Trish writes, "Every year, in January, the bishopric, YM/YW presidencies, and youth meet on a Saturday early in the month to plan combined YM/YW activities for the whole year. Because our bishopric was new, they turned to the new Handbook 2 under Activities 13 (pg. 102) it tells the purposes of Church Activities. They divided a chalkboard into eight columns, one for each of the categories: service, talents/cultural arts, fitness, education/vocational, church holidays, leadership, self-reliance, missionary work. (If you read the handbook, you can see that some of these categories can switch over into a different focus like family history work or temple work.)

The youth sat in classes and were given post-it notes to write their suggestion, one per post-it note. They could then put their activity idea in the column that best described it. For example, "Career Night" went under education/vocational. After each class took turns posting and the brainstorming was dying down, the bishopric went through and took down any post-it that was not appropriate, relevant, or repetitive. Next, the youth were given dot stickers (the kind you use to post prices on garage sale items). I can't remember how many they were given... maybe eight? They were to put a dot on the post-it of the activity they were most interested in doing. Once that frenzy died down, the leaders went through and kept only the top 14 activities (one for each month and two back-ups). The youth were then allowed to talk and eat the refreshments while the class presidencies took turns picking the activities they wanted to be in charge of (two each per class). The leaders then talked about when activity should be done (like a Boating Activity would need to be done in June, July or August but should not conflict with Scout Camp). The new activities were then made up into a sheet that was distributed among the leaders and bishopric. I also put the activities on the ward calendar at lds.org.

Utilizing the post-its and dots made the meeting go by very quickly. Having the categories gave inspiration on what could be done while also keeping us within the guidelines that our inspired leaders have for us. For example, the bishop could not see the purpose of having a Harry Potter Party, so the post-it was taken down without any fanfare. We didn't sit and argue about whether or not it could be included. Favorite activities from the year before were brought back by popular demand and everyone was involved in the planning.

The leaders were given post-its and dots as well, so they could be the means of furthering inspiration and brainstorming."

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