Y-Prize: Ballard Stories

We want to hear your Ballard Story! We are interested in how a specific Ballard Center program or class shaped your life. We want to hear what brought you to the Ballard Center, what made you stay, and the impact your experience has had in your life.

We offer travel vouchers (valued up to $500) for those that submit a Ballard Story and are selected as a winner by a panel of judges. View below to learn more:

Judges’ Choice winner will receive a $200 travel voucher and Audience Choice winner will receive a $500 travel voucher. All candidates must be a current BYU student to enter.

  • Thursday, 14 March: Story Writing Workshop: Gain tools to better write your stories. This is not mandatory to participate but can increase your chances of success. Joins us at 11 a.m. in B099.
  • Thursday, 28 March: Story Submissions are due by midnight.
  • Tuesday, 2 April: Top five stories are selected to participate in the final round.
  • Thursday, 4 April: Finalist’s workshop. Discusses competition logistics and tips and tricks to win.
  • Tuesday, 9 April: Voting and judging begins at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, 12 April: Voting closes at noon and winners are announced before 5 p.m.

Judging will be based on the following five criteria:

  1. THROUGH LINE
    1. Include a central theme (it could be “How the social venture academy benefitted my life”) that permeates the entire story from beginning to end.
    2. Make sure that each sentence logically links and makes sense with the last sentence. When in doubt, ask friend.
  2. KEEP YOUR MESSAGING SUCCINCT
    1. Keep it short but cover what you need to. Remember:
      1. The final drafts are no more than 500 words.
      2. Eliminate filler words and sentences.
      3. It takes time to shorten messaging. In the words of Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
  3. SHOW DON’T TELL
    1. Visually bring the reader into the experience by sharing stories, illustrative words, and examples. Please note, that examples lengthen messaging. That’s okay.
      1. Tell example: Rose is a great event planner.
      2. Show example: Rose is such a great event planner, she received a standing ovation for the work she did planning a conference at Sundance.
  4. EMOTIONS, ENTHUSIASM & VULNERABILITY
    1. These are tools that enhance a reader’s connection to the story. Please keep in mind, thoughts on writing sensitive material by vulnerability expert Brene Brown: “We need to have owned our stories before sharing them is experienced as a gift. A story is only ready to share when the presenter’s healing and growth is not dependent on the audience’s response to it.”
  5. IMPACT
    1. Include impact in your story. What impact has the Ballard Center had on your life? What impact have you had on others as a result of your participation with the Ballard Center?