An Iditarod in Arizona

So your first question is “What’s an Iditarod?” Well, it’s a famous sled-dog team race held each year in Alaska. Your next question is “An Iditarod in sunny Arizona?” The answer to this question has more to it.

For the past six years the young men and Scouts from four different stakes in central Arizona have participated in a modified Iditarod race at their annual winter campout in Flagstaff, Arizona. Only instead of dog power, these sleds use Scout power. This past January, 375 young men were divided into teams of about 10. They pulled sleds over and through snow, mud, and dirt to the finish line. Each team built a sled equipped with both skis and wheels to handle any conditions. The course was two-and-a-quarter miles long with 10 activity stations along the way where Scouts competed in activities like archery, log sawing, and target ax throwing. The winning time along with the individual scores in the events determined the winner.

Friday night before the race, camp was set up, dinner prepared and eaten, and campers gathered around a campfire for a genuine fireside, where they heard an inspiring message from a member of the Peoria Arizona North Stake presidency. Saturday morning two teams at a time set out every 15 minutes to begin the race. An awards ceremony rounded out the day of fun and team building.

Brett Wood from the Sierra Verde Ward said, “The Iditarod is so awesome. The race course competition challenges you mentally and physically. It teaches you teamwork. It is hard but rewarding.”

“We really enjoyed the Iditarod,” added JC May from the winning Daisy Mountain Ward. “It is a time for us to get to know each other and work as a team. Everyone pulled together and worked hard.”

Photographs courtesy of Steven Elcock

LDS Youth App

Did you know the Church has designed a mobile app just for youth? It brings articles, videos, music, cartoons, and Mormonads right to your fingertips—and allows you to take them on the go. Plus new stuff is added every week. Check out some of the features:

The opening page of the app lets you see all the content available. Each horizontal ribbon shows you a different type of content: videos, articles, music, and Mormonads. The top ribbon shows currently featured content of all types.

Tap on any one of the videos or articles to go directly to that item.

Tap on a song from the music ribbon and a music player opens where you can listen to the song or skip to other songs.

Tap on a Mormonad to see it larger. Then flip through the ribbon to look at others. You can even download Mormonads and use them as wallpaper on your mobile device.

To share any item from the LDS Youth mobile app, simply tap on the Share icon in the top right of the menu bar and then post the item to your Facebook profile or share it in an e-mail.

If you want to download this free LDS Youth app to your mobile device, visit your app store, or just use your smartphone to scan the QR code below for quick access to the Church’s mobile device page (see page 40 for instructions).

Photographs © iStock and IRI

Quotes from Conference

“Much of what we accomplish in the Church is due to the selfless service of women.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “LDS Women Are Incredible!” Ensign, May 2011, 18.

Safety in 16

Why are we counseled to wait until we’re 16 to date? The guideline against dating before 16 is based on principles of physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. In For the Strength of Youth it says, “Do not date until you are at least 16 years old. Dating before then can lead to immorality, limit the number of other young people you meet, and deprive you of experiences that will help you choose an eternal partner” ([2001], 24).

What We Really Think of Youth

“I express my love for the youth of the Church. I have great respect and admiration for the righteous choices you are making each day. You are so faithful in these troubled times despite the many challenges which face you.”

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 41.

Using QR Codes

You may have noticed several QR codes (short for “quick response codes”) in recent issues of the New Era. If you have a camera-enabled smartphone, you can scan a QR code to link straight to a video, article, or website without having to type in its web address. Here’s how:

  1. 1.

    Search for QR-code apps in the app store for your smartphone. Free apps are available for most smartphones.

  2. 2.

    Install the app on your phone.

  3. 3.

    Open the app, and scan the QR code. Once the code registers, click Open, and the item it links to will appear on your smartphone.

Try QR codes on pages 27, 39, and 48.

5 Scriptures Containing Principles of Science or Mathematics

Because We Love You

Amanda Siler of Inkom, Idaho, sat in Sunday School with the other girls in her Mia Maid class—they were all writing down their goals. Amanda wrote, “To walk with my walker.” You see, when Amanda was seven, she developed a neurological disorder that affected her balance and caused her to lose all of her muscle strength and some of her motor control. Through the years, Amanda has worked hard to strengthen her body, and although life continues to be a struggle for her, she is always smiling.

The Young Women and their leaders saw Amanda’s goal, and after a lot of research and inspiration, they found a way to help their friend. They secretly ordered Amanda a special three-wheeled bike she would be able to ride on her own.

Last September the ward held a family activity night at a local park. Unaware of the surprise, Amanda and her family were asked to sit facing the group of Young Women. They sang her a song and then presented Amanda with a huge card that read, “Because We Love You.” The card had signatures from everyone in the ward and community who helped purchase the bicycle. Amanda’s friends helped lift her out of her wheelchair and placed her in the seat of the bike. There were many tearful eyes as Amanda rode more than half a mile that evening—with loving friends by her side.

Photograph courtesy of Julie Siler

In a Word


The dictionary definition of edify is to instruct and improve someone, especially in moral or religious knowledge. A great footnote from 1 Corinthians 8:1 improves our understanding of this word—it says, “builds up, strengthens, establishes, repairs.” So you could say this footnote is quite edifying.

Missionary Preparation

Being spiritually prepared for serving a mission is critical, but being fit, both mentally and physically, is also important. Here are some things to consider as you prepare yourself in every way to serve the Lord on a mission:

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Develop good sleeping habits.

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Learn to be comfortable away from home.

  • Work to overcome extreme shyness.

  • Learn to work hard and be reliable.

  • Keep a positive attitude.

Photograph by John Luke, © IRI

The Winning Lobas

Basketball season for the Academia Juarez varsity girls began just like any other season: a winning season was their goal. The Church-owned school in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, is unique in that the majority of the sports programs require the players to travel internationally to play their games. Another interesting fact is that the entire 2010–11 varsity girls’ team, the Lobas, are all active Latter-day Saint young women. They stand out because they are just as united off the court as they are on the court.

And they did have a successful season, winning the majority of their games and taking first place in two tournaments. To end their season, they decided to go to the temple together as a team and do baptisms for the dead. Their coach, Bishop Russell Robinson, made the arrangements. He says, “Never have I seen a group of girls who love each other and love the Lord like these girls do.”

As Colonia Juárez Chihuahua Mexico Temple president Robert Whetten met them at the doors of the temple, he said, “I don’t know of anywhere in the world where a competitive sports team makes coming to the temple a priority to cap off their season. This truly is a great group of young women.”

Photographs courtesy of Kelly Robinson

My Favorite Scripture

D&C 78:18 “And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.”

I like this scripture because it says that God will help us with our trials and will help us back to our Heavenly Father’s home.

Matt A., 14, New Mexico, USA

Photograph courtesy of Matt A.

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