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personal progress

Finally Hitting Pay Dirt with Personal Progress

I have a confession to make.  It’s a true confession — and a sad one.

I am terrible at encouraging Personal Progress.

Yeah, I have my medallion thanks to the zealous efforts of my young women leaders back home in Mississippi, but I’m truly awful at encouraging PP among the young women I lead now.  I have lots of reasons — I’m terrible at anything that requires stead state or rote reminders, I am not motivated by reward systems, I am over Laurels and they are (often) over personal progress, it’s been a lot of work to get class presidencies, BYC, our presidency meetings, camp, lessons, together with all the other stuff I have to do related to just life….  All good reasons.  But none of them good enough!

It’s been well over a year since we had anyone in our unit earn their Young Womanhood Recognition award and medallion.  And yeah, bishop pointed it out to me…  So there was that. :-/

Luckily my counselors excel at the areas where I am weak, and they have really taken the reigns for personal progress in our unit.  I’ve been in since September, and it’s taken until now for us to really see the fruits of our labors. Here are some of the things we’ve learned and done that have helped with personal progress:

Summer is the best time for Personal Progress

I have been YW president for an entire school year now, and despite encouraging PP as much as possible, we weren’t seeing much movement … until Summer.  Keep in mind that girls are busy, and you may have to wait until school is on break to see the resutlts of your encouragement.  Summer is a small window of opportunity, with camp, EFY, youth conference, vacations, etc.  Your consistent efforts to encourage PP during the school year will pay off in Summer.

Utilize Sunday lessons for Personal Progress

I’m sure you’ve noticed in the Come Follow Me curriculum that some months note value experiences that coordinate with the lesson material:

It’s one of my pet peeves that PP wasn’t built right in to Come Follow Me.  Actually, the near-total lack of coordination between programs and goals is my biggest pet peeve about the church.  Fix that, Salt Lake.

Because CFM seems to have attached PP to itself as an afterthought, you’ll have to do a little bit of legwork to substitute scriptures or add writing activities to your lesson in order to include personal progress in some lessons. Don’t worry — it can definitely be done. If I’m teaching and can add in a PP value experience, I don’t tell girls that they’re earning PP as we study.  I wait until the end of the lesson to tell them they’ve completed a value experience, and they almost always cheer with joy!

Make-Your-Own value experiences while teaching

One thing I’m particularly proud of is how we work one-on-one with young women to prepare lessons for Sundays.  Instead of saying “call me if you need help”, we have set up our classes to expect that they will work with either a president, counselor, or adviser to prepare their lesson. Beehives may be ready to teach part or most of a lesson, but they need closer supervision.  By the time I get girls in Laurels, most of them have had opportunity to teach and are capable of preparing a reasonably decent lesson.  I find that I end up giving tips about how to increase class participation, asking good questions, and how to handle it when no one answers your questions.  Occasionally I have to redirect someone away from a distracting story or something, but usually the girls do a pretty good job.  We love the personal interaction with the girls, and this method helps us fulfill our handbook mandates:

Lessons are usually taught by members of the Young Women presidency or by Young Women advisers. Presidency members and advisers may divide this responsibility as needed. Young women may assist in teaching from time to time. When young women give instruction, a member of the Young Women presidency or an adviser helps them prepare. (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, 10.6.2)

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders carefully observe the learning and teaching during Sunday classes and other lessons. … Leaders ensure that teachers use the scriptures, the teachings of latter-day prophets, and the approved curriculum materials (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, 5.5.3)

Because preparing and teaching a lesson takes a significant amount of time and effort, we have our girls count lesson teaching as one of the value experiences that you make yourself.  They choose the value, and we put it in the computer at http://personalprogress.lds.org/ for tracking.  We talk about selecting a value experience during class and follow up with the girls to help keep PP on their minds.

Personal Progress incentive program

We are often counseled to avoid competitions, so one of my counselors came up with a great idea to encourage PP.  We made a puzzle out of an image of our local temple (Washington DC), and each week during opening exercises, anyone who has done work on PP during the week explains what they did and can add a puzzle to the image.  When the puzzle is complete, we will provide some sort of party or surprise for the entire group and begin again.

Our first puzzle has about 25 pieces in it so that we can get momentum going fast.  The next one may have a few more or less depending on how long it takes to complete this first one.  We have 23 active girls and started the puzzle in April. I think we will be done before the end of the summer.

Incentive programs like this don’t motivate all girls, but some girls really love it.

Use big activities as 10-hour projects

One of the more difficult part of PP is planning and completing the 10-hour projects. In our unit, we select girls who need help with PP and ask them to be on committees to help with Young Women in Excellence and New Beginnings. Those activities take at least 10 hours of planning from start to finish.

Make a fuss

Because PP has been pretty much dead in our unit for some time, we try to make a big deal when someone earns a ribbon.  We don’t give her anything except the ribbon and emblem (don’t want to diminish the award), but we do stand and talk about the great accomplishment and let the girl share what she’s learning inasfar as she’s comfortable doing so.

Play off their enthusiasm

Our Mia Maid class got so excited two weeks ago after some girls earned ribbons, that they planned their own activity to jump start PP the following day.  The girls got together at the counselor’s home and worked for about 4 hours together and were able to get several of The Short Ones completed and passed off in their books.

When the girls get excited, go with that.  Drop what you’re doing, and go with their ideas.  PP is personal, and if personal means personally planning a group activity — do it.

 The big payoff…

I drove some girls to Trek last week. One of the Laurels said something that wasn’t nice, and the Mia Maid girls who had been at the PP activity earlier in the week said, “Hey, no judging!” which made the other Mia Maids laugh.  The Laurel asked what was going on, and the Mia Maids got to talk about how they’ve been working on PP together and they were working on not judging. The Laurel then started talking about how she needed to work on her PP….  Peer-to-peer encouragement is the Celestial Kingdom of PP for me.

What’s more, our first YW received her medallion on Sunday.  She was a recently graduated senior who squeaked in during the last several weeks before she moved away from home. She told me that even though her PP had been rushed toward the end, she felt like she was leaving home “super-charged” and ready to use the skills and traits of womanhood she had developed by doing PP as she strikes out on her own.

And that, my friends, is what PP is about: studying about and practicing traits that will make us better women, better servants of the Lord.  It’s a boatload of work!  But seeing a girl catch the vision of it makes it all worth.

{Personal Progress} ‘Riesens’ To Do Personal Progress

By [email protected] (Sheena Perron)

A few weeks ago as I was grocery shopping (down the candy aisle) I had an idea for a Personal Progress incentive.

Have you ever tried ‘Riesens’? If not, they are delicious…just saying.

This incentive that I am sharing today shares different reasons why Personal Progress is important and why we need to do it.

I began by (eating the first entire bag of Riesens) thinking of reasons why we should do personal progress. I decided to look on lds.org, but then I realized that the reasons are right in front of us in the Personal Progress booklets.

I looked through the booklet at each value and picked 2 reasons for each value. Here are some that I chose:
As I looked through the booklet I saw the many, many reasons why these young women (and we) should be doing their personal progress.

I created these cute little ‘Riesen’ wrappers with the different reasons that I saw. On the bottom of each reason is the corresponding Value experience for that reason.
I printed the wrappers out and then wrapped each ‘wrapper’ around the
Riesen candy, as seen below.

After I had all my candies wrapped with my Personal Progress ‘Riesen’ wrappers, I placed them inside of some clear plastic rectangular boxes/tubes I had. You could also place these in small jars, bags, etc.
Then I attached a tag that reads,
“Need a ‘Riesen’ to do Personal Progress? Here’s a few…”

The girls can pick a piece of candy out and read the reason why they should do their personal progress. Then they can look which experience goes with that reason and look it up in their booklet….and Do It!

Do your YW need a few ‘Riesens’ to do their Personal Progress?
Then click on the link(s) below:

I hope you enjoy my Personal Progress ‘Riesen’ treats and make some for your YW. I do know that Personal Progress is an amazing program that can strengthen the young women and help them to come unto Christ. By participating in Personal Progress they can strengthen their testimonies and help them understand their divine potential.
I would love to hear if you make these for your YW, so come back and tell me what you did.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!


Source:: Little LDS Ideas

How to be a Personal Progress Mentor

By Kristin

We are trying to encourage the young women in our ward who have completed, or are near completion of Personal Progress, to mentor others. I wanted to give our young mentors some training, to learn how to mentor well.

This document will help them to understand basic principles of mentorship: developing a relationship of trust, making goals, listening, following up, and celebrating successes! They can also use it as they meet with their “mentees”, to keep on track with what they are trying to accomplish.

You can download “How to be a Personal Progress Mentor” by clicking here.

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Source:: Inka Blinka

UP2U Gum Tags for Personal Progress & Visiting Teaching

By [email protected] (Sheena Perron)

I am always on the look-out for new ways to get the YW excited to do Personal Progress. One day while we were at the grocery store I saw a pack of UP2U gum and had an idea for a Personal Progress treat.

I created this little handout that you can tape to a pack of UP2U gum to encourage the YW to keep working on their Personal Progress.

The front flap of the printable says:

Lift up the front flap and you’ll see:
On the back I added a great quote I found from Sister Elaine Dalton.

Hopefully a good quote and some yummy gum can get those YW excited about Personal Progress…fingers crossed. :)

While my Mom was visiting us a few weeks ago I showed her my UP2U gum idea and she loved it. She then said, ‘You should make one for Visiting Teaching.’ Hmmm…..why didn’t I think of that. So, I got to work & created one for Visiting Teaching.

As I was looking for quotes about Visiting Teaching I saw one from Bonnie D. Parkin that said, “We don’t ‘do‘ Visiting Teaching. We ‘are‘ Visiting Teachers.”

So, I decided to type

“Being a Visiting Teacher Is…” instead of “Doing Visiting Teaching Is…”

These would be great to handout out to your Relief Society sisters at the beginning of the month or at a Visiting Teaching activity.

To create your own UP2U Treats…
1. Print out my UP2U Gum Labels (link below)
2. Cut them out
3. Fold on the dotted/dashed lines
{the label will go around the pack of gum}
4. Tape/Glue the back of the printable (where the quote is) to the back of the pack of gum. You can also add a small piece of tape/glue onto the top of the pack of gum.
5. Fold over the top flap
6. Hand out to your YW or RS Sisters and Enjoy!
{I added a strip of Washi tape to the front to keep the front flap down. You can do this or not.}

I hope you enjoy my UP2U Gum Labels and use them for your YW or RS sisters.

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog.

Have a wonderful day!


Source:: Little LDS Ideas

From the Bloggernacle

{Personal Progress} Integrity #1: S’mores Night

Downloaded from: http://littleldsideas.blogspot.com/2014/08/personal-progress-integrity-1-smores.html

This summer I thought it would be fun to have S’mores for one of our Personal Progress nights. The only thing was I wasn’t sure how to incorporate S’mores into Personal Progress.I decided to look through my Personal Progress booklet and read through the experiences to see if I could come up with something.
As I read Integrity #1 I had an idea!
“Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our belief and standards. Read Moroni 10:30–33 and think aboutwhat  it means to ‘deny yourselves of all ungodliness.’Read the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth. Reflect onhow the Lord’s standards differ from the world’s standards.Record in your journal appropriate standards for behavior,dress, and conversation, as well as literature, movies television, Internet, music, cell phones, and other media.Also write your plan to stay morally clean and worthy toattend the temple. After keeping your standards for at leastone month, record your feelings in your journal and continueto keep your commitment.”
Here is what we did!
Preparation:1. I created a month calendar for the girls to keep track of what they were required to do (Integrity #1 is a month long experience; my calendar is at the end of my post).2. I created cute invitations to hand out to each of the YW.
Here is what mine looked like. If you’d like to use my invites for your own S’more night just right click on the blank invite and click on ‘Save Image As’ and then open it in Word. Then add text boxes to add your own text and information.
{The cute s’mores clipart came from Melonheadz Illustrations}

3. I bought my S’mores supplies. YUM!4. The day of the activity I got pieces of candy (Reese’s PB Cups) and labeled each one with a number (1-19; some candies had 2 numbers). The numbers represented each of the chapters in the ‘For the Strength of Youth’. I placed the candies in a bowl.
Night of the ActivityMy husband went out a little early and started our fire, so it would be ready when all the girls arrived. When everyone got there we went and sat around the fire.I asked the girls ‘Who likes fires?’ We all agreed that we all like fires. They’re fun to sit around and roast marshmallows, they’re warm, they make you feel cozy. :)I also reminded the girls that fires are also very useful. When camping we can use fires to cook our meals. People used to only cook with fires, and some people only use fires to warm their homes.
BUT….when used in the wrong way fires can be dangerous. They can be harmful and cause great damage and destruction.
I then compared fires to temptation and to things of the world. There are things in the world that when used in the right way can be very useful, but when used in the wrong way can be damaging to ourselves and our spirits.
We need to decide now what our choices will be when faced with temptation. If we get ‘too close’ we may get burned by a bad choice.
As instructed in the Personal Progress booklet we then read through the ‘For the Strength of Youth’. This is where the candy came in. I gave the first girl the bowl of candy and had her choose one piece. She read what number she had and then found the matching chapter in the book and read it aloud (I numbered the chapters before the activity). After we read a chapter, we discussed how the Lord’s standards differ from the world’s standards. We passed around the bowl until all chapters had been discussed.
I then encouraged the girls to record in their journal appropriate standards for behavior, dress, and conversation, as well as literature, movies,  television, Internet, music, cell phones, and other media.Then I passed out my monthly calendar and asked the girls to write a plan to stay morally clean and worthy to attend the temple.
Here is what my monthly calendar looked like:

Click HERE to download my Integrity #1 Calendar!
 I told them to keep track on their progress on their calendar. After keeping their standards for at least one month, they were to record their feelings in their journal and continue to keep their commitment. 
We then enjoyed some yummy s’mores.

It was a fun {& yummy} night around the fire with all the YW. 
Would you like to have your own S’mores night?
Feel free to print out any of my printables to have your very own Personal Progress S’mores night.

I hope you enjoyed my post today. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful day.


From the Bloggernacle

Pie-Throwing For Camp Certification!

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After learning that a number of the girls from our ward did not complete their certification at Girls Camp last year (in some cases because they didn’t do the scripture-study portion), I really wanted to encourage all of the girls in our ward to certify for the year at Girls Camp this summer.

Throwing pies at my face is always favorite activity, and its been a while since we’ve done it, so I offered this challenge as an added incentive: any girl from our ward who goes to Girls Camp and completes their certification for the year gets to throw a pie in my face. We planned to do this at the end of an activity (the Mutual activity following the Stake fireside when the certification awards were presented). This was a couple of weeks after Camp, but gave the girls a chance to get any loose ends tied up.

I also provided an alternative for those girls who didn’t go to Girls Camp (for whatever reason) – if they completed ONE new Personal Progress Value Experience before the Stakewide post- Girls Camp fireside (and I personally signed it off for them) they could also qualify to throw a pie at my face.

This was how I advertised (using photo from a previous pie-throwing event):

We had 14 girls go to Girls Camp this year and 13 of them certified. At least 2 of the girls who certified for this year had not certified when they went to Camp last year. BIG SUCCESS!

As usual, there was less “throwing” and more “smashing”….My daughter was first in line to smash a pie in my face! 

From the Bloggernacle

{Personal Progress} Yw Ice Cream Party

Downloaded from: http://littleldsideas.blogspot.com/2014/08/personal-progress-yw-ice-cream-party.html

Have your YW been busy working on Personal Progress this summer?Do you need a fun mutual idea to reward your girls? 
At the beginning of summer I had a Personal Progress Ice Cream party for the YW in my ward. It was fun and delicious! And I was able to catch up on where all the girls were and what they had passed off.
For the activity I thought it would be fun to have a Personal Progress Ice Cream Bar. To do this I thought of an ice cream topping for each value:
Faith (white): Whipped CreamDivine Nature (blue): BlueberriesIndividual Worth (red): Strawberries or Strawberry SyrupKnowledge (green): M&M’s Choice & Accountability (orange): crushed Butterfinger candy barsGood Works (yellow): BananasIntegrity (purple): Purple SprinklesVirtue (gold): Gold wrapped Reese’s PB Cups
The Sunday before the party I handed each of them an invitation and told them in order to get a bowl for their ice cream they had to bring their Personal Progress booklets. :)
The Night of the Party! On a table at the front of the room I set up our toppings. I created some topping signs to place by each topping, so the girls knew which topping was for each value. Here’s an peek at what they look like:All flower embellishments came from Shabby Princess & Sahlin Studio.I just printed my cards out and folded in half. Then I just placed each card beside each ‘Value Topping.’
To begin I asked the girls who remembered to bring their booklets. Most of the girls brought them, yay! The girls that brought them received a waffle bowl for remembering their booklets, the rest of the girls received styrofoam bowls.I then told the girls that they could only choose toppings from the values that they had completed an experience/project from (this is where their booklets come in handy). 
I also had a game for the girls.Personal Progress BINGOThis was their BINGO board.

I gave each girl a board and then told them the first 3 to get a BINGO won a prize. They had to read the card and use their booklets to figure out what they have done for Personal Progress.
They were so excited about the game. The winners won a gift certificate to a local Ice cream shop, I also thought of Ice cream flavored gum as a prize as well.
As the girls ate their ice cream and visited I interviewed the girls to see how they were doing with Personal Progress.
Overall it was a great night. I was able to check on what the girls had accomplished over the last few months and the girls were excited to reward themselves for their hard work.
Today I am sharing my BINGO Cards (like the one above & blank as well) with all of you as well as my Ice Cream Topping labels. Just click the links below:
Click HERE to print my Personal Progress BINGO Cards.
Click HERE to print my {blank} Personal Progress BINGO Cards.
Click HERE to print my Value Topping Cards.

I would love to hear how your own Personal Progress Ice Cream Party goes if you decide to have one.As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!sheena

From the Bloggernacle

{Personal Progress} Yw Value Hair Ties With Free Printable!

Downloaded from: http://littleldsideas.blogspot.com/2014/06/personal-progress-yw-value-hair-ties.html

Today I wanted to share a great Personal Progress gift that I recently gave to the YW in my ward.
I first saw these adorable Value Hair ties on Pinterest, but when I clicked on the link it only had a picture. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find the source of the picture. So I decided to create my own. :)
For the elastics, I found a great little Etsy shop that had all the colors I needed at a great price. After looking at a few places I found WW Supplies and was able to buy 5 yards of each value color…I wanted each one different, so it took a little time looking through all of the great elastics, but I finally settled on 8 different kinds. What do you think? I am loving the yellow with the little ruffle down the middle!
Creating My Hair TiesI looked at several different tutorials for creating your own hair ties and tested a few out. I finally decided on a good length to cut the elastics and got to work.
I cut the elastics about 8 inches in length. Then, using a match, burnt the ends to prevent fraying. After I cut several pieces I tied a knot at the end of each piece. I decided to leave a shorter ‘tail’ at the end of my elastics. If you want a longer piece at the end then you may want to make yours a little longer. I also found that the glitter elastic needs to be a little longer due to its thickness. 
Elastic HeadbandsIf you happen to have a YW with short hair that wouldn’t use hair ties…no worries…make her some headbands using the elastics!I created a few for my daughters and they were great. Just measure your head and decide on a comfortable length for the elastics then cut and knot. :) Easy Peasy.
After I had them cut and tied I made a card to place the elastics on.I created one card without a border and rounded the corners.
The other one I added a border to give it a little something. I also added ‘XOXO, your YW Leaders’ which I ended putting on both cards in the end.
These would make great birthday presents for the girls, prizes for Personal Progress, gift for the girls coming in to YW, craft for Girls Camp…Whatever the reason….these are cute and the girls will love them.
Today I am sharing my cards that I created for my hair ties! YAY!Just click on the link below and print them out. Just print them on cardstock and then add your adorable little hair ties.
Click HERE to print out my YW Hair Ties Card w/ Border.
Click HERE to print out my YW Hair Ties Card w/ no Border.
If you have any questions feel free to ask…and hopefully I’ll have an answer for you. :)
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful day.

From the Bloggernacle

Adapting The Virtue Value Project (Personal Progress) For Special Needs

Downloaded from: http://ldsywideasandactivities.blogspot.com/2014/05/adapting-virtue-value-project-personal.html

After reviewing (adapted) Personal Progress Value Experience with a young woman in our ward, she asked me how many more projects she needs to do to complete the program. I explained that there are ___ experiences left, and also eight 10-hour projects. 
I told her that one of the projects she can start right now is reading the Book of Mormon. I suggested that she start with that now, since it may take quite a while. She seemed excited about that, but wondered how she could keep track of what she’s read, especially since she reads scriptures on her father’s Kindle. She asked if there was some sort of chart that she could get to help her remember.
I have seen many charts that help you track scripture reading, so I set out to find one for her today. Most of them available online show the entire Book of Mormon on one chart, but I thought that might be confusing or overwhelming for her.
Then I came across these charts that track scripture reading one book at a time (and it looks like some of the longer books of the Book of Mormon are broken up into several different pages).  I’ve included some examples below- Click on one of the pictures to go to the source site. They are free to use.
I plan to include one of these at a time in her Personal Progress notebook (as explained in my post “Adapting Personal Progress for Special Needs”) and replace with the next new chart as needed

From the Bloggernacle

Mother Daughter Personal Progress Night

Downloaded from: http://inkablinka.com/2014/05/mother-daughter-personal-progress-night.html

We had a great activity with our young women and their mothers recently – a Personal Progress Pajama Night. A couple weeks before our activity we printed out these sleeping mask invites (a free printable found here).

The back of the mask had our event information on it. It takes some trial and error to get the back and front matched up – I try measuring things, but it seems like things work better for me to print the front, then place on a lightbox or sunny window with the information cut and taped to the back to make sure things match up properly. Once the info on the back is where it needs to be, I run the rest through the copy machine.

Our plans for the evening were to begin with a fun game, do some personal progress journal doodling while enjoying refreshments from a bed-themed table, then a simple craft was available for anyone who finished early. We spread out blankets on the floor, and everyone came with pillow to sit or lay on. There were a couple games we were thinking of playing. The first was to have a pancake-flipping relay race, but we instead went with our second idea, which was to play the “Lap Game”. You can download a printable version of it here

This was a lot of fun, and got the moms and daughters all laughing and talking. We went through all the questions, and let whoever made it back to their original seat punch our personal progress board for prizes. You can see our punch board here – although this time we covered the cups in gold tissue paper because our value of the month was Virtue. It looked beeyoutiful!

Our next activity was to do some doodling. I purchased the Red Headed Hostess’ Personal Progress doodle journal, and made copies of a few favorite pages for the girls and moms to doodle. We posted all the finished pages on a bulletin board, then had everyone vote for their favorite pages. Each girl had 3 post-it “votes” that they stuck on their favorites. The two pages with the most votes got prizes – a bouquet of pretty colored pens for future scripture study or personal progress doodling!

Throughout the evening everyone was free to get cookies and milk from our refreshment table made up to look like a bed.

Some favorites were the S’more Cookies and sugar cookies that were cut into shapes of girls in pajamas holding teddy bears.

It was so much fun making these girl cookies with hair – Each hairstyle was unique and fun. I pushed cookie dough through a potato ricer to make the hair, then carefully placed it on the girl cutouts before baking.

Finally, we had this very simple craft set up in the back of the room – clothespins with mod podge and gold glitter. They clipped their finished clothespins on a piece of cardstock with a scripture about virtue printed on it. You can find that printable, along with the back of our invite here.

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From the Bloggernacle

Wait- You Don’t Have A Plaque For Your Yw? Why You Need One, And How To Get Started

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A few years ago, one of the Young Men leaders in our ward mentioned that they were going to order a set of 2 perpetual plaques to display in the foyer of our ward building. One would be for Duty to God and the other would be for Eagle Scouts. We loved the idea and went ahead with ordering a plaque for the Young Women also- a plaque recognizing those who complete the Personal Progress program (i.e., earn the Young Women Recognition Award).

Of course I’ve seen plenty of other wards with these sort of plaques- some with multiple plaques dating back to the 90’s (or maybe even earlier!). Many wards also have plaques for other things (such as a list of those who have served full-time missions) and may also display plaques for those currently away on missions.

For some reason, we didn’t have any plaques in our foyer at all. It had been a while since anyone had earned their Eagle Scout or completed Personal Progress, so I’m not sure if order plaques were taken down at some point because they were so outdated or if we never had plaques in the first place. Or maybe we had plaques they stayed with the other half of our ward when the ward split, many years ago?

Regardless of the reason for our lack of plaques in the recent past, we wanted a plaque for the YW for the same reason that the YM leaders wanted the plaques for the YM…to make completing these goals a prominently recognized and celebrated event. It gives the other youth something to look forward to and work for. They see it on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. It reminds them of what they can accomplish and gives them good examples to follow.

How do you keep the lettering/look uniform? 

We ordered all 3 plaques for our ward from the same company. I think that its important to have a clean look, so having matching plaques (or at least coordinating them as closely as possible, if you already have some plaques on display). There are a wide variety of styles available, but a consistent look is generally more professional. Check with your Bishop to see where you can place your plaques (I’ve seen them in foyers and other hallway areas).

Here are just a few examples of styles that are available (from various companies). If you click on the photo it will take you to the site that sells that particular plaque. Many sites who sell Eagle Scout plaques and missionary plaques also sell these Young Womanhood Recognition award plaques. You can also ask around or do your own online search to find a particular style or price-range you are looking for. I just did a quick Google search to find the examples below:

In addition to having a plaque that coordinates with other plaques that are on display, you’ll want to keep the lettering consistent as well. It would look a little strange to have the YW plaque with names in a blocky all-caps text next to an Eagle Scout plaque with cursive text. Even worse would be to have multiple text styles/sizes used for names on the very same plaque. 
Some styles of plaques require you to order separate name plates that are later ordered and engraved as-needed, then sent to you to attach to the plaque. We ordered a plaque with all of the blank name plates already attached. Instead of trying to remove the name plates when we need to add names, I just take the whole plaque with me to an engraving shop.
I use the same local shop for engraving every time, to try to get a consistent look. They’ve kept a record on file of the text type/size they use for the plaque so that they can duplicate it easily when a new name is added. Some adjustment has to be made for very  short or long names, but in general they look pretty uniform. Having a name and year engraved onto a name plate costs about $6 in my area.
In case I’m released (or the YM Presidency needs to add a name to one of their plaques), I’ve taped a business card of the engravers shop on the back of each plaque, along with a little note with instructions (what name the text information is filed under, etc).

Why no mention of “Personal Progress”?Although the program is called Personal Progress, the actual name of the award is the Young Womanhood Recognition Award. Thats what the certificate they receive says. You’ll notice that all of the examples of plaques above use the phrase “Young Womanhood Recognition Award” instead of “Personal Progress”. Its just more fancy-sounding, I guess!

What about YW leaders – do their names belong on the plaque?
I’ve seen some wards include the names of YW leaders on their plaques that recognize completing Personal Progress. While I would never want to diminish the accomplishment of anyone who completes the program, I opted not to include adult YW leaders on our plaque. When we received the plaque, my daughter was almost finished with Personal Progress and I was very close to completing the program as well. Believe me, I would have loved to put my own name on there, too (I know very well how much work it is to finish!) but I felt like it might take away from honoring the YW (especially my daughter) in some way. I felt like it was something special just for them, and that putting myself on there so close to my daughter might feel like self-promoting and could distract from her accomplishment in some small way. That was my personal choice, but there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with honoring YW leaders in this way. Like I said, I’ve seen lots of wards do it.

How far back do you go with the names?
To be honest, there has been a little grumbling about who’s name was (or more specifically who’s name wasn’t) put on our new plaque. Since nobody could remember when (or if) we’d ever had a plaque for the Young Womanhood Recognition (or anything else!), I knew that there were undoubtably at least a few girls who had completed the program in past years who never had their name on a plaque. We don’t have a large number of youth in our ward, so we’re not talking about a lot of girls… I only know of a few people who finished the program sometime between 2006-2011. The last girl in our ward to have completed the program graduated the year before we ordered the plaque and had long ago moved out of the ward. I felt like it would be best to start with girls currently in the YW program.

However, if we’d had someone who had finished the program the same year we ordered the plaque, I would have considered that (especially if they were still in our ward). One person complained that their daughter’s name should have been listed, because she had completed Personal Progress. The daughter they were referring to was another example of a YW who had completed program years ago and is now a married adult (and no longer in our ward).

My purpose was not to exclude people, but I did have to be realistic. It would be impossible for me to accurately track down everyone who had ever been a YW in our ward in the past 20 years to ask if they completed Personal Progress and try to verify the date of completion. To be fair, if I were going to list any previous recipients, I would have to list them all. An impossible task. So, “current YW only” it is!

Is a plaque really THAT big of a deal?
Whether you have a plaque or not, please make a big deal out of Personal Progress. It IS a big deal. I have many posts about how to get your YW excited and interested in Personal Progress, so please check them out (see the Personal Progress category at the top of the page). Since we ordered out plaque, we’ve had 5 Young Women and 2 YW Leaders complete the Personal Progress program. Thats an average of 3-4 people completing the program a year. That is an astounding number compared to what has been done in the previous years! A plaque by itself won’t make a big difference, but an overall effort and emphasis on Personal Progress definitely does!!!

From the Bloggernacle

Personal Progress Peer Mentoring – Using Visiting Teaching As A Model!

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Normally, Personal Progress mentoring is done by a YW who has completed the Personal Progress program and is mentoring as part of earning their honor bee charm. For more information about earning the honor bee charm, see the “What do I do when I complete Personal Progress?” section of the Personal Progress site on lds.org found HERE

With so many YW in our area struggling with Personal Progress, we wanted to develop a mentoring system to help the incoming Beehive girls start strong and stay active in the program. Many of our YW in the Mia Maid and Laurel classes just aren’t interested in Personal Progress. Try as we might with incentives and charts and awards, it isn’t making much of a difference. And honestly, the handbook encourages girls to complete Personal Progress by age 16 (and the boys to complete their Eagle by age 16) because after that, it becomes more difficult because they are driving, dating, working and/or preparing to leave for college/missions. If they don’t start before 16, it is very difficult to complete the program. By that time, much of the interest just isn’t there for some of these girls. We feel like if we can develop interest in the program early on (when the girls are still enthusiastic Beehives), we will have better success with girls starting & completing the entire program in the future.

However, since all of the older girls in the ward who had completed the program had since moved away, we only had one remaining girl (a Beehive) in the ward who had earned her award/medallion. We weren’t sure how to have a Beehive mentor other (same-age) Beehives. And who would mentor Mia Maids and Laurels who were struggling (or not participating at all)? A Beehive? We were concerned partly because of the age difference (and/or lack of age difference) and partly because there was only one girl who could be responsible for mentoring everyone in the program who needed support.

We could have taken on the mentoring roles as a Presidency, but I felt strongly that we were overlooking a leadership opportunity for the YW in our ward.

With this in mind, we decided to adapt the peer-mentoring concept to better fit our situation. We selected several Beehive girls who we felt would benefit the most from peer mentoring. We didn’t have a pre-decided number of girls, but selected some girls who were Beehives who had not done anything in Personal Progress but seemed willing/interested. We also included all Beehives who had not yet had a Personal Progress training meeting*. I did not include anyone who is just not interested in Personal Progress or who refuses to participate in Personal Progress. Although those girls could certainly benefit from mentoring, I didn’t feel like that trying to coerce a YW into participating would be the best use of our limited peer-mentoring resources. Especially in these initial stages.

With three girls selected for potential mentoring, we moved on to the next stage in our planning – who would do the mentoring? Again, according to the handbook, this is something that is recommended as a project for girls who have already completed the Personal Progress program. I don’t think that means that other girls (still in the middle of Personal Progress themselves) can’t serve as mentors. In any case, we have a large Beehive class (and more coming in this year), but not enough honor-bee-seeking girls to do it. In our situation, we decided to select several girls who are actively participating in Personal Progress and seem to have a good understanding of how the program works. We were also looking for girls who were mature enough (regardless of age) to take the responsibility and follow through with it.

We ended up selecting 3 girls as peer-mentors. They all happened to be Beehives at the time, but 2 of them have since moved up to the Mia Maid class. I want to reemphasize that we were looking for mature and self-starting girls, not necessarily girls of a certain age. Other important qualities would be responsibility, understanding of the program, patience, and kindness. The girls that we chose all happened to be serving in class presidencies at the time. This was not part of our decision, but their responsibility level in their calling (if they have one) might be something to consider.

We prayerfully matched up the 3 mentor girls with a mentee, but were careful to match each mentor with a younger mentee (even if that age difference is only a matter of months). I feel like some girls would feel weird about being “helped” by a younger girl.

We currently have:

  • a 14 1/2 year old mentoring a 13 1/2 year old
  • a 14 year old mentoring a 12 year old
  • a 13 year old mentoring a 12 year old

Using the Relief Society visiting teaching program as a model, we set up a system of reporting and following up. The mentor is responsible for checking in with her “mentee” on at least a once a month basis (more often is preferable), seeing if she needs help or has questions, and encouraging her to work on Personal Progress. They can work together and help however they want (as long as they follow the guidelines in the Personal Progress book), but there isn’t a specific assignment that they need to accomplish (such as getting them to complete a certain number of Value Experiences each month). The mentoring is meant to be a support and a reminder for the mentee to do Personal Progress (in her own time).

They are not assigned in pairs (as visiting teachers are) and they are not required to visit the home of the mentee. They are encouraged to meet with/talk to their mentee in whatever way works best (call them at home, speak to them after YW class, come a little early for Mutual to meet & go over their progress, etc).

Three members of our YW Presidency (myself, 1st Counselor, and Secretary) have each been assigned one mentor to supervise. At the end of the month, the supervisor checks in with the mentor to get a “report” of what had been done. The supervisors may also remind the mentors to check in with their menthes (mid-month) and see if they need any help with their mentoring. The supervisors report the progress of the mentors/mentees back at YW Presidency meetings. We have a new Presidency member, so when another Beehive comes in, she will become a supervisor in the program as well.

We have not announced this program to the entire YW group, because we didn’t want anyone to feel slighted (for not being selected as a mentor or not being mentored) or to have anyone who has been struggling feel as if they are a “project”. With new Beehives, we are now inviting the assigned mentor to attend the Personal Progress training meeting with her mentee. At that time, we explain to the new Beehive that so and so will be mentoring her, and that it is a new program that we are starting with all incoming Beehives.

We plan to add additional mentors as new Beehives come up from Primary. If (suitable) new mentors are not available, we may add 2 mentees to some mentors if needed.

Here is a break-down of the basics of our Personal Progress Mentoring Program:

MENTORS: If you have YW who have completed the Personal Progress program and are capable/mature of mentoring (hopefully they are, but that isn’t always the case), that is ideal. Girls who have completed Personal Progress may use their mentoring hours toward earning their honor bee charm. We also selected 2 girls to be mentors who have not completed Personal Progress, but are self-starters and are working steadily on the program. The main things I would suggest looking for in a mentor are maturity, responsibility, understanding of the program, patience, and kindness. Mentors who have not completed their own Personal Progress program do not earn hours toward their honor bee, but may be able to use their service toward Personal Progress Value Experiences or a Value Project.
MENTEES: In our situation, only Beehives are currently being mentored, but any girl who needs help/support could be mentored. I would suggest having older girls mentoring younger girls if at all possible, to help avoid awkwardness. We plan to add all incoming Beehives to the mentoring program. We prayerfully select which mentees to match up with which mentors.
SUPERVISORS: Members of the YW Presidency who are assigned to check in with certain mentors and get a monthly report (similar to a Visiting Teaching Supervisor). We have one Presidency member assigned to one mentor, but you could also have one person in charge of checking with all the mentors (such as the YW Secretary). It is also helpful to make reminders mid-month, in case the mentor forgets to check in with her mentee.
We hope that using this peer-mentoring system to support and encourage new Beehives to do Personal Progress will help to emphasize the importance of the program and encourage a strong class with testimonies that will eventually be able to lead and mentor young women themselves.

While this solution might not work in every branch/ward, we have been doing this for several months and it has been FANTASTIC! It is another opportunity for these mentor girls to learn the skills they will need to serve in the church and community as adults. As we continue to raise the bar for our missionaries, lets raise the bar in preparing future missionaries (and future parents, future leaders, etc)!

*We normally schedule this meeting with every new Beehive, one or both parents, and the Presidency member over the Beehive class within a week or two of the new Beehive entering the YW Program. They go over the program and answer questions, etc. This had not been done in a while because of the tragic and unexpected loss of one of our Presidency members, but we are getting caught up with this now.

**Please also note that the mentors we selected were given this responsibility as an assignment, not a calling.