“Questions and Answers,” New Era, July 2012, 14–15
Being united was so important to the Savior that just before He carried out the Atonement, He prayed for unity among all His disciples and those who believe in their words: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
But it’s natural that when youth get together, those who already know and are comfortable with one another may often form into groups. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can cause some people to feel left out. The first step in building unity is to include everyone in your group. Be aware of someone who might not feel included, and invite him or her to join in—it can make a big difference. And if you’re the one not included, let the others know you’d like to join the group.
A few other great ways to build unity are by serving together, supporting and encouraging each other, and participating in activities together. You might want to bring up the subject in your quorum or class and plan activities that will help you get to know one another’s interests.
What I find best to do is just be positive. I always keep my head up and smile and try to be nice to everyone no matter what. Also, I try reaching out to different groups of friends.
Ashton T., 14, Arizona, USA
On Sunday in opening exercises, go sit with someone you don’t know very well or you haven’t seen before.
Isabel T., 14, British Columbia, Canada
It is not easy doing stuff with people you don’t know as well as your friends. But doing things as a group with people you don’t know as well can give variety to the activity, and you also have the chance to make new friends.
William W., 14, Utah, USA
Sometimes people are afraid to introduce themselves to other youth they don’t know. Whenever I see this, I introduce myself and my friends to them and invite them to hang out with us.
Danielle H., 15, California, USA
In our ward we planned different activities that included the “likes” of particular girls. We also have “Service Sisters,” where each of us is assigned another girl. Then we write nice notes to her or make treats, and every month we switch girls.
April B., 14, Arizona, USA
A more close-knit youth group starts with yourself. Reach out to everyone. This may be difficult, but if you open up to others, they will usually open up to you. Get your friends in on it too! Especially if you’re a priest or Laurel, the younger youth will feel special if you include them in activities outside of church.
Kristen B., 17, Illinois, USA
We started planning activities where we met new people. We played winter Olympics, ultimate Frisbee, and many more games. And we always had a spiritual thought and meaning to each activity. These activities brought everyone together and we all became great friends!
Megan W., 16, Utah, USA
You can make some phone calls and remind those young women or young men how much you care for them. You can also remind them that we are all sons and daughters of God.
Belén C., 16, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I found if you are friendly with everyone, people start to accept you into their groups. And once you do that, you can become the bridge between groups. By being that bridge, you can start a chain reaction that brings your whole ward together. And it doesn’t take much to start. Just smile and say hi.
Megan C., 16, California, USA