Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

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cobba
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Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

Postby cobba » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:57 pm

Hello

I was asked to see if church policy permits 17 year old youth to attend young single adult activities/convention. I've read through chapters 8, 10, 16, 21 of the online handbooks but could not find any guidance.

Is this permitted for 17 year olds? And if they are turning 18 this year, could 17 year olds start attending YSA activities from the start of the year (similarly to how youth are now advancing to the next class from the start of the calendar year, rather than from their birthday)?

Other policies suggest that it would be allowed. For example section 10.1.5:

"Eighteen-Year-Old Young Women

A young woman normally advances into Relief Society on her 18th birthday or in the coming year. By age 19, each young woman should be fully participating in Relief Society. Because of individual circumstances, such as personal testimony, maturity, school graduation, desire to continue with peers, and college attendance, a young woman may advance into Relief Society earlier than her 18th birthday or remain in Young Women longer. Each young woman counsels with her parents and the bishop to decide what will best help her remain an active participant in the Church.

Young Women and Relief Society leaders work together to make the transition into Relief Society successful for each young woman."

At the same time there is a suggestion that attendance of YSA activity is strictly based on age:. For example section 16:

"Single members are divided into two groups: single adults (ages 31 and older) and young single adults (ages 18–30)."

My personal opinion is that there doesn't seem to be any flexibility with this policy, which is needed considering not all 18 year olds feel comfortable leaving the youth program and some 17 year olds have lots of friends already attending YSA.

Grateful if anyone could please provide clearer policy advice.

Thank you!

Colin

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Re: Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:59 pm

Note that 10.1.5 is referring to Sunday meetings, which I see as something different from typical YSA activities.

Handbook 2: 16.3.5: "Participation in these activities is limited to young single adult members, assigned Church officers, and young single adult nonmembers who are willing to abide by Church standards."

The question is if the First Presidency Letter dated December 14, 2018 impacts this. Question 9 is interesting:
9. Can youth who are not yet 12 attend camps? Can youth who are not yet 14 attend dances and youth conferences?

A: Yes. Generally, youth in a class or quorum may enjoy the privileges that are appropriate for that
class or quorum. With their parents’ approval, Beehives and deacons may attend camps before
their 12th birthdays. Likewise, Mia Maids and teachers may attend dances and youth conferences
before their 14th birthdays. However, a young woman or young man should be at least age 16
before beginning to date (see For the Strength of Youth [2011], 4).

Combine that with Question 8 which says "Each Sunday School presidency organizes youth ages 11 to 18 into classes according to age." and you've got a suggestion it might be possible.

Ultimately it's the local leadership that has the keys to interpreting the Handbook. One possible stance is to hold off until the Handbook has been updated to reflect the December 2018 Letter.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

Postby sbradshaw » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:11 am

In YSA wards in areas where most people are young single adults (for example, near BYU in Provo), 17-year-olds who are living in student housing are usually considered to be young single adults and participate fully in the local YSA ward.
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Re: Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

Postby lajackson » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:15 am

Disregarding age for a moment, I have always felt that at some point a Young Man or Woman leaves YM/YW and starts associating with the Young Single Adults, Relief Society, and the elders quorum. The challenge for the bishop, leaders, parents, and the individual is to determine when that would best happen. It is a one-way change, and an either/or association.

My feeling is tempered a bit because if a Young Man is not ordained an elder at the same time, he is still a part of the priests quorum until he turns 19. And that ordination cannot take place unless the YM is 18. There is also the annual invitation for high school seniors to attend Young Adult devotionals as they near graduation that toys with my position.

Ideally, in my mind, the transition takes place during the year when the YM or YW is 18, and it is a complete transition, usually around or shortly after high school graduation. Bishops, of course, earn great blessings in working through the exceptions to the benefit of the YM or YW involved.

So to answer the specific question, my feeling has always been that Young Men and Young Women should not dabble in Young Single Adult activities until they are ready to make the transition to that organization, along with RS and EQ. When a young man or woman begins regularly to attend YSA activities, conferences, and conventions, I believe they have made the transition to that new part of their lives and should not look back.

Again, though, the bishop normally makes this determination as he counsels with the individual and the leaders and families involved.

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Re: Can 17yo youth attend YSA activities/convention?

Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:22 pm

sbradshaw wrote:In YSA wards in areas where most people are young single adults (for example, near BYU in Provo), 17-year-olds who are living in student housing are usually considered to be young single adults and participate fully in the local YSA ward.

Hopefully, that's something that gets cleared up at some point. I understand the practice and don't have a problem with it, but doesn't seem to be in harmony with a strict reading of the Handbook.

At least for North America, if the transition was made to be High School, that would be ideal. However, some thought would need to be give to exceptional youth who graduate high school early. In the news recently, a 12 year old started college. So, it can happen.
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