I have been released as the Activity Chairperson. However, I plan to keep this blog "open" for those who would like to search our past activities. Also, I will try to post pictures and information for activities our ward continues to do, especially if it is something unique~! Happy Planning!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Journey to the Savior: Faith Walk

If you've ever had the opportunity to attend an LDS Girl's Camp, you may have enjoyed a Faith Walk.  I hadn't even participated in a Faith Walk until I went back to camp as an adult leader.  The premise is that the girls are led in the evening time to various "stations" to meet with someone who will retell or share a faith-promoting story or experience.

To make the biggest impact, the girls are instructed beforehand, there is to be no talking during their walk.  Additionally, only a handful of leaders or girls are given a lantern to carry.  You want to make sure there is enough light to be safe, but dark enough to avoid distractions.  Often times, our faith walks began at dusk.

Lanterns (like pictured above) may also be strategically placed along the walk to assist those on the journey. You could also make something like this ahead of time for the leaders to carry, or if preferred, one for each girl.

Remember, the idea is to create a spiritual ambiance, not a spooky one!

After the first year of participating in a faith walk, I found myself being called as the camp director for the next summer.  I definitely wanted to have the girls participate in something like that again, although a quick search in google left me hard-pressed for new ideas for a Faith Walk.  (In the one we did, it was meeting "Women of Value", aka characters of women in history who represented each value, i.e., Joan of Arc, Sacajawea, etc.)   

I found I was left to my own devices, and after praying at great lengths, felt I needed to provide an opportunity for the girls to get to know our Savior better.  As soon as the idea hit, the rest just came to me.  

Journey of the Savior is a faith walk in which the young women can meet those who knew the Savior and hear accounts of how He impacted their life.  The final scene they come upon is a reenactment of the Savior, during His final hours, praying in the garden of Gethsemane.  It was quite a sight to see, and all who were there were touched.

I'm pleased that over these past few years, my google searches have turned up more ideas for Faith Walks, as they seem to be catching on.  I wrote about our girls' experience on my personal blog, and I'm sure it was a Google search that has led others to send me messages requesting a copy of my Journey to the Savior Faith Walk.    

So, FINALLY, no more having to ask and wait. {{Click here to download Journey to the Savior pdf}}

Good luck!  Let me know how it goes!  :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Christmas in Bethlehem

This was an activity that was in the very early stages of planning when I got released. (Sorry it has taken me over 6 months to post!) While I do not have all of the details I will post what I do know as it was a huge success.

First of all, I will tell you that my Ward had done "Christmas in Bethlehem" about 5 years ago (Before I was called) and it was far too unorganized and far too much work. The feedback wasn't necessarily positive after that, so when I suggested it as a possibility to my committee, you can imagine the looks I received. If you have never heard of the concept of Christmas in Bethlehem, you may want to first read about it {{HERE}}.

I promised my committee that we would not be too elaborate and that keeping it simple would help to make it a success. They all agreed, especially because our budget was small.

Who: Everyone!

Objective: Fellowship, Build Testimony of Christ, Celebrate Christ's Birth

Budget: (I am not sure what their budget was as I was release nearly 11 months earlier.)

Flyer: We pretty much used the same verbiage as was found at the link above. Invitations were rolled up into scrolls and tied with small twine.

Set-Up: The Relief Society Activity Committee helped the Ward Activity Chairperson in getting all of the assignments made. Starting the 1st Sunday in November, the sign-up sheets were circulated through. Unlike many wards, we did not ask classes or quorums to run a booth. (The downfall of the prior attempt 5 years earlier.) We wanted families to be able to enjoy the evening together and didn't want unattended children running all over the place. There were sign-up sheets asking families to run a booth (I think we had about 8-9 booth). We had sign-up sheets for those who could donate canopies for booths. And there were sign-up sheets to ask people to bring the following food items: Breads/rolls. Cookies. Cheese Cubes. Black Olives. Cut-Up fruit.

Special Instructions: As each family arrived, they were asked to sign the Census. (Husbands of the Activity Committee were dressed like roman soldiers.) The soldiers gave each member a small bag containing coins. (12 pennies per bag. This was enough to get their food and then a few more items.) We were then all guided to the chapel. There we sang a Christmas Carol and the activity chairperson explained how the marketplace worked. The overflow area was set up with a little pathway (cardboard "walls" and battery operated candles in paper sacks) leading to the gym. They gave about 30 minutes for people to "shop" and eat before they were invited to be seated and watch the reenactment of the nativity.

We have a lady in our ward who has all of the props and costumes for the nativity. She created these years ago for her children and extended family. Every other year we ask her to run that part of our Christmas program. She loves it. She gets all of the actors organized and rehearses with them. There are places in the nativity program for the rest of us to sing a verse of a Carol. We love it too, as it takes added pressure from the committee!

Turn-Out: We had several people attend (I counted close to 100) and everyone had a wonderful time. I think the pictures tell the best story, so without further adieu...

The committee basically flattened a ton of cardboard boxes and using really fat black permanent markers turned them into "buildings". They were cut, shaped and then taped together and set along the outskirts of the room.

Here is the Water "Well". The Base is actually a plastic tub (Sitting on a step to make it taller), filled with ice and then water bottles, then covered with thick brown paper and the rim is a spray painted pool noodle. The wooden frame helped to keep everything in place and was cute. 1 Bench was brought from home, while the other three were confiscated from the Primary, YW, & Relief Society rooms.
Booths were created out of modern-day canopies. Sheets were hung in between to create "walls". The insides were lined with Christmas White Lights and other things such as baskets. Poster boards were used for the sign shops.
At David's Toy Shop we were "selling" little dreidels. The Committee purchased these online in bulk. There were other toys and trinkets that were in the activity closet from activities past, so we thought it would be a good idea to "sell" those too.
The Bishop's winery had sparkling Grape Juice. (Grape Juice & 7-Up in punch bowls)
The fruit market contained grapes, orange slices, banana halves, pineapple slices and apple slices, all donated by members (via the sign-up sheets).
Ruth's Bakery contained rolls & honey along with several types of cookies and bars brought by the members (via the sign-up sheets).
The Gift of the Magi was selling Gold (chocolate gold coin), Frankincense, and Myrrh. I don't remember was the Frankincense was, but 1 token got you all 3 and the Myrrh meant you got to use some of the lotion.
Potiphar's Pita hut "sold" pita wedges and toppings such as Hummus, Cream Cheese and Honey. The Activity Committee supplied the food items for this hut.
Benjamin's Meat & Deli was offering grilled chicken strips (provided by the committee) and "Deli Kabobs" of cheese cubes and black olives (provided by members via the sign-up sheet).
Rachel's Rentals contained a basket full of blankets for those who did not bring one to sit on.
One of the members brought these benches from home. The "actors" for the Nativity program sat here until it was their turn to go on stage.
The back corner of the gym was set up with tables. It was announced ahead of time that these were for the elderly or for those who could not sit of the floor.
The tables were decorated with simple burlap cloths and mini lanterns.
This was taken after it the marketplace opened for business.
During the Nativity.

The lady who organizes this for us uses all Primary Children and no adults for this. When most of the kids are playing a part, it's easier to keep them from running around. :)

That is a brief overview from our night in Bethlehem. I hope it inspires something for you! Good Luck!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Outdoor Movie Night

Who: Everyone!

Objective: Mingle, Fellowship, entertainment, good low-pressure activity to invite non-member friends too!

Budget: $10 for popcorn


Set-Up: A neighbor has a huge backyard with some out buildings and granted us the request to host our activity. The new activity chairperson donated the popcorn from her food storage as she had quite a bit of it.

A white sheet was hung in front of a garage door to one of the out-buildings and that became the "movie screen". A member of the ward had an LCD projector that was then hooked up to a laptop. A large speaker was also hooked up to the laptop and the DVD was played from the laptop.

Popcorn was popped ahead of time and placed in large bowls with little scoops. Brown paper lunch sacks were set out so movie-goers could fill up their own popcorn. Ice water was also provided.

Special Instructions: We were invited to arrive no earlier than 8pm to set up our chairs and blankets while we could still see :) It was announced the movie would start at dusk, around 9pm. The popcorn would be provided, but we could bring other treats from home if we wanted.

The selected movie was one that had been previewed at another local outdoor movie night. It was a local independent film and therefore we were able to obtain permission ahead of time to show the movie to a non-profit church group. Many places are not particular with this, so long as you are not making money off of the event. It also helped that the movie was being shown at someone's residence as it then fell into the category of "home viewing".

Crayons were set out along with the popcorn bags, so before dusk the kids colored on their bags and wrote their names on them. This helped to keep them entertained. The adults enjoyed sitting and visiting with each other.

Also, in the activity closet were found some 3-legged-race bands from a ward camp-out several years ago. So, while waiting for the sun to set, several joined in the 3-legged-race. They had a lot of fun.

Turn-Out: There were 46 people in attendance. And because the popcorn was donated and we already had a supply of paper sacks in the closet, we ended up spending $0 on the activity.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mom & Me night

Who: All of the ladies and girls of the Ward

Objective: Mingle, fellowship, fun

Budget: $0, everyone brought treats, and I donated about $5 worth of craft supplies


Set-Up: We set up chairs for the women to sit and talk. We also set up the TV/DVD player and played The Princess Frog. We had 2 tables for snacks and water, as well as 2 tables for crafts.

Special Instructions: The crafts were simple. For the first craft we made paper flowers. I bought 3 packages of cupcake liners (.96 each), and donated some brads from my scrapbook supplies. We had plenty of straws in our supply closet, left over from an activity about 3 years ago in which they had rootbeer floats. I brought my tiny scrapbook hole punch, and the girls punched 1 hole near the top of the straw, and then a hole in the middle of each cupcake liner they wanted to use, and used the brad to secure them. We also had child scissors and crayons so they could fashion the liners to look like flower petals. Here was my inspiration:

We also made Tissue Paper butterflies. I donated tissue paper and I bought a pack of white chenille stems (50 for .89).
The best thing about the crafts is I only had to make one of each ahead of time, and set them out as an example. They were so self explanatory, that I didn't need to oversee them. Big sisters helped little sisters, and they all seem to have fun!

Turn-Out: Counting all moms and girls, we had a total of 38 come. It was perfect.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Game Show Night & Dessert Auction

Who: All. Family
Objective:Mix, Mingle, Raise Money for YW Camp
Budget: $75, actual spent: $65

Set-Up: We had the stage set up for the game show and borrowed buzzers from a lady in the ward who uses them for school competitions.

Special Instructions:
We served a simple dinner of Sloppy Joe's and chips with water to drink. I also set up a PB & J station with a couple loaves of bread, as the bread was on sale for .98/loaf. I grabbed the PB & J from my food storage and voila! We didn't want to serve up a big meal, because we knew that "full" people wouldn't feel like bidding on dessert items.

The Young Women brought in single portions for the "Buy It Now" Bake Sale Table. Items were either 25 or 50 cents. This kept making change a simple task. They brought cupcakes, rice krispy treats, brownies, bars, etc. Some of the YW and many members of the Ward brought in other yummy desserts to be auctioned off.

First we started with the dinner at 6:30pm.

At 7pm, the bishopric was ushered on staged. We played 3 rounds of "Stump the Bishopric". We had a panel of judges and a score keeper as well. 10 audience members came up for each round. They held up an item they had brought from home and the challenge to the bishopric was to see which one of them could be the first to somehow relate that item to the gospel. i.e., a light bulb is like the gospel because it sheds light on a lot of topics and can help light our way, etc. If the panel was pleased with the answer, they got the point, etc.

At 7:15pm, we ended the game and started the dessert auction. We had a member of the ward who is known for his un-shy antics and off-the-cuff humor be our auctioneer. He had the audience laughing. Our ward has gotten much smaller over the past two years, so I was really worried that we wouldn't raise very much money. I have heard of huge family wards raising in excess of $1,000 at their dessert auctions. We had about 30 dessert items to auction and brought in, with the bake sale table, $622.25. For our first year doing this (in over 5 years) I think this was a success. We plan to make it an annual event, although I think we will do just the dinner and auction next time and keep it simple.

We were finished with the entire activity by 8pm.

We had about 65 people in attendance.

I was so busy with the auction items that I forgot to take any pictures. However, we had some really awesome cakes, including "The Golden Plates" and some fun dessert ideas, like caramel corn in a cute Americana Tin.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Halloween Ball

Who: All Adults
Objective: Mingle, have fun, fellowship, missionary
Budget: $25


Set-Up: We basically had each member of the committee bring whatever Halloween decorations they had, and we made the room look really cute.

Special Instructions: We had an area on the stage for picture taking. A member of our bishopric is in a band, and he was able to talk his band in coming to play for free, so always a plus! So that we wouldn't end up with all sugary treats, I asked the committee members to bring items such as fruit/veggie trays, cheeses, cocktail meatballs, etc. It worked out great, and they were happy to do it. One of the gals on our committee made some "certificate" awards on her computer, and she and her hubby nominated people at the end of the night for best costumes. She also had found some little Halloween trinkets at the dollar store to give away for the prizes.

Turn-Out: After the wards split and were realigned, our number of elderly increased while our number of younger couples decreased. So, we invited the 6th ward to join us. We had a great time and about 60 people came.

We came in under budget, as the cost for the root beer extract, sugar and dry ice was $10; the printing of the pictures were $7, and the prizes were $5.

Here are a few pics of some of the costumes...

Hillbilly Harvest Hoedown & Chili Cookoff!

Who: All ages
Objective: Mingle, Fellowship, cooking skills, etc.
Budget: $20, for oyster crackers ("chicken feed") and butter

Set-Up: We decorated the tables with mason jars and old soup cans that were filled with sunflowers. We had some country style decor set up on the stage as well. (Tasteful) Redneck jokes were blown up onto poster boards and tacked up to the walls around the room.

Special Instructions: We had sign-ups ahead of time. People could either sign up to enter chili in the cook-off, bring rolls, or something for the "Roadkill Dessert Bar".

Turn-Out: We had about 65 people come.

We had little 3 oz cups set out so people could sample the chili as they went through the line. Then they could fill their bowl up with the one they wanted to eat. There were plenty of rolls, and our Roadkill dessert bar was a hoot. I had little place cards and pens so they could write down the name of their "roadkill dessert". We had "tire tread", "runned-over raccoon", "squashed frogs", and I can't remember all of them.

We had each crockpot of soup labeled with numbers, and there were empty mason jars lined up across the stage, that had corresponding numbers. When they came through the line to get their chili, they were also given a black bean. Then, they cast their vote for the best chili by placing their black bean in the corresponding jar. It was a quick and easy way to "visually" judge who had the best chili. It also was cute as it went along with our theme.

We had ice water in a metal tub that was labeled "waterin hole" and people could help themselves to water. The oyster crackers were served in a cardboard box (lined with plastic) and marked "Chicken Feed" in Hillbilly Handwriting.

Once everyone got through the line, we had a girl in our ward do some fiddling for us. She was excited to do it and had been practising for weeks. She played about 4 or 5 numbers and the audience loved it. Then we had a girl from the activity committee teach an easy line dance and practically everyone joined in.

Finally, we awarded a few prizes for the chili as well as for the best roadkill dessert, and we also gave an award for the best-dressed hillbilly.

We had "redneck" teeth from walmart for the outfit, and for the food winners we had a dish towel with chili peppers on them.

Everyone loved it and seemed to have a great time! Here are a few pics from my camera phone...