No one can build his security upon the nobleness of another person.
—Willa Sibert Cather
Eagles in Action
Six young men from the Woodridge Ward, Naperville Illinois Stake, received their Eagle Awards in a combined court of honor last fall. At this time they became the largest number of boys ever to receive the Eagle Award at the same time in Illinois’ Two Rivers Council. Those who earned the awards were Mark Benner, Michael Jacobazzi, Robert Jacobazzi, Gary Lund, Steve Saatkamp, and Charles Worlton. To achieve the Eagle rank, each young man earned six skill awards and at least 21 merit badges; served in troop leadership positions; and planned, organized, and directed a service project involving toys for a nursery, painting fire hydrants, collecting clothes for charity, placing genealogy packets in local libraries, painting house numbers on curbs, or doing yard work for a member who had suffered a heart attack. The six new Eagles join three other Eagle Scouts in the Woodridge Ward, all of whom have been guided in the Scouting program by Scoutmaster Don Benner, a Scouting veteran of 20 years.
Sam Bushman: A Blind Deacon
“At first, Sam was hesitant and quite dependent upon the other deacons when passing the sacrament. But the quorum members rallied around him and gave him a lot of help—a hand on his shoulder, a gentle nudge. Now, due to the supportive attitude of the other deacons, Sam is very eager and confident about passing the sacrament and fulfilling his other duties.” This was the comment made by Dale Peterson, second counselor in the bishopric of the Camarillo Second Ward, Camarillo California Stake.
Sam’s Scoutmaster, Burl Bushman, told about a game recently played by the Scouts where Sam led the troop members to victory. “We turned out the lights and threw out a tennis ball. The Scouts had to catch it and run down and touch the opposite wall to score a point for their team. Since Sam, who is blind, always plays in the dark, he excelled at this sport.”
Shortly after Sam was brought home from the hospital to be adopted by the Burton D. Bushman family, it was discovered he was blind. Medical specialists also suspected brain damage extensive enough to affect his hearing and mental development. But after he was administered to, it soon became apparent that Sam’s hearing was normal and his intellect keen.
Some of his hobbies include swimming, bike riding, hiking, moped riding, skate boarding, Scouting, doing flips on the trampoline, and playing the trumpet. He earns mo trumpet. He earns money by vacuuming the family cars and putting doorknobs on cabinets built by his contractor father. At school he attends two braille classes and studies with other visually handicapped students.
When Sam was young, his greatest wish was to be able to see. Now he realizes that his condition is only for this life and that it needn’t stop him from achieving any worthwhile goal he desires.
A Dance Festival to Remember
A dance festival? Sharon Leo had never seen one, and now she was invited to dance in one. An 18-year-old nonmember living in central Utah, Sharon had been around Mormons all of her life. Now her friend Jolynne Taylor of the Orem Utah Sharon West Stake had asked Sharon to join her in a five-stake dance festival to be held in the huge BYU Marriott Center. With reservations, Sharon accepted.
Rehearsals occupied every Saturday morning for months as Sharon found herself practicing square dances, Swiss polkas, disco numbers, karate exercise numbers, Greek line dances, the English quadrille (her specialty), and many other dances with 600 fathers, mothers, young adults, teens, and children. Sharon’s view of Mormonism began to expand as she met new people and made more friends.
While the entire cast struggled to learn dances together, the rehearsals didn’t all go smoothly. Mary Kay Kelly, 14, of the Orem Utah South Central Stake, remembered, “We never could get the Danish dance to work right—but the last night we had a prayer and it went perfectly.”
Then there were the costumes to make. While Sharon was struggling to put in a zipper and get the length of her costume correct, others were also sewing like crazy—especially where whole families were participating. Cori Dawn Anderson, 16, of the Orem Utah Sharon West Stake, commented, “Being in the dance festival as a whole family was a good experience. The hardest part was making seven costumes in two weeks. But with everyone helping and sewing in their spare time, we got them all finished. It was really fun, and despite all the work, it was worth it.”
During the rush of practices and costume making, Sharon Leo began taking the missionary discussions.
As Sharon grew in gospel knowledge, the dance festival grew in excitement among its participants. Bishops, stake presidents, and high council members responded to the challenge to participate and brought their families. Miriam Abegg, 17, whose father is on the Orem Utah West Central Stake high council said, “The dance festival was fantastic! I could feel that the Lord’s Spirit was with us during our performance. And I enjoyed practicing with my family. It helped me to see my dad with different eyes—enjoying square dancing, whirling and throwing my mom and us kids up in the air. It was a lot of work, but it was fun to work with other people—especially my own family, even though my brother did drop me on the floor one time.”
Suddenly, the day of the performance was upon them. Between the final dress rehearsal and the evening performance, a different kind of event took place. As Sharon’s family, friends, missionaries, teachers, and priesthood administrators watched, she stepped into the waters of baptism. Jolynne’s father performed the baptism, and Jolynne’s mother accompanied the hymns at the piano. Jolynne waited at the top of the baptismal steps to be the first to give Sharon a hug of fellowship. It was a beautiful time of reverence in an exciting day.
The dance performance filled the evening. As the Marriott Center darkened, over 6,000 spectators sat waiting. Suddenly the lights flashed on to the throb of Star Wars music, and the youth and their families began a spectacular show complete with bright lights, colorful costumes, and exciting dances. The dance numbers that had been such stumbling blocks—difficult to learn, difficult to find music for—suddenly were magnificent. The costumes, made mostly from donated materials, looked professional. The organization and technical details, so ragged in rehearsal, suddenly ran smoothly and professionally.
As Joycelynn Demaree, the costume chairman, remarked, “There were so many little miracles and acts of faith that took place during the putting on of the festival. It was a lot of hard work, but to see the whole thing come together was worth every minute of the thousands of hours involved.”
Homemade Challenge: Woods Cross Second Ward Rodeo
Thirteen-year-old Jody Earnshaw climbs over the chute and with trembling knees carefully lowers herself onto the back of a holstein calf. Her hands, in green garden gloves, are wrapped in the rigging of the stamping animal. With a cry from her comrades and a shout from the stands, Jody explodes from the chute. Down the arena she goes—one second, two seconds—her hands still in the rigging as she fights to keep her balance on the twisting animal.
Not until eight seconds later does Jody slip from the holstein’s back, dodge its flying hooves, and roll into the dirt. She lies on the ground for only a moment before standing up. The crowd cheers wildly: “You did it! Jody, you did it!” A spectacular ride, her very first in rodeo competition.
Later, 18-year-old Scott Shurtz, the rodeo clown and director of the second annual rodeo, plunges from the horse chute on “Pepper.” They serpentine through the area, race for the fence line on the opposite side, glance off the signboard mounted on the fence, twist to the right, and buck all the way into the holding pen. The spectators shout in delight, and the other contestants scratch their heads: “How can we top that?” They can’t. Scott’s 100-point ten-second ride wins him the All-Around Cowboy award for 1979.
How do you stage a rodeo? The Woods Cross Second Ward, Woods Cross Utah Stake, begins by borrowing a truck and some park bleachers. Local farmers supply the stock such as calves, goats, pigs, and chickens. (Horse riders are limited to those who can furnish their own horses.) Someone’s mother sews a rodeo flag and different groups bake cookies, crush ice, chill soda pop, and heat barbecued beef. Others work the arena until the dirt is ankle-deep and mix it with sand so it is soft enough to break the hardest fall. Four loads of water are sprinkled on top to keep the dust down, and each contestant (or his parents) signs a written liability release form. Finally, the arena is filled with ward members, family, and friends. Photographers are also busy recording the action on film so it can be shown time and time again.
The rodeo is all homemade, all amateur, and all challenge. Although some of the participants have never even been on horseback, when the time for the rodeo arrives, nearly everyone finds out he has a little of the cowboy in him anyway!
[Young Leaders in Australia]
Mormons Making Mention
When Joe Izatt of the Quebec Branch, Canada Montreal Mission, received first place in the physics division of the Montreal Province science fair, his high school principal and fellow students were not really surprised. Joe had won numerous awards and honors before. His science fair project, “Saturable Absorption of Laser Light by a Gas,” won the physics division of the Quebec High School science fair before winning the regional and provincial science fairs. In addition, upon graduation from high school, Joe received the Dunn memorial prize for the senior who best exemplifies the qualities of an athlete, a scholar, and a gentleman. During the preceding year he had served as student-body president, was captain of the football and basketball teams, was named most valuable football and basketball player, and was among the top three percent of all Canadian students in a national math contest.