Friday, June 20, 2014

Young Women Value Hike and Finishers Festival With Holi Powder

Young Women Values...The importance and benefits of "getting the YW Values all over you" and making them part of your every day life.

When planning our Young Women Camp hike, I knew it should involve "holi powder" as part of the activity.
With the help and input of some great minds, it ended up as one of the most fun Young Women activities I have ever planned or participated in.
Holi powder is very messy but cleans up faster than I could have ever expected.
Nothing was stained or ruined. We truly left no trace of this activity by the next day.
(See the end of this post for ordering link and amounts to use)

There were three phases to our Value Hike:
1) Kick-Off Introduction
2) Value Activities along the path with an obstacle course
3) The Finishers' Festival (holi powder represented the YW Value Colors)

The Kick-off introduction prepared the girls for the Value Hike and the Finishers' Festival, representing completing Personal Progress and living the Young Women Values in our daily lives.
There is a talk by President Monson, "Finishers Wanted" that goes well with this message.

Here is a description of each phase:
 Kick-Off Introduction
The girls met in the main hall for a 15 minute presentation given by Audrey Showalter.
The focus was comparing what the girls need to bring with them on a hike (sturdy shoes, water, bug repellent, socks, sunscreen, proper clothing, etc.)  to the Young Women Values.
She asked them what would happen if they put all of these hiking supplies in their backpack and did not take them out and use them....
Here are some of the comparisons she used:
Just as we need the proper supplies for a successful hike, we need to have the Young Women Values in our daily lives to succeed in this life and the next.
What will happen if we don't take out our Personal Progress book and use the Young Women  values in our every day lives?
She discussed how we can make the YW Values a part of our lives and "get them on us".
Here are some comparisons she made to hiking supplies and the YW Values:
FAITH: Sunglasses- Effects of vision..Protect us from extremes. We cannot see some the actual rays of sun, but we know we need to protect our eyes. Faith protects us from things seen and unseen.
DIVINE NATURE: Water Bottle- Living waters, Jesus Christ. We are divine daughters of Heavenly Father who gave his son, Jesus Christ.
INDIVIDUAL WORTH: Personal Item- different for each person, yet necessary for successful hike and journey in life. The worth of each of us is great.
CHOICE & ACCOUNTABILITY: Proper clothing for hike and in our daily lives. Make good choices every day.
GOOD WORKS: Shoes. Different work requires different shoes. Always be involved in good works. Put your shoes on and get to work.
INTEGRITY: Sunscreen. Use even when it looks like sun is not threatening. Do the right thing even when no one is looking.
VIRTUE: Bug Repellent  Must use if we want to keep bugs away. Wont help if it stays in our backpack. Must use on all areas of body, not just one. Must apply virtue to all areas, thoughts, actions, dress, speech.
KNOWLEDGE: Map, Compass Helps us be oriented-know about obstacles before we get t them and how to handle them when we get there. The more knowledge we gain, the more prepared we are for life.

At the end of the discussion, the girls were sent out by age level groups to begin the Value activities and obstacle course.  We staggered the groups every 15 minutes. The 4th year girls were running the Value activity stations and the YCLs went with their age level groups. We had 130 girls participating.
We warned everyone in advance that they would need to wear light colored clothing that they did not mind if it got stained or dirty. We also were mindful of girls who did not want to be covered with holi powder at the Finishers Festival and had an area for them to stay where they would  be safe from getting colored powder on them. (It was interesting to note that most who thought they did not want to get powder all over them left the "safe zone" at some point and were covered with colored powder, aka the Young Women Values, by the end of the activity)

Value Activities
Our fearless fourth year leader Courtney Lockhart, and the fourth year girls put together activities for each value. 
Here is Courtney's description of each station:
Each station had a fun activity and a 5 minute time limit. The time limit helped keep the hike moving so the 3 level groups wouldn't bottle neck at any one point. We choose to keep the hike shorter, if you want a longer hike you might want to space the groups a little farther apart.
Our 4th years were in charge of the value stations. They created signs for each station with the value name and a little catch phrase and/or preview of was happening at each station. They were in charge of welcoming each group, instructing them on the activity, keeping the energy up, keeping everyone positive, and staying on time, as well as clean up afterwards. I had two reasons for giving this responsibility to the 4th years. Firstly, next year they are going to be YCLs and they need an opportunity to start developing leadership qualities. And secondly, one of the 4th years certification requirements is “Help to organize and participate in a nature walk or hike for younger campers”.
I know that hikes tend to be filled with numerous complaints and negative attitudes like “are we done yet”, “why do we have to hike”, “this is so boring”, “why can't I just take a nap instead”, yada, yada, yada... But we did not hear one single complaint the entire hike! And I made sure to ask everyone involved! It was a huge success!

Here is what we choose to do for each value station:
Faith- Blindfolded Tag.
Each person needs to find a partner. The first partner stands in front of the other partner with their hands outstretched and interlocking fingers(this is critical) wearing a blindfold, or closing their eyes. The partner in the back puts their hands on their partners shoulders and steers the blindfolded partner from behind. One partnership is deemed “it” and off you go, traditional tag rules apply. If you want more of a challenge implement a no talking rule.
How it relates to the value- sometimes you can not see what is in front of you, and you have to rely on the Lord to lead and direct you. He is always there to steer you in the right direction if only you have the faith to trust in Him and take a step forward.

Divine Nature- Egg Race.
Divide into two or more teams. Each team stands in a straight line with the first person at the start line, everyone is given a spoon that is placed in their mouths, the end that you typically hold when eating. At the start line you have a box or bowl full of plastic eggs. The first person on each team puts an egg on top of the spoon. They then race to the finish line where there is another bowl or box(one for each team), they drop the egg into their teams box, and race back to tag the next person in line, who then grabs an egg and races to the finish line. If they drop an egg on the ground they have to go back to the start line and try again. Set a timer and the team with the most eggs in their end box wins. For a little extra fun have everyone walk/run like a chicken.
And for a more difficult challenge add some obstacles. For example, the girls that were helping with this station thought my plan was too simple. So they put their heads together and came up with a great idea! They added some hula hoops to the mix. The hoops were placed on the ground and the runners had to run around them on their way to the finish line. And instead of just running back they made the runners hop back to the start line on one foot. And it worked wonderfully!
How it relates to the value- an egg has divine qualities, and a divine mission to fulfill. It will grow into a chicken if it is nurtured properly. And these Young Women will grow into strong and righteous women if they nurture their divine qualities and strive to complete their divine mission.

Individual Worth- Water Balloon Toss.
Everyone partners up and stands across from their partner, just a few feet apart. One partner has a water balloon and tosses it to the other person. They both take a step back, and the other partner tosses the water balloon back to the first partner. And repeat until the water balloon falls to the ground or breaks. For a more difficult challenge, each time the balloon is tossed, the partner tossing the balloon must say something praiseworthy of the other partner.
How it relates to the value- our souls are precious, just as the water inside the balloon is a precious resource. Both have infinite worth and potential to do amazing things, and neither should be taken for granted or diminished in any way.

Knowledge- Pizza Box Race.
Divide into two or more teams and stand in two lines at the start line. At the finish line is a large stack of empty pizza boxes. The first person races down to the finish line, grabs one box, races back to the start line, hands it to the next person in line, and returns to the end of their team's line. The next person then races down to the finish line, grabs a box, stacks it on top of the first box, races back to the start line, and hands it to the next person. Repeat until one team can no longer carry the boxes and drops them on the ground. The winning team is the team that can carry the most boxes before dropping them. You will need about 20-30 boxes per team. We had just shy of 50 boxes and it was enough for two teams.
How it relates to the value- we need to feed our minds like we feed our bellies. And pizza and studying just go hand in hand.

Choice and Accountability- Jell-O Eating Contest.
Everyone is given a Jell-O cup and a straw. The girls have to eat the Jell-O as fast as they can with only a straw. Warning- this produces some rather rude slurping noises.
How it relates to the value- I feel that a lot of times when C&A is taught during YW lessons a lot of the focus is placed on making righteous choices. I wanted this station to really focus on accountability. Every choice has a consequence. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes neutral or benign. And we are accountable for those consequences. So when you choose to eat Jell-O with a straw you have to accept responsibility for the rude/silly noises that you will make.

Good Works- Wheelbarrow Race.
Everyone partners up. One partner gets down on their hands and knees. The other partner stands behind them, grabs the first partner's ankles, and lifts their lower body off the ground leaving just their hands on the ground. So the first partner becomes the wheelbarrow and the second partner steers the wheelbarrow. Working together they must race to the finish line. The YW that helped with this station drew, colored, and cut out flowers from poster board, placed them on the ground, and instructed the teams to help pick up the flowers on their way to the finish line.
How it relates to the value- At every station we made a sign with the value name and a little catch phrase and/or preview of was happening at that station. Good works sign used the catch phrase, “Have you done any good today? If not, put your shoulder to the wheelbarrow!”
Integrity- Spider Web
This was our largest value set up, and the most time consuming. But it was 100% worth it! You will need 20, five foot PVC pipes, 3/4in diameter. I purchased the 10 foot poles and cut them in half(much better price). And you will need a ton of yarn. I asked for donations of scrap yarn that people weren't using anymore. To set up, you will need a large flat area. Place the PVC pipes in a 4x5 grid. You will want about 8 feet in between each pipe. Dig a hole for each PVC pipe, put the PVC in the hole, hammer it down, and pack the earth back around the pole to help stabilize it. You want them to be fairly secure. Next take a skein of yarn tie it around one post, at the base, and string the yarn to another post loosely, tie it(without cutting it) and string it back to the original post. You will want the yarn to go back and forth between posts about 4 or 5 times at various angles. Connect all the posts to each other. When you are done you will have a massive web of yarn. To play this game all the girls will line up on one side of the rectangle and attempt to weave themselves through the yarn web to the opposite end. If you want to make it more challenging you can divide the girls into small groups and make them hold hands and weave through the web together.
How it relates to the value- Think of the web as a web of sin or a web of lies. Integrity helps us navigate unscathed through the web of sin that the Young Women face on a daily basis.
Virtue- Tug-O-War.
You will need a large rope. Divide into two teams, one at each end of the rope, and a center line marked on the ground. The object of Tug-O-War is to pull the other team across the center line. To do this, you must use the rope and pull against one another until one team comes across the line in any way, or if they choose to forfeit. Each side must have an equal amount of players, and it does not matter the physical strength or ability.
How it relates to the value- Hold true to your virtue; don't get dragged through the mud. The world is going to try to pull us this way and that, entice us to romp around in the muck. But if we hold tight to Virtue, rooting ourselves in high moral standards, we can remain pure and worthy.

The Finishers' Festival
This part of the activity was my dream. It was such a perfect ending to an already amazing activity. At one point, I wanted to have the girls have colored holi powder "poofed" on them as they completed each YW Value station. I am so happy I did not do this. Having a "Finisher's Festival" was the best way to incorporate holi powder, aka YW Values colored powder.

At the end of the value hike, we had a welcome sign congratulating the girls for finishing. A few leaders cheered them on and we greeted them with a few "poofs" of colored powder, then handed them their own bottle and encouraged them to be ready to greet the next group of finishers in the same manner. Each time a group would arrive, the cheering and powder "poofing" would erupt. 
We had enough bottles of powder for each girl to have her own.  They could have one color at a time and many would trade colors so they had the opportunity to use a variety as they greeted and cheered on the other "Finishers".
We pointed out how good it feels to accomplish a goal of finishing and how much fun it is.

Once everyone completed the activity, we had a gigantic celebration, the Finishers' Festival. Everyone used up their remaining powder and headed back to their camp sites to clean up. The clean up was much easier than I could have anticipated. Just have a hose close by and spray everything off. The powder does not cake or clump, just rinses away. The powder washed out of hair and clothing with no problem. By evening, there were few tangible signs of our Finisher Festival colors. There were a few places on my body, like the creases of my elbows and knees that needed some extra scrubbing, but I was pleasantly surprised at the clean up.
This is much smarter for the environment than water balloons, silly string, shaving cream, etc. A quick spray with the hose and it is gone. In our case, we had rain during the night and there was no evidence of any colored powder the next day. Just make sure the girls have a change of clothes ready and a plan for cleaning up themselves. They will be messy and loving every minute. 
Girls and some of the leaders who did not want to get messy were soon leaving the "powder-free safe zone" to join in the fun. 

Here is what I learned about using "Holi powder":

  • I ordered the holi powder from HERE  Tell them I, Shauna Hostetler, sent you to their site. I do not receive any compensation for you to purchase from them, but just want you to know this is the best place to order from.
  • I ordered the plastic bottles from HERE (12 oz clear plastic bottles, 7" tall) I did a lot of homework on this and decided these were the best type and price. 

Each order of powder contains 2 pounds each of 6 colors.
Each bag will fill 6 bottles all the way  for a total of 36 bottles per order.
(you can fill them half way and  get double the bottles of power. This will  still provide a lot of powder for one person)
I purchased 144 bottles and 4 orders of powder will fill 144 bottles all the way to the top.
When filling the bottles, be prepared to have some messy fun.
Use a funnel and have a long skewer to help push the powder through quickly. Some colors flow better than others.

If you do not want to use the bottles (although I highly recommend them) you could give out small plastic bags or disposable cups filled with the powder and let the participants throw the powder with their hands (which is the more traditional way holi powder is used.
Using the bottles increases your cost, but makes the activity more fun and helps to make the powder last longer.
I collected the bottles at the end and will definitely use them again for a similar activity, a party, etc. I can think of so many events and occasions to use holi powder. (Watch out New Year's eve, Birthday parties, etc)

From the comments from girls and their leaders, this was much more than a big mess of colored powder being thrown around (which was my goal). They understood the application of getting the Young Women Values "on you" and making them part of your every day life. Many have mentioned the connection as they discuss their camp memories.
Enjoy planning your own Finishers Festival!
In case you missed the link above, order powder HERE.


fawndear said...

Thank you for sharing such a great activity idea. No doubt the girls will remember this activity for a long time.

john said...

much cooler than my granddaughters using silly string on me.......don't give them any ideas!

J-ME said...

Thank you for sharing! What a fun idea!!

Pam Mueller said...

Shauna, is there nothing you can't do? you are amazing! I am stake camp director and tried to get this activity for last year. I was shot down because of the fear of the girls inhaling the powder. Did you have any problems with girls and asthma or breathing?

we have camp in a week!! Theme is "The Power of One" can't wait!

Then on to planning Seminary!

Cheryl Kanenwisher said...

What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

Sandra Checketts said...

We will be doing this activity the end of July and I am
wondering if we could "rent" bottles from others who
have already had their fun.
You can contact me at

Kerri Wadsworth said...

Sounds fun! Where did you find 50 pizza boxes?!

Hannah said...

We are launching this idea at our girls camp this year in NH. We are facing some resistance because of the fear of girls with asthma inhaling the powder. Can I email you and discuss this idea further?! Thanks so much!!!

Shauna said...

Yes, Hannah, please contact me at Shaunahh @ gmail . com

ChicHulaGirl said...

SO cool! Thank you for sharing!!! Also, how did you clean up?? Just hose everything?

Heather Matthews said...

Hello Shauna,

We want to do a Color Festival at our school. We have about 500 students. How many bottles do you think we should give each student? I saw that you ordered 144 bottles. How many YW did you have? Thank you so much for this information - this is a great resource for many fabulous activities.