The following optional activities will help trek participants have an inspiring, exciting, and safe experience. While there is a short list of required preparation, the ideas provided below can be used or adapted based on specific interests and needs. They can be done individually, in classes or quorums, or with combined youth groups. There will be an opportunity to share and put to use all of these experiences during trek. Share additional preparation ideas you have with the Stake Trek Committee and take pictures of your activity to share with others.
Prepare a Biography of a Pioneer
Prepare a 1-2 page biography of a pioneer in your family. This person could be an early convert to the Church, but also might not have been a member of the Church. It could be an ancestor from a long time ago, or a relative like a parent or uncle/aunt who is still alive. Below are questions to help you get started. You could present your pioneer story to youth in your ward. Bring it with you on trek. You can also carve or inscribe your ancestor's name on an object that you can carry with you throughout the trek.
- Who was a pioneer ancestor that has impacted your life? What sacrifices did he or she make that have blessed you personally?
- Who else has been a pioneer more recently in your life? This could be a friend, someone from your ward/stake, or a sibling. What sacrifices did he or she make that have blessed you personally?
- For whom will you be a pioneer? What things are they counting on you to sacrifice to bless their lives?
The Standard of Truth
Learn the Standard of Truth by practicing it in your class or quorum and on your own. Try to memorize it before trek.
The Standard of Truth was written in 1842 after Joseph Smith received an inquiry from John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, requesting information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The prophet's response included thirteen doctrinal statements, the Articles of Faith, prefaced by a prophesy of the strength of the saints and destiny of the church. The prophesy has come to be known as The Standard of Truth. It must have been difficult to believe at the time, yet the pioneers acted as though they knew it would be fulfilled. The Standard of Truth is written on the heart of every pioneer, past and present, seeking strength and motivation to do what is right, no matter how hard.
"...The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540.
Also see President Boyd K. Packer's October 2003 General Conference talk "The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected"
Other Spiritual Preparation Ideas
- Give a talk about pioneers in Sacrament Meeting, YM/YW, or FHE, or invite visitors to speak of their own modern pioneer experiences.
- Make a special meal for a new convert in the ward and interview them about how they found the church, the hardest part of their decision, etc.
- List qualities developed by the pioneers (faith, endurance, humility, charity, etc.) and choose one to work on and develop. Write a letter to yourself about the goal, to be returned to you on trek.
- Keep a personal journal for a month. Write at least once a week. Record your thoughts as you learn about your ancestors and the blessings you have received because of others' sacrifices.
- With the help of ward family history specialist, create a five-generation pedigree chart, or a family group sheet with one parent listed as a child.
- Perform baptisms for the dead for family names of youth in the ward. Ask the Temple Presidency to speak about the pioneers and the temples that they sacrificed so much to build.
- Give up a favorite comfort for a week (hot water, music, snacks, snooze button). Report on Sunday and then choose a different comfort to give up.
- Watch some of the productions on pioneers, past and present: Legacy, American Prophet, Faith in Every Footstep, The Mountain of The Lord, An Ensign To The Nations, Trail of Hope, A Legacy More Precious Than Gold, Perilous Journey.
Fitness Preparation Ideas
- Follow the Basic Workout on the Fitness & Safety sheet. Work at a pace that is safe but challenges you.
- Train to walk or run in a 5K or 10K race.
- Engage in any other fitness program that is approved by your parents or leaders.
Physical Preparation Ideas
- Learn pioneer skills such as Dutch oven cooking, whittling, mending, etc.
- Make pioneer items such as soap, candles, honey butter, jam.
- Plant a pioneer garden with some of the things the pioneers planted along the trail and in the valley.
- Plant a flower pot herb garden. Dry them to be used as seasoning.
- Sew pioneer outfits or assemble from old, donated, or thrift-store clothes.
- Learn pioneer songs.
- Hold wheelbarrow races with at least a 20lb load. Along the way, stop to cut or gather wood, plant vegetables, repair the wheelbarrow, do a dance, sing a song, etc. Serve s'mores.
- Organize a physical fitness activity. Learn about nutrition, hydration, and stretching. Work out to a short general exercise video with varying degrees of difficulty. Serve smoothies.
- Play pioneer games. Practice stick-pulls, leg wrestling, leapfrog, arm wrestling, blind man's bluff, handkerchief drop (duck, duck, goose), etc.
- Have a pioneer dance or square dance activity.