SALT LAKE CITY — What’s new about the new Children and Youth program coming in 2020?
How about a new mobile app, recognition emblems, a new Young Men theme, camp guides, For the Strength of Youth conferences and Primary activities, just to name a few.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented these and other new aspects of the Children and Youth program in the biggest Face to Face live event yet, broadcast from the Tabernacle at Temple Square on Sunday in 18 languages to more than 140 countries.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles hosted the broadcast with Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president; and Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president.
In a short message to open the event, President Russell M. Nelson asked the youths of the church to set goals to become more like Jesus Christ. The results could be miraculous, he said.
“Keep the Savior at the center of your plans. Always ask yourself and prayerfully ask your Father in heaven, what can I do to become more like Jesus Christ?” President Nelson said. “As you do this each day, miracles will happen.”
During the broadcast, church leaders used questions submitted online from members worldwide and short videos to explain key elements. The new program was prepared with love and inspiration to help youths discover and become “your best divine self through activities and service, learning and growth,” Elder Gong told the audience.
“The new program helps you invite God into all aspects of your life,” the apostle said.
Viewers were also treated to a special appearance from artist David Archuleta, who performed the 2020 youth theme song and video based on the scripture I Nephi 3:7. Two families and a choir also sang a new Primary song.
Here are some questions and answers that will help readers understand what information was presented in Sunday’s broadcast. The church has also provided an overview and list of Frequently Asked Questions.
What’s new about the Children and Youth program?
Elder Gong outlined three different aspects of the new program:
“First, the new program gives you each other, a worldwide group of awesome peers each seeking to follow our Savior Jesus Christ,” Elder Gong said.
“Second, the new program brings together your gospel learning, activities and service and personal development as you choose to grow and serve.
“And third, the new program helps you invite God into all aspects of your life, individually, in your family, classes, quorums, you will be blessed as you plan and participate, make new friends and have fun.”
How will service and activities be different?
The new program will provide activities designed for families, children, young men and women. Young men and women will organize their activities, preferably each week. Leaders have been counseled to support the youth as mentors and guides.
“Service and purposeful activities” are at the heart of the new program, Elder Gong said.
Young men and women will continue to have camps, including an annual multi-day camp.
Sister Jones said Activity Days will now be called Primary activities and activities for both girls and boys will be held two to four times per month.
The Children and Youth website includes more than 100 activities and service ideas for families, children and youth — with more to come. Service ideas can also come from JustServe.org or the JustServe app, Brother Owen said.
What additional details were shared about the new For the Strength of Youth Conferences?
Along with camps, treks and youth conferences, Elder Gong said young men and women can take part in For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conferences, patterned after Especially for Youth (EFY) conferences.
Beginning at age 14, young people will come together for five days in larger groups for classes, devotionals, gospel study, dances, variety shows and many other activities beginning in May 2020.
In years where stakes attend FSY, they will not hold youth conferences or treks. Stake or ward camps are encouraged each year where possible, Brother Owen said.
Young single adults are encouraged to serve as counselors at FSY conferences, Sister Cordon said.
How many goals should young people set and how should they track their growth and personal development?
Elder Gong said children and youth can prayerfully decide how many goals they set and when they want to accomplish them. Children and youth are encouraged to develop new talents, interests and skills as they prepare for missionary service, education, careers and family.
- Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shakes with Latter-day Saint youth after the Face to Face broadcast on November 17, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president of the Church, discusses the new children and youth program with Latter-day Saint youth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- David Archuleta, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, performs the 2020 youth theme song at the Face to Face for youth and children event held on November 17, 2019. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Young men and women are urged to set at least two goals per year in each area of growth, Sister Cordon said.
Beginning at age 8, Primary children are encouraged to start setting one goal per year in each area of growth, Sister Jones said.
The church will distribute guidebooks to help youths plan and achieve their goals.
Elder Gong introduced the new Gospel Living app that will be available in 2020 for youth to journal, track their progress and access uplifting music, videos, memes and inspirational messages.
What is the Gospel Living mobile app?
According to the church’s list of Frequently Asked Questions, the Gospel Living app has tools for setting goals, making plans, tracking progress, and recording thoughts and impressions. In addition, the app provides inspirational articles, activity and goal ideas, and messaging and sharing among family members, quorums and classes. The app is not necessary for participation in Children and Youth and it is not limited to those who are participating in Children and Youth.
How does a parent help their child or youth get started with personal development?
Parents can start by helping a child or youth identify how he or she wants to grow. They might start by talking about how to seek and receive revelation and pray together for guidance. The resources in the guidebooks and the Gospel Living app can help identify needs and interests, according to the church’s list of Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information, see Children and Youth: An Introductory Guide for Parents and Leaders.
Will the new program include new recognitions and achievements?
Yes. The church leaders introduced viewers to the following emblems:
- Children turning 4 will continue to receive a green CTR ring.
- Children turning 8 will receive a picture of the temple and a ring with a CTR shield surrounding a temple symbol.
- Youth turning 12 will receive a temple recommend holder.
- Young men turning 12 will receive a ring that points them to the temple.
- Young women turning 12 will receive a medallion and gemstone necklace.
- Young men turning 18 will receive an oil vial.
- Young women turning 18 will receive a pendant to add to their necklace.
Youth that reach personal goals and basic gospel expectations can earn two additional emblems before completing time in Aaronic Priesthood quorums or Young Women: a certificate signed by the First Presidency and a Christus in a crystal arch.
The youth Instagram account can now be found at StrivetoBe. Youth can share their experiences on social media using #StrivetoBe.
“Please remember, personal gospel growth is not a set of requirements that you check off,” Elder Gong said. “Setting righteous personal goals and establishing disciplined and inspired patterns will bless your whole life.”
When will wards and branches receive personal development guidebooks and emblems?
Wards and branches will receive the personal development guidebooks by January 2020 and the emblems of achievement and belonging by mid-2020.
How is the new program connected to the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum and will it enhance individual gospel learning?
Recent adjustments have aligned “Come, Follow Me” at home, in seminary, in Primary and in Sunday School to support the new program, Brother Owen said.
The young women introduced a new theme in October general conference. Will the young men have a new theme?
Yes. Brother Owen invited young men to stand and recite a new Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme:
I am a beloved son of God, and He has a work for me to do.
With all my heart, might, mind, and strength, I will love God, keep my covenants, and use His priesthood to serve others, beginning in my own home.
As I strive to serve, exercise faith, repent, and improve each day, I will qualify to receive temple blessings and the enduring joy of the gospel.
I will prepare to become a diligent missionary, loyal husband, and loving father by being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
I will help prepare the world for the Savior’s return by inviting all to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of His Atonement.
How flexible will the new program be for different circumstances and unique family situations?
The principles of the new program are capable of functioning in any family situation, no matter the size or location of any branch or ward, Brother Owen said.
“We invite you to seek the Spirit of the Lord and adapt the Children and Youth program to your local needs,” he said.
Can adults and younger children participate in Children and Youth?
As individuals and as families, adults and younger children can participate and use the resources for gospel learning, service and activities, and personal development at home. Adults and younger children generally will not participate in church-sponsored activities related to Children and Youth and will not receive Children and Youth emblems, according to the church’s list of Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information, visit the Children and Youth website.