Just one day after school got out local youth, ages 14 to 18, packed up their bags and headed to Cascade Park outside of Granite Falls to participate in the Marysville Stake’s annual Youth Conference.
The kids, who are all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, attended classes, played games and enjoyed serving residents who live near the LDS church owned park.
The youth and their adult leaders pulled weeds, washed and waxed vehicles and scrubbed vinyl fencing as part of their service projects and in an effort to be neighborly. Service is an important part of LDS church members’ lives.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to show what we’re all about,” Joseph Lawrence, 18, from the Cedar Crest Ward said. “We’re learning to become better people. By making service a part of our lives we can make the world a better place.”
Taking care of our neighbors brings blessings to not only those who are being served but to those who take the time to serve others. Ensuring a good relationship with the neighbors at Cascade Park is important to church members who use the park.
“We thought it would be fun to serve our neighbors around the park. We spend a lot of time here and really don’t know our neighbors well. We drive past them a lot and thought it would be a nice way for us to thank them and get to know them,” President Kevin Lavering, Second Counselor in the Marysville Stake said. “It helps us to look outside of ourselves. When we serve others our own problems seem smaller.”
Dennis and Linn Dahlke worked alongside the kids as they cleaned the Dahlke’s fence. They were amazed to see how much fun the kids were having as they sang songs and laughed together.
“I am so grateful these kids are taking a Saturday to help us with this. It is such a big job. It would take me an entire weekend to get this work done, maybe even longer,” Linn said with tears in her eyes.
The Dahlkes can’t always complete all of the work they would like to. Their gratitude was obvious as they observed the kids at work.
“The fence hasn’t looked this good since it was new,” Dennis said.
While some of the kids finished up at the Dahlke’s house others were busy waxing cars and boats and whacking weeds at Steve and Barbara Brevig’s house. The Brevigs too were impressed by the hard-working teens.
“This is incredible that they’re willing to commit their time to this. When they first asked me if there was some work they could do and I mentioned waxing the boat I was really just kidding. I was surprised that they said ‘sure’. I’m amazed,” Steve said. “Too bad that all teenagers aren’t like this.”
As the teens finished up their service projects, they were able to witness the appreciation in the eyes of those they served. They had fun with friends while working hard and helping their neighbors.
“You can throw yourself at it and forget yourself while doing something for someone else. It’s someone else’s day today,” Spencer Hodapp, 16, from the Granite Falls Ward said.
Over 130 kids from Lake Stevens, Marysville and Granite Falls participated in the conference.