Courtesy Photo. Bishop Nate Katschke, of the Panaca 2nd Ward, and a group of youth take part in team-building activities during the annual Camp Helaman.

The Panaca Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recently held Camp Helaman, a weeklong youth camp designed to provide spiritual uplift.

The camp was held June 12-16 on Kolob Mountain in southern Utah with fifty-four youth from Lincoln County, as well as several of their church leaders, attending.

“Our goal is to help the youth gain a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Scott Miller, Stake Young Men’s President. “We do this by engaging our youth in a similar routine and schedule that our full-time missionaries have to live by in the field.”

Miller also explained that the Helaman program is run by the youth themselves. A youth presidency is formed and takes charge. That presidency oversees several “zone leaders” who also guide smaller, tight-knit groups. The adult leaders are there only for support and logistics.

“The whole purpose of Camp Helaman is to spiritually build up these young people,” Miller said. “They wake up early and do their personal scripture study, and then study time with their companion, after which they pray and spend some time pondering the things they’ve learned that morning.”

There were many speakers brought in throughout the week to help teach and inspire the attending youth. Speakers included Wade Leavitt, Sydney Anderson, Caleb Hansen, Leticia Ray, and Austin Poulsen. These speakers focused on many of the important and personal aspects of serving a mission. They taught principles of self-sacrifice and losing yourself in the service of others.

One of the main highlights happened on Thursday night when motivational speaker Jason Mow energized the group during a lecture.

Mow, a retired combat veteran who served as a paratrooper in the ongoing war in Afghanistan and is a former wounded Phoenix police officer, along with also being a bestselling author, taught the youth how to be “warriors” in their everyday lives.

He invited them to stand up against peer pressure and defend those things that they know to be true.

Two other activities were organized by church leaders to help the youth learn the value of listening to inspiration from God: the Spirit Walk, and the Iron Rod Walk. Both activities involved being blindfolded and having to listen carefully for direction.

The Spirit Walk was held in an open meadow. The youth were blindfolded and asked to find their way to a youth choir who was singing hymns. The choir was representing the “spirit of the Lord,” and the purpose of the exercise was to learn to follow that spirit. Several attending youth expressed that the activity was very uplifting.

The Iron Rod Walk was also a blindfolded activity in which the youth maneuvered an obstacle course led by a rope. The course meandered through the forest as a “still, small voice” softly guided them around impediments. It was another activity designed to teach the youth to listen for inspiration.

During the last night, a large dinner was prepared for the group by Dee and Kim Turley, and Doug and Vick Miller. Afterwards, the second counselor in the stake presidency, Ross Sterling joined the group for a testimony meeting, a common meeting in the church where participants are invited, if they wish, to express their beliefs and share faith-promoting experiences. The youth and some of their parents participated.

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