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The Pursuit of Excellence
Submitted by José Ferreira de Castro

0. Preparation
The room was prepared by putting the chairs in 12-seats 's circles and have some quiet music playing while they enter. Several displays of a girl running through a finishing line, were put across the room and some quotes were also displayed.  The idea was developed following a speech by Elder Joe J. Christensen, taken from the January 98 NewEra: 'I Resolve'. The objective was to inspire them to resolve to begin their pursuit for excellence.

Here are some things you should do beforehand:

  • Speech Challenge:   Prepare a small poem or prose for them to read. Each group should have a different one.
  • Writing Challenge (poetry or free writing):    One sheet of paper and one pencil per group to write about excellence
  • Mathematical reasoning Challenge:   Have a quiz for them to solve. The same for all groups and they are allowed to the other representatives.
  • Musical  Challenge:   Select 5 different styles of music and have them guess the name of the music, composer, singer, etc. Make a single record of the selections so you'll loose less time.
  • Lifting Weights Challenge (1 member):   Bring some weights from home and have them work out while others do the others exercises.
  • Pushups Challenge (1 member):    -
  • Rope jumping Challenge (1 member):   Bring some ropes 10 feet long
  • Balanced Meals Challenge (2 members):   make photocopies of meat, fish, eggs, sausages, vegetables, fruits, cereals, yogurts, milk jars, cookies, cheese, etc. Prepare several copies of each so that the groups can complete their servings. Draw a big plate for each group and have them prepare a one-day balanced diet on their own knowledge. At the end compare with the portions you ought to eat daily, according to the diet pyramid.



    Game of scripture stories and our stories:
    Select some everyday problems and have them find out a situation in the scriptures that may help them solve their problem. Example:

    You feel like shouting at and hitting your sister     -      Laman and Lemuel shout and hit Nephi
    Your girlfriend and you go into a "session of hugging and kissing"   -     Joseph runs away from Pothiphar's wife
    Your friends laugh at you because you go to Church. They even stop speaking to you.   --    Alma is persecuted by King Noah and
     his priests, his former friends

    1. Introdution
    We all try to make a difference in this life. We all try to be happy. We all like to be appreciated, praised and supported in our projects.
    We'll try to come together to the understanding that there are many things that we can be appreciated for but there are the more excellent ones. Any idea about which could these be? (Youth share ideas)
     We don't have to be better than others are but better than ourselves.
    Have some read the following quote: " Spirituality, our true aim, is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the Infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one's faculties unfolding, and truth expanding in the soul, is one of life's sublimest experiences." (Pres. David O. Mackay)
    How would you define Excellence? (Youth share ideas)
    The day I'll learn something, achieve something, as small as it may be, that will be the day I'll begin my own pursuit for Excellence.I hope that this may be that day for all of us.

    2. Jesus as The Example

    Can you think of some that as personified that excellence? (Youth share ideas)
    Let's read 3Nefi 27:27. Jesus asked us to look up to Him as a perfect example of excellence and try our best to be like Him.
    There's a verse in the NT that describes the youth of the lord. Let's read Luke 2:52.
    Which areas did Jesus increase in? (Youth share ideas)
    Today we'll have some challenges so that we'll come to know that ALL may achieve Excellence.
    All of the groups may choose a delegate. All of the groups will choose one or more members of the group to represent it in the following Challenges. You may cheer and applause
    You'll be given 10 minutes to prepare.

    3. Challenges
    a. I resolve to expand my intellectual horizons. I will increase in wisdom.

    Speech Challenge  (1 member)
    Writing Challenge (poetry or free writing) (1 member)
    Mathematical reasoning Challenge (2 members)
    Musical Challenge (2 members)

    Were they good? Are they better than they were 10 minutes ago? Then, they are more excellent.

    b. I resolve to preserve my physical health.

    Lifting Weights Challenge (1 member)
    Pushups Challenge (1 member)
    Rope jumping Challenge (1 member)
    Balanced Meals Challenge (2 members)

    Were they good? Are they better than they were 10 minutes ago? Then, they are more excellent.

    c. I resolve to be a true friend and to become more socially acceptable to people of high standards.

    Presentation on how to make friends with someone we donut know. (more than 2 members)
    Presentation on how to react if our friends decide to do something against our moral standards. How to do it preserving our friendship. (more than 2 members)

    Were they good? Are they better than they were 10 minutes ago? Then, they are more excellent.

    d. I resolve to grow spiritually. I will increase in favor with God.

    Game of scripture stories and our stories.

    Were they good? Are they better than they were 10 minutes ago? Then, they are more excellent.

    Young people, take full advantage of the Church programs. (YW Personal Progress; AP Duty unto God) Set your goals to attain excellence in the achievement programs of the Church. Do not settle for mediocrity in the programs of the Church. (Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice, pp.4, 17)
    Last General Conference. Pres. Thomas S. Monson has said: " After you have come to experiment excellence you will never again be contented with mediocrity."

    "Set your goals without goals you can't measure your progress. But don't become frustrated because there are no obvious victories. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving. If you are striving for excellence if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals YOU ARE A SUCCESS." ( Be of good Cheer, p. 29)