“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Keeping Up with Superman
Are you feeling physically fit, ready to leap mountains in a single bound without losing your breath? If you’d like to maintain this excellence, or to get into a little better shape, you’ll be interested in the Physical Fitness Awards Program sponsored by the Activities Committee of the Church. Awards for excellence (called the bronze, silver and gold awards) are given to individuals or families who’ve earned points by participating in a suggested program for physical fitness. Activities such as running, walking, cycling, swimming, team sports, tennis, rope jumping, etc., are included. For more information about the program, contact your ward activities committee or write to Physical Fitness Awards Program, Activities Committee, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.
Ironing for Dollars
Hold an “iron-in” to raise money for a missionary? That’s what the young people of the Blacktown Ward, Sydney Australia Parramatta Stake, did for 74 hours to raise money for a ward member who was called to the France Toulouse Mission. They worked through the night to get their work done (and enjoyed several stacks of steaming pancakes that were donated to the cause), raising over $200. Additional happy results of the activity were the smiling mothers of the stake holding their empty ironing baskets.
Shirting the Issue
Who gets the brightest wash? That really wasn’t the main concern of the Mia Maids of the Idaho Falls 23rd Ward, Idaho Falls Idaho West Stake. Instead they went on a shirt hunt, collecting 257 new and used white shirts to send to South American missionaries. The shirts were carefully laundered, folded, packed in boxes, and readied for shipment to South America.
The Pride of the North Shore
While 15 thousand fans wait, over one hundred uniform-clad students, holding their instruments, bow their heads in a word of prayer. This is only one of the remarkable things about the champion “Red Raider” marching band from Kahuku High School on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
What makes them so special? One reason may be that this musical group is composed of nearly 70 percent Latter-day Saint students, representing 11 wards and 2 stakes.
The Kahuku Band is called “The Pride of the North Shore,” a title they well deserve. It is considered the number one band in the state, although many schools are larger and their band programs better funded.
Band competition in Hawaii is rough. This year Kahuku was selected as one of the top ten bands in the nation by the National Band Association. Also on that list is Kahuku’s arch rival from Hawaii, the Kamahamaha High band.
Year after year Kahuku continues to garner the highest awards. At the largest annual state competition, hosted by Kamahamaha, the Kahuku unit carried off all in-state honors.
Unlike other schools that practice on Sundays, the “Red Raiders” have elected not to do so.
The LDS youth form a strong nucleus and in addition to band practice are active in many other school activities and attend early morning seminary. Many make the school honor roll. Their example has been a great missionary tool, resulting in the baptism of several of their fellow band members.
Clarinet player ReNee Lehuanani Kai, a recent convert, says she first became aware of the Church when band friends began asking her to youth activities. “They showed so much closeness and love, I felt myself change. Problems weren’t as troublesome anymore.” ReNee serves as her Sunday School class secretary, as band secretary, and as senior class treasurer.
All three drum majors for the unit are Church members and received the highest state honors this year. Drum Major Maria Fonoimoana was elected Christmas ball queen, is Sunday School class president, and is first counselor in her Laurel class. Drum Major Kamaili Kekealokilani is a flutist and primary pianist. Corps Commander Steven Fanua is student-body president.
The band also participates in mainland competitions and performances and was invited to be in the Rose Bowl Parade in California and the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City.
Building a Forest
Clark Brenton Ator of the Farmington Third Ward, Farmington Utah Stake, organized his Scout troop to plant two thousand European sage trees at a local reservoir for his Eagle project. He worked closely with the city manager and the state agricultural farm to organize the project. Brent was the first to receive the “On My Honor” award in his ward, has earned his Eagle award, and has been a senior patrol leader and deacons quorum president in his ward.
Presidential Scholars Honored
Blake Hamilton of the Issaquah First Ward, Bellevue Washington Stake, was recently selected as one of 141 Presidential Scholars. Last summer Blake and his parents, Norm and Kay Hamilton, spent four days in Washington, D.C., where Presidential Scholars were honored by their Senators, Congressmen, educators, and other public officials. Blake was presented a Presidential Scholar’s Medallion at the White House.
Karin Siggard of the Cheyenne Third Ward, Cheyenne Wyoming Stake, and Dale C. Hunt of the Washington Terrace Sixth Ward, Washington Terrace Utah Stake, also were Presidential Scholars this year.
Finding a Doric Column in New York
Take almost seventy-five New York City seminary students, let them make pita bread and baklava, study Greek history, and make some new Greek friends. Then have the students set sail on a boat as they sing songs in a foreign language. What have you got? Greek Super Saturday for the New York New York Stake.
In March 1979, President Kimball told a Regional Representative seminar: “I continue to be impressed that we should do more to reach the large groups of language minorities in our major cities. For instance, there are … in New York City … 75,000 Greeks. As you can see, there is still much to do right here at home.”
Taking the prophet’s words seriously, the stake youth decided to spend the time and energy usually devoted to the annual spring cultural event—in the past a road show or dance festival—to explore Greek culture and gain new perspectives that might eventually help the missionary effort.
At a Super Saturday in April, a Password game introduced the Greek cultural event by using words with Greek roots. The noisy contest ended in a tie and so everyone was invited to continue studying Greece until the Greek Super Saturday the following month.
Booklets distributed to each student encouraged certain activities to be done in preparation during the month: finding a Doric column in New York architecture, becoming acquainted with the Greek-speaking missionaries recently assigned to the area, making a new Greek friend, studying statues of figures from Greek mythology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or touching a Cypress tree.
The young men and young women of the Manhattan First and Second wards joined together for an “Olympic” decathlon (one event used Frisbees instead of a discus) and afterwards adult leaders in the wards drove the young people around in a van to visit Greek sections of the city, including a visit to a pastry shop. The seminary students also visited a Greek Orthodox church several times and learned about its emphasis on youth leadership and strong homes.
Young women in the Staten Island Branch sat in on a Relief Society lesson on Greece and then invited the young men in their Mutual to a Greek dinner. “We had souvlaki, pita bread, salad, and baklava,” said Denise Kuehne, a 16-year-old branch member. “It was wonderful food.”
Finally, on May 17, the stake youth took the train to Greenwich, Connecticut, and met for a mini-Olympics in the city park, running relays, throwing balls, and wrestling much as Greek youth may have done thousands of years ago. The teenagers enjoyed the open spaces of the park located on Long Island Sound, dipping their toes in the bay, playing guitars, and resting underneath blooming dogwoods and azaleas.
In keeping with the Greek tradition of sailing, the youth group felt it would be appropriate to eat their special Greek dinner aboard ship. A Mississippi-type riverboat was all that was available, but it was amply decorated with appropriate posters. The meal included additional samples of Greek cuisine, including meatballs in pita bread with yoghurt sauce and onions. Shaun Bushnell, a professional singer and actress, then taught the group Greek songs and dances, and each ward showed slides of their cultural enrichment experiences held during the previous month.
The entire experience, said Wady Cruz, 17, of the Manhattan Spanish Ward, “left us with something when it was over. It enriched us.” Not only that, but the Greek-speaking missionaries now have some member friends to lend them a hand.
Old vs. Young
It was the night of the annual basketball game between the “Young Men” and their “Old Men” church leaders in the 30th Ward, Ogden Utah East Stake. In the stake center bleachers, ward members, families, and friends excitedly shouted encouragement to both teams.
Bob Blair of the Old Men had just connected, closing the Young Men’s lead to one point at 16–15, with 4:41 left in the second quarter.
“We’re going to walk away with it—take it from the coach,” Darold Rawson, Sr., of the Young Men said confidently.
The competition had begun five years before when the youth were planning a fund-raising project. They challenged their priesthood leaders to a game of basketball, certain that they could easily beat such out-of-shape old folks. But the Old Men won! A surprised group of Aaronic Priesthood boys immediately planned a comeback. They would have another game next year, and the next, and the next.
Over the years, the boys had grown stronger and taller, and their leaders had grown … well, older. The Young Men had won three times, and their leaders had won twice. This one could be anyone’s game.
Earlier in the evening, the excitement started as the Young Women introduced the players on each team with words from original songs. The Old Wives Cheerleaders waved their pom-poms. Dressed in jeans rolled to mid-calf, with shirts emblazoned with big “O’s”, they were poised for the grand entry of their husbands.
As the Old Men burst energetically through their “We’re the Greatest!” banner, the crowd went wild.
Then, all eyes turned to the opposite corner where the Young Men were eagerly waiting their turn behind the banner reading, “We’re #1.”
Unexpectedly, Zan Treasure casually tore an opening through which the boys stepped with dignity, one at a time. Then Mike Ward ceremoniously placed some steps a few feet from the basket and stood at attention. Suddenly, Jim Berlin streaked past and went up for a spectacular slam dunk. The fans roared as the Young Men sprang into action. Following the tip-off, Darold Rawson, Jr., quickly scored the first point.
Bishop Arlo Ward, who has played in all the games, said, “They’ve been highlights for me. They are an opportunity for the Young Men to really get the best of their leaders. They haven’t always done it, but as they have prepared and developed, they have given us a challenge. The games bring out a closeness that you don’t always get.”
When asked how many practices the Old Men had before the game, Bishop Ward smiled. “Zero. But we’re so good we don’t need any.”
However, his counselor Gary Saunders didn’t sound so confident. He admitted that when the Old Men heard that the game would be played on the large stake center floor instead of the small one in the ward cultural hall, “We decided to play with two teams—one defense and one offense so we wouldn’t have to run up and down that big court.”
The Young Men hadn’t had many more practices than their elders. Term papers, final exams, jobs, and dates interfered. However, some mornings at 5:30, the more eager ones jogged. On moonlit nights they played ball in the driveway of the home of three participating brothers. But even when the boys weren’t actually practicing, they were “psyching up.” In fact, one night after the youth had been boasting in the Elliott Berlin living room, Brother Berlin commented, “There’s enough hot air in here to dry a corn field.” But they won anyway.
All of the original Young Men will be on missions, married, or will have “graduated” to Old Men status by the next game. New loyalties will have to be formed as rivals become teammates. A different group of hopeful young players will challenge their leaders, and an enjoyable tradition will carry on.
Visitor Brenda Gilbertson summarized the feelings of many when she said, “I’m really impressed with your ward. You do such fun things. I can see why your boys stay active.”
Indeed, the 30th Ward surely demonstrates that a ward that plays together stays together.
When Randy Lundquist went canoeing down the Snake River with his family last summer, he didn’t realize that he’d be saving two lives before the day was over. Randy, a priest in the Shelley First Ward, Shelley Idaho Stake, rescued his sister Kathy from the turbulent waters of the river when she fell off her inner tube. Randy’s father started to swim back to help and was caught in the unruly waters himself. Randy swam to his father, who was by then unconscious, and got him safely to shore. “Randy is as strong spiritually as he is physically,” said his father, “and I love him greatly.”