“Strengthening Youth through Uplifting Activities,” Ensign, September 2014, 72–73
As a parent or leader of youth, you want to strengthen your children and the youth in your ward or branch. They are growing up in a time when the standards of the world are moving away from the standards of the gospel. They often feel alone in their efforts to live the gospel. Fortunately, they can gain strength by participating in meaningful activities with other youth.
Successful activities provide youth with a wholesome setting to learn and live the gospel. They help youth prepare for their future roles, develop their talents and interests, learn leadership skills, and foster friendships as they interact with other young men and young women. Activities can provide opportunities for youth to perform meaningful service for others in the community. Activities can also help you build positive mentoring relationships with the youth.
Less-active members and those not of our faith can also enjoy the fun and casual environment of youth activities. “Activities provide one of our most effective ways to reach out and rescue others,” says David L. Beck, Young Men general president. “There are many youth who may not initially accept an invitation to come to a sacrament meeting or listen to the missionaries but would be happy to join us at a fun activity. Many converts to the Church report that their first exposure to the gospel came when a friend invited them to a youth activity.”
One of the key ingredients to successful activities is involvement from the youth. Under your guidance, youth can play a significant role in planning; nobody knows their interests, goals, desires, and questions better than they do. When quorum and class presidencies take the lead in planning and executing activities based on the needs of the youth in the ward or branch, youth are more invested and interested and will ultimately have better experiences.
At lds.org/youth/activities, you will find over 160 activity ideas to inspire the youth as they plan. The site also suggests ways to help you determine the needs of the young men and young women, along with planning and communication tools to help youth and adult leaders implement their ideas. You can even submit your own activity ideas to the site.
The site suggests activities for serving others, sharing the gospel, developing physical health, performing music and the arts, preparing for future roles, doing temple and family history work, and more. As the youth mature and face more responsibilities, they need a wide variety of abilities and experiences to equip them to become their best selves on the path to exaltation. “To prepare for the work Heavenly Father has for them,” says Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, “our youth need experiences that will help them grow spiritually, physically, intellectually, and socially. The variety of activity categories on the website reinforces the many opportunities we should be providing our youth.”
The site’s activities enhance gospel learning by connecting the activities to principles the youth are learning in Sunday lessons and in Duty to God and Personal Progress.
As youth, leaders, and families work together to plan and carry out activities that invite all youth to come unto Christ, the rising generation will become more prepared to fulfill the Lord’s work on the earth.