LDS Church drops 'student' wards, stakes for 'YSA' units

Published: Thursday, June 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

The transition began a year ago this month with Weber State University units becoming Ogden young single adult wards and stakes, simultaneously folding in any conventional young single adult wards created by regular, neighborhood stakes in the Ogden area.

Similar transitions followed in Cedar City, St. George and Ephraim with student church units at Southern Utah University, Dixie State College and Snow College, respectively.

In August, it was Cache County's turn with the half-dozen student stakes predominantly comprised of Utah State University students. After the changes, an additional two YSA stakes were added in Cache Valley.

"Then we just kind of watched for a few months, to see how that was going and what we could learn — and it's been very successful," said Elder Snow,

"We've seen a lot of young people who previously haven't been engaged with the church for a long time start to come back. We found our young people are better at reaching out to their peers than anyone else, so that rescue effort we've seen in place has been very, very rewarding.

"And it creates a lot of synergy and social interaction among our young people, which we encourage as well."

Even after the realignment and geographic reshuffling, the restructuring still will result in an additional dozen new YSA stakes between Farmington and Santaquin — two new stakes in Davis County, eight in Salt Lake City and two in northern Utah County.

The creation of the new YSA units already has begun in Utah County and will continue the next couple of weeks. YSA units in Salt Lake City will be created through the first of May, with a series of special informational meetings scheduled for later this month at the LDS Conference Center.

Bishops and other YSA leadership will still come from conventional home stakes, but the callings for a YSA stake will better align with a more geographical-corresponding neighborhood stake.

Elder Snow noted the new YSA unit restructuring does provide enhanced social opportunities for the young adults, acknowledging the emphasis on pursuing marriage and family as a key topic from the church's recent general conference.

"We'd like to see them happily married and creating families," he said, adding "we had some pretty direct messages in conference — they weren't sugar-coated."

With 4,300 attending a special January 1956 conference meeting in the BYU Smith Fieldhouse, the LDS Church created its first student units — the Brigham Young University Stake and its 12 student wards, named B.Y. Campus 1st Ward and so forth. Each ward had between 300 and 700 members.

With 4,300 attending a special January 1956 conference meeting in the BYU Smith Fieldhouse, the LDS Church created its first student units — the Brigham Young University Stake and its 12 student wards, named B.Y. Campus 1st Ward and so forth. Each ward had between 300 and 700 members.

Email: taylor@desnews.com

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