02 April 2015

Best practices for youth family history consultants

I recently attended a training with my stake for ward family history consultants. The training was aimed at new consultants and ideas for how they can work with others in their ward. My son and I were asked to speak about best practices for youth family history consultants.

My son did a wonderful job talking about his experiences as a consultant and they things he has learned while serving. The feedback I got from my list was encouraging enough I thought I would share my thoughts here as well.

Six things leaders should be doing with Youth Family History consultants.
  • Use them don’t just call them – Our ward had a youth family history consultant for many years. I am not sure he ever had an opportunity to meet with someone in our ward to teach them about family history before he left on his mission. We thought we should find  replacements but wanted to make sure our youth understood what their responsibilities are and how they could be accomplish.
  • The Bishop, with input from the Ward Council, should assign specific people for them to teach – As part of the efforts of the ward council to work with members of the ward, new and returning members should be assigned a Family History consultant. The youth consultants should also visit members of the ward council. This gives the Ward Council members the opportunity to learn from the consultant. Even if you pass out a sign-up list for people interested in getting help and assign
  • Give them measurable goals – Ask them to help those they work with to find one name to take to the temple. Ask them to help a member complete a three generation chart. Ask them to help someone to add pictures or stories about four of their loved ones. Make sure they know to whom they should return and report.
  • Help to prepare those they teach – Leaders should have assigned people gather pictures, documents and stories about their relatives before the consultants meet with them. It would also be great if they already had their account set up for Family Search before the consultants arrive. Although consultants can help members to create their accounts and log into Family Search, this time would be better spent looking for their relatives and working toward assigned goals.
  • Make them part of the missionary effort – Assign consultants to work with ward missionaries. The youth consultants should teach their assigned ward missionaries. When the ward missionaries meet someone who would benefit from a consultant there is already an understanding how the consultant can help. Part of reactivation or baptism of new members is to get them to take the names of their relatives to the temple as quickly as possible. Statistics show that this experience increases retention for both new and returning members.
  • Have them teach all ages--not just other youth. Older members struggle with technology. Having youth help them, makes the use of technology more approachable. Not all are familiar with the new website, its functionality, or the information that is available. As I stated before, the youth can work with any new members and investigators when deemed appropriate. 
Not to reveal to much behind the curtain, but my wife wrote this article in our local newspaper. The unnamed 12-year-old boy is my son and the family mentioned is a part-member family in my ward. This article give more insight into our stake's Youth  Family History efforts.