Monday, March 18, 2013

New Tracking Sheets for Personal Progress and Duty to God

A little note: Most of what I write on this blog is principle based and applies to people of all religions.  My goal is to unite people on the common ground we share--our desire to strengthen families.  This specific post talks about a couple of programs run by my church, but the organization ideas could be implemented in a variety of ways.  Thanks for visiting!

Our church has two beautiful programs for youth who are between the ages of 12 and 18. 

The program for young women is called "Personal Progress,"

and the program for young men is called "Duty to God."

Moving through these programs requires the youth to accomplish a series of assignments and activities--like what you would do if you were certifying to become a fitness instructor or a lifeguard. The purpose of these, however, is to help our youth deepen their faith in Christ and develop attributes that will strengthen them throughout their lives.

I completed my Personal Progress when I was 18, and now my daughter has been working on hers for about a year.  I love it.

As I have spoken with a variety of parents and leaders in these youth organizations, however, I've found that there is a need for a more clearly-defined tracking sheet and process that will enable each participant to identify the "next action" required to move each assignment forward.

So for the past several months, I have been trying to figure out a way to apply the principles I teach in my mom-focused organization program to these youth programs.

After lots of trial and error, and some wonderful advice from our youth and my friend Michelle, we are ready for "beta testing."

That's why I'm writing this blog post.  I'd like to invite any of you who are working with Personal Progress or Duty to God to try this out with your youth and let me know if this tracking sheet works for you.  (Then you can send any recommendations my way.)

The process is fairly simple:

(1) You download a copy of the tracking sheet (one sheet will probably last a couple of months or so).

 Click here for the Young Women Personal Progress Tracking Sheet.

(2) Once you print it, you'll want to trim the paper, so when the form is folded in half, it will fit right into the Personal Progress or Duty to God book.

(3) Once a week, your youth (possibly with the help of a leader or parent) will take just two minutes to look through their books, choose the next specific action they'd like to do, and record the details on this tracking sheet.

I've zoomed in on the header of the Personal Progress Tracking Sheet so I can explain this in a little more detail (you can click the image to make it bigger):

  • The first column has a single box that will be checked once this "Next Action" is completed.
  • The second column is an optional spot where the youth can draw their own boxes for assignments that require a bit of ongoing tracking.  If it says to do something "every day for two weeks," they would draw 14 little squares.  If it says, "once a week for three weeks," they would draw three squares. That's pretty straightforward, right?
  • In the third column, they record where the assignment can be found in the book.  For the Young Women, the column is titled "Value #," and something like "Divine Nature, Experience 3" would be noted as "DN3." For the Young Men, I simply labeled the column with "Page #," since that book is more loosely organized around general areas of focus.
  • In the fourth column, the "Next Action" is listed.  This is supposed to be really specific.  Something like, "Memorize this scripture:_____________" or "Record in my journal how I felt about the service project I did this past week."
  • The fifth column simply says, "When will I do this?"  This gives the youth a chance to think about their schedules for the week and identify a time they could work on their Personal Progress or Duty to God.  This also enables them to easily transfer the assignments onto their calendars or into their phones as reminders/alerts.
  • The final column is simply a place to add notes.  Something like, "Daily for two weeks, ending on June 16th" or "I want this one to be an ongoing habit."
Last week, I was invited to speak at a youth event (where the Young Women and their parents were in attendance) and show them how to use this tracking sheet.

I recorded about 7 minutes of that class and posted it here, in case you would like to watch it.  I uploaded a mobile-sized video, so you can't read the words on the board very well, but the chart is patterned exactly like the zoomed-in picture above, and I'm explaining everything aloud as I go.

    This is a photo of the poster that was hanging on the right side of the chalkboard.  These are the components of the assignment for Personal Progress, Faith #1.  (My cute Alia made it for me.)

    I hope this is helpful to you.  I'm excited to get your feedback, and  I'd love to know if this works for your youth and if you have any ideas to make it simpler or more effective.  

    Thanks so much!



    1. April, what a lovely idea. I have shared it on FB with those I know serving in YW. I don't have anyone in my home doing PP/DTG right now but I can say that I would have loved to have something like this back when I was working on mine. Hope the beta testing goes well!

    2. April, I will give this a try since I am YW President. I did go over it quickly in our presidency meeting last night and my counselors said their only concern is if the YW is not organized and detail oriented in the first place, she might not do anything with it. But with a leader's help, it might be better!


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