VALUE IMMERSION

VALUE IMMERSION

We read the article that was posted here not to long ago and used the last part of it to base your YWIE on.  It is as follows…

This information was given by Sister Ann Seamons, who served on the YW General Board for nine years and served with Sister Ardeth G. Kapp.  She was also one the ten women involved in the creation of the values.

“When Elaine Cannon was released and Sister Kapp was put in as General President of the Young Women, she didn’t know what the Lord wanted her to do.  She spent months on her knees begging for direction, many, many, hours agonizing and pleading for guidance.  It was two months before she had counselors and five months before the board was in place.  Shortly thereafter, they were asked to come to an all day retreat.  They were to come fasting, bring their scriptures, and choose their favorite scripture to share,  They were told to plan on being there eight or nine hours.

There were ten women present from all walks of life.  Single, married, younger, older, no children, lots of children, working women, stay-at-home moms.  They shared their scriptures.  Three of the ten had the same scripture.  (D&C l23:ll-l7)  Then they had an open discussion. After nine hours of praying, discussing, and scripture reading, on the board they had:

Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity

They sat and stared and wept as it was witnessed to each of them, individually and collectively, “This is what my young women need to come home to me.  This is what will help them live my teachings and keep their covenants.”  These seven “things” didn’t have a name.  They weren’t called values until later.  There was some discussion about “obedience” and “honesty” being included in the list.  Each of the seven board members took the next six months and totally researched one of the values.  They searched for every scripture, talk and article on the subject.

Over the course of the next nine months, piece by piece, the personal progress program was developed.  It was made known to the board that it was to replace the existing program.

Sister Kapp was invited to the Priesthood Executive Council meeting with all  of the general authorities.  It was the first time in the history of the church that a woman was invited.  (They now attend once a month).

Sister Kapp presented the values to the First Presidency.  She said the first three values have to do with their identity.  The next four, their direction. They are in order.  The first value is the same as the first principle of the gospel, “Faith”.  You can’t do anything in this life if you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ and His plan.  All that we do is predicated on faith in the Savior.  Once you understand that, you can better comprehend “Divine Nature”, that you really are a child of God. Then you are prepared to grasp your “Individual Worth”  and once you have your identity, you are ready to receive direction.  You are prepared to cultivate “Knowledge”.  The more you know, the more “Accountable” you are for every “Choice” you make.  Then you are ready to nurture others, build the kingdom, and bless the lives of others through “Good Works”.  Finally, when you live what you know, you have “Integrity”.

I asked what the reaction of the First Presidency was.  She said, “They were thrilled!”.

Divine direction was received in pieces.  During the many months that the work was being done on the Personal progress program, the general board would send the information to the Correlation Committee of the church for approval.  It was returned to them many times for revisions. They wrote and rewrote….every single word of the Personal Progress Book has been approved. The values were introduced at the first satellite broadcast for young women in l984.” 

Another point Sister Allred made and explained so well was the Young Women in Excellence program.  She said, “The Young Women in Excellence program is an incredible tool. At the beginning of the year, each young woman should choose a value and immerse herself in it. The question should not be, “What do I want to do?” but “What do I want to become?”   Then if she chooses faith, she’ll study faith, she’ll pray about faith, she will collect stories and articles about faith, maybe she’ll write poetry about faith, she may go interview the Stake President about Faith, she’ll get a computer printout of every scripture that has the word faith in it, and by the end of the year, she will have become a young woman of EXCELLENT faith. 

Then she will complete a project, to express her understanding of the value she has chosen.  The focus won’t be the project. The focus is the Value. The project is only a symbol of what she has “become”.

I have been serving in this position now for almost three years and I haven’t found a greater tool in training ward leaders and teaching young women and their parents the true purpose of Personal Progress and how inspired the program is! 

When I spoke to Sister Allred, asking for permission, she e-mailed me a message that I’d also like to share with you.  This is a portion of that message:

“Before I was called as president in my ward, I served as a counselor in our stake.  We visited all ten ward’s YWIE programs.  Each time I went, I would come home and think, “Well, that was a lovely talent show, but how does what I just saw fit in with what the handbook says?”  I knew there was more.  I knew that there was something missing.

 The “Value Immersion”  Concept came to me exactly as Sister Seamons described the value story.  After much agonizing, pleading, and begging for direction.  It came in pieces.  The Holy Ghost wrote that talk.  Not me.  … I was just the instrument.  I had girls who were ready for meat.  They had been fed milk long enough.  The ones who caught the vision experienced unbelievable growth.  It still took awhile for the rest to catch on.  But by my last YWIE program, I walked through the cultural hall and wept.  Their projects were beautiful and simple and so meaningful..”

I too have felt what Sister Allred has expressed.  I want our young women to stretch and grow!!!!  I want them to have a greater understanding of what Heavenly Father expects of them.  I want them to “become” true daughters of God in every sense of the word.  We are still working on this in our stake and I’m sure many of you are working towards this also.  I’m very grateful for women like Sister Kapp, Sister Seamons, and Sister Allred who lead the way for all of us through inspiration and I’m grateful to our Heavenly Father for giving us such a wonderful tool to work with.  Personal Progress is a something we can use for the rest of our lives!!!!”

So we decided instead of the girls focusing on the “project” that we would have each girl choose a value for the year.  We had a special YW’s night and presented the concept.  Each leader took a value and gave a summary and ideas of how to implement that value in your life. And then each leader ended her 5 minute talk with … “would you like to become a young woman of excellent___________” the blank signifies the values she was presenting.

We then gave the girls a form to fill out and had her choose the value she wanted to work on this year.  Our goal was to have each girl pass off all her experiences and project in the chosen value by YWIE.  We also made the girls books (cover in the value colour she chose).  They were really cute (I can post a picture if you want).  I used a method called Japanese stab binding to bind them.  Inside was the form she filled out and a place to list the stuff she put in her book and then a bunch of blank pages.  As she works on her value through the year she can then write thoughts or experiences on the blank pages.  We are reading the Book of Mormon as a YW group and have asked them to pick a page and write down all the scriptures that seem applicable to that value.  Before girls camp we had the girls choose a goal that was applicable to her value and try and accomplish it at girls camp.  Such as a girl having “good works” might make the goal to write a special note to someone she didn’t know every day.  Or one girl volunteered every day in the kitchen helping with cooking.  They then wrote in the book the goal and how the accomplished it and how they felt about it.  We asked them to tuck any talks, notes, handouts, ANYTHING that had to do with their value in their book (the books have elastic to help hold them together.

Each leader then was assigned 3-4 girls to be a value mentor over.  We made a work sheet for visits.  We first met with each of our girls and explained the program to make sure they understood what they were to do. We also talked about their Personal Progress and things they could do to work on it.  We also do a thing called a drive-by, where we let them know we will be dropping by their house like at 7 pm.  They come out and sit in the car and you interview them and see how they are doing (and even bring a treat). Then you can go to the next girls house and do the same thing.  It is quick and there are no distractions from your house or hers.
Anyways, when YWIE comes we are asking the girls not to focus on their project but what they learned about their value.  We are calling this “value immersion” and their project is an outward expression of what they have learned inside.  We want them to fully understand their value and them implement it in their lives.  So if a girl chooses faith and reads the Book of Mormon.  She might display a Book of Mormon “along with her value book we gave her” and then she will stand up and talk about what she learned about faith, what kind of difference it made in her life learning about it and how reading the Book of Mormon helped her understand the concept of faith.

Technically if we do this every year each girl should be able to do 6 different values before they leave YW’s.

We are very excited about this and hope that the girls we understand that YWIE is not a talent show but a chance to express something she has worked on and learned about the values and why it is or should be important in her life.