by Laraine L. Thompson
Talk about a powerful object lesson in preparedness! This coming July 17-20 the youth of our stake will embark on a Pioneer Trek, Zion: One Heart, One Mind. Youth, ages 12-18 in groups of 20 or more—“families” each headed by a ma and pa—will hike and experience conditions similar to what our pioneer ancestors endured as they traveled over 1,000 miles from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley in the 1840’s. They will hike along the Barlow Trail near Mt. Hood. Each youth will dress in pioneer garb as they push or pull a handcart. They will hike anywhere from 2-10 miles per day. They will sleep each night in tents. Food will be pioneer simple. They will truly begin to understand what it takes to be a pioneer.
Brother and Sister Ron and Sylvia L. of the C R Ward are the stake specialists for this event. They, along with their stake committee, have been planning this event for months now. Youth are in the midst of registering for this event. In order to participate, each youth must do a number of things to be ready:
Register for the Trek
Attend meetings with Ma and Pa
Make/Obtain a pioneer outfit to wear.
Find a pioneer story to share on the trek—hopefully about a pioneer relative)
Participate in three hikes in preparation—one 3, one 5, and one 10 mile hike
Prepare a meal using a Dutch Oven
Complete and submit a medical form
Pack and turn in your bucket to the Trail Boss
Each youth has a card with 8 punch out areas representing each of the above 8 items required to participate. Each of these boxes must be punched out in order for a youth to be a part of the trek. The wards are in charge of seeing to it that the youth are as prepared for this event. Just making certain that a card is completely punched is great training! Beyond that, the trek will test the mettle of each—youth and adults alike.
Obviously, there is much more preparation than those items listed above. There will be medical needs, sanitation needs, transportation to and from the trek venue, enrichment activities, spiritual activities. The list is endless. Coordinating this event is a Herculean task. We are blessed to have so many dedicated adults and youth who are willing to put their shoulder to the wheel—literally—to see that this event will be one to be remembered positively for years to come.
We have heard wonderful stories about the experiences of those in our stake who have participated in previous treks in other locations. Throughout the church, a trek is a common stake/ward event. This is the first time that our stake has opted to plan such an experience. We are thrilled for the opportunities that a trek represents and hope that our youth, by participating, will truly learn what it means to be prepared.
Photo source: LDS Media Library