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clwnuke

What happened to church sports and stake dances?

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As I was working my night shift I found myself reminiscing about the great times we had playing church basketball, softball, and volleyball, as well as the bi-weekly stake dances (with Farrells ice cream afterwards :)). It seems a shame that youth don't seem to get those same socializing and missionary opportunities now.

I occasionally see a tri-stake dance every three months or so now in my current region, but that could never replace the regular and well organized dances I went to as a teen in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Seattle region. Non-members were more than glad to dress up and keep the standards. In fact the church dances were more popular and better attended than the school dances - probably because of the standards and supervision.  It's such a shame. I've always wondered what changed or do leaders just not know how to organize sports and dances anymore?

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2 hours ago, clwnuke said:

As I was working my night shift I found myself reminiscing about the great times we had playing church basketball, softball, and volleyball, as well as the bi-weekly stake dances (with Farrells ice cream afterwards :)). It seems a shame that youth don't seem to get those same socializing and missionary opportunities now.

I occasionally see a tri-stake dance every three months or so now in my current region, but that could never replace the regular and well organized dances I went to as a teen in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Seattle region. Non-members were more than glad to dress up and keep the standards. In fact the church dances were more popular and better attended than the school dances - probably because of the standards and supervision.  It's such a shame. I've always wondered what changed or do leaders just not know how to organize sports and dances anymore?

Not sure where you live, but I’m pretty confident the stakes in Utah still do these.

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The stakes in Florida still have their dances and basketball - there's one for the youth and a different one for the single adults.  My kids don't attend them though - they can't stand the pop music being played in the dances and they don't like basketball.  They went to the stake youth dance once because one of their friends celebrated her birthday at the dance, so my husband and I went and volunteered to man the refreshment stand and the whole time one of my kids was hidden away at the RS room playing piano for a handful of kids and my other kid sat on the stage talking with other kids that didn't dance.  He did get up to dance a few times - he couldn't stand seeing some girl sitting by themselves on the sidelines so he decided to keep them company for a dance.  Anyway, it was very well organized.  But my sons were right... the music is terrible!

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I loved stake dances and in my stake... EVERYONE danced, particularly when the slow songs played. Everyone had a sizable tool kit of line dances, and knew how to do basic waltz. And we were all pretty good at tell the DJ to change the song when it was immoral. I would often visit other dances i different stakes with friends of mine in SLC and they all had different feels.

my wife went to a stake dance to chaperone while we lived in Vegas and was completely blown away by how much immoral  music was being played. 

Everywhere is different and carries different cultures.

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7 hours ago, clwnuke said:

...In fact the church dances were more popular and better attended than the school dances - probably because of the standards and supervision....

I was introduced to your Church because of these dances. And it wasn't because of standards and supervision, it was because they were fun and the kids that attended them were fun. Although I did like that etiquette of the boys asking the girls to dance holding out their arms. And back in the '70s, the music was fun and jiving was still a big thing at Church dances. And then there were the after dance socializing at Boston Pizza or *A&W, or someone would have the brilliant idea to TP someone's house. Good times.

*Not sure if some are familiar with A&W back in the '70s, but it was a fast food place with Papa, Mama, Teen and Baby burgers and root beer. You order in your car and the food is brought out to you with the tray of food attached to the driver's door window. And the popular beverages at the time were called brown cow (milk and root beer) or swamp water (all the flavours of pop mixed together except for coke or pepsi because they were not allowed 😊). Now a days A&W is no longer set up that way. ☹

M.

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I was recently talking with my wife about your youth.  I do believe I grew up in perhaps the best time - ever.  The music was simple chord progressions so it was easy to learn, play and sing.  The lyrics were also simple and fun. Most of the dance steps required a partner that danced "with" you.  We use to fill out a dance card before the dance and the cool kids traded partners a lot.  Remember the song, "Save the last dance for me".  That is what you did for the special date - you did not dance all the dances - not even most but you would save the last dance for the one you liked most.  Dating was fun and social.  It is my personal impression that many adults in the church do not know how to be social with their spouses and other couples.  So almost all church activities cater to children rather than adults.

There use to be Gold and Green Balls, Road Shows, church wide sports competition (with riverals between California and Utah teams), stake picnics and stake talent shows.  We also had Halloween treats that were mostly homemade without hidden razor blades.  It was not child abuse to allow grade school kids walk a mile on their own to school.  It was rare to find a kid from a broken home.  It was not a problem to take a gun to school and most kids knew how to handle firearms.  There were bullies in grade school but junior high and high school it was popular to be smart (get good grades and earn college scholarships) and kind.  I do not know where it came from in the movies - but where and when I grew up - the popular kids got along with everybody.  And joining the military was considered a good thing.

It does seem to me that the cool kids now days talk back to parents (or anyone else with authority), dislike others that do not fit in with whatever click (political, religious, race, whatever preference or economic strata).  

The church building was never locked - we use to sneak out a play basketball at 3:00 am or so.  I never remember my home being locked or ever coming home without my mom wanting to talk about what was going on.  I also knew that if I got into trouble (which happened a lot) I would be physically punished regardless of who started it.  The worst part about being in a fight was coming home and facing the music there.

In all honesty it seems to me that we try so hard to make life better for kids now days and the result is more depression, fear and inability to solve simple problems.

 

The Traveler

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I was in the Renton Stake as a youth in WA, and our stake had a Youth Dance Committee (YDC) comprised of a girl and boy from each ward. The stake had its own music collection and the YDC met with a High Counselor at least once a month (usually on a Saturday morning) to review new music that the youth suggested would be good to add to the collection. We listened to the music and the criteria were simple - it had to be clean, and it had to be a good fast dance song or a good slow dance song.

Approved songs were added to the stake collection. This way the music played at dances stayed fresh and every song was a good dance song. Kids could request older music from the collection list and the Stake DJ (usually the High Counselor) would work it in if he could. Standard format was 2-3 fast songs, then a slow song. We always ended the night with a slow song.

The YDC also had responsibility for reviewing the standards for updates (usually printed on the dance cards) and for manning the check-in table at the dances. If someone was inappropriately dressed it was the youth who told them, but we also maintained a collection of clothing that boys or girls could borrow to meet the standards. Girls wore dresses and men wore slacks, ties, and collared shirts. No tennis shoes were allowed but that was rarely an issue when people dressed up. People without a dance card could attend after a short YDC interview to review the standards if they had an escort with a card. Members and non-members could both have dance cards.

Other policies that made the dances successful:

1. Adults supervised the parking lot and cars. Nobody was allowed to hang-out in their cars or in the parking lot.

2. There were adults assigned to sit next to every building entry/exit. There was only one way in and out.

3. Adults roamed the halls and checked the rooms regularly. Areas were blocked off to reduce problems and wandering.

4. Once you entered the dance, you had to stay. If you left for any "unapproved" reason, you were not allowed back in. The youth enforced the entry/exit rules.

5. If anyone was dancing inappropriately it was a member of the YDC that spoke to them. Since they tended to be Laurels and Priests, kids were usually willing to heed their warnings.

6. There were always good refreshments.

7. It was consistent. You knew what to expect every time, and you got to know the adults who sometimes danced as well.

As I've grown older I've come to recognize that President Jensen's dance policies were very wise and inspired. Every stake should have a Youth Dance Committee IMHO.

PS: I remember one Saturday when a group of us decided to go up to the Bellevue Stake to attend one of their dances. When we got there we realized we were the only one's dressed up, and as we walked into the cultural hall we were surprised to find a live band playing Highway to Hell from AC/DC. Nobody was dancing and nobody seemed to care. We left and never came back :animatedthumbsdown:.

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My high school in Salt Lake covered 4 or 5 stakes (back in the 80s).   We had some dances, but most of it was coordinated through school friends than church friends.  The school also had a lot of dances throughout the year. About 5 were sponsored by the school and a couple were done through the seminary program and were church sponsored.  Those were often at fancy venues like symphony hall or hotel ballrooms.  I really don't remember going to a lot of stake dances. I do remember going to the Ritz and the Bay dance clubs on the weekends.

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On 9/5/2019 at 6:45 AM, Fether said:

Not sure where you live, but I’m pretty confident the stakes in Utah still do these.

We still have a stake dance for the youth...but only 1 per year. Our stake does not do sports of any kind for youth or adults...this is the first that I have lived in that had no sports at all.

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1 minute ago, scottyg said:

We still have a stake dance for the youth...but only 1 per year. Our stake does not do sports of any kind for youth or adults...this is the first that I have lived in that had no sports at all.

Ya I think it just depends on local interests. My stake growing up had volley ball and basketball and stake dances regularity. My ward in Vegas didn’t have any sports but had stake dances regularity. I ward in Utah now has nothing due to lack of interest in either sports or dances.

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4 minutes ago, Fether said:

. I ward in Utah now has nothing due to lack of interest in either sports or dances.

Do you guys play video games, go on nature walks or anything or does the ward not care about any social gatherings? 

Edited by MormonGator

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21 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Do you guys play video games, go on nature walks or anything or does the ward not care about any social gatherings? 

Ummm... well no... We recently moved into this new ward and it is very... unimpressive. I could write a paragraph about the complaints I have with this ward, but I’ll refrain.

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26 minutes ago, Fether said:

Ya I think it just depends on local interests. My stake growing up had volley ball and basketball and stake dances regularity. My ward in Vegas didn’t have any sports but had stake dances regularity. I ward in Utah now has nothing due to lack of interest in either sports or dances.

Yep, the kids are far more interested in video games than physical activities, and texting/instagram rather than dancing. Only 2 YM and 1 YW in our ward play sports in school, and we have 63 of them.

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2 minutes ago, Fether said:

Ummm... well no... We recently moved into this new ward and it is very... unimpressive. I could write a paragraph about the complaints I have with this ward, but I’ll refrain.

I'm so sorry my friend. I know how you feel. You are in my prayers. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 11:50 AM, Fether said:

Ya I think it just depends on local interests. My stake growing up had volley ball and basketball and stake dances regularity. My ward in Vegas didn’t have any sports but had stake dances regularity. I ward in Utah now has nothing due to lack of interest in either sports or dances.

Growing up, we had stake sports in Henderson.  But they stopped in the late 90's.  From what I hear it was because of pervasive unsportsmanlike conduct. 

I liked the dances in Vegas.  They are still doing those, but it doesn't seem like they are as often.

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