A new Activities Committee Handbook for wards and stakes has been published, incorporating recent changes in budget and other guidelines.
The new publication underscores the counsel that "activities should be kept in a wholesome perspective that reinforces the teaching of gospel principles, strengthens families and brings people together in a setting that increases fellowship," said Robert L. Leake, Priesthood Department administrative assistant, whose responsbilities include activities.Twelve pages in length, the new handbook supersedes the old Activities Committee Handbook as well as the LDS Safety Manual.
New features include an Activity Plan Sheet that can be reproduced and filled out for each activity, covering such concerns as administration, transportation, itinerary and approval of leaders.
A new Parental Permission and Medical Release form is included, which provides for parental permission not only for children and youth to engage in the activity, but for emergency medical care to be rendered if required.
Also included are reproducible copies of the Talent and Interest Survey form and the Performance Contract, formerly distributed separately from the handbook.
The handbook makes it clear that activities should stay within Church budget and finance policies. Brother Leake noted that that provision was included in the handbook manuscript even before the recent revision of the guidelines.
Among other new provisions in the handbook are the following:
- "For home use only" videos should not be shown at organized Church functions.
- Participants should be taught safety practices prior to an activity.
- Portrayal of the Savior in dramas and musicals should be done with utmost dignity by people of wholesome personal character, and only scripture uttered by the Savior should be spoken by the person in that role.
- Negative and intimidating behavior has no place in Church sports.
- Giving cash prizes has been deleted from a list of activities that are not approved.
In some cases, Brother Leake pointed out, guidelines have been made more flexible, allowing local leaders to use prudence and discretion. For example, in chaperoning, a specific ratio of youth to adults has been deleted.