Each young woman is a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves her. For years, Personal Progress has been blessing young women by assisting them to reach their divine potential. It encourages them to make wise decisions, strengthen their homes and families, and develops values that will lead them to Christ and prepare them to become righteous, temple-worthy women. Now, Personal Progress has been revised to make it even more helpful.
According to the Young Women general presidency, the new Personal Progress will keep the essential parts of the existing program such as the theme, the seven values, and the emphasis on personal worthiness. But the Value Experiences and Projects, once restricted to certain age groups, are no longer organized in that same way. In addition, young women may now progress through Personal Progress more quickly.
“The biggest difference that girls will notice,” says Sister Margaret Nadauld, Young Women general president, “is that they will do six Value Experiences in each one of the seven values. Then there will be a project associated with each value. And they will be encouraged to go at their own pace.”
“In the past,” says Sister Sharon G. Larsen, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, “Beehives were really excited about being involved in Personal Progress, then they would have to stop until they were second-year Beehives or until they became Mia Maids to move on. With this change, girls can receive their Young Womanhood medallion when they are 15 or 16, however fast they choose to complete the requirements.”
The new books will be smaller so they are more easily carried with scriptures. Also, parents are asked to participate by understanding what experiences their daughter has chosen to complete and encouraging or helping her to accomplish them. Both parents and Young Women leaders may sign off on a girl’s progress. As the Personal Progress changes are in transition, Laurels can choose to complete the old program. Mia Maids and Beehives, however, will be asked to transfer the experiences they have completed in the old book to the new.
Essentially, Personal Progress has been simplified. Girls are asked to complete six Value Experiences in each value. Girls should complete the first three experiences suggested for each value, and they may choose three additional experiences, two of which they can design. After she has completed the six experiences, a girl can select and plan a 10-hour Value Project for that particular value. One section of the book has suggestions for projects.
“We remind girls that the Value Projects can be part of the good things they are already doing in their lives,” says Sister Nadauld. “So if you are doing good things in seminary or at school, the projects can be part of that as long as they have been approved before you begin.”
The age-group jewelry will be eliminated, with a single Young Womanhood medallion serving as the symbol of completion. The new medallion, available in gold or silver, will have the temple spires on it. Sister Nadauld says, “It will signify what we are trying to accomplish in Young Women, for girls to be prepared to make and keep sacred temple covenants.”
“And girls will have the opportunity to wear the medallion while they are still in Young Women,” says Sister Larsen.
As young women complete Personal Progress before their years in Young Women are through, what will they do? Sister Nadauld explains the options. “We have several suggestions. One is to go back and complete the Value Experiences they didn’t do. Another is to compile their personal history. Yet another is to read the Book of Mormon. We also encourage the young women, under the direction of their Young Women leaders, to mentor younger girls, giving them encouragement and help.”
“We’ve asked some Young Women to try this out,” says Sister Carol B. Thomas, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. “And they were thrilled with the changes. The girls couldn’t believe how exciting it could be when 17-year-olds help the 12-year-olds. It’s quite an unselfish concept. They were also really excited about moving at their own pace.”
Sister Nadauld says, “We hope these changes in Personal Progress will help encourage girls to choose goals that will help them strengthen their homes and families, cultivate feminine virtues, grow spiritually, and reach their divine potential.
“That’s a pretty tall order, isn’t it? But young women are quite remarkable. We love to watch their great accomplishments!”
Young women who earn their Young Womanhood Recognition Award will be better prepared to serve in the Relief Society. It will help them prepare for their future roles as a faithful woman, wife, mother, and leader in God’s kingdom.
—Elder M. Russell Ballard
Each Sunday, young women stand and say together the theme that helps each girl understand her identity, purpose, and destiny as a daughter of God. Part of that eternal purpose is to learn how to be part of a righteous, loving home, as a daughter and someday as a wife and mother. For this reason, the phrase, “strengthen home and family” has been added to the Young Women theme.
We hope that each young woman will want to bless her family through her good choices and by living gospel principles.
The theme will now read:
We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women Values, which are—FaithDivine NatureIndividual WorthKnowledgeChoice and AccountabilityGood Works andIntegrityWe believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.—Young Women general presidency