by Laurel G. Cole
Thousands of teenagers all over the country are finding that summer programs at their local colleges and universities are great fun and a wonderful opportunity to learn and to meet new friends.
This year, over 16,000 teenagers will join in Brigham Young University summer youth programs and conferences. As each June rolls around, crowds of high schoolers swarm onto the campus to attend workshops and get their first look at college life. For many it’s also their first look at Mormon life. Though most attending the programs are Latter-day Saints, many come from the mission fields where there are, perhaps, two Mormons in their school.
The schedule for the energetic teens continues at a running clip from morning to night. In a day’s time they do everything from attending class sessions to swimming to attending barbecues in Provo Canyon.
Friday nights may find them dancing, Saturdays picnicking or visiting Temple Square, and Sundays in a special testimony meeting at dawn on the quiet of a mountainside. But every night finds them at family prayer, kneeling with their own special workshop group.
The courses range from pep clinics for cheerleaders, sports for athletes, publications workshops for journalists, and career workshops, to music, theater, dance, and debate workshops. A special workshop is also included for deaf teenagers. Over 30 programs have been developed.
One of the newer sections added to the program is the conference for deaf teens, designed to give the deaf a different experience in human relations and religion and the opportunity to learn about the avenues open to the handicapped.
One deaf teen explained that deaf young people are very often excluded by the very nature of their handicap from many of the experiences available to others; so they were really excited about the opportunities the workshops gave them. As he explained it, “I really could feel a special spirit in the conference, and it gave me an understanding of others and the spiritual fuel I’ve needed.”
Most of the programs run from one to two weeks and are held throughout June, July, and August. A few, however, are longer, such as Thinderella, a slimming program for girls, which runs six weeks, and the Theater Workshop for five weeks. The College Preparation Workshop, Careers Clinic, and Art Workshop extend over a three-week period.
Many of those attending are non-LDS. Some high schools send their entire football team, cheerleading group, or yearbook staff, and many of them comment, “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen religion in action!”
The Church College of Hawaii will become a branch of Brigham Young University.
The change of status for the college, to be known as Brigham Young University, Hawaii Campus, will be effective no later than September 1.
Dr. Dan W. Andersen has been named Dean of the BYU—Hawaii campus. Dean Andersen has been serving since early 1973 as academic dean at the college and in his new position will report to Dr. Dallin H. Oaks, BYU President.
Dr. Kenneth Beesley, Associate Commissioner of Church Schools, commented on the change:
“As the role of the Church College of Hawaii has been reviewed and clarified, and especially as greater emphasis has been placed on in-country education, the need for increased availability of resources has been evident. This change will allow the tapping of the appropriate resources of BYU in the improvement of planning and implementation of programs at the Hawaii campus.”
Even an unbelievable spring blizzard didn’t stop the modern-day pioneers of Kearns and Ogden (Utah) who found out firsthand what their ancestors went through.
No one expected as much snow as the two groups ran into in their April handcart and covered wagon treks. But it didn’t stop either group from experiencing doughy scones, burnt skirts, raw-potato stew, and square dancing in mud.
More than 100 Ogden High School Seminary students hiked down the top of North Ogden Pass into Liberty, Utah, where they set up their two-day camp. Wearing handmade pioneer clothing and carrying old rifles and muskets, the group pitched tents and cooked over open fires. The heavy snowfall dampened their surroundings but not their spirits as the group joined in for square dancing, skits, and storytelling, as well as watching tribal war dances performed by some Indian students in full native costume.
Splattered with mud, the group was unanimous in their praise for Mormon pioneers who withstood even greater sacrifices.
“Having to perform guard duty at night, eat pioneer food cooked on a fire. and everything else we did helped me appreciate the hardships of my pioneer ancestors,” said Steve Belnap.
The Kearns group of 50 individuals, both youths and parents, pulled hand-carts more than 43 miles, with seminary youths averaging four miles per hour. Dressed in pioneer clothing, the group spent one night in barracks built in 1857.
They weren’t without their problems, however. The 14 handcarts that had been constructed for the event were often overpacked—wheels gave way and water had to be dumped. It meant everyone had to pitch in to help and the food that remained dry had to be pooled. Half of the group didn’t complete the trek because of the severe weather.
Having followed the Pony Express route to Saratoga, Utah, the trek ended with a swim in a heated outdoor pool—in the snow.
When four Aaronic Priesthood youths went looking for a service project, they didn’t expect to discover a “radio star.”
But 81-year-old Florence Sperry turned out to be as big a sports enthusiast as Mark Reeves, John Myers, Bruce Bennett, and Jeff Proctor when the four took her to a Utah Stars basketball game.
Sister Sperry has been a Stars fan since their birth in 1970 and has followed their play on radio for the past five seasons. She keeps a scrapbook of their newspaper clippings, a notebook tabulating each game’s score by quarters, and she has even been known to take her phone off the hook during game broadcasts. She had, however, never seen the Stars in live action.
The boys decided that no one better deserved to see the acclaimed hoopsters than Sister Sperry.
They took her to the game and really got “Stars” treatment from the players, one of whom commented, “You really are 81 years young!” She was even interviewed over the station she had listened to all those Stars’ games on.
After the game the whole group dropped into a nearby drive-in for a hamburger with Sister Sperry saying, “I’ll never forget this night.”
Bruce added that the four would be back to have a family home evening with her, and John concluded, “We’re going to remember this night for a long, long time.”
For the past ten years a spring tradition of snowshoe hiking from Alta to Brighton ski resorts (Utah) has meant cold feet, frozen fingers, and lots of fun for members of the Valley View Eighth Ward, Salt Lake Valley View Stake. This year was no exception.
One hundred and twenty-two persons gathered up snowshoes and backpacks and rode the Alta ski lift to its top. From there the group hiked over the mountain through Kathryn Pass. After the four-hour hike the summit was reached and members of the group rolled, jumped, and wrestled off the overhangs on the saddle of the pass, dropping down almost vertical sides.
Snowshoes don’t have the maneuverability of skis, so the group sat back on the snowshoes and just bombed down the chute end at Brighton—where everyone started planning next year’s hike.