Do you need a fun activity to help the youth in your ward get interested in family history? How about a Family Home Evening or Sunday activity for the whole family?
Try MISSION POSSIBLE and see that it is possible to do family history!
I created the MISSION POSSIBLE youth activity in response to Elder Anderson’s Find, Take, Teach Challenge.
We wanted to give the youth in our ward an opportunity to teach their families about family history. After discussing this in our family history committee, we decided to train the youth with FamilySearch.org and some of the great apps associated with the website, then encourage them to teach their families during the month of October.
My challenge came in deciding specifically what to teach the youth. Spanning ages 12-18, it can be tricky appealing to different interests and computer skills. Most of our youth have pioneer lines that are heavily researched and it is not easy to find a name for temple work. They can feel discouraged when they don’t quickly have success. That’s when we came up with MISSION POSSIBLE – an activity with simple checklists to familiarize them family history.
At the end of the hour long activity, I wanted them to feel that they had accomplished something. Plus, they needed to be able to actually teach their families how to do some family history. After completing the MISSION POSSIBLE checklists, they are ready to do this!
We planned MISSION POSSIBLE for a small group of youth. The activity consists of five separate “missions” that the youth complete on their own. Each mission uses an individual’s FamilyTree information on FamilySearch.org. A checklist with specific prompts enables the youth to do as much as possible without adult help.
Find-A-Record.com (this site is not available anymore)
I made a color coded manila envelope for each mission and put the matching mission instructions inside. At the beginning of the activity, I explained that they could choose any mission in any order. When they completed the mission they passed it off with an adult consultant to receive a treat.
So far, the Teachers (young men age 14-15) and the Priests and Laurels (young men and young women age 16-18) in our ward have experienced MISSION POSSIBLE. The rest of the youth get their turn this month during the next three weeks. Typically, the youth can finish about three missions in the hour activity. But a few of them have worked really hard to do all five. We send their incomplete missions home so they can share them with their families. So far, so good – the youth and leaders have loved the activity!
One of our ward consultants created this flyer that goes out the Sunday prior to the weeknight activity. Here is a link to the flyer: Mission Possible YOUR MISSION
Our ward chose to work with each age group on different nights, but a neighboring ward wanted to try our activity as a combined activity. About thirty youth and fifteen consultants sat around tables in the cultural hall. The adult leaders brought laptops and tablets so each youth would be able to work.
They opened the activity with the lights going out and the “Mission Impossible” theme song coming on. A young man in a trench coat and hat wandered among the tables shining a flashlight. After he exited the cultural hall, the lights came on and one of the youth read a fun mission statement starting with: “Your mission should you choose to accept it . . .” .
Because this was a two hour family history marathon, the leaders added two more missions: Censuses and the Descendancy view in Family Tree. Each youth received a packet of all seven missions and went to work. I asked one young man if he had fun and with a big smile he said, “On puzzilla.org I discovered a great great grandfather who had 24 children!”
Check out this post about their activity: http://lets-get-together.com/2015/09/10/mission-possible-family-history-activity/
Hopefully your youth will choose to accept this mission and learn all the fun ways to experience family history!
Here are links to the mission documents:
Updated Documents (word files you can edit):
Covers: Envelope Covers Mission Possible
Checklists: MISSION POSSIBLE missions
Intro Letter: Mission Possible introduction letter
Invitation: Mission Possible invitation