Friday, September 21, 2012

youth conference

Jed and I both were needed at a Youth Conference we held for the youth in our ward--which meant the whole family came along!
I wrote a really big draft on this earlier, and decided I need to make it more brief, so here goes.  Some of the highlights were:
  • rappelling/slack lining
  • our family entertaining the stake president while we waited for the big group to return from rappelling where he would then give a fireside.
  • setting up traps for chipmunks--they did eat our oreos!
  • Being woken up at 4 A.M. by Brother Olsen who was running around screaming and yelling to get everyone up.  Scared Madelyn to death.
  • Hiking with baby Claire up Devil's Staircase--we made it!!!  With a lot of support from my little beehive friends who did not leave my side the entire hike.  They pointed out every rock in my path, and held my hand in every treacherous area--what sweet girls!  I made it safe and sound without slipping once.
  • spiritual activities along the trail.  Carrying rock (sin) along the trail and unloading (repentance) when we saw the bishop (forgiveness).  Setting goals and committing to them with rope bracelets singed onto their wrists.  When the goal is completed they can cut the bracelets off.  And then my favorite spiritual activity that needs more exlpanation:
The end of the youth conference was seriously amazing.  Jed had stayed behind with the other children and chopped up fruit (all morning!) for the dessert when everyone got back from the hike.  A leader asked a boy if he wanted a fruit pizza (of course he said yes) and then told him he had to do 10 push-ups to get one.  Then he asked the next person if they wanted one...similar response, but this time the same boy would have to pay the price for the other persons treat.  And so it continued:  if anyone wanted one, and pretty much everyone did, then that same boy would have to pay the price of 10 push-ups for each person.  It was kind of funny to everyone in the beginning, but as it went on and the leaders really kept pushing this boy to carry out the bargain, things started clicking in the youths hearts.  It was tough for this boy to do.  He was really struggling, but he always said he would do it for every person that wanted one.  One girl didn't want one, and the boy still had to pay the price for her.  After a while it got painful for the youth to watch their friend struggle as he physically paid for their pizzas. 
Finally, the boy couldn't do it anymore and another boy finished the push-ups for the rest of those that wanted one.  This activity was such a powerful lesson to everyone present of the Savior's atonement.  The Savior paid the price for us to have the ultimate prize of eternal life.  He did it for all, even those who don't accept it.  It was incredible to hear the "push-up" boy's testimony in the following fast and testimony meeting.  He had been praying for a meaningful experience at youth conference and then was asked to participate in an activity even though what he would have to do was hard.  I don't think he will ever forget that experience, and how it represented what the Savior did for him and for all of us.  He mentioned in his testimony "I couldn't finish what I was asked to do, but the Savior did."  So incredible.  It was such a neat experience.

After the youth conference was officially over, our family stayed and camped an extra night.  Our kids were totally thrilled with that!
Hannah was making potties ( holes in the dirt) and really wanted to use one......that didn't fly with me since we had a real potty in the camper.  :)  It was just so random and funny!
Drew helped make the fire...until he got a little too dangerously comfortable with the fire and then was banned from it for the night.
Claire was cute.  We read "Freckle Juice" as a family, and everyone enjoyed that.
We took the family to hike Devil's staircase.  Lily got to drive.....she didn't like that at all...... :)

My little camping ragmuffins enjoying the first part of the trail.
Such a beautiful hike.  The scenery is so gorgeous.  I especially loved this crazy tree:
It was fun to take the family on the hike after I had done it the day before, so I could show them what I loved.
Lily had to sit on pretty much every rock and log in sight.  It's a lot slower to hike with the family.  But, also a lot more fun in ways because you have more time to notice small things.
Drew thinks he's really funny:    :)
Frequent breaks are a must.

I loved the burnt orange weeds surfacing even in late August:
Hannah sure was a trooper.  We really pushed (gently) to get as far as we could.  We probably made it atleast half way.  We atleast got to see the ridge where the hike ends....way above us.  That hike doesn't really get serious til about the last third--so that was perfect for us.  Unfortunately, we have been living in smoke filled (everything off in the distance is hazy) air for the last two months, making the views not quite as grand and sweeping as they would usually be, but still beautiful.
I love getting out and enjoying the beauties of nature with the family!

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