youth-family-history-ldsPresenters at the recent RootsTech conference talked about various tools youth can use to participate in family history. Some of those ideas were summarized in the article “RootsTech 2016: Engaging youth and teens in family history.”

Tool #1: Paper and Pen

Here are activities that can help youth think more about their future and their past:

  • Youth can write letters to their past selves. If you could write a letter to yourself at any point, what age would you go back to? What piece of advice would you want to give that version of yourself?
  • Youth can also send letters to their future selves. There are websites that let you enter a message that will be emailed to you at a future date.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Write a life sketch.
  • Write or draw about their goals and dreams.

Tool #2: cell phone

Use their impulse to always be on their phone and channel that energy into something more meaningful, such as the following:

  • Making a photo essay about a family history theme on social media.
  • Finding an old photo of an ancestor and recreating it.
  • There are also mobile apps that provide simple questions for youth to ask one another. The youth can record their responses and then the app helps them edit it.

Tool #3: computer

  • Youth can be invited to collect photos and stories about meaningful places in their lives.
  • Youth can use Google maps to find locations of importance in their earlier lives or in the lives of their ancestors. You can see the satellite images or switch to Street View and take a screen shot of the place.
  • Make audio recording of people recounting important events in their lives.

Tool #4: video camera

  • Use a cell phone or iPad to record important events in the family—or just an average day in their life. Youth could reenact a family story.

Remember that sometimes the process of discovery can be more important than the final product. These creative ideas may help youth find a new appreciation for their families.

Learn more in the article “RootsTech 2016: Engaging youth and teens in family history.”

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