Around the first of the year we asked our Young Women to write down a goal for their Personal Progress and had them turn it in. We did this for a couple reasons. First, we wanted them to think for a few minutes about their personal progress, where they were, where they wanted to be and what they are going to do to get there. We can do this by looking at our tracking sheet but I wanted THEM, the girls, to look at it. We wanted to help them achieve their goal by focusing on them through various lessons, mutual activities and different events we have throughout the year. I’m SO GLAD we did this. Almost every girl listed “read the Book of Mormon” as a goal, in fact a handful of the girls only needed to read the BOM to finish their Personal Progress or Honor Bee. We sat down as a presidency and began bouncing ideas around. Finally, one of the ladies told us about a friend of hers who read the ENTIRE Book of Mormon in 24 HOURS!! Yes, you read it right, 24 HOURS!!!! We were so excited about this idea, we were literally jumping up and down. With a group of 30 young women, and because most of the leaders have little people at home, we decided we would do the read-a-thon at the church; this started the very beginning of the planning stage. We wanted to get it done before the Stake Recognition Night, so those girls that only needed to read the book could be done…but this only gave us only a few weeks to plan and execute.
I thought the girls were going to groan and complain when we told them about our “Super Activity” but I was blown away, they were so excited. In fact one of the girls called me later that night and said, “I talked to my mom and we’d like to have the read-a-thon at our house!!!” WHAT?!? Seriously, I have the best girls.
School was in full swing without a holiday in sight, so we started after school on Friday and finished around 9pm Saturday night. It was one of my favorite activities and the girls loved it as well.
I spent ALOT of time on Pinterest and Sugardoodle, reading every blog I could find of people doing the same thing. I took a little bit from everything and came up with our schedule and plan.
A few things to consider. First, you will be reading, listening or watching someone read THE ENTIRE 24 HOURS!!! So it’s really important to get good healthy protein packed meals. DO NOT , I repeat, DO NOT feed the girls a lot of sugar. They will crash and you don’t want that.
We also put a packet together for each girl. In the packet, we included a Book of Mormon reading chart, colored pencils, flavored drink pack and a sucker. I also had a bunch of scripture related adult coloring sheets that I made copies of and had laid on a table with colored pencils and crayons. (I wish I would’ve asked the primary if they needed anything colored for music time or sharing time, we could have included those as a “service project”). For some great ideas check out http://tomiannie.blogspot.com she has some amazing coloring pages! We also asked the girls to bring the journal that we made at Girl’s Camp.
I wrote a letter for all the parents explaining what we were doing at the activity and asked the girls to leave all electronics at home. We used paper scriptures and also listened to it from the Gospel Library app. I connected my phone to my AMAZING Bluetooth speaker, I highly recommend this (not an affiliate, just a lover of this amazing speaker) I use that thing for EVERYTHING!
We explained the importance of getting there on time as we were on a tight schedule. The girls that had other activities came when they could and finished what they didn’t read with us on their own. AND THEY DID IT! I got several texts from those girls on Sunday evening after they finished the Book of Mormon on their own. It was AMAZING!
We sent a few sign-up sheets around the ward for help. First, we asked for help preparing the food. We, the leaders, wanted to spend every second with the girls and we were invested in reading the entire Book as well. They had our undivided attention! We prepared the menu, did the shopping and delivered the food to those that signed up to prepare and deliver it.
We also asked for help with Cameo appearances from the Ward. This was hands down the BEST part of the activity. We got the idea from another blog. We had 7 different stories we asked people to sign up to present to the YW. We asked them to play it up and gave them two rules; first, show up on time and stay within the time limit we provided, second, the story had to be READ not summarized. That’s it. We didn’t follow up or give them ideas. They were all AMAZING. I was shocked at what happened. Each family, group or individual that came in bore their testimony of the Book of Mormon. We didn’t ask it just came naturally. They each came up with a fun way to share the story they signed up for. Here is a PDF of our cameo sign up.
Here are a few examples of the Cameos. Lehi’s Dream was presented to us using Barbie’s, the iron rod was made with tin foil and the tree from some small fairy set. Each presenter got us involved, we cheered for Moroni and we booed at Amalickiah. We yelled “repent” during Samuel’s speech to the Lamanites. We closed our eyes and were told to imagine the destruction at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. We even had someone read the 2000 Stripling Warriors to us from Columbia, yes the country. They really brought the scriptures alive for us.
During the group read, we listened to Gospel Library and started out at 1.5x speed but by the end kept up just fine with 2x. We did Round Robin sometimes as well. In the middle of the night when we were getting tired, the girls would read with different accents or emphasize different parts. It was fun! During our individual reading time, we had soft music in the background. Surprisingly it wasn’t distracting but the opposite. It added to the story and almost felt like it was a theme song to the story.
Coloring page by Tomi Ann Hill at http://tomiannie.blogspot.com/2016/02/all-things-through-christ-coloring-page.html?m=1
We did have breaks. We line danced, played a balloon game, and stretched during some of the breaks. While we listened, we ate, colored, and made friendship bracelets. As a group we forged friendship, like we did at camp. We became a closer group as we tried finish this lofty goal. We laughed, cried and had an amazing time. Most importantly we strengthened our testimonies.
As you can imagine, by 9pm when we finished the ENTIRE Book of Mormon, we were exhausted. There was a lot of cheering, dessert and then everyone cleared out of there. We had 9am church the next morning. For our YW lesson we sat in a circle and invited each girl to share an experience about the Book of Mormon. It didn’t have to be from our Read-a-Thon but they could share about that as well. We went around the circle and each girl and leader shared; by the end there wasn’t a dry eye. We closed by inviting the girls to go home and take Moroni’s Challenge.
Here is a copy of our reading schedule. If I were to do this again, I would tack on an extra ten minutes for Jacob 1-7 and also for Alma 37-45. We didn’t finish those in that amount of time. The rest of them were just about perfect!
It was a lot of work to put this activity together, especially the schedule. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was exactly what we needed to inspire, uplift and unify our girls. Happy Reading!!!