We had a great combined YM/YW activity last month, and it was such a hit with the youth, I thought I’d pass it along. (This idea came from husband & wife team, Kellie & Brian Dillman of the Woods Cross 2nd Ward, in Woods Cross, UT.)
We thought we would plan a surprise activity for all of the youth. We did not tell them ahead of time what to expect. We simply told them to come at the usual time on Wednesday. Below is the breakdown of the activity, as well as assignments made. It all went very smoothly and was better than we could have even imagined.
“The Language of the Spirit”
When the youth arrived, they had to check in and receive a tag. Each tag was marked with one of five colors, which determined the group they were to be put in. (Also, we wrote their names on their tags as they checked in. This was to prevent them from switching groups because we wanted to have a mixed range of ages in each group.)
We had 5 special guests that could each speak a language other than English. (Our speakers spoke Italian, Spanish, German, Cambodian, and Portuguese.) Each guest speaker was assigned a room, and on the outside of each door we taped up a colored piece of paper. (These colors coordinated with the colors we used on the name tags.)
We instructed the youth to break up into their groups and find the room with their color, where they would be spending the next 10 minutes. The guest speakers were previously advised that once they entered their assigned room, they were not to speak any English. They were not allowed to clue to youth in on what was going to happen, either. The speakers then got to present a 10 minute lesson or activity of their choosing which was done in the other language. (Examples of 10-minute lessons: One speaker tried to teach a game; another was simply trying to ask each one questions about themselves to try to get to know them. Another had a local map and was trying to ask how to get somewhere. You get the idea…)
The youth were trying to figure out what was going on. They would ask the speakers questions, but the speakers could only answer in the other language.
A time keeper (leader) walked around and knocked on each door signaling when there were only two minutes left. After the two minutes all of the groups came back together in one large room. Sister Dillman called up each group, one at a time, and asked the youth their version of what happened. Then she asked the group how they felt when they couldn’t understand the instructor. After each youth group had a chance to share their experience, she allowed each instructor to explain what it was they were trying to teach, and how frustrated they were that no one understood them.
Brother Dillman then tied in a lesson on being in tune and learning to hear the language of the spirit. He reiterated concerns of our Stake President at a recent conference: In a day in which we have cell phones, video games, and ipods, we are constantly surrounded by outside noise. Are our youth taking a “time out” from the noise, enough so to hear the promptings of the spirit? The Stake President had encouraged the youth to limit their use of such things like iPods and cell phones, to be able to hear the voice of the spirit more often. Sister Dillman followed by bearing a beautiful testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. Her testimony was so powerful that all in attendance could feel the presence of the spirit.
What had started out as a fun evening, ended on a spiritual high. Many of the youth were touched by the evening, and especially Sister Dillman’s testimony.
Afterwards, we served them banana splits, of course.