“When you reach for the stars you may not get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”—Anonymous
There is a cure for the summertime blues—get a job! Being “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27) beats hanging around in the heat and sipping soda any day. If most of the good jobs in your area are already taken, or if you’re too young for a full-time position, be enterprising—come up with a few of your own. Here are some ideas. Be aware that some jobs may require certification or liability insurance. Check with your parents.
Interesting errands. People are incredibly busy these days—especially working moms. Many would love to be able to call someone to pick up a few things for them at the store, deliver their dry cleaning, drop off gifts, etc. Make a list of the types of errands you can do, and distribute it in your neighborhood. Make sure your phone number is listed, and encourage your clients to call the night before so you can arrange your route geographically.
Clowning around. Kids’ birthday parties can usually use something unique, and you’d be surprised at the number of parents who would pay to have you provide it. Be a clown, with pockets full of treats, or try doing magic tricks. You can charge by the party or by the hour. Fliers or ads in the newspaper will help you get the word out.
Campcrafting. Chances are the small children in your neighborhood or ward don’t have much to do in the summer. Try organizing a day camp, even if it’s only two days a week. Arrange fun learning activities, games, exercise, and spiritual lessons for the kids. You and the kids will grow in all sorts of ways.
House-sitting. Your neighbors will probably be on vacation sometime during the summer months. Try to be the dependable kind of person they would feel comfortable hiring to get their mail and care for their yards, pets, or pools while they’re gone. Some people might want to have you turn their lights on and off at different times.
Recycling. If you don’t have curbside recycling in your area, try starting it on your own. Give your neighbors bins or boxes for aluminum cans, newspapers, etc., and have a specific pickup day. They’ll feel good about doing their share for the environment, and you can profit by collecting the reclamation money. Everybody wins.
Tending. It may sound trite, but those who do a truly professional job are few, far between, and well paid. Take CPR and first-aid classes, and make up a flier that lets people know you’re really qualified. Make an effort to really interact with the children you’re tending—play with them and teach them. You’ll have so many jobs you might have to hire an equally qualified assistant. Boys, this field is not closed to you and can be excellent preparation for your life ahead.
Lessons. What are you skilled in? There are people out there who would be happy to have someone teach them art, music, photography, equestrian skills, handicrafts, sewing, swimming, football—you name it. Establish yourself as a good, patient, skilled teacher, and you can begin a booming business that can last all year.
Bicycle care. Use your experience fixing your own tires to fix your neighbors’. Make house calls for regular maintenance on bicycles and for fixing flats or anything else. Many people’s bikes have been sitting around all winter and aren’t in great riding condition when warm weather hits. They’d much rather have you come to their house than go to the hassle of taking their bike to the shop.
Pet care. There are many busy people out there who love their pets but feel guilty about not having the time to walk them, brush them, or play with them. Offer your services, and you’ll make some wonderful friendships—the four-footed and two-footed kinds. It will then be a natural for them to hire you to take care of their pets when they go on vacation.
By the way, all of these activities can also be offered free of charge as a way of giving service to others, saying thank you, or gaining practical experience for future jobs.
It doesn’t take money, it doesn’t take luxurious surroundings—all it takes is one girl with a dream, and a lot of hard work. That’s how Leslie King, a Laurel in the Pordenone Branch, Venice Italy Stake, pulled together the first stakewide Young Women activity in the area—a four-day Young Women conference.
Leslie, whose branch is 60 percent Italian and 40 percent American service members, got a lot of help from the other girls and leaders in the stake. Together they planned the activity which involved them in projects that showed them they depend on each other and on the Lord. They used facilities and sites in close proximity to their meetinghouse.
Some people never realize just how important friendshipping can be, but Ray Ebler of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, does. “The main contribution to my testimony was the love that radiated from each member,” he says.
Ray started attending with his girlfriend and her family. He enjoyed church, but he says, “It was only when she went away to school that I realized how important the Church and the people in it were to me. I was touched by the Spirit and gained a testimony.”
Ray started attending with his girlfriend and her family. He enjoyed church, but he says, “It was only when she went away to school that I realized how important the Church and the people in it were to me.”
Ray was taught the discussions and was baptized on July 4, 1991. He wants to express his gratitude to the family that helped him, the ward members, and everyone else involved.
What an opportunity! Tiffany Stoker of the Clovis Fifth Ward, Fresno California North Stake, has been reigning as America’s Young Woman of the Year, and has been using that position to promote family values and high moral standards.
Everyone who comes in contact with Tiffany, who first won the title of California’s Young Woman of the Year, knows she’s LDS. She’s famous for being an avid journal keeper and for speaking out against drug and alcohol abuse and premarital sex every chance she gets. She’s doing her best to bring morality back into vogue by speaking about it to teenagers all over the country. “What we need is a chastity revolution,” she says.
Tiffany, a seminary graduate, is attending BYU. She wants to go on to study law at Stanford.
At 13, James Hail, a Boy Scout and member of the Biloxi Ward, Gulfport Mississippi Stake, was responsible for saving the lives of family and friends. His friend Catherine Cook, a Beehive, was also instrumental in the efforts.
James and Catherine’s families were swimming at the beach one day when trouble came up. James’s little sister Emily was being carried out to sea on a raft that was rapidly deflating, and some of the adults in the party got caught in a rip tide in their efforts to save her.
James saw what was going on, directed Catherine to take a lifesaving raft out to the adults, then went out for Emily himself. It wasn’t easy, but everyone finally made it back to the beach safe and sound. James says his Scouting experience helped him stay cool in the very dangerous situation.
Youth from the Castro Valley Second Ward, San Leandro California Stake, were so inspired by the New Era article “Yagottawanna” (Feb. ‘92), that they decided to build a youth conference around it. It was a day-long affair, with speakers in members’ houses talking about each of the three topics: following through, choices, and avoiding pitfalls. The youth walked from house to house where the presentations were given.
At the end there was a barbecue and volleyball game, and each person received a T-shirt with the theme printed on it. They say they love wearing them, and the chance to explain to curious onlookers what “Yagottawanna” means.
Here’s the story of a lovely family. She had six children; he had five. They successfully blended their families, and ended up with six of the eight sisters, plus mom, together at girls’ camp. Shown are: (top, l–r) Crysta Hughes, 15; Tiffany Smith, 15; Minon Smith, mom; Kenice Hughes, 17; Kaysha Hughes, 13. (bottom, l–r) Heather Smith, 16; Hollie Hughes, 16. They live in Orem, Utah.
It may sound a little unusual, but the youth of the Spokane 19th Ward, Washington North Stake, recently adopted a room—a room at a local alcohol-free, drug-free transitional residence for people recovering from substance dependence.
The “Super-Service Project” included raising money to be able to clean, paint, carpet, rewire, hang drapes, furnish, and provide many other services for one room in Spokane’s 100-year-old Jefferson Center. The building is entirely dependent on volunteers to prepare its rooms for habitation by the homeless. According to many of the youth involved, the four-month service project was a great experience but a little too short. After a little taste of service, they’re eager for the next course.