June 28, 2011

Stake Youth Conference Trek

I had the privilege of participating last week in the Stake Youth Conference Trek for over 300 youth and adult leaders. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget, having had the opportunity to feel in a small way what the pioneers felt pushing and pulling their wagons across the plains. The theme for the Trek was "Go the Distance: Frienship, Faith and Testimony."

On Thursday morning we met as a ward to eat breakfast and map out our rides to the Trek starting location. We were all dressed in our pioneer garb and after a brief devotional at the Stake Center, we headed about 30 minutes up the Spanish Fork Canyon. Waiting for us there were handcarts and we were split into "families" consisting of about 10 members with 2 captains of 10 and a parental "Aunt and Uncle." Maddy, Joey and I were split into different families and eventually we loaded up our wagons with the belongings we had brough in 5 gallon buckets and we were off. On Thursday we went over 7 miles with stops for lunch and a reenactment of the Mormon Battalion call to duty where all the men and boys left the women with the wagons while we headed down the road.

On Friday we had all day workshops, some spiritual and some activity related. These included horshoe throwing, slingshots, quilt making, lessons on our self-image, friendship, morality, etc. That evening there was another short devotional then a youth dance where the leaders joined in and that was a great time. Joey even ended up winning the youth dance competition with his Napoleon Dynamite dance. After the dance we joined back into our wards and had a testimony meeting. Ours was wonderful and Brother Black and I ended up singing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief acapella which was a bit intimidating but I think it went well. Our meeting lasted until past midnight.

On Saturday morning after a closing devotional by President Dunn, we headed back down the mountain even though the first mile and a half were uphill which was very difficult. We went a total of over 5 miles back down and it was very rewarding to finally make it to the end. Several youth had to stop along the way and it was wonderful to see that there was always someone that stopped with them to help.

Below are pictures from the whole experience including many of our ward youth as well as some of the youth from my assigned family.