Education Week’s youth classes began in 1958 and attendance has grown since then. More than 1,600 youth attended in 2014.
Forty-five classes this year are targeted at youth ages 14 to 18, but adults are welcome to attend.
“There’s a lot of parent-child bonding or seminary teachers wanting ideas,” said John Hilton, BYU professor and Education Week teacher. Hilton has worked with Education Week since 2003.
Bishops and Young Men’s or Young Women’s leaders will also come to get ideas for interacting with their youth, said Hank Smith. Smith is in his seventh year of teaching at Education Week.
With school beginning at the end of August, youth attendance is sometimes lower.
“Youth attendance fluctuates according to how early Education Week is held in August and whether public schools begin the same week,” said Bruce Payne, Education Week program administrator. “There are some conflicts again this year with the beginning of school, but we’re hoping that the youth will attend when they are able.”
A solution to the conflict between the beginning of school and Education Week is the afternoon- or evening-only tickets.
“People think they can’t do it because they’re starting school, but they don’t realize that they can come and get out of school and come over to Education Week and have the whole afternoon and evening,” Smith said. “You’re just there, you’re showing off your new clothes and meeting your teacher and your class. It’d be nice if they got in the tradition of going to Education Week.”
Class topics include happiness, scripture study, proper use of technology and goal-setting. Popular teachers include John Bytheway and Brad Wilcox, who will both be teaching this year.
“I love how the youth are so prepared; everyone has their scriptures, paper and pens,” Hilton said. “It’s an environment where people are so excited to learn. I can still remember today stories of how the youth have applied the lessons, and their stories have uplifted and inspired me. If you love the class part of EFY, you’re going to love Education Week.”
Education Week is different from EFY, though; the youth don’t have counselors, and the classes at Education Week are less expensive.
“The best experiences are when people come to you and tell you, ‘That really helped, I’ve been praying for an answer, and that really hit home for me,'” Smith said. “Those are the best experiences because you feel like you were useful, you feel like the Lord used you to help someone and to bless someone’s life. They’ll have a great experience, they’ll hear great speakers, they’ll meet kids who believe what they believe, and they’ll be that much more spiritually lifted. We all need a good spiritual lift.”