LDS youth conference is success |

LDS youth conference is success

Staff reports

Fun, service and an examination of priorities in life were experienced during the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Outreach Youth Conference held Friday and Saturday in Carson City.

About 80 youths from Carson Valley were among the 150 to attend the event, said Sharla Hales of Gardnerville, Stake Young Women’s president, who with Gary Clark of Carson City, the Stake Young Men’s president, organized the conference.

The highlight of Saturday’s portion was the service project, held jointly with the LDS youth groups; Eagle Scout candidate Jeremy Fitzgerald of Boy Scout Troop 116 of Carson City; Dan Kaffer, Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and the Bureau of Land Management.

Kaffer and others helped the students place chicken wire around trees to prevent beaver damage and plant 1,500 willows to control erosion on the banks of the Carson River at the Old Silver Saddle Ranch east of Carson City.

The ranch was recently acquired as public lands in a land swap and is managed by BLM. Area businesses donated materials for the service project.

Hales said youths found the work meaningful.

According to Hale, the kids were saying, “It isn’t just washing windows, which will get dirty again. These trees are going to grow, and we can come back and see these trees and show our kids we planted these trees.”

Hales added the youths were interested in seeing and helping to repair the damage done by the flood of 1997 and by beavers. “They could see where the need was,” she said.

Speakers Gary Nelson and Jason Johnson of the Brigham Young University Outreach program were guest speakers and directors of the event. They presented seven classes and facility games and group activities.

Hales said the two young men told stories of their own struggles as youths.

“The speakers were great,” she said. “They told a lot of stories about their growing up years interspersed with small sermons – heavy on the entertainment and light on preaching. They let the stories speak for themselves.”

The response to the conference was great, Hales said, and numbers swelled as the conference continued. She said that many youths went home to tell their friends about the activities, and the friends decided to attend.

“It gave the kids a chance to really think about their lives, think about their priorities and make some decisions in a calm setting, such as, ‘Do I ever want to take drugs?'” Hales said. “They can make that decision, then in the heat of the moment, they have a plan.”

In addition, youths were able to form friendships with people from other locales, she said.

The youth conference is held annually.

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