With the global COVID-19 pandemic continuing into its second year, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is asking local Church leaders in the United States and Canada to look for youth conference and camp opportunities in 2021, with For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conferences being postponed until 2022.
In a Jan. 15, 2021, letter posted on Newsroom, President Ballard encouraged leaders to look for ways to reconnect with youth through local ward or stake youth conferences and Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood camps — on a smaller scale or, if necessary, virtually this calendar year.
“Where permitted by local health and safety guidelines and when directions from Area Presidencies allow, these activities should be held in person,” President Ballard says. “Where group gatherings are not permitted, virtual alternatives should be used. As youth and their leaders seek His guidance, Heavenly Father will bless them with vision and creativity to help His sons and daughters grow.”
Last year, all For the Strength of Youth conferences planned in the United States and Canada for 2020 were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Church leaders announced on April 13, 2020.
FSY conferences are five-day events modeled after Brigham Young University’s Especially for Youth conferences with classes, devotionals, dances and other activities for youth ages 14 and older. FSY conferences have been happening internationally for several years.
The conferences were set to begin in the United States and Canada in 2020 as part of the new Children and Youth program. About 300 stakes and 45,000 youth were scheduled to attend.
The complete Jan. 15 letter from President Ballard reads:
To: General Authorities, General Officers, and the following leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidencies; Bishoprics and Branch Presidencies; Stake and Ward Young Women Presidencies; Stake Young Men Presidencies; Young Men Advisers; Youth Class and Quorum Presidencies
Youth Activities and FSY Conferences in 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We are eager for renewed opportunities for youth to gather and participate in fun and meaningful activities, reconnecting with each other and with their leaders.
As outlined in the General Handbook, stake or ward youth conferences should be held annually except in years the stake is participating in a For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference. Likewise, Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood camps should be held each year. For 2021, we strongly suggest that stake and ward leaders — including youth class and quorum presidencies — plan and hold youth conference and Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood camps.
Where permitted by local health and safety guidelines and when directions from Area Presidencies allow, these activities should be held in person. Where group gatherings are not permitted, virtual alternatives should be used. As youth and their leaders seek His guidance, Heavenly Father will bless them with vision and creativity to help His sons and daughters grow.
To support stake and ward efforts to help youth and leaders reconnect, FSY conferences planned for the United States and Canada in 2021 will be postponed until 2022. An updated schedule for FSY conferences in the United States and Canada for 2022–24 will be provided soon.
We are grateful for the faithful attention leaders and members are giving to local health and safety guidelines and direction from Area Presidencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to follow that guidance as you plan safe and meaningful youth activities.
M. Russell Ballard