The updated, simplified Young Women Personal Progress Program soon to be available to wards and stakes throughout the Church mirrors the values of the new Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program, said Young Women General President Margaret D. Nadauld and her counselors, Carol T. Thomas and Sharon G. Larsen.
Both programs are based on the standards set out in the updated For the Strength of Youth guidebook, Sister Nadauld added. "It's critical that young men and young women who are on the threshold of life understand very clearly that the Church has the strongest values. There is no question where we stand."
Sister Nadauld and her counselors met with the Church News to discuss the simplified Personal Progress Program, as well as the updated For the Strength of Youth, and the new Guidebook for Parents and Leaders of Youth, as announced by a Sept. 28, 2001, letter from the First Presidency to Church and local priesthood leaders. (Please see related article on page 3; also see the Oct. 20 Church News for summary of address by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve concerning the new or updated youth programs. These materials will be sent to local leaders before the first of the year; as well as to Church distribution centers.)
The simplified Personal Progress booklet is smaller and can now fit snugly in regular-sized scriptures. It also includes "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" and "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles." Each value section begins with an illustration of the Savior portraying that particular value. In addition to the booklet, each young woman is to receive a similarly sized journal of the same blue color. The Young Women Recognition medallion has also been updated and now features the spires of the Salt Lake Temple in gold or silver.
"This signifies that the goal of Personal Progress is, indeed, to be prepared to receive the ordinances of the temple," Sister Nadauld explained. Speaking of the Personal Progress guidebook, she said, "We have tried to increase the emphasis on the Savior and the scriptures, the divine role of women, home arts and family."
With the "divine role of women" in mind, she emphasized the addition of four words to the Young Women Theme "Strengthen home and family." After the first of the year, when these new or updated programs will be implemented, the latter part of the theme will read: "We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation."
"We feel that this has been so inspired. It was inspired of heaven in a day and time when the home and family are under attack in this world," Sister Nadauld continued. Then, speaking to the young women of the Church, she urged, "Strengthen the home of your youth and later your own family."
Sister Thomas added: "One of our main goals in the Young Women program is to strengthen the young woman and her family, to strengthen relationships. We envision the parents being there when the young woman receives her Personal Progress book."
In fact, Sister Nadauld hopes Young Women advisers and a member of the class presidency will personally visit with each 12-year-old or new convert entering the Young Women program and discuss Personal Progress together with her and her parents.
Sister Larsen added: "It opens doors between parents and their young women because sometimes parents don't know what to talk about with their young women."
Sister Nadauld and her counselors expressed enthusiasm for the simplified nature of the Personal Progress program and hope Young Women leaders under the direction of priesthood leaders magnify that enthusiasm to the young women during New Beginnings scheduled for January.
"This is what you do for Personal Progress to earn your medallion," Sister Nadauld explained. "You do six value experiences and one value project for each value, and live Church standards. Period. It's that simple."
The following are examples:
After she completes the six value experiences, she then completes a "value project" that must take at least 10 hours. The guidebook offers suggestions for these value projects. For example, under faith, a young woman may choose to "Memorize 'The Living Christ.' As you do, consider the Savior's influence in your life."
Or, she may choose among four other value experiences or create two of her own. She then chooses a value project, such as "working with your mother, grandmother, or a sister in your ward or branch, master a home arts skill she teaches you."
Another important simplification to the Personal Progress program is that young women no longer need to wait while advancing from Beehive to Mia Maid, or from Mia Maid to Laurel before completing value experiences and projects.
"This way, a girl can really work hard on Personal Progress, and if she finishes before she's 15, 16, or 17, then under the direction of the Young Women president, she can mentor the younger girls," Sister Nadauld added. "They don't move in and take the place of the parents, but there's another voice, another encouragement."