultural hall for the displays. It turned out fabulous!
The young women came early to set up their displays before the program. For the program we paired a woman from the scriptures with each Young Women value as follows:
Faith – Nephi’s Wife
Divine Nature – Anna
Individual Worth – Deborah
Knowledge – Huldah
Choice & Accountability – Mothers of the Stripling Warriors
Good Works – Emma Smith
Integrity – Ruth
Virtue – Daughters of Onitah
Each book of scripture is covered – The Old and New Testaments (Anna, Deborah, Huldah and Ruth), The Book of Mormon (Nephi’s Wife and the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors), The Doctrine & Covenants (Emma Smith), and The Pearl of Great Price (Daughters of Onitah). We asked one young woman from each unit in our stake (one ward asked two) to speak. They were given a value and the scripture references and quotes from General Conference talks or church magazine articles that talked about that particular woman in the scriptures. My other counselor was in China visiting her son. Before she left she gathered all that information for the young women. We asked the young women to tell us the story of the woman in the scriptures and how she exemplified that particular value and how her example helps us today. The talks only needed to be 3-5 minutes long. Each young woman did a phenomenal job!
Four young women spoke and then we had a musical number by two young women who sang “Women of Faith” that went along perfectly with our theme. Then the last four young women spoke. After they spoke I also gave a short talk based off of Sister Linda K. Burton’s General Conference talk “Certain Women”. I used a modern day example of a special woman who used the experiences and scriptures listed in the personal progress book to help her work through her trials.
After the program, which was held in the chapel, we all went into the cultural hall to look at the displays. Our young women are so diverse! There were displays ranging from dirt bike riding to cooking to Japanese style anime digital art to musical instruments to calligraphy to cross country running and more.
One of my favorite displays was our world map filled with hearts showing where the women in our stake have served missions. We wanted the girls to see that even though we are from small town USA our influence is felt all over the world.
We also had a photo booth where each young woman had their picture taken with a hand written sign telling one way they thought of that they could change the world. These will be printed and sent back as thank you postcards to each young woman. Hopefully it will also be a reminder for them to keep that goal.
We had twice as many people as we planned for (which is always a good thing!) so our cake had to be cut into small pieces. This is my first time working with fondant but I was pretty pleased with how the cake turned out. It was such a wonderful evening!
I am so grateful for the Young Women Personal Progress program. It is how I gained my own testimony of Jesus Christ. I was working on one of the faith experiences where I had to memorize a hymn and chose to memorize “I Stand All Amazed.” As part of the experience I was also supposed to read the scriptures listed under the hymn in the hymnbook. I read and studied those scriptures which lead to more reading and more studying. I know Christ lives and loves us individually.