Once you’ve hit the magic age of eighteen and have graduated from high school, to the day you turn thirty or are married, you are officially considered a “Young Single Adult”.
The Young Single Adult (YSA) program has only begun to find its’ place among the workings of the LDS (Mormon) Church within the last decade. Unfortunately before this time leaders weren’t sure how to help the YSA’s feel included in a ward full of families.
One young man said he didn’t feel comfortable in his own ward. In fact, the Sunday School teacher at the time would introduce him as a new member two or three times a month. It was disheartening to say the least. One particular bishop even man switched to a Singles’ Ward. In this environment he finally felt included and needed.
In areas where the numbers of YSA’s are quite high, Singles’ Wards are increasing. These wards provide a safe peer environment. Typically the only positions filled by married couples involve the bishopric.
For traditional wards and branches where a mixture of old and young, single or married, and those with children are found, it is vital to begin putting together a working program for the young single adults.
Begin with calling stake advisors, preferably a married couple. Encourage them to go to each bishopric within the stake and look for ward advisors as well. Think and pray hard over who this will be. Like the stake callings, these should be a married couple. They will work alongside the YSA’s of their wards in both lessons as well as activities.
Next should be the calling of two young single adult representatives: one male and one female. These will be the two who will attend all meetings, help organize activities, and will be the reps between the stake and the ward.
For some wards, a special Sunday School class is set up for the YSA’s. Each member of the class is given the opportunity to plan and present a lesson. Be cautioned, not every young single adult will wish to join the class. Leave it an option, as pressuring the individual may cause harsh feelings. One particular woman prefers attending the Gospel Doctrine class, as she feels that is where her focus needs to be. Stay open to the needs and desires of each individual.
Monthly activities are encouraged. Keep in mind these activities are to be planned around the ideals of building testimonies, service, and involving the less active. They are not a dating service. Try to make at least one activity every few months on a stake basis, to help bring a sense of community to all the YSA’s of the stake.
Plan these activities ahead of time. One woman cringes every time she’s called last minute for an activity. Her schedule is frequently hectic, and if she’s to fit in the activities, she needs to know about them a few months in advance.
Once these few things are put into place, making the Young Single Adult Program within your own wards/branches can help inspire, encourage, and strengthen all members of the church.