We just completed our local level Youth Conference for church (last year we had a stake youth conference which we didn’t have to do anything for but show up, here) and I am beyond excited that it’s behind us! You don’t realize how much goes into the planning and preparation for some of these events – it’s a good thing we don’t have to do this every year! Here’s a break down of how we did it.
Our theme was, “A day in the life of a Missionary” and we introduced our 30 young men and young women to the idea of missionary work. The conference took place at the church and went for a couple days. We had them Wednesday night for a few hours, Friday night, overnight and half the day on Saturday, with a follow up on Sunday. It was exhausting but gauging from the youth participation they loved it.
Wednesday night they reported to the church, gained a companion and learned some of the basics of missionary work and communication.
Friday we introduced them to etiquette and a dinner to practice their etiquete. We hosted a fear factor where they put their hand in a container with hissing cockroaches, held slimy worms, ate pigs feet, ate some slimy fish and other disgusting things they might encounter on a mission some day!
They rotated through nine stations in small groups (2-4 people) and “visited” 6 countries (Peru, India, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan and Ecuador) and learned three valuable skills (ironing, tie a tie, sewing a button). We asked returned missionaries from the ward to turn a classroom into the country they served in bringing in memorabilia they had, dressing up in typical dress for the country and any food they could share from the native land. It was awesome and each booth went above and beyond making sure the youth truly got a feel for the country.
We gave each of the youth a passport that they took to each booth and received a stamp for visiting the country, which became their dessert ticket at the end.
We had missionary relay races where they raced back and forth on plasma cars doing different tasks.
Friday night they stayed in member’s homes in companionships and followed missionary guidelines for a schedule the following morning. They awoke, made their own breakfast, exercised, studied and got ready for the day. Some of the youth found friends to practice teaching a discussion to and others went on the splits with the missionaries for the morning. They returned to the church for a cultural meal (panda express) and read letters from home.
We followed up on Sunday with a testimony meeting and invited parents to attend.
The whole thing was great. There were a lot of people dedicating a lot of time to make this happen and it paid off. The experience for the youth was valuable and the feedback we got was amazing (of course, that’s after they fought us for two months as we prepped them on the idea of a missionary conference!). But like I said before; so happy to have it behind us!