The Huntington Beach Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is embarking, once again on a three day Pioneer Trek, hiking and walking through miles of rocky, dusty trails, pushing and pulling 500-pound wooden handcarts up and over steep hills, and sleeping under the stars. Teens from Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley will simulate the footsteps of the early Mormon pioneers, traveling a 12 mile journey over 3 days.
The trek takes place at Riley’s Farm in the San Bernardino Mountains and begins July 26th. Teens will be split into families of 10 or more, with adult chaperones as “Ma” and “Pa”. The trek experience brings pioneer history to life but, more importantly, teaches the value of working within a family unit to solve problems, benefit of hard work and benefit of living a faith-based life. The youth are reminded that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father, and that through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ they can find peace and direction at this critical time in their life.
Trekkers wear pioneer clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, cowboy hats and bolo ties for the boys and long layered dresses for the girls. They sleep outside under the stars, cook over campfires, and learn practical skills such as shooting with a rifle or bow, churning butter, tomahawk-throwing, lassoing and making rope. Historical moments in Mormon pioneer history are reenacted, from the tarring and feathering of Joseph Smith to the formation of the Mormon Battalion.
Jessica Matthews of Fountain Valley remembers, “You get to step away from the world and forget about social media, school, and silly insecurities because you are too busy pushing handcarts and learning to focus on your work as a family rather than focusing on yourself.”
After three days of hard work, living out of their element, and immersing themselves in pioneer history, Huntington Beach Stake youth will surely have a compelling story in answer to next semesters’ English assignment, “What did you do this summer”? More importantly, they will have learned more about their history, their strengths, the power of faith and this year’s trek theme, Peace in Christ.