Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

High Powered Youth Involvement in Family History

A success story about involving youth in family history is big news. The Mesa, Arizona FamilySearch Library has developed a very successful program they call the 4K Program. The idea of this program is not just to challenge the youth to "take a name to the Temple," but to give them the research tools and perspective necessary to accomplish the goal. As the program is described by one of the Mesa FamilySearch Library Missionaries, Polly Munden: 
The classes are designed to teach "Basic" correct family research skills to youth.  They are designed to be given once each week for 4 weeks, wherein we teach 4 databases, using 4 topics, thus the 4K Race to the finish, it is all about completing the training.  We add motivational and inspiration snipits and provide plenty of help to be sure youth have success but most importantly, correct.  We never go out and look for names, rather the youth are instructed to use an "Existing Ancestor" in the 1850 timeframe and the youth inevitably do find ancestors.  If this happens, they spend the next three weeks documenting and sourcing different records to their ancestors.  We ask that they not put on the temple ordinance list until the last class after it is properly documented.  We focus on cleaning up the tree and that Wards have a plan in place when they complete the class. 
We just recently had the Queen Creek Arizona North Stake, brining in 4 youth from all 14 wards.  The Stake youth graduated last week with the highest attendance ever in one month, and the Stake has gone out to a charter school in their district and will now have the youth assist with the training other youth in their respective wards along with the Family History Consultants.  I know there has been many questions about youth teaching, etc., but the program works, the youth are doing magnificent, have much more to learn thus the importance of Wards having a plan in place.  We are anxious to share our program with others and I will be contacting FamilySearch.
Quoting from the Introduction Document:
PREPARING YOUTH FOR THE 4K RACE TO THE FINISH CLASS“YOUTH FAMILY HISTORY CONSULTANT” The following is a list of basic instructions to prepare your youth for the 4K Class.
 1.     Classes are taught once a week for four consecutive weeks, meaning they take commitment.
 2.     Prior to class, whether coming to the Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library or holding the classes in your own ward, all youth will need to have their user name and passwords in place.
 ·      Assign a specific person to see that this activity is complete prior to class.  We suggest you do a trial run, and have each youth log in.
·      Prepare a list of all user names and passwords for each youth.  Have the list in each class and destroy after the last class.
 3.     Youth receive a “Certificate of Completion” for the Youth Family History Consultant Class at the Library, however, you may decide if and what incentive you would like to offer the youth.  At the Library the youth must complete the following requirements to receive the certificate:
 ·       Must attend all four classes.
·      Use their research log and skill review in each class.
·      There are no makeup classes.
 4.     In the classroom, we research with an existing ancestor.  We ask that the youth have a 3-4-pedigree chart in place.  Please help your youth with this.  If your setting up a new account it is usually inputting of their name, parents and grandparents and then they tie into the family line.
 5.     Selected youth will be asked to do a demonstration at the beginning of classes two through four.
 ·      Prior to the end of each class the instructor will speak with the youth leader as to potential youth to give the skill demonstrations.
·      The skill review demonstrations by the youth will come from the Leland Moon series.  You can find his “Most Popular Course” in FamilySearch.  (We will help them with this.)
·      Click on Get Help in Family Search
·      Go to Learning Center
·      Navigate down to Most Popular Courses
·      Click on this icon and you will be viewing the Leland Moon’s classes.
·      Youth can select any class they wish to demonstrate from these lessons. Which discusses a topic they learned in the class.
 6.       Wards are asked to bring their Family History Consultants to assist.
·      Consultants will view the class instruction and then assist the youth in their research.
·      The Library will also provide missionaries to assist the youth.

These classes can be organized on this pattern in any Ward or Stake. It is important, however, to have adequately trained and qualified adult supervision. Those teaching these classes need to be qualified to do what they are trying to teach.

This program has been being developed by the Mesa FamilySearch Library for many months and a number of groups of youth have taken this course with success.


  1. Jim, I was excited to see this. One of my grandsons in Queen Creek called me when he was invited to participate. I had just provided his brother a pedigree sheet he needed for his mission, so this grandson was off and running. With 6 kids and 19 grandkids, I now have someone interested! I forwarded this to the family history center director who replaced me. How exciting.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I hope that other Ward and Stakes will look into this program.