Calgary Members Assist with Flood Cleanup

Contributed By By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer

  • 10 July 2013

Youth spent their conference time assisting others in clean-up efforts following extensive flooding.  Photo by Holly Christensen.

Article Highlights

  • Homes were still under water 11 days after the flooding.
  • Instead of a pioneer trek reenactment, Calgary youth “trekked” through homes cleaning out debris from the floods.
  • The organization set up for the pioneer trek was used to carry out the service project.

“It truly was amazing to see. The youth not only lifted wet and soggy drywall and insulation for over seven hours that day but also lifted the spirits of all who witnessed them working.” —Holly Christensen, member 

After days of flooding in the Calgary, Alberta, Canada area, Church members of all ages joined with the community to clean out homes and help in the devastated area. Although evacuations began as early as June 27 and more than a week had passed since the flooding began, there were still some areas—specifically High River—where homes were under water as of July 2.

“We don’t know yet what percentage of the homes are ruined,” said President David Spackman, president of the Calgary Alberta Foothills Stake. “Even 11 days after, there are still so many homes and some areas that have not even begun to drain.”

President Spackman said that in the High River community within his stake there is a great possibility that at least 75 to 80 percent of the homes have been affected, and of those up to half are destroyed or heavily damaged. The ward building was damaged and will need some work before it is available for use, he said.

A pioneer trek reenactment for youth conference was scheduled for the Calgary Alberta Stake during the weekend beginning June 28, but rather than putting on pioneer clothing, youth gathered with their organized trek “families” to go out and work in their own community. 

“Our stake was supposed to have trek last weekend, and then the flood hit,” said Bishop David Higham. “We decided we would go out as families and spend the days helping people. We did not do a handcart trek, but we were able to take the organization we already had to help the kids have a good experience.”

The youth “trekked” through homes cleaning out debris and helping members of their community in their recovery from the floods. The weekend ended with a testimony meeting—just like was planned for their original youth conference.

“It truly was amazing to see,” Holly Christensen said in an email. “I felt like I had to join them because they were so inspiring and muddy. … The youth not only lifted wet and soggy drywall and insulation for over seven hours that day but also lifted the spirits of all who witnessed them working.”