Friday, 26 September 2014

Stake Youth Fireside "For the Strength of Youth"

A stake youth fireside held on Sunday 21 September was an opportunity for youth to know the standards outlined in the booklet 'For the Strength of Youth.' The focus was understanding the doctrine behind the standards and the importance of upholding them so that youth can stand against worldly influences.

Lizzie Prebble, a laurel of Esk Ward and Austen Howe, a priest of Devonport ward, were two of the youth in attendance on the night. Both commented on the joy in living the standards. "The standards in the (For the Strength of Youth) book are clear and easy to understand, and following them brings happiness in our own lives", said Austen. Lizzie also mentioned her gratitude in upholding the standards: "I am so grateful for the standards that help keep me grounded and focussed on what is most important. I know that the choices I make in life do matter and it's through the gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings that I can make the right choices and experience true joy."

The fireside started with an overview of the For the Strength of Youth booklet, given by Macady Roberts. She spoke about how we should be honest with ourselves and how doing so can help us better live the commandments and the standards contained in the booklet. Macady shared her own personal experiences and also spoke about youth around the world, who had decided to "stand for humility" And "stand for what they believed was good and right".

The night was then broken up into workshops where youth received object lessons from Carlos and Ashley Furlan, Bishop Aaron and Elissa Woolley, and Scott Prebble on the topics of honesty, dating and language.
The dating workshop included fun ideas and activities and left the youth with important lessons. "A key point to me was that each person is responsible for the other's honesty and virtue in a dating situation," Austen said. Lizzie similarly learned that "the purpose of group dating is to protect each other's honour and virtue.

Bishop and Sister Woolley taught that bad language isn't just swearing; bad language could include mocking and ridiculing. They talked about counteracting negative comments with positive comments. "It doesn't take much to be complimentary...We all have the spirit and it will guide us to say positive things" the Bishop said. Sister Woolley compared listening to music with a little bit of swearing to eating chocolate fudge with a little bit of dog poo in it. "I think everyone was a little worried about the free fudge after the workshop" came a cheeky remark from Austen.

Using a clever object lesson comparing the content of raspberry cordial (which contains no raspberries at all) and Ribena (which is packed with real fruit), Brother Prebble demonstrated that integrity is about being the same on the inside as you are on the outside. "Our actions should always reflect who we are and what we believe, regardless of the circumstance," Lizzie was reminded.

A meme posted on Facebook by Austen Howe.
After everyone reconvened to the chapel, James Sayers spoke about a process he calls "flipping the switch" on situations where standards are questioned, even at times, in a negative light by others. He said that by teaching the doctrine behind the standards in question, any reasonable person will naturally come to understand why those standards are important - in the same way flipping on a switch would shed light to a room. "The effect works, especially if we understand the doctrine, especially if we believe the doctrine and especially if we are living the doctrine" he said.

Youth were left with a three-step challenge: 1 - Understand the reason why we have and need these standards; 2 - Try 'flipping the switch' in a situation when standards are questioned, 3 - Invite  a 'plus one' to the final activity of the year which has the focus on specific standards.

The final stake youth activity will be held at Devonport chapel on the 15th of November. It is entitled 'Body Shop' and will focus on the importance of looking after our bodies. The youth leaders and youth committee, which is comprised of five youth around the stake have promised this to be an outstanding activity and one not to miss."