Sunday, March 2, 2008

Young Women Transitioning into Relief Society

I need a little bit of inspiration from you guys.

The transition from Young Women's to Relief Society is when a lot of the Young Women are lost. It is a time when even confident girls feel insecure. They don't see what they could possibly have in common with women who are a generation older than them. So they feel uncomfortable and they may start to avoid the whole situation by just not going. Too many of them fall away from the church this way. And sometime they don't come back.

I don't know if any of you remember the transition from Young Women's to Relief Society. I remember mine. I went from being active, to being inactive. That is of course what we want to prevent.

There is a very nice young lady in our ward. She is kind of a free spirited girl. Like a lot of teenagers she tried to stand out from the crowd. She is very sweet. She has been the one to try to fellowship Kayla into the church. Even though Kayla likes the girl a lot, Kalya really doesn't want to have anything to do with the church right now. But that hasn't stopped this girl from trying.

This girl turns 18 in a couple of weeks. That is when she leaves the Young Women's program and joins us in Relief Society. She feels like most young women do at that time, she doesn't want to leave her friends and peers and join us old ladies. Of course we are not all just old ladies, but you know the stereotype that Relief Society has.

Do any of you have any ideas to help? The Relief Society Presidency is going to take her a bag of things that we know she likes. We have a sister that we think she will get along with assigned to befriend her, and give her someone to sit by and stuff.

This last Sunday this girl was crying in her Young Women's class, because she says she doesn't want to go to Relief Society. She wants to stay where she is at. Does your wards do anything that you know of that eases the transition? Or do you have any ideas to help this girl feel comfortable and welcomed. Do you have any ideas on how to show her that we are not really old ladies that sit together and knit and make casseroles and green jello?. I'd like her to know about the friendships we make, and the support we give each other, and the fun we have.

I do plan on writing her a little note or card and telling her how I think she is a wonderful young women and welcoming her to Relief Society.


Sondra said...

Katrina, That is a tough one. I wish that I had a good idea that would be helpful. I don't think that our relief society does anything for the girls, but then I am never there so I can't be sure. Our ward is simply full of grandmothers, we have many retired people here. I am sure that it must be hard for a young lady to make that change. I of course became inactive at an even younger age than 18. I love you. It's wonderful that you are trying to do your best to help.

Anonymous said...

Can't she stay in YW's until she graduates in May? I would say, let her stay in her YW class until then but start to have visiting teachers (and, probably the younger, the better, like the girl you want to befriend her when she does start) visit her as soon as she turns 18, even though she still wants to attend YW. Also, I would think she could be called as a YW camp assistant and go to camp another year but in some kind of leadership roll. Talk to the YW Pres. and the camp director. Also make sure she is included in all the enrichment activities. We always have a summer outside dinner and invite the Laurels. One time we had everyone bring a brown lunch sack with something that represented something about themselves. These were dispersed randomly and then we went around the circle & tried to guess who the bag we had represented. Then they got to talk about themselves and their interests. That's one way to get to know others. I would also invite the YW to as many activities in RS as you could (as a group or mainly the Laurel class). Have a super Saturday and invite them. Our girls love to come and sometimes they make things for their mom if she can't attend. Does your Stake have a Young Adult ward? I know you'd like to keep your youth in the ward to help it be well rounded but maybe they would be able to transition better at the YA ward. Just ideas. I just got transferred from YW (Beehive advisor) to the RS so we'll have to figure out what to do in this situation, too. But I think letting her stay in YW until graduation, having her help at camp, and getting her young visiting teachers would all help. You're an amazing lady, Katrina, and I'm so impressed with your Spirit and how much you've grown these last few years and found your testimony and strength in the church. Dad and I are both proud of you!!!! Love ya, Mom Terry

Ruuddudes said...

I wish I had a good idea, too. Shortly after I turned 18, I left for college, so I don't really remember there being a transition. Maybe this gal & some of her friends can go to a Singles Ward together. I know that seems like an easy answer to a more complex issue, but S.W. really are an extension of Young Women's in a way that feels fresh & teenagerish! I LOVED my singles ward!


Ooh, this was tough. I remember it being a little weird because they were talking about being wives and homemakers, and I was 18 years old and not even thinking about that stuff yet! I think Terry had a great idea. Ask if she can stay in YW until she graduates, and then maybe if she's going off to college, it won't be weird to start going to RS then because everyone will be her own age in her college ward. Good luck with this one!


Oh, and I love your family picture on the side of your blog, by the way! What a beautiful family you have!

Karmen said...

I'm pretty sure the church handbook says the girls continue going to their Young Women classes until they graduate from high school, even if they've turned 18 already.
The Young Women in our ward have Opening Exercises once a month with the Relief Society. This helps the girls (a little bit) get used to a portion of R.S.
Once they've graduated from high school, see if there is a student ward or branch with girls (and boys!) around her age. They are SO fun and it doesn't feel like Relief Society when it actually is! I know the girls in our ward, even the ones that are already 18, still go to YOung Women until school is over...then onto the student ward. Good luck!

Katrina said...

Thank you all for your comments. I don't know why they don't have the girls wait till they graduate and then all transition together. I will ask and suggest it. But really it won't help this girl. She is the only one that is a Laural now, except for Kayla. And Kayla is inactive.

We do have one opening exercise a month with the Young Women. I would like to have them all together. I think that would be a better way of getting them to feel comfortable with us old fogies. We could take turns conducting, the young women doing it one week, and the Relief Society doing it the next. Or maybe we could take turns every other month.

We also do quarterly activities with the Young Women. They are fun. But I really don't think that is enough.

I agree we need to get her involved with some kind of responcibility as soon as we can. So she knows she is needed and useful.

I know a singles ward would be a good option. But I really would like to figure out how to make them comfortable without having to leave to a singles ward.

I really appreciate all of your comments and concern with this. I am probably just going to do like I had planned and take her a little something with a card welcoming her and telling how much I appreciate her.

Val said...

I've heard this is a problem world wide in our church, and that more yw than ym are becoming inactive at this age. I've seen pretty much all the ideas I thought of on here already, but I read a story about an enrichment activity where a yw and an older lady got to know each other really well, and they became buddies....I wish I could remember it all...but make it a matter of prayer, and the right answer to help this girl will come somehow! Good luck and you are so sweet!

Anonymous said...

I'm a stake RS Pres and our leadership mtg tomorrow night is on this topic. The handbook says that a girl transitions when it is right for her. It can be before her 18th birthday or after. 18 is a general guideline. We want to do what is best for each girl. We are asking our ward RS and YW presidencies to work together to develop and submit a written transition plan which we will review in our fall meeting. By then most Laurels will have graduated from high school and moved on to either college or full time employment. Wards should then be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their plan and modify and adjust as needed. Each ward will also be asked to call a transition leeader. This may be a RS counselor but could also be a former YW leader or teacher familiar with the girls. One great idea is that each Laurel have a RS buddy that connects with her at the beginning of her Junior year in high school, making a special effort to get to know her so she has a friend when she starts attending RS. The same thing could be done with new move ins and converts. Another idea is to involve Laurels in ward compassionate service and to call them to be visiting teachers during the second half of their senior year.

Katrina said...

Thanks Anonymous for the input and ideas. I'll bring up your suggestions at our next meeting. I appreciate your insight.