Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Successful Relief Sociey Meetings

October 2010 I was called to be the 2nd counselor in our Relief Society. I served in this same calling back in 2002-2003 under the direction of Sis. Diana Mcquay. Now I'm serving under Julie Milstead. Guess they figured they'd give me a 2nd chance to do better. JK
One of the concerns our ward has had, is that our RS monthly meetings were not well attended. When I accepted this calling, I made it my personal goal to make these meetings interesting for the sisters and change things up a bit with the advertising to see if that would help. I also decided to have monthly committee meetings here at the house and serve the sisters breakfast while we planned our next meeting. Funny how food gets people here. I am very organized and take this calling very seriously. I made binders for each committee member and am constintly in contact with them. I want them to know that we work together and that their calling is very important if we want to have successful RS meeting. I do depend on them and have no problem delegating things I need done. So when my committee and I sit down and discuss what we'd like our evening to focus on, I immediately begin delegating assignments to keep my committee involved.

All the RS sisters emails have been entered into my contact list. For each evening we plan, I send out a eye-catching invitation through punchbowl. Punchbowl is a site that offers a variety of invitations for FREE. I opted to pay to be a premium members which gives me more options and choices in invitations. I send one out to all our sisters about 2-weeks prior to our RS meeting. It has an place for the sisters to RSVP. It also automatically sends out a reminder to them 2-days in advance. We also have food at every RS meeting which is a given if we want our sisters to show up. Food always gets them there. But...I make a very detailed sign-up sheet on exactly what types of foodm the amount and how I want it delivered. i.e. sliced, cubed, shredded, whatever it is that we are serving. I also have one of my committee members make advertising posters for every meeting then on Sunday's I go around and give each auxiliary a personal invite to keep them in the loop and make sure they know that we haven't forgot our primary or YW leaders. We frequently invite our YW to join us as well. By doing this our goal is to help the YW transition into RS easier when the time comes. This also helps get their moms there as well. I also have an on-time drawing/prize as well. Anyone who arrives before 7 PM gets there name in on the drawing. Then a winner is drawn. This also gets us started on time instead of typical Mormon standard time. So far, it's really working.

We don't have them every month since I try to put a lot of work into each one to make it extra special evening. We're averaging about every other month. So my first one was in November. We had a Tahitian Night. The YW came and performed their recently learned Tahitian dance and then they taught us RS sisters some simple dance moves. The YW all wore the lava skirts, and did an amazing job. Made me want to cry. We began our evening with a Luau. Sis. Geddes had a credit from a catering company from her son's wedding, so she let us use her credit and had pulled pork over rice donated for our special evening. I had a sign-up list going around for salads, sides and desserts that went along with our theme. I decorated the tables with floating hibiscus and sea shells. It looked very festive. We also encouraged our sisters to wear Hawaiian clothing if they had any. Since the YW attended, we had 77 in attendance. It was huge!

Because of the holidays and the fact that our family was in Florida though the first of the year, we skipped a couple of months since I wasn't here to plan. Our next one was in March. We disguised our VT conference with an evening called "Getting To Know You". We figured if we told the sisters it was our VT conference they wouldn't come. So we made sure we titled it something different and went about it in a different approach. We spent about 6-weeks photographing all the sisters before hand and had them tell us one thing that we didn't know about them. Then we put it all together for a slide show presentation. We began our evening with a really nice "create your own salad bar" dinner. Following dinner we presented the slide show. Following the slide show, Julie our RS President and the Bishop had closing remarks. We ended the evenng with birthday cake for dessert since the timing of this evening was around the RS birthday. We had 64 in attendance.

Then in May, we had a "Gardening" night. I had arranged for guest speakers to come in and talk to us about gardening and becoming more self-reliant. We had Charlas Milstead talk about Hydroponics and raising chickens, John Barnes talk about growing tomotoes and composting, Peggy Mariger talked about growing strawberries and flowers and Bruce Pyper talked about container gardening. For refreshments we chose to do a variety of fresh fruits with different types of dips and then I also made "dirt cups" with a quote from Pres. Kimball about gardening. That night was also very well attended with a total of 32 sisters.

Our most recent RS meeting was this past week on July 5th. I was worried about it falling the day after the holiday as well as summer. Our evening was titled "Pie and Ice Cream Basics". We broke up the evening into 3 sections. I first did a demonstration on making canned apple pie filling, then I did a demo on how to make pie crusts and some important tips on making pies. We then had one of the YW demo making homemade ice cream. The sisters signed up to bring homemade pie and homemade ice cream for dessert. We then had he Bishopric participate in a pie judging contest. Afterwards, we all enjoyed pie and ice cream together. Considering the time of year, I was amazed that we had 39 sisters in attendance including the Stake RS Presidency.
So far, our attendance has been wonderful. It went from being anywhere from 8-10 sisters about 8 months ago, to anywhere from 30-70. I love to throw parties and for me, this is just an excuse to have an enjoyable evening with sisters in the gospel and help bring the sisters closer together. Our next one is planned on August 2, which is our annual RS picnic. I'm relying on my committee since I fly home from Las Vegas the night before, ugh!