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YM and YW SOS Challenge  YW-6 and YM-6    1-Hour History - Enhanced

Writing Your History in One Hour - Enhanced

You will create a basic history in one hour, then expand upon and enhance it.   (You may have already completed part of this project as a YW group or YM group -- find that history and build upon it)

First, find a time when you can commit one hour to writing. You will need a stopwatch or a timer to keep track of your time. Gather the necessary materials, you will need such as paper and pen, or sit at your typewriter or computer. Make sure that you can be comfortable, and maybe have a drink and snacks available.

Your history will be divided into sections. You will commit roughly 6 minutes to each section. This means that you will have to keep things brief and resist the temptation to elaborate on the  things you are writing. If something you write triggers additional thoughts and details you may want to write a quick note of two or three words in the margin that you can return to at a later  time. 

Ready?  Set your timer for six minutes, and let’s get started!

Section 1. Write down your name tell briefly, how you got your name, what it meansand any nicknames you have had. If you were named for a particular person mention that in your writing. As soon as you have completed section 1 or when your timer has gone off, reset the timer for six minutes.

Section 2. Now write everything, you know about where you were born, the name of the hospital or the address or location or city of your birthplace. You may want to add any other details about the time of day or the day of the week, and if there were any special people there.

Section 3. Now take the next six minutes and list the names, birthplaces and birth dates of your parents and any brothers and sisters that you might have.

Section 4. List all of the schools that you have attended and the city in which they were located. Do not spend a great deal of time talking about, childhood friends and memories, but write as much as you can about your school experiences in six minutes. Add a few memory joggers in the margin if necessary, but keep writing.

Section 5. List any organizations you have belonged to --- Primary, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other clubs or groups you participated in during your school years. School clubs, organizations or committees.

Section 6 . List all of the important church dates that you can recall. How did you get involved with the Church? Family? Missionaries? Baptism and confirmation dates and dates that you received other Church ordinances and callings.

Section 7.  Briefly list important changes in your family - - relocations, deaths, marriages, changing jobs etc. It is important that you remember to stay with the bare essentials.

Section 8. Now spend 10 minutes describing values and experiences that have been important to you....difficulties of growing up in today's world, spiritual experiences you have had, trials you have overcome (or are trying to overcome), or other events hat have shaped your life.  

At this point you should have four minutes left. Take this remaining time to jot down a few notes in the margin of things that you remembered during your writing but did not have time to write down. You have now completed your personal history!

At this time you will probably want to make a fresh, clean copy of your writing, omitting any scribbles, corrections or changes you might have made.   Typing it on the computer will make it easy to re-arrange sections, add and delete information, and make additional copies for others.  

The above material has been adapted from an Ensign article (June 1994) written by Carol Huber entitled “One-Hour Life History”

NOW ...  Add the enhancements!

As you re-write your notes, elaborate and add details.

Add photographs, and share your testimony.  Important dates in church and world history that have occurred during your lifetime can be listed. Memories of grandparents, aunts and uncles and special family outings would also be fun to include.

Conduct interviews:

Research could include interviewing your parents, your siblings, other family members, and even friends for information from their perspectives on the events of your life. We promise that they will remember things you don’t, or that you haven’t considered. You may wish to take notes in draft form, on paper or on computer, on which you can draw to write your story.

Copy documents:

  • If you do not have copies of official documents of the events in your life, obtain copies. These include your birth and marriage certificates, and religious documents include your baptismal certificate, priesthood ordination certificates, etc.

  • Scan the documents and store the scanned images on your computer or an external source such as floppy disk or a flash key. If you do not have a scanner at home, bring your documents to the Family History Library and use the equipment available there.

Select pictures:

Each week spend some time collecting, organizing, and selecting pictures to be included to illustrate the periods of your life. Be selective; less is probably better than more.

Finished product:

We have divided the life span into categories to assist you in collecting your thoughts and compiling information, but your finished product and narrative do not have to flow in the same order. You can arrange your story in any way you choose.

Your finished life’s story can also take a variety of forms:

  •        A bound journal, with a few inserted pictures, and hand-written narrative.

  • A scrapbook of pictures, documents, newspaper articles, etc. with hand-written or typed narrative giving the collective memories of the events depicted.

  • A desk-top published history including pictures, documents, newspaper articles, etc., printed or burned to a CD.

  • A personal website or blog with the history, pictures, etc., which only selected individuals can access.

Whatever you choose is entirely up to you, but the challenge is to complete your life’s story before the ward social. Once you have completed it, you should continue to keep a journal or in some way continue to document the events of your life so you can update your story periodically.

Consider sharing your story with family at a special occasion such as a family reunion, a birthday, or Christmas. This may give you added incentive and help you decide the final form of your story. Remember to keep a journal of your progress, your experiences, and your feelings about completing this challenge.


At the ward summer social, bring your journal and a copy of your story for the concluding awards ceremony