“I need help finding my family!” was overheard at a recent stake Mutual activity. And by the end of the night: “This was a fun way to teach a little about family history!”
Members of the Aaronic Priesthood/Young Women Stake Committee in the Mesa Clearview Stake decided to make President Nelson’s call to gather Israel a top priority. One of the youth suggested an activity centered on family history.
The goal became threefold: 1) the youth needed to enjoy the activity, 2) the youth needed to get to know each other, and 3) the youth needed exposure to family history and the blessings that accompany this work. These were accomplished through activities and a closing spiritual message.
After dividing one hundred and thirty youth into groups, half stayed in the gym for a Relative Race-type activity and the others played Human Guess Who. (Relative Race is a BYUtv genealogy-based reality show.) Youth in the gym were each given a clue to the identity of their “family” and then searched to find themselves on one of a dozen giant census records spaced around the room. For some it was their first exposure to this kind of document.
Once the family was gathered, complete with a parents and children, they were literally tied together with fabric strips and instructed to complete four physical tasks. They had to work as a group, much the same way that Relative Race contestants are required to, all while trying to finish first. Tasks included cup stacking, tossing foam discs, Oreo cookie maneuvering, and singing a Primary song in a round.
Guess Who was played like the popular children’s game, but in teams. Oversized cards with a picture, a name, a birth date, death date, and other information about actual ancestors of youth leaders formed the basis for game questions.
Amid preparation for the activity, Annette Muir, the stake Young Women’s President, attended RootsTech in Salt Lake City. “[RootsTech] deepened my testimony…[it] taught me in a succinct and powerful way all of the profound spiritual promises attached to this sacred work,” she says. This message was conveyed to the youth through word and video to end the Mutual activity.
Emma Rapier, a Laurel from the Baywood Ward who headed the committee for the event, summed it up this way: “Youth and youth leaders appreciated the fun activities and the spirit that was felt that night. My favorite part was at the end when we showed a video that compiled all of the blessings that the Lord’s prophets and apostles promised if we do family history work.”
Find more family history activity ideas at https://www.lds.org/family-history/family-history-activities?lang=eng