For our Young Women in Excellence night, we did a Personal Progress Showcase. We wanted an evening where EVERY single girl was noticed and spotlighted for her work in Personal Progress during 2011. When you have a ward with roughly 40 YW, it is impossible to take the time for each girl to get up and tell us what she worked on during the year.
This is what we did and how we pulled it off:
3-4 weeks before the event, we told the girls that each of them needed to make a display about what they had done this year in PP (for those girls who hadn't done anything in PP or for new YW - they made a display just about them). This display could be anything from a picture of them holding a baby (if they served a young mother) to a display of their dance attire. At first all of them weren't too keen on the idea. I even heard a few of them whisper "homework for church?!!?". How I answered that.... "Absolutely!"
We instructed the girls on what they needed to do. We even encouraged them to take a quiet moment and ask Heavenly Father to help her know what she could display and how to display it. I think this is what made the difference.
We invited the entire ward to this Personal Progress Showcase (we started announcing and hanging up posters about it 3 weeks before the event). We wanted to show off our YW to everybody - and made sure everyone knew about it! We made sure that each young woman got a personalized invitation, as well as the Activity Days girls, and the single, and senior couples in our ward. I heard a dad of an Activity Days girl say "My daughter was so excited to come because she got her very own invitation with her name on it". This may seem like a small thing - but it was HUGE to have these invitations.
That night, we started at 6 pm - this is when the YW came to set up their displays. We had every small table from every classroom in the gym - we even had a few long tables - for the displays. We had name tags made for each girl to put with their display.
We partially closed one set of dividers to somewhat close off a part of the gym, which we used for refreshments, and chairs, and a slide show video of the year in review thru pictures. This way, they could eat treats while watching the video.
We hung a banner on the dividers for YWIE. (You can purchase one of these banners here.)
Once the displays were all set up (it really didn't take long), we let the YW walk around the displays and watch the video, so the YW would have a chance to see them before the "showcase" started. Then we opened the meeting at 7 pm. This was just the YW - opening song (we sang Guardians of Virtue), prayer, and a 5 minute comment from our amazing Bishop. Then ward members started to arrive at 7:15. The YW went and stood by their displays, and answered questions, played music they had learned, gave food samples they had cooked, etc.
It was an amazing night - and we had so much ward support!! The displays were so unique and creative for each young woman and what she was working on. One of the best YWIE I have ever been to.
Ward members walking around the Personal Progress Showcase:
Some of the fun we had and an example of the variety of displays that we had:
**YW loving the YM who supported them
**Musical Instruments and Scriptures
**Food samples being served