James Olson lives in, BC, Canada. Since returning to Canada with his family after 15 years spread between Alberta, Utah, and Arizona, he has been serving exclusively with the youth as a Young Men’s President and then as a counsellor in the bishopric for past few years. He loves working with the youth, especially now that three of their five kids at home are in the youth program. Simply put, working with the youth makes him happy despite the fact that he is not particularly high energy or cool. In the bishopric, he gets to serve with one of his best buddies from his youth, so they get to pick-up where we left off hanging out on Tuesday nights many moons ago. He is a Realtor but being a husband to Cena and dad to Hannah, Emily, Lee, Myra, T-Gibb, and Austin (who is older and out of the house) is what he brags about the most.

Are you looking for creative ways to inspire and educate your youth during these ever-changing times?  Are you willing to use some new approaches that we’ve tapped into during the pandemic? Then continue reading a great idea shared by James in our Leading Saints Helpers Facebook group that spun off additional creative and inspiring ideas to teach and inspire our youth.

Enter James and friends…

Now that we have discovered creative ways to use zoom or other live online resources, let’s continue to take advantage of their benefits as we return to in person activities and classes. I thought I would share a recent education night we did with our youth because this format works quite well in the zoom environment.


A few years ago, we started a series of education nights for the youth (ages 11-18) including a career night, a physical and mental health night, personal finance night, and education topics night.

In the zoom age, we use breakout rooms for presentations. We have three 20-minute slots for the night, which is just enough time for a youth to dip their toe into a topic and perhaps get a little inspired to learn more.

This has been an unexpected benefit of the pandemic is we have all begun to think outside of the box more. Thus, we can book people from all over, including one of my old mission compadres. This is also an awesome vehicle for invite friends/neighbors/strangers to “come and help”. We invited youth from several wards. Below is a copy of the agenda we used for our most recent education night. Feel free to use and improve upon the idea.

A Unique Twist on Teaching the Word of Wisdom

Up next for our youth is a “mocktail night” over zoom. Don’t judge us – we are trying to do weekly online activities and keep it fresh. This will include a discussion on the Word of Wisdom.

Below are some great comments from other Leading Saint Helper followers related to the word of wisdom theme.

Pictionary and Discussion

Sharon  – Our Ward recently did a zoom word of wisdom activity where they played Pictionary using the white board. The leader private messaged them to draw specific things related to the word of wisdom. After the boys guessed what was drawn, they then talked about that item in relation to the word of wisdom. We had material from For the Strength of Youth, Section 89 and the Aug 2019 New Era (that covered vaping, coffee, tea & marijuana).

What About the “Dos”

Lindsay – One thing I would do if it were me is make sure to include the diet recommendations. We all just gloss over those. We tend to focus on the drinks and smoking. It’s way more than that. Everyone who eats a lot of meat or hates vegetables ignores those parts. Personally I would also love to see some history of how it came to be (context of why it came up?) as well as how it has changed over time. Also leave some time for things like medical marijuana, abuse of Rx drugs, how caffeinated sodas mistakenly got included in the past, etc. How it’s about taking care of our bodies, not just a list of questions to pass on the recommend interview.

Kim  – Maybe talk about what comes up in conversations about the word of wisdom. Like energy drinks vs “hot drinks” (hot chocolate?). Like eating meat sparingly and should we use other things sparingly that are not in the actual word of wisdom written words. Maybe do an activity where you do a mock “update” of the word of wisdom for 2021…..what would you include? What would you say about medical marijuana? What does the church think or say about it. What would you say about energy drinks or medication? Would you include anything about electronics and usage? Do they belong in the word of wisdom for 2021?

Other Virtual Activity Ideas

This was just a “taste” of the great insights and caring found in the Leading Saints Helpers Group. If you’d like additional virtual ideas, feel free to check out some others shared in the helpers’ group by Grady.

Thank You to Our “Helpers”

A quick shout out to all of our “Helpers” at Leading Saints who are willing to share their time, talents and great ideas in helping us move forward the work of the Kingdom. Go check out the group and see what else may be helpful for your part of the vineyard.

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