“Welcoming Young Women to Relief Society,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 66
While serving in ward and stake Relief Society presidencies, my friends and I watched our own daughters struggle with the transition from Young Women to Relief Society. Some adjusted more easily than others, but the change was not smooth or easy for any of them. To help our young women feel more accepting of Relief Society, our two stakes joined in planning an afternoon program to welcome them.
First, each ward sent invitations to girls who were 18 years old or in their senior year of high school. Each invitation was personally addressed, inviting the young woman and her mother to attend a Sunday afternoon program.
At the program, we welcomed everyone and shared a brief history of Relief Society and explained its purpose. Since many of the young women would be heading off to college or pursuing other education soon, we invited a sister from a college ward Relief Society presidency to tell about Relief Society at her campus ward.
We also invited young adults from the Institute Women’s Association to testify of the blessings of having Relief Society in their lives. They were local young adults whom our young women knew, so they also told about their involvement in the association. They invited the young women to call them and to visit their schools.
At the end of the program, the Relief Society presidents presented each young woman from her ward with a Relief Society manual and extended a personal invitation to attend Relief Society.
Since the outline for this program is adaptable, adjustments can be made easily. No matter where we live, it is important that we welcome young women to Relief Society. Mary Ellen W. Smoot, Relief Society general president, has said, “It will be within this loving sisterhood that young women enlarge their understanding of gospel principles [and] build firm testimonies” (comments at Relief Society open house, spring 1999 [Ensign, Mar. 2000, 71]). We enjoyed planning these programs with others and feel that we helped the girls better understand Relief Society and what it offers young women.—Mary Lou Harward, Rainbow Crest Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Tule Springs Stake