Double Duty

By Arianne Baadsgaard

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Earning your Young Womanhood Recognition is very rewarding. So Chanelle did it twice.

It’d be nice to get the chance to do things over again, wouldn’t it? Well, some things. You might like to relive your happiest birthday or avoid your most embarrassing moment, but would you jump at the chance to repeat a project that involved around 100 hours of hard work?

Chanelle Cann of West Jordan, Utah, did. After finishing years of work to earn her Young Womanhood Award, she turned around and did it all over again. The revised Personal Progress book and new medallion were her inspiration.

The General Young Women presidency encouraged young women already working on the old program to transfer their hours and finish up with the new program. They didn’t expect young women to earn both awards. After doing all the work once, what was Chanelle thinking?

Actually, she was thinking ahead. She wanted the chance to grow with the right attitude, so she’d be more prepared for her future.

“When I was younger I worked on the Personal Progress program because it was there. When I got to be a Laurel, I did it because I wanted to,” she said. “I wanted to do the new program because I knew I would be doing it for the right reasons.”

Chanelle was proud of her first award, but she understood that personal progress isn’t something you need a book to do.

When her stake president introduced the changes to the Young Women program, Chanelle picked up a copy of the new Personal Progress book and headed straight home to plan.

Her mom, Evelyn, said Chanelle stayed up well past midnight that night mapping out how she could earn the new award and how many hours per week she could work on it, starting the next day.

“I told her you could just pay and get the other necklace instead,” Chanelle’s mom said, “but she said, ‘No, I want to really earn it.’”

Chanelle didn’t want another necklace, she wanted a chance for growth. She would be graduating from high school soon and wanted to be prepared for the future. But she didn’t need a book to get what she wanted.

“All the things I did were things I needed to learn for the future anyway. I used the new program because I knew something that came from the prophet could give me good direction,” she said.

Her projects included attending the temple several times a week to do baptisms for the dead, volunteering at an elementary school, writing poetry about the Savior, recording songs with her guitar, hand stitching a temple quilt, serving at a rest home, making family home evening files for her future family, and learning to cook.

Chanelle said the cooking project didn’t turn out so well. She made some pies that were more of a learning experience than a gourmet dessert. She’s going to keep trying anyway.

As it turns out, Chanelle makes a better writer than a chef. Her favorite project was writing poetry. She also loved writing about her experiences in her journal because it helped her realize how much she actually learned from doing the projects with the right attitude.

“Putting my feelings down on paper helps me recognize what I believe in and makes me more grateful,” she said.

To earn the second award, Chanelle did 70 hours of projects and completed 42 other value experiences, on top of school and work.

“It took a lot of time, but it was worth it,” she said.

It isn’t her two medallions hanging around her neck on the same gold chain that light up her face, though. Her glittering smile reveals how much she’s grown. She said doing both programs strengthened her testimony, helped her recognize her potential, made her aware of all her blessings, and prepared her for the future.

“I think I try harder now to keep the Spirit with me and recognize what I do in my life really does affect me,” she said.

Chanelle has a lot of goals for the future, including an education, a mission, and getting married in the Salt Lake Temple. She said she’s grateful for the chance she had to earn the Young Womanhood Award—twice, because it prepared her to accomplish those goals.

Perhaps one of Chanelle’s poems said it best:

“The simple things you do

Determine what the future will bring to you.”

Now, Chanelle is always looking for new ways to grow. Earning both awards helped set a pattern of personal progress that will last her a lifetime.

Photography by Arianne Baadsgaard and courtesy of the family

Chanelle did over 100 hours of projects, including hand stitching a temple-themed quilt (above) and composing songs on her guitar (right). But she saw the work as more than a chance to earn another necklace. She’s preparing herself for the future that’s just around the corner.

When her mom (left) suggested that she could simply buy the new necklace since she had already earned the recognition, Chanelle said, “No, I want to really earn it.”