Big changes have been happening in college wards in the area.
For one thing, they aren't called college wards anymore, and young adults don't have to be in college to attend.
Last spring, college wards were disbanded and the new official title became young adult wards. Any young adults between ages 18 and 31 can attend -- whether they are in college or not.
The Ogden area was the first to implement the new young adult ward program. Wards are now organized according to which home stake the young adults live in.
Most stakes in the area have enough young adults to make a ward, and that is pretty much how the boundaries work, said young adult 10th ward Bishop Lane Wayment.
The area has two stakes with approximately 20 wards covering all of Weber and some of Davis and Morgan counties.
At the time the college wards were disbanded, young married college wards also were done away with, and those young married couples now attend the ward according to their residential boundaries.
Bishop Vincent Hansen, from the single adult 15th ward, said the changes came through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Prophet Thomas S. Monson, and that many others are starting to implement the changes.
The new program has been introduced in Southern Utah and Cache Valley and will soon be started in the rest of Davis County.
Hansen said the program will soon be implemented in Arizona and California, where there are large numbers of church members and young adults.
"The change has been very successful," Hansen said. The focus has been different because it's not just university students that make up the wards anymore. It has been nice for Priesthood leaders to also be able to have more direct contact with the young adults, because the boundaries of the wards are clearly outlined by their home stakes. They (the young adults) have some measure of accountability to their Priesthood leader," Hansen said.
Another huge benefit of the new program is the ability to reach out to those less active, because the home stake can identify who the young adults are and give those names to the young adult stake and wards.
"We have made an attempt to try to visit less-active members and have been able to re-activate some," Hansen said.
Wayment also has seen the benefit in his ward.
"There is a lot more emphasis placed on it," he said of reaching out to the less active young adults. "We are finding those lost souls," Wayment said.
Weber State University student Carissa Hannibal really likes the change to young adult wards rather than college wards.
"Before, I wasn't clear where I was supposed to go," Hannibal said of the old college ward program.
Fellow young adult member Valerie Higgs agreed, saying, "Now you always know where to go. Before you didn't know if you could go if you weren't in school."
Hansen said the idea of young adult wards in general works because people that age have a place to go where they can relate with others and what they are going through; whereas, when attending a home ward there is a huge age range.
"They get more personalized attention and a chance to participate and have leadership positions," Hansen said.
Wayment said it also helps youths find other youths who are in the place to get married and start families, which is what many young adults are looking for.
"It's great to go to a place where there are people our age we can relate to," Higgs said. Higgs also has noticed there are more activities and accessibility with the new program.
"We get everyone together more and meet more people," she said.
Hansen noted that the change is still a work in progress, but it has definitely been positive so far and "our efforts have already borne fruit."
-- Rachel Trotter