Putting the Gospel in action

Primary girls ages 8 to 11 years old participate in twice-monthly Achievement Days to develop testimonies, enhance relationships and learn new skills. (Please see article on page 7.) Following are several vignettes of Achievements Days held throughout the Church:

SOUTHFIELD, MICH.A framed copy of the First Presidency's "The Family - a Proclamation to the World" adorns a wall in the office of Donald Fracassi, mayor of Southfield, Mich. Thirteen Primary girls from the Southfield Ward of the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake presented the proclamation to the mayor for one of their Achievement Days during a city council meeting.

During the presentation, which was aired over local television, the girls thanked Mayor Fracassi for his service to the community. Afterward, the mayor gave each girl a personalized certificate to remember the event.

Kirsten B. Dyer, ward Achievement Days leader, explained that the girls chose this goal as part of the Achievement Days "Service and Citizenship" category. She said the girls prepared by learning about government and about the proclamation, by practicing memorized speaking parts, and by learning about posture and how to conduct themselves.

Sister Dyer added: "I know that the Achievement Days program will leave a lasting, positive impression in the lives of young girls. It is also a way to fellowship non-members . . . . This program is undoubtedly inspired, and will be beneficial to girls wherever it is implemented."


Reading through a year's agenda for Achievement Days in the Great Falls (Mont.) 5th Ward is like reading a how-to list for the balanced person. Throughout the past year, Primary girls have learned the Virginia Reel, made their mothers breakfast, played softball and other sports, learned arts and crafts, gave service to the elderly, learned personal grooming and prepared a family home evening.

Vicki Stull, who served until recently as a Primary teacher for 10- and 11-year-olds and handled Achievement Days activities for the ward, said that when she was called to her position, she decided she wanted a consistent Achievement Days program that the girls "could rely on and that would follow the suggested themes. I also wanted to establish a place where less-active girls could come and enjoy themselves and find friends.

"I feel we have a good program that has met and exceeded the initial goals I had," she wrote in correspondence to the Church News. "I have all of the girls enrolled in Primary in this age group coming to Achievement Days on a fairly consistent basis as well as two non-members. All of my girls have been to Sunday meetings as well . . . ."

Sister Stull added that the ward holds Achievement Days on the same night as Young Women, although they keep the two groups separate. This way, she noted, Primary girls can see the examples set by young women and look forward to the Young Women program.


Earlier this year, Primary leaders from the Cinco de Abril Chile Stake held an Achievement Days outdoor activity. Primary boys in the stake were invited to participate in the activity. With the 58 boys and girls were 30 adult leaders. A letter from stake Primary Pres. Cecilia Vergara de del Pino and her counselors explained that the leaders actively participated in the event, "thus helping them realize the importance of their callings in relationships to the needs of the children."

The children played games in which honesty and clean play were emphasized. Afterward, the boys worked on Cub Scout activities, while the girls worked with leaders on individual Achievement Days goals.

In the letter, the Primary presidency related: "As we looked into the smiling faces of the children,

weT felt a great deal of happiness and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the opportunity we have of working in His Kingdom with these special children. We know that the Spirit guides our footsteps and that our Father in Heaven had His hand in all we did that resulted in this successful activity."


By working together on Achievement Days projects, Primary girls in the Kirkland (Wash.) 2nd Ward have formed deeper bonds, Trish Hanlon, ward Achievement Days leader, said.

"It's an opportunity for them to work together," she continued. "I see stronger ties on Sunday because they're watching out for each other."

In addition, she explained: "Because of the diversity of age - I have 8-year-olds to 11-year-olds - the older ones are helping the younger ones. That's neat to see."

She added with a chuckle, speaking of the older girls, "They're actually little mothers. It's funny."

One such activity that brought the girls together was an Achievement Days about bicycle maintenance and safety. Sister Hanlon said the girls learned how to maintain tires, how to adjust handles and seats and how to properly provide lights for their bikes. In addition, they learned the importance of helmets.

Sister Hanlon said Achievement Days builds confidence and gives the girls hands-on experience. "It's practical application of gospel principles such as faith, self-reliance and service."


Kathy Call of the Afton 4th Ward, Afton Wyoming Stake, almost always holds Achievement Days activities in her home - and not for convenience.

She said this provides an opportunity to share the spirit of an active LDS home with girls from less-active homes.

"The best thing about Achievement Days activities is that less-active girls almost always come," Sister Call, who teaches the 10- and 11-year-olds, said. "They may not come on Sunday, but they come to Achievement Days. Actually, we've had a little non-member coming too, and she's even come to Church.

"Coming to my home helps them see what a home should be like. We have a good spirit here. They like to come."

For Achievement Days on Aug. 11, Sister Call had the girls come to her home and make bird houses. On these bird houses, the girls glued cut-outs symbolizing various Achievement Days goals reached during the past year. During the past year, the girls have done such things as hike, and have a family history day where they visited a local cemetery, then returned to the Call home to report on their discoveries.

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