The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides a comprehensive program for youth through its Young Men and Young Women organizations. Youth ages 12 through 17 meet in classes on Sundays for religious instruction and several times during the month for social activities including service projects, sports, camping and dances. Young men and women are also given leadership positions within the organization in which they learn leadership skills such as setting goals, planning group activities and solving problems.
Worthy boys are ordained as deacons in the Aaronic Priesthood at the age of 12. They advance to the office of a teacher at age 14 and then to the office of priest at age 16. One of the primary responsibilities of leaders in the Young Men’s program is to prepare young men to shoulder priesthood responsibilities and build testimonies of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Responsibilities of young men who hold priesthood office include preparing and offering the sacrament (communion) to Church members during Sunday worship services, visiting and teaching members in their homes and collecting contributions for the poor.
The Young Men’s organization also prepares boys for future obligations in their family, personal life and community through its achievement program called “Duty to God.” In addition, the Church endorses and sponsors Scouting for young men in the United States and Canada.
The purpose of the Young Women’s program is to help teenage girls build their testimonies of Jesus Christ and learn skills to prepare for their future roles as women in the Church as contributing members of society.
Leaders of young women plan weekly Sunday classes that teach young women gospel principles and how to apply them in daily living.
Young women participate in an achievement program called “Personal Progress” by setting goals in eight value areas: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue. Girls also learn valuable skills and achieve awards through the Young Women camping program.