Personal Response by Natalie
Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) have quite a few activities for youth. All activities sponsored by the Mormon Church are designed to provide youth with a fellowshipping base, or friends who are upholding the values of the Church. Activities are also fashioned to encourage maturity and self-reliance, increase testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and teach skills while providing wholesome fun. All youth ages 12-18 belong to either of the Young Women or Young Men organizations. On Sundays during the three-hour block of meetings, youth meet for about an hour in their respective classes. There they are taught lessons about the scriptures and gospel. Within each of the organizations, there are three sub groups. For example, in the Young Women organization, 12- and 13-year-old young women meet in what is called the Beehive class, 14- and 15-year-old young women meet in the Mia Maid class, and 16- and 17-year-old young women meet in the Laurel class. Once young women are 18, they attend Relief Society with the adult women in the ward. Similarly, in the Young Men organization young men ages 12 and 13 attend the deacons’ quorum, ages 14 and 15 attend the teachers’ quorum, and ages 16 and 17 attend the priests’ quorum. Once a young man is 18, he is typically ordained to be an elder and will attend the elders quorum.Once a week on a weekday evening, all the youth in the ward meet for about an hour or hour and a half for what is commonly called Mutual. Sometimes the girls and guys have separate activities, and sometimes they are combined. Mutual usually consists of an opening exercise (where everyone meets together at the beginning and has an opening song and prayer), a simple lesson, and an activity. Young Women often spend the activity time working on Personal Progress (see explanation of personal progress by clicking here) and young men often spend the activity time working on Scout merit badges or Duty to God. Examples of activities I have been a part of with the young women include learning how to crochet, tying quilts for newborn babies, going on a hike, learning how to cook, and playing board games. Examples of some activities that I have seen the young men do have been going on hikes, putting up American flags around the ward for holidays, and learning camping skills. About once a month the young men and young women usually have an activity together. Sometimes this activity is a service activity such as a canned food drive or making food for the local homeless shelter, and sometimes it is just something fun like going sledding or playing dodgeball.
Mormon youth also get together a lot to have dances. Depending on the particular ward or stake, some youth have dances a couple times a year and some have them almost every month. Usually these dances will include the youth from all the wards in the stake (commonly called stake dances) and sometimes even include multiple stakes. Usually, youth 14 and older can attend the dances. The dances are a lot of fun. There is usually a DJ playing upbeat, clean music, and appropriate dress standards are enforced at the dances to keep a fun, uplifting atmosphere.
During the summer, Mormon youth have a few extra fun activities. The Young Women attend a week of what is called girls’ camp. They usually go to a campground nearby. They spend the week getting to know each other, playing games and hiking, canoeing, etc., as well as having spiritual lessons and studying the gospel together. Girls’ camp is always lots of fun! The young men in the ward also go on a camping trip each summer, either to a scout camp or a local campground. They work on scouting merit badges, have fun activities, and study the gospel. In addition to these camping trips, the youth in a ward will usually have a large combined activity (young men and young women) and have a 2- to 3-day youth conference. Sometimes a youth conference activity is camping, sometimes it’s staying at college dorms, sometimes everyone just stays at home and participates in special activities during the day. Youth conference usually consists of service projects, fun activities such as sports, games, hikes, etc., as well as lessons and youth speakers.
I feel so blessed to have grown up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) and to have participated in these great youth programs. I loved being surrounded by so many people my age who shared my beliefs and had high standards. It was great to be able to attend activities that I knew would be clean and uplifting.