Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mark the Date

Just a heads up, be sure to mark your calendars for July 15th which will be our trek wrap up fireside.  You won't want to miss the fun of our pioneer slide show, speakers to remind you of our journey and seeing members of your family at one last trek event.

We hope everyone will be there!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Congratulations, you did it!!

Welcome Home All!!

We're glad you made it back in one piece and hope you grew closer to Heavenly Father through this youth conference.  It wasn't easy, it wasn't always very clean, but thankfully the food was pretty good.   Sometimes it was funny and sometimes there were tears, but you made it and that's something amazing.  Great job, we're proud of you all.

We missed you and hope you had a fabulous experience on trek.

Also, for all those who made trek possible whether you were in the thick of the action or behind the scenes, thank you so much for all of your work. 

Thanks for the families who prayed for trekkers and for leaders who encouraged youth to take a chance on trek.  Thanks for parents who purchased and packed needed items and for Ma's and Pa's who took time out of their busy lives to parent other people's children along the trails.  Thanks for those who planned and prepared activities and for those that smiled and helped a good attitude shine even when things were tough.  Thanks for those who cooked...we loooove those who cooked.  Thanks for youth who jumped in when help was needed and who cheered each other on day after day, mile after mile. 

What a miraculous thing to see an entire stake come together person by person to weave an amazing event that will long be remembered with smiles (and maybe a tear or two, but hopefully the happy kind).

Without your efforts, trek would not have been the experience that it was.  We love you all and we're grateful for all that you did to make it possible.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wyoming here we come...

Tomorrow is the day!

A couple of reminders just so you don't forget.

*Tonight (Wednesday, the 27th) is the equipment weigh in at the stake center at 5:30 pm.  Bring your fully packed bucket as well as your sleeping stuff to check in.

*Tomorrow (Thursday, the 28th) meet bright and early, dressed in your pioneer clothes at the stake center at 5:00 am.  Be sure to eat a good breakfast before you come and bring your sack lunch with you.  The only meal provided this day will be dinner so bring your lunch or you'll be hungry.

*Parents and leaders, if you need to contact someone who is on trek for any reason you can call President Nielson.  He will be able to get in contact with trekkers and relay any essential information.
(President Nielson's # is 801-455-7616)

We look forward to trekking with you!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's time to trek!!!

In  few short days...


In a few short days we'll be...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Children coming to the promised land

Children, youth and adults alike shared the painful and treasured moments that littered the pathway to Zion. 

Here's a tragically beautiful true story from pioneer times about a young girl crossing the plains.

In less than 10 days we will be walking these trails

Are you ready to get your trek on?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Extra! Extra! Get your 2012 trek documents here!

As we round the final bend on our way toward youth conference you might realize there is a thing or two you haven't quite got lined up for trek yet.  We thought we would put together an all access list of important documents so you can easily find what you need before the big day.

If you still feel like you are missing information that you need, feel free to email us (click the staff tab above for email addresses) and we will try to help you find it. 

Happy trekking!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Great deal on last minute trek stuff

Here's some great last minute advice on where to find great deals on trek stuff from another trek goer.

"I thought I would share the love for those of you who have procrastinated getting your own stuff together as much as me.

There is a generic gold bond at Dollar tree in Magna.   I have not tried it myself (; but the ingredients are the same and it smells just as geriatric (no offense).

There are really heavy duty pie tins there also that would work great for mess kits as well as two packs of silverware (we had to help a few of our youth get these kinds of things so I have shopped around a little).

Flashlights for a buck w/crap batteries but you can swap those out.  Also, lighters w/the long handle.
At Walmart in the Laundry aisle (hangers clothes pins etc aisle, not detergent) there are lingerie bags that work great for these mess kits and they are 97 cents each.

If you have not picked up or borrowed roasting sticks they have them at Winco for $1.8-something, right as you walk in the front doors.  Just past the chips but before the on sale refrigerator/freezer section.  The box is on the floor.  There are 4 in a pack and they are wood so you don't have to worry about losing them or returning them.

Harmons had the idea of using zip ties to put on your belongings and then attaching the duct tape to the zip tie so you don't leave that sticky disaster that the tape leaves all over your or others equipment.    I bought some of those ball and chain key ring things that have your personal information written down back in the tire/oil change section at Walmart for 97c for 2  for my tents so the zip ties don't puncture the fabric.

Girls button down long sleeve shirts are $5 at Suzies Deals in Magna as well as scrub bottoms for $8 to make into bloomers.  The DI is not any cheaper for the shirts.  Just FYI.

Anyway, just a few ideas for anyone who is looking for any of this and not knowing where to start."

(Thanks April Hendrickson for the great ideas.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Holy Cow

Children on the trail to Zion loved their animals, just like we do.  These youngsters of yesteryear walked side by side with horses, oxen, cows, dogs not to mention the wild animals they constantly came in contact with.

One young girl, 13-year-old Margaret McNeil was particularly fond of her milk cow.  She wrote:

"Our cow was  Jersey and had a long tail.  When it was necessary to cross a river, I would wind the end of the cow's tail around my hand and swim across with her...Had it not been for her milk we would have starved...Every morning I would rise early and get breakfast for the family and milk my cow so that I could hurry and drive her on ahead of the company.  Then I would let her eat in all the grassy places until the company had passed on ahead, when i would hurry and catch up with them...It was important to see that she was well fed."

Not only did thousands of saint make the rugged journey to the Salt Lake Valley, thousands of their faithful animals plodded the paths as well.  Together, they made a wonderful team. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer's here and trek is in sight!

Happy Summering to all the youth!

We are just a few weeks from trek and it is time for another stake get together.

This Sunday, June 10th at 6:00 pm at the stake center (Sunday dress please) we will be meeting to get our final preparations and information in order so that everyone is ready to get their trek on!

Anyone linked to trek in any way is encouraged to attend.  This includes youth, parents, YW/YM leaders, bishoprics, trek committee members, ma's and pa's and anyone else who has an interest in this youth conference. 

We hope this "demo" activity will kick your trek excitement into high gear and get everyone fully charged for the pioneer adventure in less than three weeks.

Please be there if you can.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Now It's Getting Personal

I think everyone who has ever been on a trek has a story to share.  In fact, they probably have many stories, some of them funny, some of them difficult, some of them inspiring.

Here is a piece of my trek story.

Four years ago I was serving in the young women when the stake held a meeting for leaders to announce that we would be doing a trek for youth conference.  I attended the meeting and listened intently, taking notes to pass on to other leaders and my girls.  I wanted to be sure I had everything I needed to encourage my girls to take part in this activity.  I knew it could change their lives.

Then those leading the meeting asked for volunteers to attend trek as ma's and pa's or in other capacities.  I sort of froze. 

You see, when I was 16 I participated in a pioneer trek.  This was way back when treks were new so no one really had much experience with them.  This was also one of those go without eating much treks.  We were given a can of beef broth for breakfast that day and then we had to drink water out of that can for the rest of the day (beef broth tainted water does NOT taste very refreshing in case you were wondering).  For lunch we had an apple and a piece of beef jerky.  I don't regret going on this trek; I learned a lot and my testimony definitely grew.  However, it was not an experience I was anxious to repeat (especially now that I am getting old and tired and lazy). 

The stake leaders passed around a sign up sheet and when it got to me I held it for a moment and then quietly passed it along. I didn't put my name down.

When I got home that night I got down on my knees for a chat with my Father in Heaven.  I told Him that I didn't want to go.  I told Him that trek is not my favorite thing in the world and that I would work hard to get my girls excited for it, but that I would rather not be there myself.  However, then I told Him that I trusted Him and if He wanted me to go, I would go.

Well, He obviously has a sense of humor because a few days later my husband and I got a call from the stake and we were asked to be a Ma and Pa for the trek.  My husband was THRILLED!  He could hardly wait.  Me, not so much.  But we both said yes and we started planning and preparing for youth conference.  And I started praying...some more.  I prayed that I would have a change of heart and that we would be able to help the kids in our assigned family feel the spirit and have a good experience (and maybe some fun too).

Fast forward two months into the summer and find us planted in nowheresville Wyoming with a family that wasn't really our family, but that really felt like it was for a few days.  There you will see us struggling and working as we push and pull and drag and force our handcart over rocks and rivers and through sand and mud.  There you will see me and my little group of daughters straining to maneuver our handcart up the steepest part of the trail for the "women's pull."  There you will see my husband giving blessings to our newly acquired teenage children and see me sneaking off behind the tent to chat with someone who is sad or homesick.  There you will witness our sons glued to the pulling bar as they joke and tell stories with their "father."  You will see tears in our eyes as we quietly walk through Martin's Cove and feel its tender spirit while we reverently talk about what happened there.  You will see water fights and fabulous food (no starving on this trek) and lack of fashion and oh so much Gold Bond (Don't forget your Gold Bond!!).  You will find us reading scriptures and sharing testimonies and laughing and playing pranks and feeling the sweet, deep spirit of the pioneers that settles over the trails they traveled and the places they passed.

(Our Trek Family 2008)

I will ever be grateful to a Heavenly Father who didn't give me what I wanted, but instead gave me what was best for me. 

And because of this experience I can tell you, very personally, that trek will change your life.  Trek will humble you and strengthen you and push you to your limits.  But more importantly, trek will bring you closer to your Father in Heaven and will lead you toward His vision of what your life can be.

Whether you are thrilled to walk these pioneer paths or you are apprehensive and maybe a little bit scared to plunge into this adventure I am telling you to go.  But don't do it for me (like you even know me), do it for you and for your relationship with Heavenly Father.  Pray for strength, pray for peace, but go...and expect your life to be changed for the better.   

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Congratulations, kids, you made it through another year of school.  Hooray!

For those of you graduating tomorrow, great work.  Life is full of chances to set and achieve goals and completing your high school diploma is a great place to start.  We wish you the best as you head off into new adventures now that your high school days are history.

But, with every ending there comes a new beginning (good heavens, how cheesy can we get...I'm sure that is printed on a Hallmark card somewhere).

Sooooo, good news...

Only four weeks until trek! 

Can you believe it?

We'd better put out a couple of important reminders for you. 

Make sure that you are working to get all your things together so you aren't scrambling at the last minute to find something you need.  Click on the "gear" tab at the top of this page for a list of what to pack.  If you haven't put your pioneer clothing together yet GET ON IT!  If you need help click on our "staff" tab and contact Wendy Stoddard or click this link for some tutorials on making your own pioneer garb.

Also, last chance..BREAK IN YOUR SHOES IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE IT YET!  Seriously, you do NOT want blisters and you WILL get them if your shoes aren't well worn in before we leave.

We hope you all enjoy your end of school excitement and that you are looking forward to handcart excitement to come.  Have a great summer (and we hope you see some trek in your near future)!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Heritage of Faith

Memorial weekend offers each of us the opportunity to look back and remember those who came before us.

Our roots may stretch over oceans or may sink deeply into local soil. 

No matter where we came from we are blessed by those who blazed the trail for us and helped us become what we are today as individuals and as a people.  Our ancestors, our leaders, our prophets all waded through heartache and pain and set standards that we can follow.  Their dedication and righteous example light our way as we journey on today.

But the story does not end there.  As we walk through our own lives we are creating paths that others can follow as well.  We are the creators of trails and testimonies that can strengthen those who follow behind in years to come.

We too can choose to leave a "Heritage of Faith."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rescue Riders (angels on horseback)

Time and time again, pioneers were asked to rely on one another for strength and support as they crossed the plains.  The trials they faced forced the saints to pull together as a family and learn to love and help each other.  The unity they learned thanks to these experiences helped them as they settled into the Salt Lake Valley and began to work together to build a new life.

One of the  most miraculous helps that took place during these treks was the heroic efforts of rescue riders who put themselves in harms way, after safely making their on journey, to return to the trail and help those who were struggling so they could make it to safety.

These guardians in chaps and hats were nothing short of  Heaven sent and will ever be remembered by those whose lives they touched. 

Take a peek as this beautiful video to really get a feel for these angels on horseback who came to the rescue.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pioneer Mothers, Meet Mary Fielding Smith

There are many incredible stories of pioneer mothers who crossed the plains.  Many women carried young children on their hip while pulling handcarts, many women lost husbands and had to brave the journey alone.  All were courageous and all were heroes in the lives of their little ones.

One incredible mother story from the plains is the story of Mary Fielding Smith.  Mary was the wife of Hyrum Smith, Joesph's big brother, at the time that Hyrum and Joseph were martyred.  Mary was left to care for her family which included her own children as well as Hyrum's children from his first marriage. 

As Latter-Day Saints began crossing the plains to settle in the Salt Lake Valley, Mary knew this was where she needed to take her family.  Having no money, no oxen, no provisions and no husband, she still somehow managed to secure her family a place in a wagon train set to cross to the west.  Her son, Joseph F. Smith (later to become the 6th president of the LDS church) was only nine when her family left Winter Quarters to start the long journey to Zion. 

Mary procured a wagon and was assigned to a company where the company captain immediately labeled her a burden on the group.  He told her she was foolish to think she and her family could make this journey and told her she would weigh down the company the entire trip.

Mary, ever faithful and fairly stubborn as well, blatantly told the captain that not only would she not require his help throughout the crossing, but she would also beat him to the valley.  She boldly gathered her supplies and helped her little ones prepare for the trek. 

Mary tenderly cared for her children and was a constant example of faith and strength to her family and many others throughout the journey.

Not far from the Salt Lake Valley, the Smith family cows wandered off.  Mary sent her step son, John, to find the cows.  She and her family waited while he searched and she lead them in fervent prayer for his success in the search.  The company captain smugly lead the remainder of the wagon train past the Smith family, again reminding Mary of the burden he had told her she would be. 

Soon after they passed the Smiths, the wagon company was caught in a sudden rainstorm which spooked the animals scattering the terrified cows across the mountain top.  The company was forced to stop to gather the lost animals.

While the group was searching for their cows, John returned with the Smith family cows and Mary lead her family right past the rest of the company and entered the valley before the humbled captain.

Mary's strength and unshakable faith throughout her trials were an inspiration to her family during their journey.  Our moms do much the same for us today.  We may not often be required to search for lost cows, but the prayers and testimony and devotion of our mothers build and support us and helps us become the people our mothers know we can be.

Happy mother day to all the moms out there.  We are eternally grateful for you and our gift in our lives.

(More about Mary Fielding Smith here)

Monday, May 7, 2012


OK, so change of plans.

The stake film festival has been moved to the fall so no rush to get your trek videos created and submitted for that.

Sorry, but we still hope you will do something creative to participate in the film festival when it comes around.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pioneer Square Dance

To get you all excited about our square dance activity this week we thought we'd share a little peek at what pioneer square dancing can be.

Remember, the stake youth square dance activity is for all youth (even deacons and beehives) as well as youth leaders and anyone involved with trek (Ma's and Pa's and committee members too).

The fun will begin at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, May 9th at the stake center.  Come in your favorite pioneer garb (but still come even if you don't have pioneer clothes).  Be ready to kick up your heels and sample some tasty treats as well. 

(For those attending trek, your packing bucket fr trek will be given to you at this activity as well so be sure to come and pick it up!)

**Also, anyone who has pioneer clothing they are not planning to use and are willing to donate to youth who may need it, please bring it to the square dance as well.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thanks for Sharing

I told you if you made a video or created a song we would put it up here.

These guys did it...and now they are FAMOUS!

(Love it, thanks for sharing!)

(Also...join the trek choir, Sundays 4:30 at the stake center.)

P.S. We dare you to make a trek related video for the stake film festival coming up May 25th at 7:00 pm.  Entries must be between 30 seconds and 1 minute long and are due to President McDaniel by May 18th.  Be creative and come up with something unique (how about Trek Hunger Games...maybe a 10 year old called up to attend and a 15 year old runs up yelling that she volunteers to take her place or contestants eliminated for bringing ipods or wearing bad shoes or forgetting their Gold Bond).   If you have questions or concerns please email President McDaniel at

If you do choose to make a video, please let us share it here as well.  Thanks.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Real Life, Modern DayTrek Experiences

Handcart treks have been going on for years, but the experiences of each group are unique.  No matter how different the journey, each group, each person who attends trek comes away having learned something important and having grown into something more than they were before.

While the trail we will travel has been walked many times by many travelers, our experience will be personal to us and will expand our understanding and testimonies if we allow it to do so.

Watch this inspiring video put together by another stake from their trek.


Read about a couple other trek experiences at the links below.  Be ready to experience your own miracles as we trek together.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trek Family Bonding Activity Ideas

Now that our trek families have been announced each family will have the chance to get to know each other and spend some time together before trek.  We hope that every trek participant will pray daily for his or her trek family and will do everything possible to help the group become a happy family.

Below are some "bonding" activites that are pioneercentric and might be fun for families to indulge in. 

* Tie a quilt to donate to someone in need of extra love (and a cudly blanket)

* Build your own edible handcarts out of grahm crackers and marshmallows.

* Come up with a family cheer that you can all shout together (complete with actions if you like) when things get tough or things get fabulous while on trek.

*Make homemade applesauce, homemade jam or can some fruit together as a family.  Deliver some to leaders, loved ones or children nearby.

* Get a bale of hay or straw.  Cut the twine around it and let it fall into a heap.  Hide several coins or trinkets in the hay.  Divide your group into teams and take turns one at a time racing to the hay to find one of the hidden objects.  The losing group has to clean up the mess (and everyone should get a treat afterward...maybe peach cobler that you can make in a dutch oven before hand as a family).

*Carve bars of soap into handcarts, wagons, horses, oxen or other pioneer images using a pocket knife.

*Make candles together.  One way to do this is to get a carboard cream container for each family member (you know, the size of school lunch milk boxes).  Fill the cointainer with crushed ice then insert your wick into the center (you can buy lengths of wick at most craft stores).  Pour melted parafan wax into the container and set it in the fridge to harden (it takes about 20 minutes).  You can even add a drop or two of food coloring or perfume to spice things up.  These candles turn out looking pretty cool or you can make candles another way.

*Allow each family member to make their own stick horse (a cardboard head on a wooden dowel with yarn for hair) and have a rodeo.

*Create a scavenger hunt that looks for items the pioneers might have had with them (a spoonful of flour, a piece of fabric, a bit of wood, straw, a holey sock, etc).  Have your family dress in pioneer garb and split into teams to fill the list. 

* Challenge another trek family to some friendly pioneer competitions like a tug of war, a stick pull, marbles, hop scotch or a three legged race.

* Have a family taffy pull (be prepared for sore hands, that stuff is HOT!)

*Arrange to visit a local farm and milk a cow.  Then head home and have a barbeque (eat hamburgers).

If none of these ideas tickle your fancy, take a look at this previous post with some other ideas to consider.  Good luck; we know you'll be a great family.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Break in your shoes at the 5K

We've already talked a little bit about the importance of a great pair of shoes while on trek, but just as important as having sturdy shoes is making sure they are well broken in and comfortable.

Lucky for you, the stake is doing a 5K walk/run this Saturday.  All youth are invited to attend, but if you are signed up for trek (which I really hope you are) then you have the chance to get those shoes good and comfy by wearing them to this activity.

The 5K is on Saturday, April 21 from 9am-12pm at the building on 6400 West 3500 South.  Eat a hearty breakfast at home and then meet at the pavilion for fun activities including the 5K as well as other competitions and exciting events. 

For those attending trek you will be introduced to your trek family at this activity so there is added incentive to attend. 

We look forward to seeing you there ... and to help you get your shoes all ready for trek.

Good shoes for trek:

NOT good shoes for trek:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"I Walked to Zion"

One fabulous resource you may want to indulge in before trek is the book, "I Walked to Zion" by Susan Arrington Madsen.

This book shares numerous true accounts of young pioneers who walked across the plains.  Some are children, some are teenagers, but each experienced struggles and faced fears that were difficult to bear.  Their real life stories of their miraculous journeys are humorous and heart rending. 

This particular book even has an entire section devoted to handcart pioneers, some who traveled the same paths we will walk in June.

From encounters with rattle snakes and frozen rivers to unlikely friendships and dealings with Native Americans this book has a story that will affect you.

Here are a few of pieces of stories just to whet your appetite.  These snippets are all from the lives of children who handcarted their way to the Salt Lake Valley.

"When one of the teamsters, seeing two buffaloes near the oxen, shot one of them, the meat was divided among the whole company.  My parents also got a small piece, which my father put in the back end of the handcart.  That was in the fore part of the week.  Father said we would save it for our dinner next Sunday.  I was so very hungry all the time, and the meat smelled so good to me while pushing the handcart, and having a little pocketknife, I could not resist but had to cut off a piece or two each half day.  Although I was afraid of getting a severe whipping after cutting a little the first few times, I could not resist taking a little each day.  I would chew it so long it got tasteless.

"When father went to get the meat on Sunday noon, he asked me if I had been cutting off some of it.  I said, 'Yes, I was so hungry that I could not let it alone.'  Then instead of giving me a severe scolding or a whipping, he did not say a word but started to wipe the tears from his eye."
-John Stettler Stucki, (9 years old at the time of his trek)

"The next day we had nothing to eat but some bark from trees.  Later we had a terrible cold spell; the wind drifted so much I knew I would die.  The wind blew the tent down.  They all crawled out but me.  The snow fell on it.  I went to sleep and slept warm all night.  In the morning I heard someone say, 'How many are dead in this tent?'  My sister said, 'Well, my little brother must be frozen to death in that tent.'  So they jerked the tent loose, sent is scurrying over the snow.  My hair was frozen to the tent.  I picked myself up and came out quite alive, to their surprise."
-Peter Howard McBride, (6 years old at the time of his trek)

Bringing a milk cow with them on the trail so that they could have milk throughout the journey, one family eventually decided to hitch the cow to their handcart with a homemade harness so that their mother (whose feet were severely swollen and bleeding) could ride.  It worked well for a while.

"One day a group of Indians came riding up on horses.  Their jingling trinkets, dragging poles, and strange appearance frightened the cow and sent her chasing off with the cart and the small children (daughter age 2 years and son only six months old).  We were afraid that the children might be killed, but the cow fell in a deep gully, and the cart turned upside down.  Although the children were under the trunk and bedding, they were unhurt.  But after that, Father did not hitch the cow to the cart again.  He let three Danish boys take her to hitch to their cart.  Then the Danish boys, each in turn, would help Father pull our cart."
-Mary Ann Stucki (Hafen), (6 years old at the time of her trek)

"Just before we crossed the mountains, relief wagons reached us, and it certainly was a relief.  The infirm and aged were allowed to ride, all able-bodied continuing to walk.  When the wagons started out, a number of us children decided to see how long we could keep up with the wagons, in hopes of being asked to ride.  At least that is what my great hope was.  One by one they all fell out until I was the last one remaining, so determined was I that I should get a ride.  After what seemed the longest run I ever made before or since, the driver, who was Heber (William Henry) Kimball, called to me, 'Say, sissy, would you like a ride?'  I answered in my very best manner, 'Yes, sir.'  At this he reached over, taking my hand, clucking to his horses to make me run, with legs that seemed to me could run no farther.  On we went, to what to me seemed miles.  What went through my head at the time was that he was the meanest man that ever lived or that I had ever heard of, and other things that would not be a credit nor would it look well coming from one so young.  Just at what seemed the breaking point, he stopped.  Taking a blanket, he wrapped me up and lay me in the bottom of the wagon, warm and comfortable.  Here i had time to change my mind, as I surely did, knowing full well by doing this he saved me from freezing when taken into the wagon."
-Agnes Caldwell (Southworth), (9 years old at the time of her trek)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ma and Pa Training

Ma's and Pa's of our upcoming trek are invited (by that we mean STRONGLY encouraged) to attend an important training event this Saturday, April 14.  This event will be held at the LDS church building on 6400 West and 3500 South from 10am - 2pm.  Please come in appropriate casual clothes and remember lunch will be served (we would never starve you). 

This training will include essential information for trek including:

*Basic medical training
*Information about required clothing and dress
*Itinerary overview
*Rundown from food committee
*Rules/Requirements/Presentation from trek trail boss

Please make EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT to attend this event.  We look forward to seeing you there.  This activity is for leaders only, no youth will be attending.

If you have questions or concerns please contact the Marriots.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pioneers: Followers of Jesus Christ

Happy Easter

This day brings a great opportunity to remember our Savior and His life, example and atonement.  We strive to become more like Jesus Christ and, just as those who crossed the plains, we face trials and struggles that make our journey more difficult.

However, as we place our trust in our Father in Heaven and in our Savior, we will be strengthened and guided, just like the pioneers of old. 

We are modern day pioneers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Come, Come Ye Saints


President Heber J. Grant’s favorite hymn was “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” an anthem of hope that inspired the early Latter-day Saint pioneers who journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley.
 This story of Jedediah Grant (President Grant's father), his wife Caroline, and their daughter Margaret exemplifies the hymn’s repeated message: “All is well!”
In 1847 Jedediah Grant led a company of Latter-day Saint pioneers from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to the Salt Lake Valley. Not long before the company arrived in the valley, his six-month-old daughter, Margaret, contracted cholera and died. Her body was buried close to the trail, protected only by a mound of freshly dug clay. Soon after that, Jedediah’s first wife, Caroline, died from the effects of cholera and severe fever. She whispered her final words to her husband: “All is well! All is well! Please take me to the valley—Jeddy. Get Margaret—bring her—to me!” Her husband replied: “Yes, yes, Caroline. I’ll do my best. I’ll do my best.”
The company reached the valley three days later. Funeral services were held that evening for Caroline Grant. After a few days of rest, Jedediah set out to retrieve Margaret’s body. He was accompanied by his friend Bates Noble and by Brother Noble’s adopted daughter, Susan.
The three travelers reached the grave site the next morning. Susan recalled: “A few paces from the little grave we stopped hesitatingly, set down our things and stood with eyes fixed before us. Neither tried to speak. An ugly hole replaced the small mound; and so recently had the wolves departed that every sign was fresh before us. I dared not raise my eyes to look at Jedediah. From the way I felt, I could but guess his feelings. Like statues of the wilderness we stood, grown to the spot, each fully realizing that nothing more could be done. After several minutes of silent tears, we quietly withdrew, carrying away again only that which we had brought.” 2
About nine years later, funeral services were held for President Jedediah Grant, who had served as Second Counselor to President Brigham Young. President Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, addressed the congregation, telling of a vision that his friend Jedediah had received:
“He saw the righteous gathered together in the spirit world, and there were no wicked spirits among them. He saw his wife; she was the first person that came to him. He saw many that he knew, but did not have conversation with any except his wife Caroline. She came to him, and he said that she looked beautifully and had their little child, that died on the plains, in her arms, and said, ‘… Here is little Margaret; you know that the wolves ate her up, but it did not hurt her; here she is all right.’ ”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brigham's Arrow

Brigham Young, the second president of the church, lead the saints across untamed country to finally settle peacefully into the Salt Lake Valley.  It was not an easy journey for anyone involved, but the added responsibility of his stewardship for these saints weighed heavily on President Young.

Still, no matter how difficult the path and how harrowing the journey, he refused to give up.

"We have been kicked out of the frying-pan into the fire, out of the fire into the middle of the floor, and here we are and here we will stay. God has shown me that this is the spot to locate His people, and here is where they will prosper. . . . I have the grit in me and will do my duty anyhow,"  President Young said.

We will have the chance to walk these historic pioneer paths in June.  Our feet will tread on the same dirt, the same stones that our pioneer ancestors crossed so long ago.

Brigham's ArrowOne of the sites we will have the opportunity to visit on our trek is Brigham's Arrow.  At the top of Bigelow Bench there is an arrow made of stones pointing the way the saints should travel.  It is strongly believed that Brigham Young had the leading company create this arrow to help the coming pioneers follow the right path.

Just as this prophet guided his people toward their promised land so our prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson, guides us on our way home to our Father in Heaven.  If we follow  his counsel, we will be blessed and will find our way.  We have the perfect opportunity this coming weekend, March 31 and April 1, to hear words from prophets and apostles during general conference and adjust our course so we journey in the right direction.

Click this link to learn more about general conference.

Learn more about President Brigham Young as a leader and prophet by clicking this link.

Monday, March 19, 2012



 Trek registration due date is March 25...that's THIS COMING SUNDAY!

We really want to have as many youth as possible attend trek; there is absolutely nothing else like it.  It will be a life changing experience (see promises from President McDaniel at our kickoff fireside).

Please, please, please be sure that EVERY SINGLE YOUTH in your influence (whether that is your family or ward or neighborhood or whatever) has been invited and encouraged to be part of trek. 

Once all of the registration packets have been completed trek families will be assigned. 

Also be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming trek events:

*April 21 -- 5k walk to gear up for trek (and meet your trek family)
*May 9 -- Stake square dance activity

Click the "basics" tab above for registration forms and more information.

We really hope to have as many youth as possible attend this incredible youth conference.  It will be an experience they will NEVER forget!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thinking ahead

As we slowly trudge closer to the dates for our youth conference trek (tomorrow there will be only 100 days until trek) there is a lot that you can do to prepare for the experience that lies ahead.

It is probably a good idea for you to stay physically active in the months preceding the trek so that your body isn't too shocked when you suddenly ask it to work really hard.

However, spiritually preparing for trek is important as well.  Just as exercise stretches and develops our physical muscles so that they are ready for the rigors of pulling a handcart over the miles, so our minds can be stretched and developed so that they become tuned and ready to focus on the blessings trek has in store for us. 

To help hone those spiritual muscles you might want to consider a few of the following activities.  These would be great to do as youth groups, family groups, friend groups or even on your own.  By keeping trek in the forefront of our minds we will be better prepared to welcome in the feelings and experiences that our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  It might also help you influence someone else and help them choose to be part of trek as well.


*Have an outdoor pioneer breakfast.  Consider cooking over a fire or in Dutch ovens.

*Go for a hike.  Carry a pack with supplies and take time to appreciate the world God has given you.  Be sure to sing "Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked" as you go.

*Take a group and go caroling but sing pioneer songs (like "Come, Come Ye Saints" or "The Spirit of God" or "They the Builders of the Nation") instead of Christmas songs.

*Get a group together to make or shop for pioneer clothing.

*Set aside a day and try to live with as few modern conveniences as possible.  Try not to use cell phones, televisions, hair dryers, or the car.  See if you could manage for just one day without some of these modern inventions.

*As part of your family home evening or opening exercises share a true pioneer experience from the original crossing of the plains.  Some stories can be found here and here.  It might be a good idea to share one story or experience each week from now until trek.  Get others involved and take turns. 

*Invite a group to come to your home to watch "Legacy" or "17 Miracles."  (You can watch the entire "Legacy" movie on YouTube at the link above so you could also pull it up as you ride on the bus, while you wait at the dentist, or just on a dull evening at home.)

*Work to memorize the hymn "Carry On" while you get ready in the morning.

*Make your own butter in a jar and eat it as a snack (not by itself, spread it on something first).  You can also make your own ice-cream (just like the pioneers did?).  Enjoy your ice-cream with a pioneer movie.

*Create and share a family home evening or mutual lesson around the talk "Faith in Every Footstep" by Elder Ballard.

*Learn more about the prophet Brigham Young who lead the saints to our Salt Lake Valley.

*Take a class on first aid so that you are able to help your trek family if the need arises.

*Invite a group to an outdoor fireside (around a fire if you can) and ask each person to share a story about their ancestors (whether they are Mormon pioneers or not).

*Put together a group to play pioneer games like these or these.

*Dress in pioneer clothing and then go out to dinner at a local restaurant.  Be prepared for some strange looks and some smiles and maybe even an opportunity to share your testimony.

*Make up your own pioneer song or video like this one or this one. (We'd love to show your appropriate creation on this blog or on our Facebook page.)

*Remember to include your trek family (even if you don't know them yet) in your daily prayers and remember to regularly thank your Heavenly Father for your ancestors, whoever they are, and for the pioneers who crossed the plains so long ago.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Design your own pioneer duds

On our trek we have been asked to dress in authentic (ok, authentic may be an overstatement as our clothes probably won't be made of wool and the styles will be off for sure) pioneer clothing.

Since most of us probably don't have bonnets and pantaloons and sturdy aprons hanging around the house (or maybe that's how you roll, I don't know) here are some online tutorials that can help you put together a smashing pioneer wardrobe to help you get ready for trek.

These tutorials include step by step photographs to help make things as easy as possible even for those who only pull out the sewing machine to repair popped seams and simple things like that. 

Here is a pattern for a bonnet.

Below is a great pattern for a skirt (Ladies, one word of warning.  I thought I would be brilliant on the last trek and just schlep over to DI and pick up a couple of used skirts that seemed pretty full so that I didn't have to make anything.  Once I got on trek I discovered that store bought skirts aren't really made to allow for climbing over rocks and long strides up and down mountain paths.  I suggest if you buy a skirt you try a bit of hiking -- not just walking -- in it to see if it does the job and if not then cut the side seams and add some extra fabric to give you more room.)  Or you could just make your own skirt with this pattern.

You will be VERY grateful to have pockets readily available, so an apron is a MUST (as an added bonus it keeps you a bit cleaner and is a nice place to wipe your hands and fun stuff like that).  I made short aprons the last time and wished for longer ones; here's a pattern you might like.
Guys, we don't want you to feel left out.  I imagine you could find great shirts at second hand stores (and movement probably won't pose much of an issue for your top half) but here is a shirt pattern if you want to err on the side of authenticism (if that were even a word).

Have fun putting together a wardrobe that will really put you in the pioneer spirit.

If you have questions or concerns about pioneer clothing you can contact Wendy Stoddard, our clothing committee chair.  Find her contact info under the "staff" page.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What in the world is that thing?

Wondering what this device is?

Surprisingly, it is a pioneer era odometer.

According to pioneer historian O. Ned Eddins, "The first wagon train to use an odometer was Brigham Young's Party in 1847. Based on William Clayton's suggestion, Orson Pratt designed a device to fit on the axle of one of Heber C. Kimball’s wagons. A wheel odometer measured rotation of the wagon wheel, and from this the distance traveled could be determined. The odometer was not unique to the Mormons, but they were the first to use one on the Oregon-Mormon trail."

Pretty cool for something made more than 150 years ago.

Of course, on our trek we will be pulling handcarts not guiding wagons, but those miles will still roll by and it is fun to know that even back then pioneers might have been counting the distance they had traveled as they went.  Maybe their children even quipped, "Are we there yet?"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trek Fireside Highlights

Tonight's youth conference trek fireside was wonderful.  It was great to hear youth and adults share their experiences and insights from past treks as well as see pictures and hear stories about the trail we will be traveling this year.

Valuable information was shared and testimonies were born.

Brother Marriot, our trek master, shared some logistical bits and pieces.

*Trek costs will be $30 per person (for leaders and youth)
*Medical Team will be training Ma's and Pa's for many situations so someone who can treat problems is always close by.
*Each person attending will receive a bound memento booklet to record and remember trek.
*Families will be determined soon so that they can meet and get to know each other before trek.
*Pre-trek activities (like hikes and dances) will be coming soon!

President McDaniel told the youth that (shhh don't tell the grown ups) the youth are his favorite group in the stake.  He also said that while trek is truly "the best of time and the worst of times" it is also full of miraculous moments.

He highlighted three ways that trek will change your life.

1. Physically Strengthened: You WILL come back stronger than you left.  President McDaniel said, "After the most physically demanding times, you receive spiritual experiences...After you have given all you have, the Lord will lift you."

2. Emotionally Tested:  You won't know what is coming next, you will be tied to people you don't really know, but you will find strength inside that you didn't know you had and you will grow.

3. Spiritually Strengthened:  After trek you will never be the same.  If you choose to go you will experience miracles and your testimony will be strengthened.  If you attempt to get to know the Lord and the spirit, you will.

President McDaniel taught that trek is an investment.  He promised that trek changes lives and promised that it will change your life. 

He then issued the youth an important challenge:

"Look around you.  Look at who isn't here.  Now go to them and ask them to go with you to trek.  You need them to go and they need to go and they need the Lord as well."

He concluded with this powerful promise, "If you make the choice to go (on trek) it will be one of those experiences that will be a miracle in your life."

For more information about the upcoming trek click the "basic information" tab above.

Watch weekly for more updates and insights about trek.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trek Kickoff Fireside


We are excited about the upcoming youth conference pioneer trek that will take place this summer.  There will be a fireside on Sunday, February 26 at 6:00 pm at the Hunter West Stake Center.  This fireside is for all youth of the stake age 14-18 and their parents.  Come learn more about the upcoming trek and hear inspirational (and sometimes funny) experiences that others have had on trek.

The meeting will be held in the chapel so Sunday dress is required. 

We look forward to seeing you there!