Pre-College Programs

Young Women and Self Worth

From the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Change

Author: Lydia Breksa

When asked in the application essay prompt of The Ivy League Connection to offer my opinion on the biggest challenge women face today, I decided that the challenge was women’s lack of self worth. This feeling of worthlessness can be successfully confronted by women developing their talents. A talent can be a vocational skill or a great personal attribute. With this idea I had a desire to form a community that would provide the needed resources and sense of community for young women to develop their talents, however, I was a little lost on how I was going to do this.

Assigned with picking an action plan near the end of Women and Leadership I did not know what to do. My original idea of forming an independent community for young women felt impossible. I did not have the resources and time frame to do so. My teacher, Kisa, suggested I do an action plan with my church group called Young Women (YW) for young women ages 12 to 18. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. Things were not going well for YW. There was a huge drop in attendance and fun activities and most of all a lack of warmth in interactions between young women and some leaders. It did not help that most of the young women went to different schools. This gradual but somewhat sudden change in YW embarrassed me. I did not understand the change. Why was a program successful world wide but not in my young women group? Why had YW change for the worse under the new president? I did not want to talk about the recent change in YW.

Due to the insistent encouraging of Kisa and some face book chats with my YW leader I decided my action plan would be to creating a community out of an un-unified existing group that will help young women gain self worth through developing their individual talents. The activities would be well planned and advertised, young women would come and feel loved and welcomed.

My first goal was to create a sense of trust in YW. I would do so by hosting games and times to discuss different topics so that the young women could have the opportunity to learn about each other and foster friendships. I planned a get-to-know you night, consulted with the president, got buy-in, met her qualifications, rehearsed my get-to-know-you night, advertised the event, called and asked in person certain young women to come and be excited for the activities I planned, delegated the responsibility of gathering the materials needed for my activities and followed-up, and I was prepared and present at the time of the scheduled activity. Only three young women came really late. Even those who I called and had committed to participate were not there. The activity did not happen. At another low attendance activity where only the president, another adult leader, my younger sister, and I were present, I took the opportunity to hold a meeting with the president face-to-face. I talked about our vision, what we needed to do to see our vision in place and what was hindering success. I left with a feeling somewhat on the lines of a small and new hope.

Icame to the Symposium with the hope to learn the aspects of leadership in public relations and anything that will help my vision succeed, such as enhancing my strategies. In the group discussions every suggestion was emplace already. Yes, we have meetings for the youth and the adults. Yes, the youth plan the events if they show up to the meetings. Yes, we make fliers. So what was wrong? What can I do besides trying to make the activities fun and enjoyable for everyone and reach out to others as I was already trying to do? I left the Symposium confused and focused on another project I was doing.

Then new members moved into my ward and new leaders were called for YW. These leaders follow the guidelines of the program and show their love for the young women, unlike the pervious leadership. The fact that each young woman has a great worth is talked of often. There is warmth and trust between the leaders and young women.

As second counselor of the oldest class I attend meetings and act in for the president of my class at times. I try to make the activities fun and enjoyable for everyone and reach out to others in support of the YW leadership. My 12 year old sister is doing the same.

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