Amy Heaton Bailey lives in the Phoenix, Arizona area and works as a crafter, substitute released-time seminary teacher and ward Young Women president.
“Love the young women!”
“Communicate with parents!”
“Don’t forget the stake activities!”
“Camp is in four months!”
“Let the youth lead! “
These are just a few of the things shouted by others, or in your own head, at any given time when you are the ward young women president…and it feels DAUNTING! Everything feels so important, and they are all interconnected. Drop the ball in one area and everything comes tumbling down.
The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t about activities, meetings, or calendars; even though these are important aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Gospel is about people, individuals, “The One”.
Planning Meetings Focused on the One
Presidency meetings can be overrun with planning activities and calendaring. It is easy for these details to take precedence when we should instead be considering specific needs of specific young women. Thus, discovering ways to spend the majority of the time on the young women takes some thinking outside of the box. Here are a few ideas where a text or email could be used to:
- Help plan how to guide a young woman on how to run a class presidency meeting
- Work out details of activities
- Calendaring future activities
As a ward Young Women presidency, we need to be considering the circumstances and needs of each individual young woman and plan how to help, support, and encourage them. By having some pre and post meeting texts or emails, we can keep the focus on the young women.
Where to Begin
I moved into a new ward during the Covid-19 shutdown. Within a few months, I was called to serve as the Young Women president. Even as a second-time Young Women president, I felt at a complete loss. I didn’t know the young women or their families and they didn’t know me. It would be six months before I even saw some of their faces. I had no idea where to begin.
An Individual-Focused Agenda
Shortly after receiving my new calling, the General Young Women and Young Men presidencies hosted an area leadership training. They asked us to meet weekly with our presidencies. They invited us to encourage our class presidencies to do the same. We reviewed the ‘Help for Presidencies’ section found on churchofjesuschrist.org and used the sample presidency agenda.
I must confess, I didn’t love it. There wasn’t enough room to make notes and add details. So, I used it as a guide to create my own. See the modified agenda:
Young Women Presidency Meeting Agenda (PDF)
Here are some key points to consider including on an agenda while striving to minister to each young woman:
- Whether they attend or not, list the name of each young woman (Modified Agenda: “Ministering to Our Young Women”)
- Leave space to make notes about her life and needs
- Include names of non-baptized young women working with the missionaries that attend meetings and activities
- Follow up to include ward council, Sunday classes and activities
- Space for urgent bullet points (Modified Agenda: “For Your Information”)
- Review the calendar to include Sunday classes, activities, camp and stake activities
- Space for discussion on the needs of the young women leaders
By discussing our young women first, we kept them as our focus and invited the Spirit to deliver revelation regarding their needs throughout the rest of the meeting. Although there is a section to include plans and assignments, that’s just for notes, it’s not the focus.
Another valuable benefit of listing each girl and their needs is to ensure that when a new presidency is called, less active or non-member girls don’t get lost during the transition.
The Power of a Post-Event Review
Once we are more proficient in planning ways to meet the needs of the girls, it’s beneficial to evaluate the effectiveness of these activities through reviewing those past activities.
I was on a community committee once that always held a post-mortem meeting. At the end of a project or event we would discuss how it went from start to finish and include notes for what we should do the same or different next time. This helped us evaluate our progress, improve, and avoid making the same mistakes.
On the modified Young Women agenda, this post event review is in the “follow up” section. We include any information from other meetings such as ward council and stake leadership meetings. We discuss the previous Sunday lessons and activities. This is especially helpful as we are teaching our young women how to lead. For example, if we have overlooked a training detail that should be addressed, this gives us a place to make notes and correct the error
The Benefit of Reviewing the Calendar
As we move on in our meeting to “calendar review” we start making plans/assignments of Sunday classes. We record which young women and leaders the class presidencies has assigned to lead those discussions.
We calendar activities and the secretary schedules the building as needed. We always include future events that we are working toward such as camp. This is also when we talk about any assignments our ward has for stake activities.
Self-Care of Our Presidency
Our last section is “Leader Needs and Support.” Several of our young women leaders travel for work or family so we keep a list of when someone is away, and we may need help to maintain two-deep leadership for their classes and activities. This is also an area to keep track of calling changes that may be needed. We also use this section to support each other. Recently, one of our leaders had a baby and we were able to provide meals for her.
Effective Use of Time and Energy
We upload the agenda into an online doc sharing service like OneDrive or Google. We can add to the agenda anytime during the week. On the off weeks we can do quick email or text message meetings where we are working off the same agenda.
By keeping the information current, we can do “Hallway Huddle-up” meetings on Sundays or after activities to follow up on details or make changes and reminders as needed. We have taught our class presidencies to use this simple agenda as well. We have made adjustments leaving more room for activity planning based on the service and activity planner found under ‘Help for Presidencies.”
By using this agenda, we have been able to hold 30–60-minute meetings twice a month and stay on top of all the details required to serve, teach and bless the young women of our ward.