This week we had our ward's Young Women in Excellence. This year our theme was Alma 37:6 "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." I got the idea for this theme from my genius friend (and also my beehive leader back in the day), Rachel Davis. We took her idea and ran with it. It was such a wonderful night, from the decorations, to the refreshments, to the program itself. Here are a few pictures from the evening (as well as a few free downloads of all of the printables I designed. Don't miss them below!):
Each value had a "small and simple" metaphor that was color coordinated with the value color. We had an awesome display at the front, with a little set up for each value. The leaders each presented about one of the values/metaphors. Here are the metaphors we used:
Faith was pearl. We talked about how pearls are formed inside of an oyster from some kind of small and simple foreign object making it's way inside the shell. The oyster, trying to protect itself forms a barrier around the object. Layer upon layer of this nacre, as it is called, is built up forming the pearl itself. Just like the pearl is formed layer by layer, our faith can grow little by little as we endure our trials and challenges.
Divine Nature was represented by the little Forget Me Not flower. For this value we used President Uchtdorf's talk from a few years back called Forget Me Not. In this talk he says that although you may feel small and insignificant you are never forgotten by your Heavenly Father.
Individual Worth is represented by the color red, and we used the metaphor of a heart/heartbeat. We used a talk from President McKay where he talked about how our life is made up of little things, and physically our being is made up of little heartbeats. If those heartbeats stop, life in this world stops. Just like each person has their own unique heart, each of us has a unique contribution to our families, friends, and ward.
Knowledge is green. (This was our only small and simple that didn't quite match in color.) We talked about how as a child we first learn our letters, followed by small words, then sentences, paragraphs, and then we start reading books. We can't read books before we learn those letters. In the gospel we also learn this way. We learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.
Choice and Accountability was represented by Monarch Butterflies. These tiny creatures have even tinier antennae which helps them navigate from the United States to Mexico every year using the earth's magnetic field for orientation. If we listen to the still small voice we will also be able to navigate this life and safely arrive at our ultimate destination.
Good Works was a bumble bee. We talked about how the bees all serve each other, and work together in the hive. They huddle together to keep warm in the winter and all flap their wings to keep the hive cool in the summer. We talked about how a single bee can only make about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey but when all of the bees combine their honey, they can make a substantial amount. We need to learn from the bees and serve one another.
For Integrity we choose to talk about purple crystals and gems. A gem is a polished and cut crystal. We talked about how a crystal is born underground from fluid, pressure and heat. We are all born as crystals but we have the potential to become gems if we exercise integrity to become honest and courageous individuals. President Hinckley said, "How rare a gem, how precious a jewel is the man or woman in whom there is neither guile nor deception nor falsehood!" Let us all become the polished individuals Heavenly Fathers wants us to be.
Virtue is represented by the color gold. We choose to talk about chain mail. Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “I like to think of spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of [metal] fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection.... It has been my experience that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil."
To go along with the little value displays, I had a few engineering prints made at Staples. We taped them to chalkboards with colorful washi tape. I LOVE how they turned out.
There are links to these posters (and all of the other posters we used) for download at the bottom of this post.
The main objective of Young Women in Excellence is to have a celebration of Personal Progress. To do this we gave each girl a small jar (we used these ones) and told them to fill it with something that represented their personal progress or their personal growth this year. This was the best part of the night.
Above you'll see some of the Laurel's jars. Some of the girls filled their jars with things they are have been working on at school, or things they have been struggling/growing through. We had girls talk about how their faith has grown in the past year, or how they have been really trying to step outside of their comfort zone, or make new friends. It was so fun to see/hear what the girls put in their jars. The beauty of doing it this way is that it standardizes the "sharing of accomplishments." Instead of having tables full of "accomplishments" where the type-A girls who are always in the spotlight, are still in the spotlight. This gives each individual girl a chance to shine without too much comparison. After all of the girls presented, the Bishop got up to present the awards. He commented about what a cool idea this was, and how he learned more about each girl that night than he had in the last 10 interviews with them.
At the very beginning of the program our Young Women's President got up to explain the theme. She told the girls that there were going to be presentations about each value and told them to really remember the presentations, specifically their favorite two, the two that really touched their heart and that there would be a reason why at the end. So at the very end, as a take away for the night each girl got to pick two of their favorite Small and Simple Treats, two tiny jars (we used these ones) to put on a chain to have as a necklace.
These are the TINY jars. We made 5-7 per value, and filled them with the small and simple metaphors we had used for each value.
Most of this stuff we found at Hobby Lobby, with the exception of knowledge, which we filled with small strips of paper from an old book. The bees are stickers and the flowers are made out of paper found on the sticker isle. The butterflies, gold jump rings and beads could all be found on the jewelry isle, as well as the tiny heart charms (they were originally silver, we spray painted them red).
For refreshments we had Small and Simple Sweets. We had mini cupcakes, mini homemade oreos, and cookies.
And just for documentation sake, here are our invitations. The front of which can also be downloaded below.
Here is a link where you can download the posters and handouts. Like I mentioned above, I designed the posters to be engineering prints. I have a slight obsession with the engineering prints at Staples. The posters that say "Small and Simple Sweets" and "Small and Simple Treats" are 18x24 ($1.99), the quotes and two pictures of Jesus are 24x36 ($3.89) and the poster in the very center of our display with the theme scripture is 36x48 ($7.79).
It's such a pleasure to serve with the youth in the Young Women's Program, and especially with these awesome ladies!
UPDATE: Here is a link to our invites and the fonts I used are Asterism and Josefin Sans.