“We can help.” “We want to be involved.” “We can do hard things.” “We can receive revelation for our callings.” “The Lord trusts us. How can we help our leaders trust us, too?”
These are just a few of the comments and questions we have received from our amazing young women on our travels throughout the world. And they are right. They can do hard things. They can receive revelation for their callings. And most importantly, the Lord trusts them.
It is no small thing that our Young Women class presidencies have been called of God and set apart by priesthood authority. They have been given responsibilities to prepare, counsel, teach, minister and lead. As their leaders, we in turn have a responsibility to guide, mentor and instruct our class presidencies so they will be successful leaders in the work. They have been called and empowered by the Lord, and our job is to help them succeed.
Even when circumstances don’t allow us to gather physically, we are still responsible to fulfill our callings. The invitation to be actively engaged in the work of salvation and exaltation has not been rescinded — if anything, it is now more important than ever. Despite the challenges of our day, through technology, we can still counsel, we can still hold meetings, we can still care for one another, we can still minister.
The youth are not only willing but prepared to move this sacred work forward. Elder David A. Bednar testified, “[Their] young fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign, Nov. 2011).
It is important that we stay connected. In addition to calling, texting, emailing, FaceTime, Google Chat and Zoom, the Gospel Living App is an inspired way to bring together our young women and keep the Lord’s work moving forward. The app feature Circles helps the Young Women class presidency, as well as the Young Women presidency, coordinate class presidency meetings, share any Gospel Living content, coordinate and plan activities, and share spiritual thoughts and messages.
Once the most effective way to stay connected has been established, we can utilize a variety of resources to help mentor our class presidencies to ensure that they learn and fulfill their leadership duties.
- The recently updated General Handbook: Chapter 11, Young Women gives valuable insights into the responsibilities of a Young Women class presidency and how adult leaders can best help them fulfill those duties. Have you noticed we have had a few changes? With continuous revelation, we can be assured that there will be more to come. Be sure to regularly check the General Handbook, Gospel Living app and Young Women website for upcoming help and resources.
- There are quorum and class presidency resources that can help the class presidencies function fully in their responsibilities. Now that the youth have a little more free time, adult leaders can take advantage of this opportunity to train and mentor. Allowing the youth to lead does not mean giving them more assignments but, instead, helping them develop necessary skills that enable them to be effective in their callings.
- The sample presidency meeting agenda is a wonderful resource to help class presidencies plan effective presidency meetings. Adult leaders are encouraged to counsel with the class president as she plans the agenda for the upcoming class presidency meeting. Doing so helps the meeting run more smoothly and instills in the class president added confidence in her ability to lead.
- Holding ward youth council regularly, hopefully monthly, is a vital opportunity for the youth to help the work of salvation and exaltation move forward in their wards. Our responsibility as adult leaders is to help prepare them to succeed in these meetings.
A Young Women class presidency in the Layton Utah East Stake began meeting for 15 minutes every Sunday right after church ended. These shorter meetings helped fill gaps between their longer monthly meeting.
The Young Women president, Rachel Zambrana, reminded the class presidency that this was their meeting, and she was only in attendance as a resource and mentor. The first few Sundays, the class presidency strained to find their footing and their voice. Within a few short weeks, however, as they took ownership of their class presidency meetings and began to magnify their callings, they saw the fruits of their efforts manifested in class participation, thoughtful ministering to one another, and inspired service and activities.
Jennifer Asay, first counselor in the Young Women presidency, reported: “I can see a huge difference. Their confidence, organization and desire to do more is evident. This is what I’ve yearned for young women (and women in general) to achieve.”
And the wonderful thing is that these presidency meetings can be done virtually.
As you encourage your class presidencies to fulfill their sacred stewardships, you will be amazed at the revelation they receive. For example, in the St. George Utah Morningside Stake — once it seemed that they may have to forgo Young Women camp this summer — the young women counseled together and decided to utilize Zoom and Instagram to hold a virtual girls’ camp. They are enthusiastically planning for this spiritual and social experience.
And in Norway, instead of canceling their two-day annual activity, the youth were inspired to hold a virtual conference where more than 100 youth gathered in Zoom classrooms online. They learned to cook, exercised together and shared spiritual messages.
Impressively, all of these activities were or are being planned by the youth — not their leaders. The young women are our greatest resource to help us determine what the young women need. The youth are leading, and it is our responsibility to help them soar.
As we seek creative opportunities to lead and minister from a distance through technology, we will help our young women continue to develop valuable leadership skills and patterns of seeking and acting upon personal revelation as they prepare the world for the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.