Helpful tips on how to plan additional Relief Society Meeting that are not held on Sunday
In the Relief Society section of the “Handbook 2: Administering the Church” it says – a sister may be called to help the Relief Society presidency coordinate the planning of Relief Society meetings that are not held on Sunday. These meetings may include service, classes, projects, conferences, and workshops. A committee can be formed to give specific areas of responsibility. This webpage is to help the Meeting Coordinator and the committee plan these types of meetings. When planning these meetings you should keep in mind the guidelines from the Relief Society handbook, which are to help sisters learn and accomplish the charitable and practical responsibilities of the Relief Society. They learn and practice skills that will help them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen their families and make their homes centers of spiritual strength, and help those in need. They learn and apply principles of provident living and spiritual and temporal self-reliance. They also increase in sisterhood and unity as they teach one another and serve together. All Relief Society sisters, including those who serve in Young Women and Primary and those who do not actively participate in the Church, are invited to attend. Sisters may also invite their friends of other faiths. Sisters should not be made to feel that attendance at these meetings is mandatory. A resource to help plan meetings is the book “Daughters in my Kingdom” that can be found on LDS.org. This book is about the history and work of Relief Society. Click here to download the book This next weblink on lds.org will help you use the book “Daughters in My Kingdom” as a resource for planning additional Relief Society meetings. Click here Consider the needs of the sisters Plan at least 4 larger activities/meetings a year for the entire group of women. An activity that will let them spend time socializing and also fulfill the Relief Society goals. The other meetings can be classes or activities that are smaller in size to help meet the sister’s needs. A survey can be passed out for the sisters to fill out so you can learn about their interests and also find people who have talents in those areas.
Plan a year of activities 4-5 months before the year begins. The goal is to complete enough planning you will have an idea of budget needed. Find out the date the budget needs to be turned in and then start planning 4-5 months before that date. In this example below the budget needs to be turned at the first of the year, January.
- Aug – Plan the first large activity for the next year. Price the activity and figure out the date you want to hold the activity. This activity for many wards/branches is the Relief Society Birthday party in March.
- Sept – Plan the second large activity for the next year. Price the activity and figure out the date you want to hold the activity.
- October – Plan the third activity for the next year. Price the activity and figure out the date you want to hold the activity.
- Nov-Dec – Plan the Fourth activity for the next year. Price the activity and figure out the date you want to hold the activity.
Figure out what other classes or smaller group activities will be held during the year. How much will each class/activity cost? Many wards plan their budget to cover advertising, teaching materials and the cost of the handouts. If the participants make something to take home they pay for the project materials.
You may need to plan on some of the following expenses:
- Handouts given to participants: If the handouts for the classes will be photo copied at the church you need to find out which budget pays for those copies and if the library needs to have that amount for their budget. If the handouts are made at a local store you will need to plan the cost of those handouts in your budget.
- The cost of teaching materials
- Will the budget cover refreshments? Or will the participants take turns bringing refreshments?
- Will the participants be making something to take home? Will the participants be paying for the project? If so the invitation and advertising of the class needs to clearly tell them before they sign up for the class. Participants should be required to pay for the materials before class so the instructor/ward budget won’t have to pay for materials if the participant doesn’t show up to the class. Try to keep the participants costs as low as possible and also plan projects that can be completed in class so they won’t take unfinished projects home. In the advertising tell participants how long the class will last so they won’t have to leave class early.
- How will you be advertising the class/activity and how much will it cost for those materials?
January you should be prepared at this point to put together the year’s budget and the dates that you need to reserve the building or location. Find out who schedules the building.
Know the needs of the women in the ward/branch. If most of the women work, don’t expect people to take time off work to help you. You will need to accommodate their schedule. If you don’t have people to help you in the middle of the day, when will you set up the activity? What time is best to hold the activity if most of the women work? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask when setting a date and time for the activity.
January start working on the March event: You should have most of the plans completed because you planned the event 5 months ago.
Pull together a committee to help
- Because you planned ahead of time you will know what kind of help you need and you can be upfront with them when asking to help. Tell them what kind of help you need (and don’t ask for additional help later.) Treating people this way will build a trusting relationship with those who you ask to help.
- If you make a sign up sheet to find your committee, explain what you need help with so they will know what they are making a commitment to do. The clearer you explain the duties, the more successful your committee will be.
- Know the people you are asking (if they work and how much free time they have. Know their strengths and weaknesses). Start making notes for future use.
Have a committee meeting. Plan the invitations and poster. Give a deadline to the person making them. Put the event in the ward news letter and announcements in Sacrament Meeting (yes, this far ahead). Delegate tasks 2 months before the activity so that everyone will have time to complete their tasks.
Feb work on the event in March Follow up to make sure the building was reserved (so you don’t have any last minute surprises). Don’t just trust the person you gave the dates to in January, but contact the person who has the schedule for the building to make sure your dates were turned into them. Ask who else will be using the building that night (or the night before if you need to set up the day before the activity). Contact the people who will be using the building and let them know of your plans.
An example of what you are trying to avoid: If the young men of a different ward usually plays basketball in that room, they might move your tables out of the way to play basketball. Even though they have good intentions to put everything back, they won’t remember how it was set up. If you contact the leader of that group a month ahead they can make plans to take the group to a different location.
Always have a backup plan.
- Sometimes your activity could be bumped to a different room because of a wedding or funeral. The best solution is to plan your activity in a different room to begin with, one that is not commonly used, so you won’t have to change the meeting place at the last minute.
- If you are having an outdoor activity where will the activity be moved to If the weather is bad? Announce the backup plan on the invitation
Have a committee meeting a month before the event to see if the poster and invites are ready. Start passing invitations out 4 weeks in advance and start displaying the poster. Finish the plans and see where everyone is at with their assignments.
Note: It’s a good idea to advertise the upcoming activity/class at the current activity because these meetings attract participants who may not attend relief society on Sunday. You might want to have the invitation/flier ready to hand out that far in advance.
March – RS birthday party. A week before the activity, hold a meeting with the committee members that still have tasks to complete (the people who are decorating or preparing food) Let them tell what they have completed towards the task and what they still need to complete. Listen for red flags to see if they need additional help. Hopefully this will be a short meeting. At the March activity you will want to announce the next activity.
April – Start working on the next activity. Hold a meeting after the RS birthday party and talk about what was good and bad about the previous activity (how you would change it). Talk about the upcoming activity and delegate the tasks. (Follow January instructions above two months before the next activity)
May – meet again with committee a month before the activity. (see Feb instructions above). The poster and invites should be ready to pass out.
June – summer activity (follow March instructions above) Also start thinking about the next years planning.
Are you starting to see a pattern in the planning?
Always plan three months ahead of the activity. Pull together the committee. Meet with the committee members: two months before, one month before and one week before the activity. Have a follow-up conversation about what worked and didn’t work. If the same people are helping with the next activity, this conversation could happen at the meeting for the next activity.
Planning Successful Relief Society Classes
Plan a year of lessons with variety. Make a schedule so you can see the larger picture of what a year will look like. Planning at least 6 months in advance gives more time to identify helpful resources, and ask for additional help.
Classes will have the same planning flow as the “Activities” planning. Classes need to be planned before the budget is turned in and then you can fine tune the planning 2 months in advance. The advertising begins at the previous class one month before the class is held.
Plan a year following this example.
Items needed to teach
|Jan Journal in a Jar||Start writing a history||Prepare kits. Have them bring a wide mouth mason jar. Bring items to decorate the jar. Maybe paint the jar lids.|
|Feb Cards and Stationery||How to make inexpensive cards, paper craft. Valentines and Mother’s day cards||Prepare kits, a couple of paper cutters, tables to work on, etc|
|March Photo Plaque||Prepare & paint wood, family photo project or a temple picture||Prepare kits, buy additional supplies for class. Area needed large enough for tables. Tables and plastic table covers, etc.|
|April Etched Dish Soap Dispenser||How to etch glass. Tag for mother’s day gift or Christmas gift||Order oil dispensers from Walmart a month in advance, order stencils and etching cream|
|May Family Home Evening lesson packet||Homemade printable game||Print game piece. Each participant needs scissors and a table work space. 1-2 glue sticks and clasp envelopes|
|June Knitted Dishcloth||Basic knitting||Purchase cotton yarn and knitting needles. Find someone who knows how to knit to teach or assist in the class|
|July Campfire cooking||Emergency Preparedness||Tinfoil dinners|
|Aug Jalapeno Jelly||Canning||Gather canning items. Find a cooking area large enough for demonstration and participants. Print labels|
|September Recipe Card Holder||Wood craft with cut vinyl||Prepare kits, buy additional supplies for class, tables and plastic table covers, etc.|
|Oct Service Project||Take Primary children to the nursing home to pass out treats||This is a two meeting event. 1 meeting to make the treat bags, (the bags could be made in Sept) 2nd meeting is to take the primary children to pass out the bags.|
|NovSuper Saturday||Basic Sewing, dish towelBanana Bread
paper bag with wood painted snowman tag that the dish towel or bread will fit in
|Prepare kits, find sewing machines, find people to help participants, tables to set sewing machines on.Cooking area to demonstrate banana bread. Gather cooking items
Items for paper/fabric craft and wood painting project. Tables and plastic table covers, etc.
|DecDipped Marshmallows/Hot Chocolate||Quick and easy xmas gift ideaHot Chocolate social with cookie exchange||Gather marshmallows, chocolate, electric frying pan and glass bowls. Order straws a month in advance. Hot Chocolate items.|
An option is to write the 4 large activities on the schedule and then teach classes the other 8 months of the year.
Keep the lessons in mind, thinking of those subjects, as you go through your daily life. You will pick up ideas that will help you teach the class or enhance the class. If you’re teaching a craft project, just walk around the craft store and think about the project. You will be amazed what kind of ideas you will get to enhance the lesson, I call this spiritual guidance.
Prepare: Make sure the classroom is neat and organized. Set up the class so it will flow smoothly and timely. An example is a cooking lesson: set the items up on the counter in the order you will use them, prepare ingredients in advance 1) chop or dice ingredient, 2) measure the ingredients and put them in separate bowls.
Beginning the class in a way that prepares the participants to learn. Do such things as present an object lesson, write questions on the board, print little posters to hang up on the board, or have someone read a story or a thought.
Conclude your lesson in a way that invites learners to live what they have learned. Ask participants how to apply the skill learned and give examples of other ways they could use the skill. Think outside the box: As an example; the November class teaches sewing. You could take a minute of class time and show them how to do a straight stitch to mend a pair of pants, or you could sew a button on a garment that is missing a button. Ask participants if they can think of ways to use the skill in other projects.
After teaching a lesson, it is helpful to evaluate your teaching and how the class went. Make notes if someone struggles with a certain task so you can find a way to help them next time. Write down anything that didn’t work or flow well or that you wouldn’t repeat again. This evaluation time will help you teach future classes and help you plan classes that will help strengthen participant’s skills.
Starting a Group of women who have the same interests
Organize the group by making a signup sheet to see who wants to be in the class/group. View the example of the signup sheet for the cooking group below. One person is asked to be in charge of the group and to keep things running, advertising, calling and reminding participants. Every person in the class will take a turn being in charge of a class and hosting the class at her house. Another option is to hold the class in the same location but the participants take turns demonstrating. When a group functions this way it gives everyone a chance to teach and strengthen their skills to a deeper degree. If you decide to start groups with the same interest, make sure you have more than one group so that people won’t feel left out. For example; if you start a group for young mothers to take their kids to the park during the day time, then start a different group that working mothers would be interested in and hold that class in the evening. Know the needs of the women so you can accommodate their schedules.
Example of a cooking group signup sheet
List of Classes that will be posted on Homemaking Divas website
I plan to post a new lesson every 1-2 months. The name of the class will be IN BLUE CAPS
if the webpage has been posted. Click on the name of the class to be taken to that webpage.
|Dating, courtship, and preparing for marriage and keeping marriage strong||Cooking|
|Prepare to go on a mission & prepare children to go on a mission||SALADS IN A JAR|
|Preventing addictions; recovering from addiction||Meal planning, nutrition and food preparation|
|Encourage children to read||Inexpensive meal ideas|
|Build family relationships. Communication in the family; family councils and learning how to solve conflicts||Freezer Cooking: cook larger amounts and then freeze meals to use later|
|Family Home Evening Packets||Secrets for trimming calories|
|Collecting and preserving family history||BASIC SEWING|
|Becoming an effective Grandmother||Beginning Crochet|
|Teaching children good financial habits||Beginning Knitting|
|Helping children choose a career||CLEANING WITHOUT HARSH CHEMICALS|
|Family Reunion ideas||Tips on decorating your home|
|Have a good Self Esteem||Pointers on how to hang a picture grouping|
|Learning the internet family history resources, searching for records of an ancestor.||Organizing your home|
|Write a personal history, Journal Jar||How to keep house plants healthy|
|Teaching positive behavior and teaching children values||Music in your home|
|Support someone going through a divorce. Helping single parents||Budgeting, eliminating debt, preparing for unexpected needs|
|How to plan a block party||Planning for retirement|
|Welcome new neighbors||Organizing important papers|
|Developing cultural awareness||Using Computers and other technology|
|Serving others together as a family||MEALS IN A JAR FOR FOOD STORAGE (dehydrated/freeze dried foods)|
|Inexpensive gift ideas to give neighbors||Canning|
|Helping elderly parents||Sun Oven and thermo cooker|
|Organize a walking group||Herb garden, preserve herbs, use herbs in cooking|
|Fitness and Exercise tips, organize a exercise group||Gardening|
|How to dress for your figure||First Aid|
|How to improve self esteem||Yard care. How to prune trees|
|Makeup, skin care and hair tips||Emergency preparedness|
|DYI WINTER SKIN CARE RECIPES(this is a Halloween Theme class for October)||Perennial flowers and bulbs. When and how to divide them to start new plants|
|Safety and accident prevention|
Relief Society Service Projects