Spencer Wood of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada


Spencer Wood of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

The Chief, a high mountain with a steep rock face, looms above the rich, green British Columbia forest. Climbers come from all over the world to see the mountain and to test their skills on its face. The climbers will probably not see Spencer Wood, who often watches them through a telescope on the back patio of his home.

Spencer (11), his brother Joseph (9), and his sisters, Tiffany (12) and Jennifer (5), enjoy the beautiful splendors of British Columbia. During the hot summers they swim in the Stawamus River near their home to cool off. It isn’t very deep or swift, but the crystalline water is always cold, since it comes from the melting snows of a nearby glacier. “Not very many people go to our water hole to swim,” says Tiffany.

“But,” adds Spencer, “if our friends see us walking down the road, they know that we are going there, so they come too. The water is so clear and beautiful that you can just look down and see all the little fish swimming in it. It’s neat.”

Across the river from the swimming hole is a logging road. Logs are brought down from the north to Squamish, loaded on ferries, and taken to the Vancouver area. When the logging is good, a lot of members attend church in the Squamish Branch. But when it isn’t good, the branch becomes quite small. Spencer likes it better when the logging is good.

Warm rains usually fall during the mild Squamish winters, but once in while a big snowstorm will move in. Then the Wood family, mother Barbara and father Byard included, drag their sleighs up a big hill on a nearby street and go sledding. If there is a lot of snow and the next summer is warm, the nearby river floods—its rock-strewn shores show how high the water can rise during flooding—and the Woods can’t go swimming.

Spencer likes to work hard. He particularly likes mowing the lawn and helping his father organize the Young Astronauts Canada program. Spencer would like to design jets when he grows up. Already he and Joseph draw jets whenever they get a chance. Spencer has taught Jenny how to draw them too.

One of the more challenging chores around home for Spencer is cleaning his room. “Sometimes when I clean my room, I pull everything out of the drawers and closet and dump it on the floor, and then my mom says ‘Hurry up,’ so I end up just shoving it all back again.”

Spencer plays the trumpet in his school band. “I like playing the trumpet, but I hate practicing,” he said. So he has a chart to help him remember to practice. Tiffany plays the flute, and sometimes she and Spencer play duets. Spencer learns to play his songs by heart. One of his favorites to warm up on is “When the Saints Come Marching In.” His dad taught him that one.

Family home evening includes a lesson, music, and refreshments. Then the Woods close by reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon. “President Benson talked in conference about reading and studying the Book of Mormon and encouraged people to do it,” says Brother Wood. “As we came home from conference, we felt impressed by that, and we started reading a chapter or half a chapter of the Book of Mormon each night.”

That night, when it was Spencer’s turn to read, his voice showed the enthusiasm that they all felt for this family project.

[photos] Photography by Shauna Mooney and Corliss Clayton

[photo] 1. Hillside near Squamish slopes down to Howe Sound.

[photo] 2. Joseph, Jenny, and Spencer explore Spencer’s room.

[photo] 3. Spencer Wood

[photo] 4. Joseph climbs to the far side of the swimming hole.

[photo] 5. Joseph and Spencer wrestle with Dad.

[photo] 6. Young Astronaut Spencer

[photo] 7. Spencer and Tiffany swing in back of their home.

[photo] 8. Spencer and Joseph

[photo] 9. Family home evening is a time to share.

[photo] 10. British Columbia’s beautiful coastline

[photo] 11. The Chief as seen from the Woods’ home