How have you adapted to not having an activities committee?

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nutterb
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How have you adapted to not having an activities committee?

Postby nutterb » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:53 am

We had a discussion last November about adapting to the new guidelines regarding activities committees. It was a good discussion that produced a lot of good thoughts. I'm wondering how things have turned out in your wards.

My ward happened to have already scheduled all of our activities when the new guidelines came out, so it's been a bit easier on the ward council to not have to come up with ideas for activities. But the bishopric and ward council aren't really thrilled with how the activities are planned and executed. We've tried assigning one of the organizations and we've tried assigning temporary committees, but it always feels like things are being done too late and that the ward council just doesn't have enough time to commit to discussing activities in the bi-weekly meetings. My bishop sometimes seems determined to revert to a committee (I've talked him down from this twice already and he's leaning toward it again).

The other ward that meets in my building hadn't yet scheduled their activities and they haven't had nearly as many as they normally would have. There have been a couple that they wanted to do but canceled because they didn't get anyone to organize them.

So what are your wards/branches doing? How has it worked out so far this year? I'd like to hear some other experiences and maybe come up with some ideas on how to pull some of the responsibility off of the ward council. I'm actually trying to come up with a description of a position for someone to take some of the work for activities off of the ward council without having a position analogous to the activities committee specialist. I'll share my ideas later, but would like to hear what's happening in other ward first.

pwilson
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Postby pwilson » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:14 am

We discussed as a ward council what activities we would like to do (based on what has been done in the past) that helps to meet our needs as a ward. We determined dates, got them on the calendar and have assigned an organization to own at least one throughout the year. It seems to have worked well and we have in some cases rolled back the number of activities, which has been well received.

It helps to be doing activities that have been done previously to know what is needed from a planning perspective. Having a single activity to plan for an organization does not seem to be an over-burden and always having the option to leverage other members of the council and ward at large helps too. We have also called specialists to help with specific and special activities, for example our Day of Service in commemoration of the church welfare anniversary has a separate committee (with quorum and auxiliary presidency members) and a specialist chairman called to help drive this forward with this specialist attending ward council to provide updates and ask for additional help/input.

lehrschallbrian
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Postby lehrschallbrian » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:22 am

As a singles ward we just have our EQ and RS presidency plan the activities as well as the institute council.

dannykos
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Postby dannykos » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:38 am

In my experience, it definitely hasn't lessened the burden on the bishop, as was apparently intended.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:18 pm

dannykos wrote:In my experience, it definitely hasn't lessened the burden on the bishop, as was apparently intended.


I don't know that it was supposed to lessen the burden on the bishop, but in our ward it hasn't increased it, either. The auxiliary leaders are planning the activities as assigned. It has helped that most of our activities are regular annual events, and were at least on the calendar before the change in policy.
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:38 pm

dannykos wrote:In my experience, it definitely hasn't lessened the burden on the bishop, as was apparently intended.


I would think with either arrangement, the bishop's work load would be a function of his management style more then anything else. Of course he needs leaders whose judgements he can trust and who have faith in their own abilities.
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kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:45 pm

We've had one put on the by the Elders, and it was great, but the other one was a lot more work for the bishopric (OK, for me, the clerk.)

We all notice the loss of "longevity" now, and with that goes experience. In our "old" activities committee we regularly had new members serving alongside more experienced committee members, with a chair that had several years of experience and was fabulous. Our last activity under the "new directive," planned jointly be several organizations, showed that the lack of this experience with planning large events such as a ward Bar-b-que meant a lot of the little details that an experienced committee would have caught, didn't get caught, and made the night more difficult for the ward leaders. In addition to this, it took far too much coordination within council meetings than any of us liked. We are now struggling to figure out how this might not happen with each future activity....

Perhaps we haven't "caught the vision?"

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:36 pm

I wonder if we understand the vision. When we had the Worldwide Training last November and learned that there were no more Ward Welfare meetings, our Bishop immediately cancelled the one we had scheduled for the next day. Another Ward in our stake with the same schedule held their welfare meeting the next day with the understanding that it would be their last. A further different ward's Bishop decided to replace the Ward Welfare meeting with a second Ward Council meeting every month. It's not my place to decide what's best for that third ward but, as a casual observer, I don't think "the vision" was to create another meeting for people like the Young Women's President every month. But it seems that old habits (and old meeting schedules) are hard to break.

I'm still not sure what "the vision" is for ward activities today. I mean no lack of respect for the way the church has made this change but, in light of the fact that old habits are hard to break, I wonder if additional clarifcation would be in order.

kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:54 am

mrrad wrote:I'm still not sure what "the vision" is for ward activities today

The unintended consequence for the change (and the "dropping" of the primary quarterly activity) was a loss in fellow-shipping opportunities, as our primary pres. has noted in ward council. This is in part because our level of activities has dropped as a ward, and her activities have been eliminated. She would get nearly 100% of children on her rolls to a Saturday quarterly activity and had the opportunity to get those same kids (and parents) to a ward activity. I understand how busy we are as members, and the concern is that with all the activities we are lessening "family" time, but where is that happy medium we are always seeking? Second, while the intent was to allow the ward counsel to focus on the members needs, in reality right now the ward council in our ward is focusing on how many paper plates are needed, and who is bringin them....how to shift that focus, and make the learning curve a quick one?

nutterb
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Postby nutterb » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:41 am

kisaac wrote:The unintended consequence for the change (and the "dropping" of the primary quarterly activity) was a loss in fellow-shipping opportunities, as our primary pres. has noted in ward council. This is in part because our level of activities has dropped as a ward, and her activities have been eliminated. She would get nearly 100% of children on her rolls to a Saturday quarterly activity and had the opportunity to get those same kids (and parents) to a ward activity.


While not strictly in line with the new counsel (at least not if you read the FAQ's), our primary presidency still intends to do two activities per year. But the activities they continue to do are very low cost and very popular among the children and parents alike. The hardest part of the planning of these activities is making sure enough hoses show up. For us, low cost + high benefit = go for it.

I understand how busy we are as members, and the concern is that with all the activities we are lessening "family" time, but where is that happy medium we are always seeking? Second, while the intent was to allow the ward counsel to focus on the members needs, in reality right now the ward council in our ward is focusing on how many paper plates are needed, and who is bringin them....how to shift that focus, and make the learning curve a quick one?


At the end of last year, I went around the building and checked all the closets for paper plates (and the like). I found a lot of them. There was so much duplication of purchasing that I decided to grab everything from all of the auxiliaries and put it into one closet. Just with what I picked up from around the building, I ended up with four boxes of knives, three of spoons, three of forks, about 1,000 bowls....you get the idea. Now I keep all of that in one closet, and the quorums and auxiliaries are forbidden from purchasing anything. We do all of that purchasing centrally, and we keep the closet full. The benefit--less duplication of effort, and no one worries about who is bringing paper plates.


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