Church News and Events

Honoring Pioneers Helps Children Imagine Brighter Tomorrow

Contributed By By Ryan McDonald, Church News staff writer

  • 29 July 2013

Children march behind the Sandy Utah West Stake float in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade in Salt Lake City July 20.   Photo by Kristin Murphy.

The 2013 Days of ’47 Youth Parade held in Salt Lake City on July 20 provided Primary teacher Erika Campbell of the Mountain View First Ward, Salt Lake Hillside Stake, an ideal teaching opportunity. With temperatures fast approaching triple digits, some of the children she was chaperoning began to complain about the heat.

“Just remember what the pioneers went through,” she told them.

Such an idea was a popular topic of discussion throughout the event, as approximately 5,000 children paraded from 600 East to 200 East along 500 South in Salt Lake City. The theme of this year’s parade was “Pioneers—Our Anchor for the Future.”

“I really liked it,” said Sister Campbell’s 11-year-old daughter, Emily. “I enjoyed walking around. I enjoyed how it felt like when the pioneers came to Utah. I felt that they felt the heat and they would’ve had a hard time walking.”

Of the 50 total entries in the parade, 20 were floats created by members of stakes throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Remembrances of pioneers were certainly evident in the way many of the children were dressed, as they donned traditional pioneer clothing.

While some floats focused on remembering the pioneers of the 19th century, others placed emphasis on how the children of today can be pioneers both now and in the future. Children of the Salt Lake Holladay Stake wore white T-shirts with black missionary-esque name tags printed on the front. The words “Future Missionaries” were printed on the back. As they paraded, the children waved flags of many countries, portraying the idea that the gospel will continue to be preached throughout the world.

Many who participated in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade on Saturday, July 20, wore clothing resembling what many of the 19th-century pioneers wore when they came to the Salt Lake Valley. Photo by Kristin Murphy.

“I wanted them to understand that they can be pioneers just in their everyday lives,” said Kevin Schmelter of the Oquirrh Point Sixth Ward in the West Jordan Utah Oquirrh Point Stake. “It’s not necessarily having to cross the plains to be a pioneer, but they have so many different challenges today, so they can be pioneers every day in school.”

The Oquirrh Point Stake’s float, “Royal Descendants Anchored in a Legacy,” was the winner of the Theme Award and was entered in the July 24 Days of ’47 parade. The Salt Lake Emigration Stake received the Utah Award, the West Jordan Utah Sunset Ridge Stake received the Legacy Award and the Salt Lake Hillside Stake received the Spirit of Faith Award.

At the end of the parade route, children and adults participated in activities such as craft-making and storytelling.

“This whole event celebrates children,” said Sister Rosemary Wixom, Primary general president. “They are the stars and they are the stars of the future.”

Children of the Salt Lake Hillside Stake march in the Days of '47 Youth Parade in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 20. Photo by Kristin Murphy.

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, waves during the Days of ’47 Youth Parade in Salt Lake City July 20. Seated next to her is Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor. Photo by Kristin Murphy.

The float for the Murray North Stake. Photo by Kristin Murphy.