Sunday, September 25, 2016

Personal Progress: Getting those projects done!

I said in my previous post that I want to make personal progress Wednesday's as the mutual nights the girls run to complete their projects and experiences - not to just come so they can pass something off. We're not quite there, yet, but we're getting there.

Personal progress night this past week was an easy activity to put together. I found a list of potential projects that the girls could do, and wrote every one of them on a 3x5 note card. The cards were taped to the wall. I chatted with the girls for a few minutes, and then had them look at the projects on the wall. They wrote down a list of every single one of those ideas that interested them. Then they were to choose one that they wanted to complete as a project and write the steps they would take to carry it out and had a leader sign off on it. The items listed work as custom experiences as well as projects, and were able to get ideas for multiple projects covering all of the values.

Every one that attending chose a project, made a plan and got approval to get started on it. The caveat is that they need to finish the experiences in the related value they are working on before starting that particular project.

The question is... will it work? Will I have girls finish a value and receive at least one ribbon sometime soon??

Monday, September 19, 2016

Personal Progress: The Struggle is Real

It's been 3 years since I got married, and I finally have someone to spill everything I'm thinking to... so the blog gathered dust for a while. But now, I'm back! I've been in my ward for a couple of years, and last year was called to be the secretary/ personal progress gal of the young women. At first, the teenagers terrified me completely. Now, I can't get enough of them! I love these girls, they make me smile and laugh. They also have given me a glimpse of what parenthood feels like, and how rewarding it can be when you see them succeed. (*Glimpse, not full view. Heavenly Father is keeping it that was so I'll still want to have kids someday.) #DivineNature 

I needed a place to record some ideas, gather some ideas, record my experiences and hopefully find people who can relate with what I'm going through with my young women. Most of the time, I feel like I'm at a standstill. I try many different ways to get these girls excited about Personal Progress and help them to understand how it can make an amazing impact on ones life. But the caveat with the program, is that's exactly what it is... personal. I can't be there when they get home from church and say, "You know what would be a great Sunday activity? Let's work on personal progress together." I can't force them to read their scriptures and say their prayers every day. I refuse to let them depend on mutual dedicated to personal progress each month as the only time they work on personal progress. I can, however, do the best I can to encourage them to work on it and attempt to get their parents actively participating. The rest is up to them. #ChoiceandAccountability

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A year ago when I started, I received my notebook with all the records of the girls personal progress achievements. It made me so sad. It was empty. I was floored. Since then, I've had nothing but a fiery passion for this program. The girls need that kind of encouragement.

I asked the girls what they liked about personal progress, here were a couple of things I was told:
- They loved receiving treats for when they accomplished experiences
- They loved receiving packets that were found online that helped them to get multiple experiences done

...that was it.

I learned from my boss at work how much a one-on-one conversation can do for someone. Ever since I started, we've met for one hour, each week, talking about whatever. We follow up on work, or just chat. That did a lot for our relationship, allowed me the opportunity to get to know and trust her, and I value what we talk about.

So, I started just that. Two Sunday's per month, I started visiting each young woman on Sunday for no more than 15 minutes (unless they were laurels, because they love just chatting and I love that they love doing that because I think they're hilarious). In order to preserve family time and not intrude in their homes, I mapped out where all the girls live (we have a lot of girls, and HUGE ward boundaries) and visit one zip code of girls on one Sunday, the next zip code of girls the following Sunday. We sit in my car, drink hot cocoa, eat donuts, brownies, cookies, whatever. And we chat... about personal progress.**

This has become such sacred time to me. I don't have children, and my husband is in the EQP so he always has meetings, so I feel like these are the Sunday's that I really do get the most out of the Sabbath. When summer came, and I went on a break, I had several girls telling me I still needed to come visit them. Girls who had already finished the program wanted visits. This just taught me how much individual attention means to someone, and they need it at this scary time in their lives. I've had the opportunity to get to know these amazing girls, and find ways personal progress can be used in their day to day lives. #HisDay

The struggle I have is that, for a lot of girls, this doesn't help them progress. It has helped about 50% of the girls kick start the program again. Success is success, and I shouldn't put myself down because I know it has nothing to do with me. But my heart still breaks that, and I can tell by lack of action, girls do not see the importance of the program.

Step 1: Treat jar for the girls that complete experiences. Once the girls let me know that their parents or another leader has signed off an experience and shown it to me, I announce it during opening excersizes and let them choose a treat from the jar.

Step 2: One-on-one visits each month with the girls. Max 15 minutes, in my car, with a treat, and follow up/set goals.

Step 3: Make another type of rewards program.

Every 6 months, if the girls complete all of the goals they set (at least 2 experiences completed per month, and at least 1 project within the 6 month time-frame) they will be invited to do a fun activity. I'm just in the works of starting it, so we'll see how it goes. I'm hoping this will encourage the girls that are social to want to start somewhere. With general conference coming up, that's an easy quick project. Hopefully the first rewards party will have a lot of invites!

**Since the new school year started, I changed the program to be home visits every-other month. Unless they are Laurels who have not completed the program, then they receive monthly home visits. Those that do not receive a home visit one month, are visited during the personal progress mutual. And my goal for the personal progress mutual, is that is to be run entirely by the girls.