By Utah National Parks Council
Jun 18, 2017

Let Them Lead: Preparing Your Plan

The only way to meet your goals reach your vision is to have a plan. President Thomas S. Monson explained,

“It is necessary to prepare and to plan so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. One of the best definitions of success I have ever heard goes something like this: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never crossing the goal line.”

Prepare yourself spiritually

When have you had to plan for something? What challenges did you face as you created your plan? How did having a plan help you accomplish your goal?

How will understanding effective planning tools and techniques help these young men and women reach their goals?


How do you go about making plans to reach your goals?

What do you do when a plan doesn’t work out the way you’d like?

Do the youth have experience making detailed plans?

How will this help them?



Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What do you feel inspired to share with the youth?

Teaching in the Savior’s way

The Savior used the scriptures to teach and testify about His mission. He taught people to think about the scriptures for themselves and use them to find answers to their own questions. What can you do to inspire the youth  to study and ponder the scriptures?

Teaching tip: Watch this video to learn how to help the youth personalize the scriptures:  “Personalizing the Scriptures




Make connections

During the first few minutes of each session, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in this leadership course and in various other settings (such as personal study, seminary, other church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of what they’re learning in their lives? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to share an experience that helped them understand the things they learned last time about communication, vision, and goal-setting.
  • Ask youth to consider how making group goals has brought them together as a class or quorum and helped them work together. Ask them to describe the difference between a group and a team. Lead them to the idea that a team is a group that shares a common vision where members support and depend on one another.

Learn Together

Each of the activities below will help the young men and women understand the importance of making a plan to accomplish their goals and reach their vision. Complete each of the sections by prayerfully selecting one or more activity in each section that resonates with you and will work best for your class or quorum: 

  1. Understand the value of planning as a step in reaching goals and fulfilling visions.
    Choose from these activities:
  • Give each group one paper bag with these items in it:

 20 uncooked spaghetti noodles
 1 regular marshmallow
 3 feet of 1-inch blue painters tape or masking tape
 3 feet of cotton string (not thread or yarn).

Tell them not to open the bags yet. Explain that they will have 18 minutes to build the tallest free-standing structure they can using only the materials in the bag. Answer any questions, then have them open their bag and begin. Let them look at the items for a moment, then tell them “Oh, and the marshmallow has to be on top of your structure.” Repeat instructions if necessary, then start the clock.
Youth leaders should watch, but not participate or offer suggestions. The facilitator should make sure groups follow the rules, but shouldn’t offer suggestions or guidance. Watch to see how they are tackling the challenge and how leadership is being established. Give time warnings at 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and 1 minute.
Once time expires, measure the structures and announce who has the tallest free-standing structure that follows the rules.
Show the video clip: TED Talk: Build a tower, build a team Discuss the groups in the video, their motivation, and their performance. What can you learn?

  • Other activities to practice planning as you are inspired

2. Plan an event or activity using “The What, How, When, Who Planning Tool:”
    Choose from these activities:

  • Review vision and goals, and explain that planning is a means of efficiently reaching goals. SMART goals require a plan to execute them. Explain that a simple, effective planning tool is the What, How, When, Who method.
  • Make copies of the planning tool as a worksheet for youth to put in their notebooks:

„ What has to be done
„ How to do it
„ When to do it
„ Who will do it

Write out the four parts of the planning tool in columns on a flip sheet or white board. Ask participants to pick a Mutual activity they would like to do. Choose one suggestion as an example. Explain that they will need to do some planning to make sure the activity is successful.

Together, fill in What, How, When, and Who. What will we need to do to prepare? How will we do that? When (how long before, and how long will it take)? Who will be responsible? There will be multiple tasks to prepare, choose a few for examples.

Ask participants to describe how planning will help them make the activity better. How could planning have helped them on the marshmallow spaghetti challenge?

  • Other activities to practice planning as you are inspired

3. Learn to make priorities using Start, Stop, Continue
Choose from these activities:

  • Explain that part of good planning is evaluating your plan so you can make priorities and manage your time. One of the ways to evaluate how something is working is to use the Start, Stop, Continue tool. Review the concept:
    • Start—What should we be doing that will make things better?
    • Stop—What should we stop doing because it isn’t helpful?
    • Continue—What is our strength and is working well that we want to continue doing?

Have participants practice using this tool by evaluating your communication skills as you’ve been teaching. Remind them of body language, tone, and other communication skills and have them use start, stop, continue to give feedback.

  • Have each class or quorum look back at their group’s vision for the week. Give them time to use start, stop, continue to evaluate their behavior and make plans that will help them accomplish their vision.
  • Ask what the youth can do when a plan doesn’t work out? Take their ideas. Ask how they can use start, stop, continue to adapt a plan that isn’t working.
  • Other activities to practice evaluation as you are inspired

Invite to Act

Ask the youth how they will use what they learned about planning to change their actions in the future. What will they do differently today, tomorrow, this week, and this year? Have them write down their ideas.

Have each class or quorum briefly discuss how they can make specific plans to reach their goals.

Discuss with the youth what their next skill application challenge will be. Ask them to consider how what they’ve learned about planning applies to the challenge. Encourage them to apply their new skills and ideas about planning to the activity.

This series was adapted from National Youth Leader Training to help leaders teach LDS youth leadership skills so that those leaders can confidently “Let Them Lead.”


Authors: Maria Milligan and Darryl Alder | LDS NYLT writing team; at Utah National Parks Council Maria is Chief of Staff and Darryl is Strategic Initiatives Director. Together they help LDS Stakes meet their camping and training needs a customized basis.

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