Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Priests and Laurels Dating Activity

Instead of a formal event, our youth committee voted to have a casual dating activity. (Before I got here they'd had a really awesome, incredibly time-consuming, Prom-type extravaganza called "The Event". I was elated that they chose to do this instead.) There were two parts: a get-to-know-you game night; and the actual date which was dinner, dance and games.

On Wednesday for Mutual the 16-18 year old youth came for fun. If you can believe it--we had the exact same number of girls show up as boys! When they checked in they were given an animal sound. After Lynsie (our youth committee co-chair) welcomed everyone to the activity the kids had to make the sound of their animal and find the person making the same one. Some sounds were easy (for example, duck) and some were challenging. I heard a young man saying, "Cricket, cricket" and a girl singing, "Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!" for the fox (as in the song, What does the Fox Say). After they found their partner they linked arms and introduced themselves.

After that they sat in partners for the etiquette lesson by the Longmans. The kids were riveted to their dating stories of what to do and and what not to do. They did a wonderful job.

Next came Human Bingo. This was a mingling game. They had to find 24 different people to fit the criteria in the Bingo square; for example, oldest in their family, was left-handed, had been to another country, or could name all the members of One Direction. That person signed their bingo square. You could only use one person per square, and 18 of those squares had to be someone of the opposite gender. The first boy and first girl to come to me with a black-out got a candy bar.

The last and best activity was partner ice cream eating. The kids absolutely loved that one! We had them wear trash bags to protect their clothes. One person stood behind the other and were the "arms" for the eater. The eater instructed her partner how to build her sundae: we had tons of toppings. Of course, the person behind could barely see or reach so it was hilarious. When it came to actually eating, some were a lot better at feeding their partners than others.

Leave it to teenagers to turn a messy activity messier. The whole thing ended with a lot of running, chasing, and smearing of ice cream. But man, they had a great time!

Hannah and Bo, Autumn and Tyce, and the other 40-something kids who came that night!

Austin and Lynsie

A shot of the chaos

Tanner feeding Rio, with Steven next to them

Another cute one of Austin and Lynsie, pre-fight--I went to get Lynsie to bring the kids back to order, only to find that she was the ringleader!
While the earlier games happened my secretary and counselor, Merridee and Julie, wrote every girl's name and rolled the paper into a balloon. After the closing prayer the boys came and threw a dart at a board to pop a balloon--whichever girl's name was inside was their date for the Saturday activity.

And that's when my stress-level went through the roof.

"Sister Jones, a young man says that he really wants to go with a certain girl who's date cancelled. Can we switch him and find a date for his girl?"

"Sister Jones, that girl we just let that boy ask--she actually has to work. So now he doesn't want to go. We need three more boys."

"Sister Jones, my date never asked me."

"Sister Jones, I have the flu."

Oh my word, it was a nightmare. My presidency and the stake YM sent probably 500 group texts between Friday morning and Saturday night trying to work all of this out. Bryce did a lot of the leg-work on Friday afternoon and I spent nearly every moment on Saturday, from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, on the phone. The date started at 5!

But as things usually do . . . it all worked out.

These kids will never know the anxiety they caused me. I know that because I probably did similar things to my parents or leaders and I can't even remember.

So Saturday evening the young men picked up their dates (or were chauffeured by parents) to one of six members' houses. There they enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by their hosts, who went all out to entertain them.

The table at the Martins' house, complete with menu and placecards.
When they arrived at the church the Udalls' son and daughter-in-law, members of BYU's touring ballroom dance team, performed and then taught the couples how to dance! They were incredible.

They learned the rock step, cuddle step and a spin step that was really fun.
Some of the kids were naturals. Bryce and I danced right along with them--we were  not naturals. Haha. After a while we stopped to take pictures.

Later the kids played a modified game of Snort. Instead of just snorting they made all sorts of sounds. It was outrageously fun. It was interesting to see that some kids couldn't handle being looked at, let alone snorted at--while others had nerves of steel and would have lasted another hour.

The circle was big at first but didn't stay that way for long!

Kayley, Joaquin, Keara, and Chloe

Dane, Lynsie, Landon, Kade, and Dallin

Kade, Dallin, Ashley (on the floor), Jordan, Jaden, and Azure
Ziggy getting to Tayler to crack!

After that we had delicious dutch oven cobblers prepared by our stake YM president, Bro. Bragg. He made apple, peach, and cherry red velvet. I only tried the apple but I heard the others were equally delightful.

Enjoying their desserts before a crazy game of Missionary Tag.

The final activity of the evening was a water balloon fight. Merridee and Bryce filled up hundreds of balloons for a 5-minute showdown but the kids loved it.

I was en route to safety when I got bombed on the ear by my own husband!
So that was the dating activity. The youth committee came up with every activity and they really did a fabulous job. That's what I love about these kids--they work at becoming great leaders and we are just there to help them be successful.

We adult leaders learned a lot too, mostly about what not to do next time. Isn't that always the worst part of the learning curve--the inefficiency and the mistakes? Well now we know and we have experience. Our youth committee members don't yet know the difference so I hope what they take with them is a fun memory, and the confidence that they will be great at whatever they do.

Our objectives for the whole event were to meet new people, learn dating etiquette, and have fun on group dates. I think we can say after all of this--mission accomplished.

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