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?"