As youth embark on modern-day treks and, in some cases, walk in the same places where the early Saints walked more than a hundred years before, their testimonies can be strengthened by learning more about the pioneers whose lives they are reenacting.
Youth can also gain a greater appreciation for the trials and faith of the pioneers by watching pioneer films such as the upcoming Trek: The Movie film, Ephraim’s Rescue, and 17 Miracles at Mutual activities leading up to the trek. Keeping in mind the cause for which the early Saints were pushing forward can change the trek from a meander to a march.
That’s why it’s optimal for youths to find their own pioneer ancestry, Moench says. “If youth are unable to find an ancestor, they are encouraged to find the name of a pioneer and learn about their life and their experience with the handcart companies before walking in their behalf.”
Baird prepared extensively to lead the youth in trek by studying and pondering the scriptures and reading ample amounts of pioneer stories, considering how to share the experiences of his ancestors with his trek family along the trail and seeking counsel from the Spirit to understand how to direct his youth.
“I had the opportunity to work with some kids who needed some extra help or extra attention, so I was really excited to make a difference—to help them grow and change,” he says.