This year our Stake put on Pioneer Trek replicating the experience for our modern day teens. Initially, Tyler and Alex had kind of mixed feelings about putting on their pioneer garb and sleeping under a tarp for three days. I was especially excited about the boys have this experience as they left just three days after returning from all the church history sites and I knew it would give them an even more first-hand experience with our early church ancestors.
The morning of the trek the boys put on their pioneer outfits and looked outside. The sky was dark with rain clouds threatening.
As all the kids reported to the Stake Center they registered and found out who's family they belonged to. It started pouring rain and I'll be honest, I shed a tear for all these kids and the adults that were already soaked to the bone and still had four days ahead of them with no fires to warm their bones.
The kids were each allowed to fill a 5 gallon bucket with all their belongings and then a plastic bag with their sleeping bag. After dropping off the boys I was feeling even more sad that Alysee was just barely missing out on this experience because she was just a few weeks short of turning 12 years old. I talked to one of the people in charge and they said that actually several exceptions had been made and if we could get Alysee's stuff together she could join a family that night. Birch and I were already headed up for the evening so I hurried home to tell Alysee. I was surprised when she said she didn't want to go. I guess she felt like she wasn't adequately prepared but I promised her that I would do all I could to get her packed in the next few hours. After having a nice long shower and getting her head wrapped around going Alysee decided she was up for the challenge. I'm so grateful for friends that lived nearby that lent Alysee much of what she needed (pioneer dresses, bucket, mess kit, etc...)
It was a cold wet day when Birch, Alysee, and I arrived at the river we needed to cross to join our pioneers. Gratefully our friend came with a little raft boat to pick us up so we didn't have to get wet like the rest of the kids and pa's and ma's that crossed the river earlier that day.
We arrived just in time for the square and line dancing. Just my cup of tea!
Alex was getting into it!
Tyler has always been a good dancer!
Alysee was a bit nervous at first because she was coming into this all late in the game but it didn't take her long to loosen up.
Dancing with the head caller
My Pioneer Children
Alex and Alysee made such a cute couple.
Me and one of my best walking buddies
Family scripture time with Alex's family -- The Holts (Can I just add how grateful I am for each of my kid's pioneer parents? They set such a wonderful example for my kids and really made such a positive impact on their lives.)
Yep, pretty fancy sleeping accommodations (especially in the rain)
Tyler's Ma and Pa
There were several river crossings throughout the trek.
Alysee throwing a hatchet.
Alysee and her "sister"
Birch and I were actually kind of sad to return home after spending the evening with all the kids. There was such a positive contagious spirit amongst the camp even though it was wet and cold. We both took off several of our layers and gave them to kids that didn't bring warm enough clothes or were still wet from the rain and river crossings from the day. Unfortunately, there was a no fire banned so it was hard to warm up and dry after you got wet.
The kids arrived home DIRTY but filled with the most wonderful stories and a growth that can only be made through going through an experience like this. I'm so thankful for the hard work that so many leaders put into making this such a fantastic event!!!