This year our youth group is having a youth conference devoted to family history. If you aren’t familiar with Latter-Day Saint folks, we are kinda big on doing genealogy and family history. And our youth especially, have been challenged by our leaders to actively participate in family history.
Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors…” Richard G. Scott
It is sometimes difficult to get the kids excited about family history. I thought I would share our youth family history activity in case you need ideas. (And if you aren’t LDS, but are interested in your ancestors, you can still take a gander.)
The mutual theme this year is from Doctrine & Covenants 4:
O’ ye that embark in the service of God, see that you serve Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength.”
I started thinking about the word EMBARK. What does it mean?
1. To get on a boat.
2. To begin a long journey
We don’t usually say we are embarking to the grocery store or school. We only embark when it is a journey that will take a long time, or will take much preparation.
One thing that we sometimes need before we embark is a passport. So, I created (with the help of the youth committee and other leaders) a passport for youth conference.
This passport is full of activities that the youth can complete and when they do, receive a stamp in their passport. These activities are designed to help teach the youth that family history is much more broad than we sometimes think, to let them actually get involved in family history. and to help them connect to their own ancestors.
A single punch on their passport will be their ticket to attend youth conference. But here’s the fun part- more stamps in their passports, means rewards at youth conference. We have left it up to the youth to decide their rewards. So far, we know that if we reach a certain number of punches we are going to have a nice dinner (like steak instead of hot dogs.) We will also be spending some time boating at youth conference as a reward and there is talk that the bishopric will be shaving their heads and jumping in the lake at midnight if they reach some enormous number.
And for the Beehives and Deacons who don’t get to go to Youth Conference, they will be able to participate with their own passports and set their own reward(s) that will take place at the same time as youth conference. (Think ice cream party)
Some examples of the activities in the passport are; “login to familysearch.org,” “upload a photo of an ancestor,” “interview a grandparent or other relative,” “index 10 names” and “create your own”
We kicked off and introduced the passports last Sunday. It was awesome! We talked about the word embark. Then we talked about passports and we talked about the format of youth conference. We assigned some of the youth to do one of the activities and share their experience with their peers. That was the really cool part. They all encouraged their friends to get into it and participate with all their “heart, might, mind and strength.” (And we didn’t even have to tell them to say that!)
We have lots of activities planned before youth conference to help teach the kids the “hows” and “whys” of family history. This includes attending Roots Tech, going to the Family History Discovery Lab and more.
In case you are wondering about the format of our actual youth conference, I’ll share our rough outline.
Wednesday Night- Kick off fireside and gear drop off.
Thursday- We are travelling to 3 temples one after another and performing baptisms on our way to the cabin we are staying at. What is really awesome is that one of the temples requires us to bring our own names. So the youth have to come up with them.
Friday- Day on the lake. (It totally makes sense, we are EMBARKING on boats.)
Saturday- Day of service. We haven’t nailed it down entirely yet, but we are probably going to be cleaning up a cemetery in a tiny, tiny town.
Sunday- We’ll be back home, but will have a special combined Sunday meeting to wrap up.
Throughout youth conference we will be having the youth share their passport experiences, stories they learned of their ancestors and their testimonies.
Here is a PDF version of the passport. Passport to Embark 2015
Print it front and back side to one page, then cut in half and fold.
Send me a message if you want the actual file, so you can modify it for your own use, and I’ll email it to you. I used Publisher to create it and unfortunately I can’t post a publisher file.
I really hope you can use this. I feel like it was inspired!