The art of people is a true mirror of their minds. —Jawaharlal Nehru
“Explore the World” could easily have been the theme for an action-packed weekend held by the Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake. It ranged the alphabet from archery and auto mechanics to watercolor and woodworking.
It was the third time in nine years that Fair Games, as the program is called, has been held. It was organized along the idea of the Olympics with several events taking place at the same time over a series of Saturdays. Fair Games was designed to emphasize growth, development, and service, all mixed with a lot of fun.
Many of the service projects had been going on for months before the other Fair Games activities began. The variety of activities was nearly endless. There were dramatic readings, musical performances, a triathlon, singing, dance and theater, woodworking, jewelry making, puppetry, oil painting and watercolor, sewing, quilting and handwork, cooking and cake decorating, basketball, dirt bike riding, chess and checkers, golf, soccer, darts, baseball, volleyball, auto repair, and more.
Track-and-field events were held on one Saturday, and many of the less serious games involved water. Participants and spectators alike were soaked, but it felt good in the heat of the afternoon.
Everyone who participated received an award for effort. Those who placed in the event were announced at the celebration dance.
The Fair Games were intended to be an extension of the lessons by focusing on developing talents and working together as a team—whether the team was sewing, swimming, or making ice cream.
One young participant said, “Fair Games has shown me that I have a lot to offer in this life. I learned that hard work can be great fun, and best of all, everybody has a hidden talent just waiting to be discovered.”
Heather Buffington of Cary, North Carolina, served as student-body president of her high school. She was one of six LDS students attending her school. In addition, she was a member of Honor Society and Key Club and played on the school’s softball team.
Heather served as her seminary class president and as president of her Laurel class in the Raleigh Third Ward, Raleigh North Carolina Stake.
Darius Jensen, a teacher in the Kelowna First Ward, Vernon British Columbia Stake, received the highest award in Canadian Scouting—the Chief Scout’s Award.
In order to earn the award, Darius performed community service at a senior citizens’ center. His work was so impressive that he was hired to continue some work after completing his award.
Steven V. Ransom of the Spokane Washington East Stake made a slide show of his experiences as a student ambassador of the People to People High School program. He has used the slide show to accompany his speeches to various community groups. He was part of a high school group that traveled to several European countries to enhance their studies.
Steven is also a member of his high school band and jazz ensemble group. He plays basketball on his school team and enjoys soccer, skiing, swimming, and photography as hobbies.
Steven earned his Eagle badge, and has been on the seminary bowl team that has won first place for two years. He is the first assistant in his priests quorum in the Spokane Eighth Ward.
Melissa Elks of the Tamworth Ward, Lichfield England Stake, is a good example that living the Word of Wisdom has made her able to run and not be weary. She has set the best record in cross-country running for her school year.
Melissa also enjoys practicing judo and playing the piano. She recently passed her grade V piano examination.
Youth in Pakistan
Young people in a little branch in Islamabad, Pakistan, enjoy being involved in both school and Church activities. Three Beehives, one Mia Maid, and a nonmember friend participated in the worldwide Young Women celebration last October. They released balloons containing their messages of hope and peace in the evening to coincide with the sunrise services being held in the United States and Canada.
The Young Women also prepared Christmas packages for four Afghan refugee families in the area.
In January, the branch held a farewell for their first missionary.
One-Rehearsal Road Show
The lights in the cultural hall are dim. All backstage noise comes to a halt as the scenery is put in place and the actors take their positions. An expectant hush falls over the audience. It is road show night at the Salt Lake Utah Monument Park Stake. The imminent performance by the Monument Park 15th Ward has everyone more attentive, and some a little more apprehensive, than usual. The word is out that the 15th Ward has had only one rehearsal.
The concept of a one-day-of-rehearsal road show was not born of poor management or procrastination. It was intentional. After road show veteran Gayle Clegg accepted the calling to direct the ward road show, she said, “There must be a way to take the pain out of road shows.” With the busy schedules of most of the youth, weeks of practice was a nearly impossible commitment. Sister Clegg received permission to try her one-day approach.
Advanced preparations included writing the script, planning and making costumes, and painting scenery. The show itself was divided into six segments with a leader assigned to each segment. Overcoming the young people’s initial concern that they would end up on stage unprepared, the leaders got commitments from nearly 100 percent of the youth.
On the day set aside for the one big rehearsal, the six sections practiced their parts and were rotated onto the stage every 45 minutes. Great things were happening in addition to preparing the show. Older participants were helping the younger, and a feeling of unity was emerging. Mindy Richards, 13, commented, “I never became bored at the rehearsal. When our group was through I enjoyed watching the others rehearse. We were not tired of it. It was new to all of us.”
The night the road shows were presented, the Monument Park 15th Ward was ready. The road show was a success. Richard Schettler had been in other road shows. He felt that this was “the best road show I have ever been in. All the youth in the ward were involved, and it didn’t take all of our time.”
In the end, the big success was not just the road show; it was also the great feeling of nearly every young person in the ward working together. Tina Clegg said, “We have never had so many kids in the road show before. It was great!”
Following His Brothers
Jimmy Crook of the Iona Third Ward, Iona Idaho Stake, is following the traditions set by four older brothers. He received his Eagle badge, his On My Honor award, and the Duty to God award, and is a seminary graduate just as they were.
Jimmy enjoys playing tennis and has won gold medals for tennis in both Varsity Scout and Explorer Olympics. In school he won the Gem State Conference Championship in tennis doubles. He has served as president of his deacons and teachers quorums and as first assistant in his priests quorum. He also plans to follow his four older brothers in serving a full-time mission.
Troy Swartzle, a priest in the New Bern Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake, was selected to attend Governor’s School of North Carolina. Troy was selected because of his outstanding abilities in instrumental music. He plays french horn.
Troy was one of two from his high school and five from the county school system selected to go to the school. During his stay, he met Church members from throughout the state and was able to invite some interested friends to accompany him to Church activities. He was also able to correct misconceptions about the Church during his philosophy class.
Karen Packham of the Kuna Second Ward, Nampa Idaho South Stake, broke her own record at the Idaho State Track Meet. In fact, she brought home three first-place medals.
For her athletic prowess, Karen was given the Outstanding Athlete of the Year award from her high school. She competed on a national level in Eugene, Oregon, and earned two first-place ribbons and one second-place ribbon.
Karen served as secretary of the senior class. She is an excellent student and held the position of sports editor on the school newspaper.
In church, Karen served as president of her Laurel class and was a counselor at girls’ camp. She plays the piano and sings in the ward choir.
For the first time ever, a youth conference was held in the Republic of Kiribati, a group of islands straddling the equator in the central Pacific. The islands are part of the Fiji Suva Mission, and there are branches of the Church on some of the islands.
For two days, 500 young people gathered on the campus of Moroni High School on the island of Tarawa. The first day was spent getting acquainted in games, races, and field events. Everyone enjoyed participating in the activities regardless of who won. A dance was held in the evening.
The next day started with a testimony meeting, the highlight of all youth conferences. The testimonies expressed dealt with the depth of feeling the youth had for the gospel.
One of the outstanding stories about the conference took place before the conference began. Youth from the North Tarawa Branch, which is separated from South Tarawa by a strip of ocean half a mile wide, were not able to get transportation. They waded through the shallow water at low tide, then hiked 15 miles through much of the night to arrive at the conference on time. They were so pleased with the conference that they said the effort they made to get there was well worth it.
The youth enjoyed the conference and getting to know each other better. They tried to persuade the adult leaders to hold another conference the following month.