10 Times Young Women Leaders Really Should Read Handbook 2

When I was a new Young Women President, it took me awhile to learn how to use Handbook 2 to help me with my calling. One mistake I made every year was when we’d review the instructions for planning Young Women in Excellence and we’d realize that we were supposed to be helping our young women set goals all year to be prepared for it. Sometimes, what you’re looking for is not in the Young Women section and it takes awhile to find it. To make it easier for you, I’ve prepared a list of regular events where you should check to see what the Handbook says with the section number so you can find it. Any time one of these things happens, it’s a good idea to review the Handbook.

10 Times Young Women Leaders Really Should Read Handbook 2

  1. Plan New Beginnings (10.8.3)
  2. Plan activities. Section 13 is all about activities. I’ve used the purposes for activities in 13.1, as well as the purposes of the young women program  in 10.1.1 to help my class presidencies brainstorm ideas for activities.
  3. Train your class presidency. I use both section 3- Leadership in the Church and section 10- Young Women to help with training.
  4. Plan Girls camp. 10.8.6 is all about camp. 10.8.9 covers fundraisers. More details on fundraisers is in 13.6.8.
  5. Plan youth conference (13.4)
  6. Plan Young Women in Excellence (10.8.4)
  7. Train in presidency meeting. (3, 10)
  8. Have a young woman turn 18 (10.1.5)
  9. Have new Beehives that just turned 12 (10.1.15 and 11.4.3)
  10. Prepare a meeting agenda (Young Women Presidency Meeting 10.4.3 and Class Presidency Meeting 10.4.5)

What other times would you add that someone should read the Handbook?


6 Easy, No-Fail Ways to Release Control to the Youth

Many of us are control freaks. We’ve done all of this before and we know how to do it. We think it would be easier if we did it ourselves. It’s so much more work when the youth are in charge. What if they don’t follow through?

6 Easy, No-Fail Ways to Release Control to the Youth

Any of that sound familiar to you? Did you hear yourself in any of those statements?

If you did, you’re not alone and it’s not to late to make some changes. Here’s my list of easy, no-fail ways to release control of the youth programs to the youth.

  • Let them choose the themes for youth conference, camps, New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence and anything else that requires a theme.
  • Pair a youth up with a leader to plan meals for camps and youth conference. They plan the menu and the leader takes them shopping for the food.
  • Ask your class or quorum presidency for feedback on which Come, Follow Me lessons they feel are needed the most.
  • Have the youth fill out the schedule for camps and youth conference. The worst that can happen is you will either run out of time to do the planned activities or you will run out of activities. These problems are easily solved by having the group vote on which activities are most important to them or by giving them some free time. You can also review the schedule with them before the event and ask them to add more activities or cut some activities out.
  • At the end of your Come, Follow Me lessons ask your class if they would like to spend another week on the same topic or move on to another one.
  • Have the youth start choosing the activities. You can start by giving them 3 or 4 options that are acceptable to you and then eventually move to purpose-based planning.

If this is something that is hard for you to do. I encourage you to choose one and try it out for a month.

What easy, no-fail ways have you used to release control to the youth?


How to Not Go Crazy Planning Girls Camp and Youth Conference at the Same Time


I don’t  know about you, but I have always been grateful for the years when it’s the stake’s turn to hold camp or youth conference. I was pretty stressed the first time we had a ward girls camp and youth conference to plan. I learned that it could be done and I wouldn’t die from the process!  It does help a whole lot if you’re organized and make the most of existing meetings to simplify the process. Here are some things I’ve discovered work well.

How to Plan Girls Camp While Planning Youth Conference without Going Crazy

  • Nail down dates and locations for both events at least 6 months in advance.
  • To plan camp: Hold all three class presidency meetings at the same time and same place. Use the last 15 minutes of each meeting to gather everyone to plan camp. In the last month or two you can hold one or two meetings focused on finishing those plans.
  • Take the last 15 minutes of each BYC to plan youth conference. We’ve been able to plan our youth conferences in BYC without additional meetings. I love it when I can hold one less meeting!
  • Put a scheduling template in Google docs for each event. Mine is a simple spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top and times of day in 30 minute increments down the left side of the page. Click below to get it and the other documents in my resource library.

[button font_size=”20″ color=”#c8232b” text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”https://www.ldsyouthleadership.com/go/newsletter/” width=”” target=”_blank”]Get Template![/button]


  • Divide the time in the scheduling template up between classes and quorums and give class and quorum presidents editing privileges. This allows class and quorum presidencies to do some of the planning outside of meetings. We color code the cells in the spreadsheet to make it clear who is responsible for each block of time.
  • Create clear deadlines for filling out the schedules, making and completing assignments. Deadlines help people commit to getting things done.

Would you like a little more reading about how to do this?

My timeline for planning the year

My process for planning girls camp

My favorite trick for planning youth conference

What are your favorite tips for planning youth conference and camp without going crazy?


How to Use the Camp Planning Manual to Plan Girls Camp- The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever seen the guide the Church puts out for planning camp? I’d been to 3 camps as an adult leader before I even knew of it’s existence! I think it’s a rather well-kept secret. If I have anything to say about it, it won’t be anymore. This guide can really help you with how to plan camp and how to pace yourself so it’s not a mad dash to finish right before camp. I wish I’d had it the first time I planned camp, for sure!

I prepared a quick, little guide to help you better understand how to use it and how it can help you plan camp.

Review the What, Where, When and Why of camp. The first three are pretty straightforward. I’d like to spend a little time on the why. It is so important to keep our purpose in mind as we plan camp. It will help us to reflect on why when the planning might seem hard or tough. It will also help guide our decisions when we’re discussing what to put in the schedule. If we know our purpose, it can help us to prioritize our activities for camp and make the most of the time we have together.

Prepare spiritually. The very first thing they suggest we do is prepare spiritually to plan camp. I have to admit, this is an opportunity for improvement for me. I could do a much better job of this. Imagine what could happen with camp when you fully enable the power of the Holy Ghost to help you in your planning!

Plan with a purpose. The questions in this section will not only help you pinpoint needs that can be met best at camp, but can also be used to focus your class presidencies and YCLs to identify the needs of the girls in their classes.

Choose a theme. This is a great, no-fail place to involve the girls in the planning. Let each class presidency suggest one or two ideas for themes and then vote on one.


Based on your selected theme and identified needs, plan camp. This can be a really good time to think about what you can only do at camp, versus during weekly activities. There are questions in this section that will help you to select the best activities for camp. Don’t overlook the right to revelation that your class presidencies have to help you do this.

Include certification. Every camp, I walk away wishing I had used certification to fill more of the schedule. I wonder sometimes, if we sell this short when it comes to helping us to plan camp.

Walk through of a typical day at camp. This can make it easier to make some decisions about what to do and when to do it.

Use the Youth Camp Leaders. I am a huge fan of empowering the young women to plan camp. If you have enough YCLs, I recommend using them as your planning committee and assigning one of them to chair the planning meetings. If you do this, make sure you assign an adult to advise her behind the scenes as she plans and prepares for each meeting. If you don’t have enough YCLs, I recommend using your class presidencies to fill out your planning committee.

Evaluate camp. This can help you so very much. All you have to do is use the questions in this guide to lead a discussion with the YCLs or class presidencies. Even using a few of them will help you learn from your camp experience. Two ways that these evaluations have helped us is to get ideas for the next camp and to get ideas for weekly activities.

What has your experience been with using this camp planning guide?


4 Steps to Evaluating Girls Camp

Last week, I talked about why you should evaluate camp and how it can help you. Today, let’s talk about how to do it.  Here are some ways we’ve done it that have helped us:

4 Ways to Evaluate Girls Camp

  • Ask the young women who attended what one activity they would like to see repeated in future camps on the way home from camp.
  • Have every class presidency evaluate camp using the questions in the manual – Young Women Camp: A Guide for Priesthood and Young Women Leaders
  • You can use all or any of the questions. The class president in my meeting chose to use-In what ways did the experience at camp
    increase faith in Jesus Christ and build testimonies of the restored gospel? and Which purposes did we accomplish at camp?
  • Collect the feedback and save it somewhere like Evernote so you can refer to it when you start planning camp again.

Have you ever evaluated your girls camps? How did it go? What did you learn?


How to Use Kindness to Solve Problems at Camp

It was my second time as a ward camp director and I knew we had a big problem when we got to camp that year. The girls were having trouble getting along. So much that I had two girls ask to go home before the first day was over. I had no idea what I was going to do about it. Somehow I managed to have the presence of mind to tell both girls that I had no one to take them home that day, but if they still felt like they wanted to leave the next day, I would find someone to take them home.

Then I remembered the drama teacher from my high school and how she would gather us together before we’d go on stage to put on a play. She’d always bring a bag of Hershey’s kisses and praise individuals and groups of people for things they’d done well with the play production. As she tossed handfuls of kisses out, everyone would say, “Mwah!”

I thought that somehow, this could help with these girls not getting along. I went off to find my youth camp leader to run the idea past her. She liked it so I dug out some bags of candy and got ready to share this activity with them around the campfire at the end of the day. Little did I know what would happen next.


I sat down with the girls around the campfire and explained that we were going to play a little game. We were going to pay each other compliments and toss a piece of candy at the person we were complimenting. I went first, not sure how willing these girls would be to join in. Every girl wanted a turn and then a second turn. The two girls who were having a rough time were included in this little game of compliments and came and asked to stay for the rest of camp. They also asked if we could do this game every night we were up at camp.

It’s a great lesson about kindness. Sometimes, people just need to be given an opportunity to be kind. It doesn’t fix everything, but it sure helps a lot.

No Pranks? No Problem!

It was my second time serving as a ward camp director and the girls were unhappy about the latest rule for camp. No pranks allowed. They felt that it really took the fun out of camp and were pretty bummed. The one who was the most vocal about it was one of my Youth Camp Leaders. She really influenced the group and I knew I had to find a way to turn it around before it influenced the rest of the girls.

To make matters worse, there were a lot of negative feelings expressed by these girls toward the stake camp director who had made the rule. I knew this could impact the experience that these girls would have at camp and I wanted to do what I could to make it a positive experience.

I had the idea to replace pranks with random acts of kindness. Sometimes I think we find the best ideas by stumbling upon them and simply trying them.

[tweetthis]Replace pranks with random acts of kindness.[/tweetthis]


I asked the girls to brainstorm a list of random acts of kindness we could perform, rather than pranks. It was cool how excited they got about it. Here are two of the ideas they gave me:

  • Heart attack campsites. They also had the idea to teepee, moon and pants people- which was to make cutouts of each item and put them all over someone’s campsite.
  • Fill water balloons with candy and toss them at people’s campsites.

I bought supplies and we all gathered one night to make all the cutouts. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun with paper and scissors as I did that night.

The best part was, that doing this helped the girls to have a good attitude about camp. In the book Parenting with Love and Logic, the authors tell us that, “All kids want is a little control.” I didn’t realize it until later, but this was what I helped them do. They felt that it was all being decided for them and they just wanted some influence over how camp would be for them.

As leaders, we have a choice: we can make all the decisions for the youth that we work with, or we can set up boundaries and give them freedom within those boundaries. Which approach helps them to become good decision makers?

How have you helped put the youth back in charge when the adults take over?

Ten Steps to Consider When Planning Girls’ Camp

For most of us, camp is about three or four months away. I’ve now participated in five girls’ camps as an adult leader, but I learned the most from my first camp as Young Women President. I came in only a couple of months before camp.  I asked a friend of mine who had served as a camp director to take charge of camp. I knew it needed energy and attention that I could not give at that time. I will forever be grateful to my friend for bailing me out at that time in my life. Unfortunately, that led to us having a camp that was not very youth-led. This first experience taught me a lot and I have applied it to our planning of subsequent camps. My Laurel class president offered to provide an iron-rod walk activity for camp. She organized and carried out the entire activity. She also directed the actions of the adult leaders who were present. Because of her example, I began to glimpse what would be possible if we let the girls lead at camp instead of the adults. Frankly, she did a better job at running this activity than I could have!

The next year, we had stake girls’ camp. I had very little control over providing youth leadership opportunities, but I did what I could.

My third camp, I felt like it would be good to use the class presidencies as our planning committee, and to work with them and their advisers to carry out camp. We had our (only) Youth Camp Leader conduct the activities and keep everyone on schedule. We added a few more girls to our committee when we got to the last couple of months and worked with them to plan and carry out camp. Here’s the best part, our attendance improved as we were generous with responsibility with these girls.


  • Consider not calling a camp director or specialist. Yes, I really said not. You will be able to involve more girls in the planning process and help them develop leadership skills.
  • Watch this video and consider how you can use camp to develop youth leadership skills.
  • During the  6 months leading up to camp, have all class presidencies meet at the same time. Take the last 15 minutes to meet all together to plan camp.
  • Start with selecting a theme. What do the girls feel the young women in their class need the most? How can camp help them? What changes would they like to see in the girls in their classes? Use Young Women Camp: A Guide for Priesthood and Young Women Leaders to help you through the planning process.
  • Select a location.
  • Plan food. I ask them for suggestions like this “We need to plan two breakfasts. What would you like for breakfast?”
  • The 2 months before camp, form a camp-planning committee of class presidency members, and other girls selected by their class presidency.
  • Meet with them once or twice to plan the schedule, make assignments and tie up any loose ends.
  • I use this process to fill the schedule:
      1. Start with mealtimes, bedtime, wakeup time, devotionals and solo time (personal prayer and scripture study). I let the girls, within reason, select these times.
      2. Then move to certification requirements- some of them make excellent activities for the whole group, for example the requirement to lead a get-to-know you activity.
      3. Once those items have been added, other open spaces can be filled with other activities that interest the girls or free time.

How do you empower Young Women to plan and carry out camp?

Let me help make planning camp a little easier! My scheduling template is part of my resource library. Click here for my subscription page.