March 14, 2010

Relief Society Birthday

Last night we had our monthly activity and it just so happened it was to celebrate the organization of Relief Society. Relief Society, probably the largest and the oldest women's organization in the world, was organized on March 17th 1842.

Here's a bit of trivia for you: In WWI there were 50000 female members of the Red Cross in the USA. Of that number, over 47000 of them were also Relief Society members. I think the number was 47358. That's pretty incredible.

(before you read this, if there are any words that you have no clue 'stake' or 'ward' then here's a link that will explain them. LDS Lingo for beginners.)

So we had the activity last night. It was a great success. How can you tell if it's a successful evening? Well when the tables and chairs are packed up and STILL the ladies are standing around chatting, dancing and LAUGHING for more than an hour.

In our ward we have monthly Relief Society activities/meetings. Yep, that's right, monthly. For years I've been suggesting to a president here and there that they need to get back to holding monthly activity rather than just the groups that were going on. If the groups are working in other places then that's great but around here, they weren't.

When I was called as a counselor in stake I thought I had a better shot at moving them in that direction but nope. So the first thing I did when I got called as president in my own ward was start monthly activities. First one was a 'Chocolate appreciation evening'.

We started off with a few sisters attending. I think there were maybe 8 of us there that night. In the 5 or so months that I've been president the numbers have more than doubled AND I'm getting sisters coming up begging me to have it on a different day/time because it doesn't suit their job and they haven't been able to attend. Last night I even had one come on her lunch break just so she could come.

Last night I was asked by a few sisters what the activity is for next month and when is it. I couldn't remember so as they were talking amongst themselves THEY came up with what the activity will be. You beauty!!! No matter what the activity is that I had down for next month, I'm happy to postpone it because this is all about the other ladies and what they are interested in. MONTHLY WORKS!!!! So does not over planning, not having to decorate to any great degree AND you don't have to spend much money.

For example: Last month sisters started asking what our activity would be for this month. I said that it was going to be our 'quarterly' activity and would be the birthday/anniversary of RS. Questions like "What will we be doing?", "What do you want us to wear?", "What do we need to bring?" and "What do we need to do for it?" were the norm.

I've attended these evenings where it's been a beautiful sit down meal and there's been a big song and dance about Relief Society or I've been asked to be a part of the 'song and dance' which has involved scripts and practices. I've enjoyed those evenings but mostly due to sitting around laughing and talking to the other ladies. I wanted this year's activity to be more 'sitting around laughing and talking' than anything else.

So when the sisters would ask me the questions I already had the answers: "We're going to have a PARTY!", "It's a party, come comfortable", "Bring nothing" and "You don't need to do anything". The sisters were looking forward to it.

We had party foods...nothing flash. I think the only thing homemade was the b'day cake which was a yummy chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It wasn't ordered from the store to have "Charity Never Faileth" on it and it didn't have different coloured frosting. It was a simple and YUMMY cake that had candles (that were never lit) in it.

The decorations were cheap party favours and some lollies wrapped in gold or silver foil down the middle of each table. There were some party hats as well.

I did splurge and bought this big cylinder thing that had confetti in. After we opened with prayer I popped the cylinder to a loud bang and streamers flying high in the air. "Let's Party!!"

We had a fun party game with inexpensive prizes. We would have had another game or two if I had brought white board markers instead of chalk but oh well...we still had fun. The game was just me asking questions like "When was RS organize?", "Who was the longest serving RS General President?" etc. The prizes were what really made the game fun. I didn't want to spend more than 60 cents for a prize so I went up and down each isle looking for things that would meet that criteria. Here's a list or what I found: a can of beetroot, a bag of pasta, a packet of french onion soup, a packet of jelly and half a chocolate bar. Each prize that was handed out brought on huge laughter especially the half chocolate bar. had to be half of one to equal the costs of the other prizes!!

If you're missing the monthly activities in your ward then be the squeaky wheel and get them back up and running because they WORK!!!