When I was a teenager, Especially for Youth was not even a twinkle in someone’s eye yet. For me the big annual Church event was our stake’s Youth Conference.
They still do Youth Conferences to this day, but what they do now is quite a bit different from what we did then. In our stake at least, they seem to have a rotating pattern of themes: one year the focus is missionary work, another it is service, another it is temples, and I forget what the fourth one is.
But when I was a kid, Youth Conference was basically a mini-college experience.
After my freshman year of high school my first YC was held at Lake Forest College near Chicago. We stayed in the dorms, ate in the cafeteria, played sports in the athletic facilities, took mini-classes (including on secular topics) in the classrooms, socialized with Mormon kids we didn’t know well and normally didn’t see, had a big dance (the social highlight of the Mormon year in upstate Illinois back then), and ended with a testimony meeting Sunday morning. In other words, it kind of gave you a sense of what going to college might be like–especially a college with a healthy LDS enrollment, such as BYU.
My next three years the venue moved to Rockford College, but otherwise the basic idea was the same.
I must say, I absolutely loved those YCs. And when I went to BYU as a college freshman in 1976, I went with the idea that it would pretty much be a nine-month long version of YC. And for freshman year, at least, that’s exactly what it was for me. I had the time of my life that year.
Our youth seem to enjoy their modern, new fangled YCs well enough. But a part of me feels kind of sorry for them. I would much rather pretend to be a college student for a weekend than pretend to be a missionary.
What have your experiences with YC, either as a youth or as an adult leader, been?