As my wife and I were dropping off our daughter at my mother's house on Saturday, she asked me a question. "Since when did the church start sponsoring date nights?"
You see, we were on our way to meet up with the young men and their dates for a Venturing activity. Apparently, she thought that was a little unusual. I thought it was a great idea.
First, it was an activity that the boys wanted to do. They planned and organized the whole thing. That alone is great. There would also be plenty of adult supervision--myself, my wife, the Bishop, and his wife.
More important than being a fun activity that the boys planned and led, however, is how it meets our purposes.
One of the six activity areas of Venturing is Social. One of the methods is Group Activities. I thought this worked quite well with both of those.
In addition, another method of Venturing is Adult Association. Who says that association has to be just in a leadership role? Why can't it be in something like this? I can imagine all sorts of good things that could result from teenagers associating with respected adults in a setting such as a group date.
Perhaps more important than the Venturing aspect of things, is the Priesthood side of the activity. Section 8.1.3 in the church handbook of instructions gives 8 purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. Two of them are to prepare to become a worthy husband and father, and give proper respect for women, girls, and children. Where better to practice and learn these principles than in a setting like this?
I thought it worked really well as a Venturing activity, and I had a lot of fun.
During our lesson on Sunday we talked about the purpose of dating, and preparing for eternal marriage. We talked about our date and what went well, and what could have gone better. I think they will be planning another date, making the improvements we talked about, keeping in mind the purpose of their dating at this age.
I just love it when activities come together like this. And to have the follow-up we did the next day was even better.