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.