Activity Day Ideas Introduction
My current calling is the Activity Day leader for my ward, and the ward we share a building with (there aren’t a lot of kids in our area so there is a total of 8 Activity Day girls between the two wards). I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from the parents, the other leaders and the girls themselves even. Since I seem to be doing something right I thought it might be helpful to share what we’ve been doing. So for as long as I have this calling I will post summaries of our activities.
Since this is an introductory post I’ll take the chance to bloviate about things I think are important. I think that kids (all people, really) benefit from doing worthwhile things that are hard. A healthy sense of accomplishment is something that is heartening and sustaining during low points in our lives. It helps us to define ourselves, and stand up for our standards when we are challenged. I think it is part of my job to give the girls in my group opportunities to gain that sense of accomplishment. I personally am inclined to give people credit for just trying- so when we are, say, memorizing the articles of faith, I have to remind myself that the sense of accomplishment they will get from actually doing the work is worth me being the bad guy and not bending the rules.
I also put a high priority on having fun. No one is going to come to the activities if it is all work and no play. Early on I sat down with the girls and said, “Yes a lot of this stuff is boring but if you guys buckle down and do the work then I will do my best to make sure that we do things that are fun too.”
Also, I had (have?) a lot of angst about how the youth programs were run while I was going through them. The boys activities always seemed so cooler and more fun, and they seemed to get a lot more attention for what they did. I personally would have been happy being in the boys program because I was a bit of a tomboy. As an adult I see that simply mimicking the boys program isn’t the way to correct that disparity as there are plenty of girls who would dislike doing exactly what the boys did. What all the girls would benefit from is having a program that represents a comparable investment of time energy and resources. So I have a personal goal to make sure that none of my girls have any reason to envy the boys.
The program I inherited was kind of mess. I had moved into the ward a week before I was called. The previous leader had rather suddenly moved out of the ward. The current primary president was MIA because she just had a baby, and then she moved out of ward herself two weeks later. I was handed three binders and two tote bags worth of paperwork but there wasn’t any real record keeping going on. So I pretty much started from scratch. I finally settled on this routine: We meet every other week, at my house for an hour in the evening. We sing a song, say a prayer, I take attendance, we recite an Article of Faith (they get a change to pass it off if they’re ready), and then we do the activity.
For the very first activity my only goal was to put names to faces, and get to know them a bit. I got a $4 dollar bottle of sparkling lemonade and let them drink it out of fancy stemware, and that was the whole activity. The fancy cups served as portion control, so the one bottle lasted about 40 minutes. I asked a few questions here and there, but otherwise I let them talk to each other while I listened. I learned a ton just by eavesdropping on them. They had a great time, thought I was super cool, and were excited to come for the next activity.
If you have activity ideas that you want to share feel free to email them to me at Starfoxy7@gmail.com.