by LaRayne Sargent Miller
Why limit yourself to one other person? Try going out with lots of people at the same time. That’s the glory of a “group date.” Here are some ideas to help you jump right in.
Why Go in Groups?
Group dating is fun! It will help you learn valuable social skills that are so very necessary in life—things like how to carry on a conversation, how to listen, how to strengthen friendships, how to make introductions, and how to help others feel at ease. Those skills won’t hurt you when you go out as a couple later on. And group dates give you a great opportunity to get to know others in a more casual setting. In most European countries, group dates are the only way to go until you’re very serious. “The more, the merrier” definitely applies.
Getting Great Groups
If the group activity is going to be fun, you need to create a good group—people who will enjoy and uplift each other and who uphold gospel standards. How do you create a circle of friends like this?
Don’t be exclusive. Cliques are limiting, while an open circle of friends offers more variety and fewer hurt feelings.
Be a friend who builds up and never tears down.
Be positive and friendly. A cheerful person can set the mood for an activity.
Be creative. Come up with fun new things to do.
Be considerate of what other people want to do. Sometimes you need to go with the flow, if it doesn’t compromise your standards. Respect other people’s ideas.
Try to create a cooperative atmosphere. Be supportive.
Initiate! Don’t wait for someone else to get something going—do it yourself.
Jump to It
Now you’ve got the social skills down, what are you going to do when you and your friends get together? Try some of these ideas. Then do some brainstorming of your own.
Play childhood games at a park or in your yard, like hide-and-seek, water fights, sardines, field hockey, tag, Red Rover, steal-the-flag, kick-the-can, etc.
Have a sports tournament—basketball, football, soccer, rugby, etc. Add crazy rules or handicaps to even out the competition. Add music and food if you feel like it.
Have a lip sync party or contest.
Invite friends over to play their favorite board games.
Go to school-sponsored activities or games in a group. Show support of your home team with school-colored clothes.
Go hiking. Learn the names of the plants and wildlife you see.
Buy a large block of ice, take it to a park with lots of hills, sit on the ice, and slide.
Share a giant banana split at an ice cream parlor.
Make a scrumptious meal and deliver it to someone who needs cheering up.
Go on a long bike ride to a specific destination and take along a picnic.
Find a large, open field or building, and throw a simple dance with a battery-operated boom box providing the music. Don’t forget to get permission from the owners of the property.
Pretend to be tourists in your own city. Take a foot or bus tour of the monuments, museums, memorials, etc. Get brochures from your local travel council. Don’t forget your cameras.
Do the photography thing. Have a photo scavenger hunt, or see who can be the most creative with one roll of film. Find out who can get the most interesting shot of the same subject.
Go roller skating through a park, on paths along the beach, or around your own neighborhood.
Have snow sculpture contests.
Plant a garden for someone. Make sure it’s okay with them first.
One Boy Scout Court of Honor singled out 12 boys in the Moses Lake Fourth Ward, Moses Lake Washington Stake, for Eagle Scout Awards. The boys were: (front row, l-r), Roger Anderson, Haven Baker, Ryan Earl, Mark Jorgensen, and Daryl Anderson. Back row, Ryan Halpin, Whitney Baker, Mark Walpole, Chad Walters, Keith Kofoed. Not pictured are Ehren Pofahl and Craig Anderson.
We get many letters about athletes who clean up the courts or the fields but not many about athletes who clean up the team’s language. Andy Fuhriman was chosen basketball MVP and All-Star, not only for the baskets he made, but for the way he influenced the team. He even helped the coach stop swearing.
Andy made the sacrifice of turning down a chance to play in an AAU tournament because it was held on Sunday. He’d rather be in his priests quorum in the Sandpoint Ward, Sandpoint Idaho Stake. His other interests are painting and studying, as demonstrated by his high grades.
Group dating, which would seem strange to most young people in Britain, is increasingly popular among LDS youth.
“Here, when people say, ‘Do you want to go out?’ it’s much more of a commitment, a regular thing with the same person,” says Camilla Bigwood, 16, of the East Grinstead Ward, Crawley England Stake. “You’re better off if you just develop good friendships.”
“People outside the Church get too serious too soon,” says Miriam Best, 18, from the Romford Ward, Romford England Stake.
“I think when you’re 16–18, group dating is the best idea,” says Richard Hastings, 14, also from Romford. Although he won’t be dating until he turns 16, he offers this advice: “Don’t pair up boy-girl, boy-girl. Make it just a group of people having fun. Besides, a boy at that age should be preparing for a mission. Serious dating should be left off until after that.”
The community of Raleigh, North Carolina, likes what the LDS kids do so much that they’ve started counting on them every year to help sponsor their Special Olympic soccer games.
The LDS youth coach the teams, work as linesmen, and run errands. They also enthusiastically cheer the competitors on to do their best, which is one of the most important contributions of all.
After this year’s competition, the youth hosted an awards banquet and dance in a brightly decorated recreation building for the 375 athletes, volunteers, and families. It was everyone’s favorite part.
Altogether this year, 65 youth volunteered more than 500 hours of service.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Kent of the Plymouth Ward, Devon, England, could preach the gospel all over Europe, and has had the opportunity, since her mastery of French, German, and English recently took her to a European conference in Wurzburg, Germany.
“I enjoyed ten days there and spoke all three languages. Next year the same students will be meeting at Plymouth, and it will be my responsibility to help organize the conference,” she said.
In addition to her love of language, Rachel is heading for a career teaching young children. She is her ward’s music director, Laurel class secretary, and attends seminary, which she loves.
Would you believe there’s a high school in California where only about 1 percent of the student body is LDS, but where 100 percent of the student-body presidency is Mormon?
John F. Kennedy High elected Jeff Brown president, David Bourne vice-president, Jennifer Newns secretary, and Sumi Duran treasurer. They’re all members of the Los Angeles California Granada Hills Stake. Both boys are active in Scouting and varsity sports. The girls are on schedule to receive their Young Women Recognition medallions.
Four other LDS students are on the student council as well, and they all do missionary work. Their influence has helped several other students join the Church.
Newspaper columnist “Dear Abby” was taking a poll on television obscenity, so the Young Women in the Fullerton Third Ward, Fullerton California Stake, decided to use an activity night to write responses. They thought it would be a good way to “stand for truth and righteousness.” Here are samplings of some of their letters.
“I am very often shocked and annoyed by the things that I see and hear on T.V. There are more important things to cover than sex and profanity.”—Katie Dickerson, 16
“I am an average 15-year-old girl from California, and I am entirely fed up with the trash shown on T.V. … The networks seem to think than an absence of morals is what the mainstream public accepts. They couldn’t be more wrong. I am saddened because I think acting and performing can be beautiful and artistic. Profanity, nudity, and suggestiveness cheapen what could be something beautiful.”—Adrienne, Upset in California
“I am sick and tired of flipping through the channels and finding nothing but obscenity or bad language. As a regular 14-year-old, I think television and the other media should be entertaining, not offensive. I have a hard time finding good, clean entertainment on T.V.”—Angry in CA
“I am very offended by most of the shows on television. I would appreciate it if I could turn on the T.V. and not have to worry about the influence it might have on me.”—Alicia Vreeken, 12