5 Things Adult Leaders can’t Rush, Hack or Fake

Last month, we talked a little bit about how leadership can’t be rushed or faked in my review of the Five Levels of Leadership.

Fake it ’til you make it is not always the best advice. Here are a few things, that you can’t rush, hack or fake.

Love. If you pretend to love them, they will see right through it. As you get to know them, it will happen naturally.

Building relationships with youth.  This will happen over time. You have to take the time to invest in them.

Your testimony or theirs. Their testimonies will develop in a way that it only can for them. We are all unique individuals who grow and develop in the gospel at a pace that is just right for us.

Learning from failure. There’s only one way this happens. You have to let them fail! I know it can be really hard, especially if the activity is going to completely flop because someone failed to complete an assignment. Let it happen. They will become more resilient because of it.

Their self-confidence. This grows in a way that is unique to each individual, just like a testimony. The best thing we can do is give our youth lots of opportunities to lead, learn from failure and try new things. They will learn from those experiences that they can handle it.


What Everyone Should Know About Teen Suicide Prevention

My Own Experience with Suicide

This is a topic I’ve always been concerned about, but have never felt well-prepared to handle. A few years ago, one of my former young women attempted suicide and her mom reached out to me for help. I didn’t do anything all that grand. I simply would take her for a day or part of the day here and there. That way her mom could get a break. I’ve continued to have opportunities to help people with mental health issues. A couple of months ago, I learned that I could be trained in mental health first aid. I signed up for a class, hoping I could find more ways to help people around me. I learned a great deal of helpful information. Some I will share in this post.

Know the Signs

Teenagers are an interesting group when it comes to mental health warning signs. They’re going through a lot of change and upheaval. So, as we talk about warning signs, it’s important to keep in mind that teenagers go through a lot of physical, mental, social and emotional changes. For example, it’s normal for teenagers to withdraw from their parents to spend more time with friends. Complete social withdrawal is not. Here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • seeking access to a means to commit suicide (weapons, pills, etc)
  • talking or writing about death, dying or suicide- this includes schoolwork, art and creative writing
  • expressing hopelessness, no reason for living, or no sense of purpose in life
  • having rage, anger or seeking revenge
  • acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities
  • feeling trapped
  • increasing alcohol or drug use
  • withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • dramatic mood changes (even from sad to happy)
  • sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep
  • anxiety or agitation
  • giving away prized possessions

That’s a lot of warning signs! As you keep those signs in mind, think about what normal behavior is for the person you’re concerned about. Then ask yourself if their behavior is interfering with any of the following:

  • school
  • relationships
  • doing things they used to enjoy

If it’s interfering with their normal lives, its a warning sign and it’s a good idea to ask them about it. It’s also good to recognize that you may see no distinguishable warning signs. Teenagers can be very impulsive.

You can also keep risk factors for suicide in mind also, a couple of important risk factors to know are: family history of suicide and being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities. Some wonder if suicide is genetic, we honestly don’t know.

You can read more about risk factors on the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Know How to Help

The instructors taught me a really great acronym to help me remember how to intervene when I think someone is having a mental health crisis. It’s the same regardless of suicidal feelings or type mental illness. Right now, I’ll stress the fact that I don’t diagnose. That’s left to the mental health professionals. My training is to be more like a “first-responder”. Medical first aid is meant to help someone until they can get professional help. Mental health first aid works the same way. Anyway, the acronym is ALGEE and here’s what it stands for.

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgementally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

I will cover this acronym in another post. For this post we only need to be concerned with the first letter- Assess for risk of suicide or harm.

Assess for Risk of Suicide or Harm

First, start by sharing that you’ve noticed some changes in them that you’re concerned about. Ask them if they’re okay or if there’s anything they want to tell you. Now, it’s really important to take this conversation one step further and directly ask them if they are thinking about committing suicide or killing themselves. As uncomfortable as it may feel for you, do not avoid using the word suicide. Talking about suicide will not put the idea in someone’s mind.

If they answer yes, the next step is to find out how serious or urgent things are. You’re going to try to determine whether or not they have a plan for committing suicide. You do that by asking these three questions:

  • Have you decided how you’re going to kill yourself?
  • Have you decided when you’re going to do it?
  • Have you taken any steps to get what you need to carry out your plan?

The stronger their planning is, the greater the risk. Is also important to know that a lack of a plan does not mean they are safe.

Now, there are a couple more questions to ask:

  • Have you been using alcohol or drugs?
  • Have you attempted suicide before?

At this point, your goal is to keep this person safe. You do not leave them alone. If you can’t stay with them, get someone who can.

Help them (and their parents) get professional help as soon as possible by taking them to the emergency room of a hospital, mental health clinic or a doctor’s office. There are also several suicide hotlines you can call if you’re not sure what to do (US only):

1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

1-800-TALK (8255)

1-800-799-4tty (4889) for hearing and speech impaired.

Know Your Resources

There are so many great resources out there to help with suicide awareness and prevention. I’m going to direct you toward a couple to get you started. Many of these sites have resource pages, too.

USA Mental Health First AidOffers classes in mental health first aid like the one I took. These courses are offered all over the United States.

Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition-Provides information on suicide intervention courses, support groups, gun safety, and information for those supporting someone who is struggling with suicidal feeling

A Request

The State of Utah has enlisted my help in getting a suicide prevention message to you. They’re asking gun owners to lock up their guns. Although guns do not cause suicide, guns and suicide are closely tied to each other. More than half of all suicides in the US are committed by firearms. Having guns and firearms in the home is a risk factor for suicide. Suicidal feelings can be temporary and can come on quickly. Preventing access to a means to commit suicide may be all it takes to save someone’s life.

If you’d like to know more about teen suicide prevention and guns, you can watch this video here.



Decisive: A Book Review

Decisive- A Book Review

This post contains affiliate links. For more details, see the disclosure at the bottom of my sidebar on the right. 


This book digs into the science and psychology of good and bad decision making. I chose this one for our challenge, this year, because leaders are always making decisions. We also help the youth we lead with their decisions too. The Heath brothers use the acronym WRAP to remember the different steps we can take to help us arrive at a good decision.
Widen your options
Reality-test your assumptions
Attain distance before deciding
Prepare to be wrong
Each of these steps is a chapter, with different techniques you can use for that step, plus several case studies to help you see what it looks like in real life.

Overall rating out of 5 stars

I give this one 4 stars. It may just be because I’m re-reading this, but it felt like it had more case studies than I needed or wanted to read.

Leadership Skill Lessons (5 out of 5 Stars)

As I mentioned earlier, leaders make a lot of decisions and some of them are tough. I really liked many of the strategies suggested in this book.
Find someone who’s solved your problem. Learning from someone who has been where you are can really help you put things in perspective.
Consider the opposite. With this one, you purposely seek out people who disagree with you and learn from their perspective.
Ooch. This is a funny word that means to implement only part of your decision or to make a small test run to try it out.
10/10/10 How will you feel about taking this action ten minutes after? 10 months after? 10 years after?

LDS Youth Leader Lessons

There are a couple takeaways from this that I have found very helpful when it comes to working with youth.
  1. Teenagers tend to make either/or decisions, which is as narrow as it gets when it comes to options. One thing that we can do for them is ask them to imagine one of those options is no longer available. Then, what would they do? This helps them to broaden their options.
  2. They shared a study that demonstrated that people are more likely to make a decision when they have enough options. Here’s what happened in their own words:

“One day, the store set up a sampling table with different kinds of jam, and customers loved it; another day, the store set up a table with 24 different kinds of jam, and it was even more popular than the first. The surprise came at the cash register. Customers who’d chosen among 6 jams where more likely to actually buy a jar of jam than customers who’d chosen among 24! It was fun to sample 24 flavors, it seems, but painful to pick among them. The choice was paralyzing.”

This is why when we plan activities, I always suggest 3-4 ideas when they get stuck. One idea is too narrow and they will simply make an either/or decision. A larger number can be too much to process and paralyze them. 

Now it’s your turn. Did you read Decisive? What stood out to you?


Bonus Post: 4 Ways to Use the #Hallelujah Easter Advent from Sugar Bee Crafts

If you’re visiting from Sugardoodle, thanks for clicking through! I’d like to thank you for coming by, by offering my resource library to you! It includes helps for young women leaders, like a scheduling template for planning camp and youth conference. Please fill out the form below to get it!

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I’m having so much fun with all of my Easter posts. I was only planning on sharing four of the printable kits from Sugardoodle, but I wanted to give you a little more.

Today’s kit comes from Mandy Beyeler of Sugar Bee Crafts. She put together an fun Easter advent that helps keep families focused on the Savior.

Easter Advent (1)

Here are four ways you can use this kit:

  1. Use it with your family as an Easter advent.
  2. Use it as a “library” of ideas to plan an Easter activity for youth.
  3. Put two or three together as kits and deliver them to some families as a service project.
  4. Use it in opening exercises for Mutual as an Easter countdown. You could start 4 weeks before and combine two activities at a time. You may have to adapt them a little to make them fit the time available.

[button font_size=”20″ color=”#8ef4de” text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_iwQhKjyFVORGkzT1ptbmhVYVE&usp=sharing” width=”” target=”_self”]Get the kit[/button]

What other ideas do you have for how you could use this kit? 

Want more Easter-related posts? Check out the #MyForeverFamily page!




2 Ideas for Easter-Related Youth Activities

If you’re visiting from Sugardoodle, thanks for clicking through! I’d like to thank you for coming by, by offering my resource library to you! It includes helps for young women leaders, like a scheduling template for planning camp and youth conference. Please fill out the form below to get it!

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I have a couple more printables to share with you. Both of them could be modified to be used as a youth activity.

2 Ideas for Easter-Related Youth Activities

French Toast Easter Bake and Scripture Scavenger Hunt

All good things involve food, in my opinion. And who doesn’t like French toast? This first idea and printable come from Collette Bomsta at My Computer is My Canvas.


This recipe comes with a twist! It’s also a scavenger hunt!


I see two ways you can use this as a youth activity.

  1. Do the scripture scavenger hunt and make the recipe. Then freeze it and bake it for another night for a breakfast for dinner activity.
  2. Do the scripture scavenger hunt, make the recipe and then deliver it to a family for a service project.

[button font_size=”20″ color=”#00b0c6″ text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_iwQhKjyFVOaEpTOFA3cmF3c0E” width=”” target=”_blank”]Get the Scavenger Hunt and Recipe[/button]

I would suggest pairing this with the next printable kit to make it even more special.

Easter Decoration Kit

This kit was designed by Bettijo Hirschi of Paging Supermom.


This kit includes enough decorations for 12 table settings and a banner that says, “He lives”.


My favorite part are the napkin rings. Each one has a scripture on it that tells the Easter story. You can read them while you are around the table and have a discussion about Easter, the Resurrection and what it means to you!


Here’s how I would use this with the French Toast Bake:

  1. Use it to decorate for the”breakfast for dinner” activity I suggested above. Read the scriptures on the napkin rings and talk about what they mean to you.
  2. Do the scavenger hunt, make the French toast bake, cut out and prepare the decorations and deliver them with the bake to a family for service. This could take up to 2 activities by the time you cut everything out, do the scavenger hunt and make the French toast bake.

[button font_size=”20″ color=”#00b0c6″ text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_iwQhKjyFVOSHpDa2FYNXJWZ2s” width=”” target=”_blank”]Get the Easter Decorations[/button]


How would you use these kits, combined or separately?

Want more Easter-related posts? Check out the #MyForeverFamily page!




How to Teach Others to Do Family History and Love It

I love family history, which is why this year’s Easter campaign is so exciting to me. I love that they are encouraging people to get online and share stories and pictures of their deceased loved ones. This year, I’ve been working with some other LDS Bloggers to create resources to make your Easter celebration more meaningful and help you with your family history. You can follow along by searching for #MyForeverFamily on social media or keep checking on my #MyForeverFamily page.

How to Teach Others to Do Family History and Love It

This year, I attended RootsTech and took a class on how to teach others to do family history. I took a class about how to teach others to do their family history. I’ve helped other people learn to do their family history before and this class gave me a few new ideas on how to do this. I’d like to share with you the outline from my notes from this class.

  1. Prepare spiritually. Pray to be led to people who want to work on their family history and to be guided in your research. Pray to find those who are waiting to have their temple work done. This makes a huge difference in my own research when I offer a prayer before I get on Family Search. When I pray, I almost always find an ancestor who needs their work done. Also, pray when you meet with someone to help them with their family history.
  2. Discover their family history goals. Do they just want to learn how to used Family Search? Is there someone on their mind that they’d like to know more about?
  3. Get access to their tree. 
    • You can do this by getting their username and the last 5 digits of their membership number or their first and last name, birthdate and the last 5 numbers of their membership number. Make sure you explain to them what you are doing and get their permission.
    • Sign in to Family Search and go to your family tree. Look for the Help Others link in the top right corner and click it.

help others

  • Enter in the information in the form that pops up. You have two choices. The helper number is the last 5 digits of the person your helping.

screenshot1 screenshot2

  1. Look for places where there is work available. Remember that you’re looking for something that will work well for a beginner. Places where you can connect records are ideal.
  2. Write down the pathway to the individual or family that you found step-by-step, so you can guide them to it. Have a couple other pathways for them to work on after you meet as homework.
  3. Look for records they can view and connect to individuals. Seeing the handwriting of an ancestor will help the person you’re working with to connect with their ancestor. Also, any record that provides details about what their ancestor’s life was like will also help them to connect.
  4. Look for an ancestor who has something in common with them. 
  5. Be open to using other family history websites in your research. They’re records vary from site to site. Check out my list of family history websites to try if you’re not sure where else to look.
  6. Listen to any promptings from the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father knows where to find the people you are looking for!
  7. Prepare a step-by-step lesson plan using the information. Have a couple of back-up plans. This works best when they find work to do and feel successful!
  8. Celebrate their successes as you work together. 
  9. Keep it simple.
  10. Be available to help them after you meet with them to answer their questions and help them when they get stuck. 
  11. Point people to the temple. Is there someone who can do the work for these names? If not, maybe they should be left for someone else to reserve.

This post is part of a series of posts in the #MyForeverFamily campaign, a team effort of 15 bloggers to help you celebrate a more meaningful Easter. For more posts like this, click here. We will be adding links to this page until Easter, so check back often. 




2 Ideas for Easter Gifts for Your Young Women

If you’re visiting from Sugardoodle, thanks for clicking through! I’d like to thank you for coming by, by offering my resource library to you! It includes helps for young women leaders, like a scheduling template for planning camp and youth conference. Please fill out the form below to get it!

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It’s a great Easter season at LDS Youth Leadership. In addition to the, #MyForeverFamily campaign, I am also participating in Sugardoodle’s #Hallelujah initiative. That means cool Easter freebies for you!

2 Gifts You Can Give Your Young Women for Easter

They’ve supplied LDS bloggers with 6 different “tool kits” to help us to promote Easter and the Church’s Easter campaign. I thought two of them were perfect for gifts to give to young women (or friends, family, neighbors and those you visit teach). I also loved the stories these two bloggers gave behind the Easter crafts they designed. I will share a little from each one.

Heidi Swapp

Heidi has created a set of 5 nested envelopes that walks you through the events of Easter. These envelopes are simple and beautiful at the same time.



Here’s her explanation for why she made this project in her own words:

“I think it’s really my wish that everyone knows that they have a Savior. That our perfect older brother died for us.”



Get the printable file here.

Instructions for how to put it together are here.

Melissa Esplin

This simple craft is a small candy box designed to look like an Easter egg.


She included several symbols of Christ in her design including:

  • The plus sign is for the cross.
  • The scallops represent fish scales for fishers among men.
  • Palm fronds for victory over death.
  • Laurel leaves for royalty.
  • Three stripes represent the Godhead.

Get the printable here.

I hope you enjoy these and it makes your Easter a little more meaningful!

Want more Easter-related posts? Check out the #MyForeverFamily page!




Whose Pictures I’m Sharing for the #Hallelujah Campaign

I mentioned a little bit in this post about my grandfather who passed away close to Easter and how much it meant to me to celebrate the resurrection the same time that I was mourning my grandfather’s death.

One of the things that we get to do as part of the #Hallelujah Easter campaign is to share pictures of deceased loved ones on social media. I love this idea! I have two deceased ancestors I want to share a little about in this post: my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather.

Lorne Nelson

003 004

Lorne is my maternal grandfather. He was the only grandfather I knew growing up as a kid. He had a favorite chair that he sat in and I would sit on the arm of that chair and we would talk about everything. He loved to joke and tease and was known for taking his jokes too far. He loved cars and was often working on one of his projects. He was always cheerful. I remember him telling me to “be of good cheer, my dear” at a tough time in my life. He had a big garden and passed his love of gardening on to me. This Easter marks 10 years since he passed on. I still miss him terribly. I still catch myself remembering silly things he used to say and then realizing that he’s not here to say them any more. He always had time for me and made me feel special.  He had a gift for making us feel like we each had a special, unique relationship to him.

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He was a pioneer in the Church in his own right. He helped build the church building where he lived and was a branch president. He loved the gospel and taught me to love it as well. Here’s a picture of me with some of my family in front of it. It was so fun to see a piece of his personal history!

I look forward to seeing him again. I’m so grateful that through Jesus Christ’s atonement that eternal families are possible the comfort that brings.

Henry Roth

Henry Carol Roth 001

Henry Roth is my paternal grandfather. He died in 1952 before I was born. He worked as a bartender. He was born missing one hand. In spite of that, he was a very good baseball player. He is special to me because he is the grandfather I have never known. The first time I saw a picture of him was about 3 years ago. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to finally see what he looks like!

Since I never had the opportunity to know him in this life. Having eternal families means that one day I will.

Now, I have a challenge for you. Choose a picture of your deceased loved one, take a picture of yourself holding it and share it on social media. Use the hashtags #Hallelujah and #MyForeverFamily. I will be watching on Facebook for the hashtag #MyForeverFamily and will share your posts on my Facebook page.

Whose picture are you going to share for the #Hallelujah campaign? 

This post is part of a series of posts in the #MyForeverFamily campaign, a team effort of 15 bloggers to help you celebrate a more meaningful Easter. For more posts like this, click here. We will be adding links to this page until Easter, so check back often. 



My 3 Favorite Quotes from Come, Follow Me, March 2016

This month’s Come, Follow Me theme is my personal favorite! The atonement means so much to me. It’s taken on a new meaning, as I’ve been studying the lessons to prepare to teach. Three weeks ago, I had knee surgery. I was expecting it to be a fairly small deal. We were fixing one, maybe two things and I was told I would be able to walk right after my surgery. I woke up from surgery, facing a completely new set of circumstances.


The surgeon came in to update me on how the surgery went. He held up three pages of pictures of the inside of my knee and said, “Well, I found about five things to fix in your knee.” He proceeded to walk me through the pictures and explain everything he had done. Bottom line, one of the procedures would take 6 months to heal and I would be going home on crutches with instructions to bear 50% of my weight on my bad leg. It was way worse than I had expected and planned for.

I’ve found a great deal of personal peace and comfort studying about the atonement, especially how it can bring us peace during our trials. The quote from Sister Marriott stands out to me the most. “Yielded and still” has become a mantra for my recovery, as my pace has slowed both literally and figuratively. Slowing down is not easy for me. I don’t know yet what the Lord is trying to tell me, but I know there’s much to be learned from this experience. I know that I’ve been showered with tender mercies, like being in almost no pain. I’ve been healing and recovering quickly. My physical therapists say I’m ahead of schedule in my recovery. I’ve been blessed with friends and neighbors who brought me meals, visited me, checked on me and have given more than I needed.


As tough as it has been, and will be for a little longer, I already see that I will look back and see some really beautiful moments where I have felt the love of God, especially through my friends, family and neighbors.


How has the atonement strengthened you? 

11 Family History Websites You Should Check Out Now

Family Search is a great website for family history, but did you know that there are other family history websites out there that offer a variety of features that you won’t find on Family Search? They also may have records that Family Search doesn’t have. I find when I’m doing research, it’s good to try several sites to find records. Here’s a handful that are worth checking out:

11 Family History Websites You Should Check Out Now

  1. Ancestry. You are able to host your own personal pedigree charts. It also has records not available on Family Search.
  2. Mooseroots. This is a database of family history records. It has a really cool feature that will put together a timeline of your ancestor’s life with historical events and context included.
  3. FindMyPast. You can host your own family tree and they have their own database of records. It also has tutorials for different aspects of family history.
  4. MyHeritage. Create your own family tree and search their record database.
  5. Family.me. Build your family tree and access their record database.
  6. Puzzilla. Allows you to see multiple generations in a fan chart to find ancestors and those who need temple work. Great if you want to work several generations away from yourself.
  7. Find-A-Record interacts with Family Search as a search engine to help you find problems and available ordinances in your pedigree chart.
  8. Kinpoint also interacts with Family Search. It compiles a fan chart with dots next to names where there is research or temple work to do. The dots are color-coded based on what needs to be done, creating an to do list at a glance.
  9. All My Cousins interacts with Family Search and provides similar features to Find-A-Record and Kinpoint.
  10. Rootsbid connects family historians with people who live in areas where they need work done. You can post a project and people bid on it.
  11. Ancestor Cloud connects researchers with willing helpers and professional genealogists.


Bonus Tip: Here’s how to connect your Family Search account to their partners, if you haven’t already. 

  1. Click the pull-down menu in the top, right corner that says “Get Help”.
  2. Click Help Center.
  3. Scroll down to where it says “Partners” and click on it.
  4. Click on Our Partners
  5. Click the link to the Family Search partner you want to connect
  6. Click the button that says “Create your free account” and follow the instructions.

Do you have a favorite family history website that I didn’t mention? Please tell me about it in the comments! 

This post is part of the #MyForeverFamily Easter campaign. For more ideas keep checking our homebase page, we will be adding links until Easter!