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Empower Youth Presidencies to Lead the Children and Youth Program

Young Men and Young Women General Leaders say that's when youth respond with inspiration

Fortune Ward, 14, right, tries to regain balance on the Hoosker Doosker activity at Badger Mountain in Ephraim Canyon, Utah, for the SnowFun Youth Conference on Thursday, June 3, 2021. The participants must try to switch places on the blocks, but they must keep one block empty in the middle of their switch and cannot step on that block. Photo by Annie Barker, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Sydney Walker, Church News

A teenager learning how to drive may not gain much by sitting in the backseat of a car watching Mom or Dad drive. Better learning will likely take place as they are at the steering wheel, with a parent or trusted mentor in the passenger seat.

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon used this analogy to illustrate the learning that comes to quorum and class presidencies as they are invited to take control and lead.

Handing over the car keys — or stepping aside to let the youth lead — may not be easy. However, “those people that have been called to be parents at this time, those that have been called to be leaders at this time, it’s because the Lord trusts them that they would be in the passenger seat giving such clear and concise directions,” President Cordon said.

President Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund joined a recent episode of the Church News podcast to discuss reengaging in the Children and Youth program following a pandemic year and how to support youth as they take a leading role.

In response to a question about how parents and leaders can keep the enthusiasm and motivate the youth, President Cordon said the question shouldn’t be “How do we …?” but “How do they …?”

“They know how to do this better than any group because they’ve been set apart, and they can receive the revelation and inspiration that they need for their calling,” she said of quorum and class presidencies.

President Lund credits President Cordon with teaching him the importance of turning questions over to the youth. They will always figure it out, she has said.

“As unlikely as that sounds to us adults,” President Lund said, “it always seems to work, it always seems to play out. As soon as they feel empowered, and as soon as they feel the weight of the moment, of their calling, they respond with inspiration.”

He continued: “The Children and Youth program is a work of curious workmanship, and the answers of how you’re going to build your particular little ship are going to be unique to these wards, and those answers are going to flow through those young people.”

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund speak during a presentation titled “Supporting Children and Youth: A Broadcast for Parents and Leaders,” which was released on Sunday, June 6, 2021.All rights reserved.
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Quorum and class presidencies also ask important questions as they meet in their presidency meetings, President Cordon said. Instead of just assigning someone to bring snacks, they plan an activity by asking: “Who can we help? Who can we build up? Who needs to be part of this?”

Other questions may include, “Who’s not coming to seminary? How can we help?” and “Who doesn’t have a limited-use temple recommend? Let’s get them ready for that and be there.”

President Lund said, “When they engage in that actual work, then amazing things truly happen.”

As parents and leaders counsel with quorum and class presidencies, the youth will offer a fresh perspective, President Cordon said. “They’re very inclusive, and they invite all. And they want everyone to know the goodness of the Savior.”

President Lund emphasized the stripling warriors’ faithful response to Helaman when he asked them if they would go to battle: “He will not suffer that we should fall” (Alma 56:46). Likewise, today’s youth have confidence and trust in the Savior.

The adversary doesn’t want the youth to be involved in this work, President Cordon said, “so we need to do all we can do as leaders to allow these youth to be involved, because the promises for these youth, as they’re involved in the work of salvation and exaltation, are huge. …

“When they start working in this, their confidence — no matter what their personality type is — increases. Their happiness and their joy increases.”

Copyright 2021 Deseret News Publishing Company

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