Zelophehad’s Daughters

Recently Overheard (Over read?) on Facebook

Posted by Apame

So…my old roommate announces that she’s been called as the Personal Progress consultant in her ward.  She asks anyone if they remember any good projects they did or really enjoyed in Personal Progress, to be used as suggestions for things she can organize.

Some people  I do not know replied thus, in no particular order:

Friend of a Friend #1 :

“I made a quilt. It was so fun and defenitely something I use a LOT now. I thinking cooking and stuff like that. I honestly think a lot of the things I know now are because of PP. Like cooking and crafting, baking, sewing, style, service.”

Friend of a Friend #2:

“We did a pageant — complete w/ modest evening wear, talent showcase, interviews & tiaras. It was great!”

Friend of a Friend #3

“My mother was my PP leader in the ward, and I remember doing everything from a fashion show, to making a recipe book.”

Friend of Friend #4

“I learned basic cross-stitching on pictures of animals. And my leader put it together in a quilt for me.”

Friend of a Friend #5

“I’m in YW’s again and our PP leader had a message [sic] therapist/hairdresser come in to demo therapeutic techniques and proper hygiene. We were all relaxed and melted by the end of the session. Very impacting!”

Now…without having a conniption fit like I’m trying not to have over here…please discuss…

Or maybe a better approach would be to ask, “Why do you think responses like this might make someone throw a conniption fit?”

59 Responses to “Recently Overheard (Over read?) on Facebook”

  1. 1.

    “Everything from a fashion show, to making a recipe book.” I’m assuming that includes shooting guns, discussing sex toys, and playing video games. I mean, she did say “EVERYTHING” then mentioned two completely unrelated activities.

    The third-waver in me wants to say, hey that’s great that these women enjoyed these activities–and certainly cooking and sewing are useful skills for anyone to learn. But I think you already know what the second-waver in me wants to say….

  2. 2.

    AND (full disclosure) one of my projects was a cross-stitch of the YW logo…

    But…I tell you what…if someone asked me what kind of projects I’d like to recommend for young women today, it would most definitely NOT be cross-stitching…

  3. 3.

    I have a daughter in the middle of the PP program. All of the homemaking things above … are things totally of interest to her *because* they don’t do it on a regular basis.

    My daughter thinks that baking bread is a respite from her science homework…

  4. 4.

    I did all those things and enjoyed them (including learning how to make a tie–not that any of the farmers in my life needed one), but we also did ballroom dancing, car maintenance, several service projects for the elderly in the ward, school-related stuff (I think I was able to count a project I’d done at school like a music or dance-related project, but I can’t remember what it was). And for cooking, we learned things like crepes (French food wasn’t exactly big stuff in farm country in Western IL–this was a cultural experience for us, learning about what it was like for our leader to live in France, etc.). I did a family history project of some sort, too.

    I think it’s possible to put a twist on the old homemaking standards to make them either/both more personal (connecting it to the girls’ lives and their families or family histories) or more broad, such as giving them a cultural experience they might not otherwise have.

  5. 5.

    stacer: I really like that. I really like your ideas there.

  6. 6.

    To be fair, the query seems to have been not for today’s girls but for your/your roommate’s generation. In the old program, admittedly, it was far more typical to teach homemaking skills (and as stacer says, this can be quite broadening rather than narrowing if done thoughtfully). An anti-conniption comment on the thread might look something like,

    “These look like great projects for a generation ago, but might not be the best guide for today’s girls. If I were in your new calling I would survey the girls about what they want to learn and do and I would think about what skills, lessons or new experiences will best help them in today’s world”

  7. 7.

    A trio of young women in our ward- I’m not sure for which value- participated as exchange students with our Sister City in Japan. This also involved something like two years of additional service promoting the Sister City program throughout the state.

  8. 8.

    At a recent Duty to God/ Personal Progress recognition dinner at our stake, one YW reported that one project involved “horse riding.” At first I thought, that’s nice, she’s learning a new skill and developing an interest. Which would have been, in itself, a great project. But then she explained futher: it was creating a horse riding camp for special needs children and the “project” part was developing the skills and leadership to make that experience life-changing for the kids.

    I was really, really impressed.

  9. 9.

    The take away from the facebook conversation is that some women enjoy these things – these were their favorite PP memories. Now, as much as the pagent night makes my skin crawl- because these were not suggestions but actual activies enjoyed by women in their youth, we really can’t start judging them.

    The error was in polling a bunch of 30 year olds as to what they enjoyed when they were 14 instead of trying to tailor activities particular to the current girl’s needsl.

  10. 10.

    I agree with everything that has been said but will tell all of you I disliked YW for this very reason. I never fit into the stereotypical homemaking group. I thought crafts were insults to my intelligence (and I was never patient enough to want to take them home with me), cooking was something I’d rather taste than do (and learn on my own), and making quilts forever turned me away from any sewing/crocheting/knitting passion.

    I always wanted to have deep discussions about books, politics, and how best to serve the community; alas, it took until I was married to find someone I could really talk about that with.

    That said, I thought I could offer many talents to the YW program but I was rarely put into it. Hmmmm…….

  11. 11.

    The only thing I remember about PP is just taking all the various school, extracurricular, and service stuff I did (arguably for college applications) and writing about them as seen through church-colored glasses. Which is to say i just made stuff up about things that were going on in my life anyway.

  12. 12.

    Whitney, she did say everything from a fashion show, to making a recipe book, implying everything between a fashion show and making a recipe book. I guess the question is whether shooting guns falls on the spectrum. :)

  13. 13.

    Many of the comments were off-putting, though I thought this was good:

    The take away from the facebook conversation is that some women enjoy these things

    I guess I found myself wondering what the point of the post was. It seems almost an invitation to attack the posters for the things they liked. Don’t people have a right to like the things they like or should any mainstream preference be merely an excuse to snark people?

    That said, my oldest surviving daughter’s PP included her sword collection and that she had a four year varsity letter from the rifle team.

    But it also included a quilt.

    My mother won state fair competitions with her quilts, my wife does better quilts. Sure, she is a CRNA, is planning on completing her doctorate next, lays tile, on our first date she repaired a guy’s car.

    But she also enjoys cooking, though the first thing I noticed about her was her roundhouse kick.

    Anyway, so many of what I consider “younger” types (you know, youall in your thirties) tend to denigrate, subtly or not, older people in the Church. “Of course you did not have computers when you were in school” (no, I was just coding in machine code on $350k machines in high school) someone just told me Sunday.

    I won’t repeat some of the things my wife has been told when there are conversations like this.

  14. 14.

    So, why do conversations like this make me want to throw a conniption fit? Because of the way that they denigrate and snark at other women. Kind of the way some people feel that a feminist can never be a Mormon or a housewife.

    It is the layer of contempt that filters in, often from people who could not letter in a varsity sport, throw a good roundhouse kick, or win a county fair with their cooking or quilting.

    Is that a fair answer?

  15. 15.

    My daughter is almost 14. Yesterday I asked her if she was coming up with cool ideas for YWs activities. She didn’t like the ideas I came up with (financial management, public speaking). The only thing she was interested in learning about was cooking.

  16. 16.

    I remember playing a difficult etude on my clarinet for PP night because I didn’t have anything else to show off, but mostly I boycotted the Personal Progress program because I felt it wasn’t beneficial to me at all. I do remember doing a few goals that I would have done anyway, being in a play for an example and then getting a leader to sign off on it, but for the most part, I felt that it was a waste of my time. It’s a good thing men aren’t counseled that they’d be best off with a wife who received her Young Women’s in Excellence Award.

    I would do the goals if we did them as a group, but I lived in 7 wards between 12 and 18, so I didn’t really have the support of a consistent set of leadership.

    Personally, I wonder if women loved these activities because they were the best things that were offered. Perhaps the problem isn’t what women enjoy, it’s that they aren’t offered enough variety to enjoy many different things. How many of these women do you think had the opportunity to go to the Planetarium and then work on their own star charts or volunteer hours to help their community? Probably not very many or I bet we would see far more variation in the answers above.

  17. 17.

    Lauren:

    Personally, I wonder if women loved these activities because they were the best things that were offered. Perhaps the problem isn’t what women enjoy, it’s that they aren’t offered enough variety to enjoy many different things.

    Precisely. Exactly.

  18. 18.

    I think it can happen that leaders (especially the newlywed, youngish ones who seem to be most typically called to YW) want too much to be friends with the YW, so the first criterion for activities is “what will girls enjoy”? It’s not clear to me that that is the best way to plan. My daughter thinks makeovers and fashion shows are fun (clearly, these things are not genetic!), so those are good activities if entertaining the girls and making them like you is your priority. But this is a generation that has been entertained almost to death, and I’d really like my daughter’s YW leaders to challenge her to do things that are NOT fun, but which are necessary and important. There are more and less fun ways to teach important skills, and I’m all for choosing the more fun ways, but the main criterion for choosing YW activities ought to be whether they provide opportunities for significant service or learning.

  19. 19.

    @ Stephen

    If your wife is a ninja, that’s so, so awesome and great. But the point is that all these women I’m quoting did not mention things like ’roundhouse kicks,’ ‘sword collections,’ or ‘car maintenance’ in their responses about things they enjoyed or remembered from PP.

    And the point is that, yes, cooking can be way awesome (I love cooking! I LOVE gardening. You have obviously not read my intro in “about us”) but it’s not the only thing women can learn about or do… Which is the attitude these quotes are perpetuating by suggesting them as the only type of activities useful for girls today. (And I’ll note that I posted ALL of the comments in response to her question. I didn’t just pick and choose ones that fit my liberal, biased, young, immature opinion.)

  20. 20.

    @ Kristine

    the main criterion for choosing YW activities ought to be whether they provide opportunities for significant service or learning.

    Thank you! I was trying to figure out a way to say exactly that. I think YW leaders are really doing a disservice to their young women by not treating them as nascent adults.

  21. 21.

    Kind of the way some people feel that a feminist can never be a Mormon or a housewife.

    And yet the blog is called Feminist Mormon Housewives. Also, are you aware that two bloggers on this site (Vada and Eve) are SAHMs?

    Really, you can’t paint all feminists with the same brush.

  22. 22.

    I also want to point out that 4 of the 5 comments emphasized “personal appearance” activities as a memory from PP and something my friend should repeat with her young women.

    Am I the only one who finds this fact super, super disturbing…?

  23. 23.

    I guess I found myself wondering what the point of the post was. It seems almost an invitation to attack the posters for the things they liked. Don’t people have a right to like the things they like or should any mainstream preference be merely an excuse to snark people?

    It’s perfectly acceptable for women to be interested in whatever they like, as long as it’s not harming others. I have no problem whatever with women who cook, cross-stitch, quilt, or even make their hair stand on end with various instruments of torture.

    The reason to throw a conniption fit is this: This isn’t 4H, and it’s not the local quilting bee, and it’s not the fashion club. The YW program is said, ultimately, to have been designed by God. It’s a heavy burden to have God on board.

    The proposed activities fall basically into two categories: homemaking and fashion. My objection to homemaking is only that I wish a broader range of opportunities were offered. (I have no problem doing crafts and needlepoint myself, but my YW leaders tended to object strenuously to the way I went about doing them. I was thrown out of the cross-stitching activity because I switched the colors and cross-stitched my message upside down. And the last time I created a craft, I left it to dry with everyone else’s masterpiece and it was thrown in the garbage by the people cleaning up. I guess they didn’t understand art.)

    But I do object to activities focused on appearance. Is American culture not doing enough to teach our girls they’re obligated to look stunning? Do we need to drag God to the fashion show too? The message I got in YW is that God is very, very invested in women’s physical appearance—which is to say, in class. I don’t have a shred of respect for that God.

  24. 24.

    Personal Progress gives me nightmares. I come home from the monthly YW presidency planning meeting exhausted, vaguely homicidal, and in a state of sort of manic despair.
    While your sample of responses is from 30-somethings, the actual goals in the Personal Progress book haven’t changed (for decades). The overwhelming majority of these goals are in line with traditional gender roles in the Church and reinforce those roles in their wording (for example, YW are always directed to ask another women to teach them a homemaking skill). Contrary to some commentators here have asserted, the other members of the presidency and I have no problem with teaching the girls homemaking skills. I think that they’re valuable to have, I enjoy cooking and cleaning, and I would love to learn how to sew. What makes me want to set the book on fire is, as others have mentioned, that there are really no other options offered. There is one goal that mentions developing a plan for college. The open-ended bigger projects offer a place for expansion, but we’re supposed to plan activities centered around the smaller goals.
    It is really difficult to plan activities that balance the PP goals, the other things that the girls need to learn, and the things that the girls tend to want to do (they sometimes say service, but it’s usually watching a movie or something like that. Or making large T-shirts that say “modest is hottest” for the nonmember, tank-top-wearing girls who attend our activities. I think our next activity should be a group reading of The Scarlet Letter.).
    Another problem is that homemaking activities and fashion shows tend to be inexpensive, and there isn’t the institutional and monetary support to do things that require equipment. A new member’s daughter said that she would be interested in attending YW if we did the kinds of things that the YM do–but they have $1800 more in their budget. When we brought up going on a canoe trip, the bishop–in front of the YW–laughed and said that there was no way, because we wouldn’t be capable of doing it.
    In short: the PP program is deeply flawed, and does not meet the needs of the Young Women because of its inflexibility and its short-sighted, rigid, and prescriptionist approach which leaves lots of girls by the wayside and doesn’t respond to the needs they currently have or the ones they’ll face in the future. It’s not even that it’s created for middle-class and upper class white girls who grow up in traditional families in Utah, because it doesn’t meet those girls’ needs either. The entire YW program needs an overhaul–and I say this not as an insolent whippersnapper, but as someone who feels deeply the responsibility of fulfilling this particular calling.
    (Sorry for the long-winded rant–I had one of those planning meetings last night.)

  25. 25.

    @ Stephen: You make an excellent point. We shouldn’t criticize people for their interests and likes even when it fits into a perfect gender category that can be hard for us to break free from.

  26. 26.

    Amen, Zillah. I’ve following this discussion with much amusement and interest, and I wish I could comment with some of my own experiences, but the truth is that I don’t remember a single PP activity we did when I was in YW. I’m not sure whether the activities were so boring to me at the time that I didn’t go (and I was a relatively faithful attender of activities, because I had wonderful leaders who worked very hard to provide a good environment for us) or they were so forgettable that ten years down the road I can’t remember a single thing. (And, for the record, I remember plenty of YW activities that were not PP-oriented.) Either way, that doesn’t speak highly of the program.

  27. 27.

    I have to say, it may not have been your intention, but I read the OP the same way Stephen did. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the activities that were enjoyed by the women commenting.

    I remember many sorts of activities that we did when I was a YW 20 years ago. The ones I enjoyed most were those that involved cooking and creating things (such as quilts). I also remember activities where we learned to change the oil in our cars, perform CPR, and balance a checkbook. Those activities were not enjoyed by me and I think were not popular with the other girls either. I do think they are important skills to learn. I suppose Kristine would approve.

  28. 28.

    @E Mostly–I do think there is something inherently wrong with personal appearance activities, but not with homemaking skills in general.

    What IS inherently wrong is how all the responses were only homemaking or appearance related, as Kiskilili pointed out. What IS inherently wrong is how these individual’s responses line up to present a unanimous picture of what PP was and still is–and that picture is of a very narrow tunnel, and of a very narrow scope of development for young women. What IS inherently wrong is that none of the respondents had any other ideas to even offer to the girls in the program today because we’re just perpetuating expectations from 10 years ago (by recycling old activities, but also, as Zillah mentioned, because the PP goals have not changed).

    To limit girls like that, starting as young as 12, and to see that these women (in their unanimity) had also been limited themselves, IS inherently wrong and if I sounded more than a little peeved in my OP, it’s frankly because I was.

  29. 29.

    I think the responses simply reflect those particular women’s preferences. I don’t think the PP program is that narrow. I think it is actually quite broad (faith, divine nature, etc etc). But I do think that if leaders plan activities that will be liked best they will tend to be your idea of the “wrong” types of activities. I doubt any of the commenters got through YW doing only homemaking and fashion types of activities, those were just what they happened to enjoy.

  30. 30.

    ajbc,

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who did that. One activity I remember the most about was when my family “adopted” (he needed a ride to church) an elderly man from a nursing home. Would I have done this otherwise? Not a chance.

    The one thing that set me off about the entire thing was having to write a testimony in the booklet at the end. Made me feel like my faith had to go through a judge for approval. I could put up with doing random things that I was doing anyway–figured my brother was putting up with a bunch of random merit badges– but I’ve yet to hear of a YM program that expected the same out of them.

  31. 31.

    I am pp leader in our ward. For our pp activities I try to do the scripture reading and list making/testimony writing in the first 30 minutes and then move on to something more fun. This way the girls have one of the scripture goals complete but still get to go mountain biking, rock climbing and star gazing. This also helps with girls that won’t do it on their own because they will come for the fun and hopefully pick up a little spiritual enrichment along the way. They already have plenty of homemaking activities on other weeks so it has worked out well.

    I think that the hardest part has been getting the other leaders to come to the more active activities. They feel uncomfortable helping to lead an activity that they, themselves, have never done.

  32. 32.

    Apame — I’ve read “about us” — I’ll read it again. [done].

    Lady Amalthea — are you aware I’ve been a guest blogger at FMH? I was striving for some irony in that comment and some inferential notation as well.

    and I’d really like my daughter’s YW leaders to challenge her to do things that are NOT fun, but which are necessary and important. There are more and less fun ways to teach important skills, and I’m all for choosing the more fun ways, but the main criterion for choosing YW activities ought to be whether they provide opportunities for significant service or learning

    Nicely said.

  33. 33.

    As an aside, talking about the budget issues will get me ranting. It is just wrong to not provide similar support and access to the facilities for both YM and YW.

  34. 34.

    @E: while you’re right in that there are a number of different values in the PP program, I just reread my book, and almost all of them have a very heavy emphasis on home making, gender roles, and/or modesty, with little difference regardless of their value categorization. There’s not a lot of variety.

  35. 35.

    Indeed, Zillah. The PP program has become more restrictive and much more narrowly focused on gendered activities than it used to be. There used to be quite a bit of latitude to pick one’s own activities. No more. The natural differences between boys and girls are now obligatory.

  36. 36.

    Hmm. I guess I will have to read the current PP program handbook or whatever it is. Then maybe I can re-read the OP and want to throw a conniption fit.

  37. 37.

    Yeah, you really don’t have to read the whole manual. EVERY SINGLE VALUE contains at least one reference to the Proclamation on the Family–even ones like “Divine Nature,” where you’d think there might be emphasis on scriptures suggest memorizing passages from the PotF. “Knowledge,” where you might think they’d sneak in something interesting, suggest activities like “have your mother or a woman in the ward teach you about childcare or a housewifery skill.” So, really, just reread the PotF a couple of times, and you’re good to go.

  38. 38.

    Kristine,
    Back the train up. It actually uses the word “housewifery”? Not even homemaking?! Ack.

  39. 39.

    It was only five years ago that I was involved in the program as a YW, but…I can only remember standards night or whatever, which involved me having a table with photography and the school’s literary magazine that I edited (to show my talents, I guess)…and…playing glow in the dark volleyball. Also, back when I was actually trying to complete PP, I always made up my own activities as often as possible. (I made one of them learning how to use a very old 35mm SLR camera. Because I didn’t like any of the suggestions, whatever they were.)

    Anyway, I think I had a fairly similar experience to a lot of women here. I would say that some variety would have been nice, as would the ability to forget all the activities that focused on personal appearance (and this is coming from someone with a subscription to Glamour!)–it is just too weird to have in a church setting.

  40. 40.

    We’re currently using the PP manual to teach our oldest (15) how to creatively use the format to expand her own goals. We’ve been doing this since she turned 8, and was roundly cheesed off that the Achievement Day Girls didn’t do similar activities to the Scouts.

    What kinds of things does she wish they were doing? Well, she enjoys coming with me to do humanitarian quilts, and wonders why that hasn’t been taught to the teens. She builds things with her Dad and I, and wonders why real home *making* skills haven’t been taught through opportunities for service to the many elderly widows in our ward. She wants to do REAL things in the world. She already sets out on “visits” to girls in the ward, just to touch base personally, let them know they’re liked and missed. She’ll load up her backpack with some new recipe she’s invented, and set out with a casual, “Mom, I’m doing visits this afternoon… see you in two hours!” And she does that, not because she’s called to, but because she sees it as a natural progression for a teen who is learning to be a woman (after all, don’t RS ladies go visiting? Wish I could learn to do it with her same spirit, though…)

    I’m excited: there are some new leaders in, and one has already set aside part of her garden for any YW who would like to make organic gardening or flower gardening a part of their projects, or wants to grow food to donate to the shelters or food bank, etc. She is determined to help the girls experience real things, in loving settings. I have a feeling she’s another cheerful “small rebellion” sort, like me, and my family, and I’m delighted. Things could change.

  41. 41.

    I’m glad I grew up in a small branch when it comes to this. We didn’t have many YW and had a lot of joint activities with the YM – all of us learned basic cooking, ironing, sewing, gardening, budgeting, first aid, camping skills, etc.

    In term of projects, my big two were a stake humanitarian quilting project and preparing for a statewide music competition (since I was doing that anyway). The smaller projects were mostly service projects, including helping people with family history.

    Sometimes, I want to be called to YW to be the outlier, but I wouldn’t be able to say anything productive about the PotF.

  42. 42.

    Oh, no, Whitney, actually I’m sure it doesn’t. I was paraphrasing. But that would be awesome, in a horrifying sort of way ;)

  43. 43.

    Lady Amalthea — are you aware I’ve been a guest blogger at FMH? I was striving for some irony in that comment and some inferential notation as well.

    And like I said, you’re accusing Apame of something that’s not implied in her post – by saying “Kind of the way some people feel a feminist can never be a Mormon and a housewife,” aren’t you accusing of Apame of being one of those people? Irony or no, those kinds of feminists are not the kinds of bloggers you find on sites like fMh and ZD, and I feel you’re reading something in Apame’s post that isn’t there.

  44. 44.

    Lady A, I feel you’re reading something in Stephen’s comment that isn’t there.

  45. 45.

    KLC, in comment 14, Stephen expressed frustration at what he was interpreting in the OP to be an attack on women who enjoy quiltmaking, homemaking, etc. Which wasn’t the intent of the post. In the next comment, I read his comment as an association of her with those who believe feminists can’t be Mormons and housewives. Which is why I responded the way that I did. If I misunderstood, I apologize.

  46. 46.

    Lady Amalthea–if it means anything, I read the comments the same way you did.

  47. 47.

    And, you know, all of this brings up the uncomfortable questions like, “Well, what if these things really, really were the most favorite things of 99% of this friend’s commenting pool (apparently, everyone except for me)? What if these women really did like doing fashion shows and recipe books above anything else (and that’s assuming that they had choices like sword collections, car maintenance, and karate, for example)?

    Do they like them because they happen to like them individually and it was just sheer luck that their answers all conformed to stereotype, or do they like them because they grew up being told to like them (gendered)?

    Doesn’t everyone grow up being told to like something? And don’t we all conform to that to some degree? What makes one like better than another?

    Are these women missing out on a larger variety of activities because they were limited in their experience by outside factors (society, cultural expectation) or because they personally chose not to pursue them?

    If they chose not to pursue them, should it be okay to let that repeat itself in a new generation if you think you know of a better path?

    How do we know which “path” is better than another?

    I think I actually have pretty good answers to all of these questions, but they are good questions to ask oneself at any rate.

  48. 48.

    Liz C — neat!

    And yet the blog is called Feminist Mormon Housewives. Also, are you aware that two bloggers on this site (Vada and Eve) are SAHMs?

    Really, you can’t paint all feminists with the same brush.

    From what was explained later, I clearly misunderstood the intent of that comment then.

    And, clearly was not clear enough myself. My apologies.

    How do we know which “path” is better than another? or if they should be exposed to several paths? I think the exploration is better (and I think you do as well), which is a different question.

    Interesting, to compare what people had the most fun with, looking back, to what experiences they valued the most.

  49. 49.

    Here’s my two cents, and this will also count as a comment toward 50.

    Having worked in the boy scouts for the last three years, I can say that the callings that deal with the youth are extremely time intensive. As a result, I think that when people plan activities, it is not easy to go and do something original and new when you don’t have that skill yourself. As a result, there is going to be a certain amount of path dependence in the activities that get selected – leaders plan what is familiar to them. This is something that happens in both the YM and YW programs. I’m not justifying it, just pointing out that it is a function of limited time constraints and limited imagination.

  50. 50.

    Cross stitching as a teen helped me deal with severe anxiety problems.
    But I agree, a variety of experience is probably one of the best ways to encourage self-reflection and spiritual growth.

  51. 51.

    Kent: Word.

    Mel: The cross-stitching was definitely a relaxing thing for me, too. But, I agree right back with you, that it shouldn’t ever be the only kind of project offered.

    In other news: 50 comments!

  52. 52.

    To get around the problem that Kent mentions, a LOT more responsibility for planning could be given to the girls. I’ve volunteered in other youth programs, like Odyssey of the Mind which are mostly directed by the kids in the program, and the students usually do a good job. The adult is there to facilitate by helping them find information about what they want to do, and to keep everyone safe. Since I’ve been involved in those programs, most church stuff drives me right out of my mind because it’s so adult-controlled and un-imaginative.

  53. 53.

    I found the PP to be full of the same things and I hated all the “homemaking” activities so much that I did not want to become a mother. Of course, HF had different plans and I did eventually become a mother and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Now having a boy in scouts and a girl coming up on YW, I can see that the boys have a slew of activities to choose from in the form of merit badges whereas the girls program is severely limited in what they can do to “progress.”

  54. 54.

    Why not use the merit badge “requirements” as “ideas” for personal progress? I’ll bet that many merit badge formulas could fit into PP if individualized and tweaked to meet a young woman’s particular goals or interests. (I’m not a mom or a leader . . . just a 58-year-old woman who sees no reason to do it the old ways.)

  55. 55.

    tinker–you wouldn’t be the first to suggest that. This is from the 1934 Beehive handbook:

    GREETINGS FROM THE BOY SCOUTS

    This excellent program of activities, for Bee-Hive Girls, including the special emphasis on spirituality, presents the finest opportunity for Latter-day Saint girls to participate in an enjoyable character-developing program. The emphasis also on preparation for life’s work and for participation in citizenship, is outstanding.

    It is a real delight to know that in the Latter-day Saint Church we, of the Boy Scout movement, have the happy companionship and cooperation of this splendid movement for girls.

    Oscar A. Kirkham
    Associate Regional Executive
    Boy Scouts of America

  56. 56.

    Hm-m-m . . . . I might just take a look at merit badges for ideas of something interesting to do in the 2nd half of my life since no one is expecting me to do grandma babysitting and I have cooked, cleaned, crafted, served, and taught my way into terminal boredom. Is there no personal progress for the menopausal majority???

    I wonder if Oscar A. Kirkham was the founder of the sporting goods chain of stores that operated in SL valley when I was a Bee-Hive girl. I can see that camping and scouting would be the natural connection and make him qualified to welcome Bee-Hives who would soon be wearing that moniker as a hairdo. Maybe they were just trying to measure up?????

  57. 57.

    Using Scouting merit badges as a framework or format for YW activities would work, I think! The qualifications for passing off PP stuff fit in there pretty easily, and there’d be some expanded opportunities, too. (We already have used Scouting programs as a framework for homeschooling unit studies, and I know that can work, too.)

    The teen years are ideal for exploration. If we only ever explore the same circles, how will we grow?

  58. 58.

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  59. 59.

    What to do for YW activities is a tough question. When I was in YW ten years ago, I really resented all of the “homemaking” type activities. I think perhaps it was because they were framed as “We’re teaching you this so you can be a good wife and mother” rather than “We’re teaching you this because it’s a practical life skill and will help YOU personally.” The joke’s on me because I turned out to love cooking, baking, crafts, etc.

    Maybe a cooking activity could involve learning more about the culture that the food came from. I would have appreciated activities about planning for and applying to college. It would have been nice to get the message from my leaders that education is worth pursuing for its own sake, and not because it’s just what you do until you get married and have babies.

    Basic car maintenance is always a good idea.

    I think another good activity would be an introduction to critical analysis and interpretation of media. It’s so important, given the amount of various media that we all take in, but a lot of people don’t give a whole lot of critical thought to the messages they receive through movies, television, Internet, books, etc. And I’m NOT talking an activity in which we bemoan the wicked world and wicked Hollywood, etc.

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