News Story

Brisbane Young Single Adult Convention: To the Rescue

Eight hundred Young Single Adult Mormons attended the 2014 Brisbane YSA Convention held over five days between Christmas and the New Year. 

The Tallebudgera Active Recreation Centre, on the Gold Coast, was the convention site for the young adults who came from all states in Australia as well as New Zealand, China, United States, South Africa, Thailand, Singapore, England and Norway.

With the theme of “To the Rescue”, this YSA convention emphasised uplifting others spiritually, emotionally and physically. Drawing inspiration from President Thomas S. Monson’s April 2001 General Conference talk, the young adults were reminded that there are always, “feet ready to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.”  President Monson is the worldwide head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Convention kick-off was on Friday, 27th December with an opening activity at Karawatha Stake Centre.  ‘Triviality’, a night of games and trivia challenges, helped the YSA break the ice with each other. 

After Saturday morning check-in at the Recreation Centre, a series of different “Rescue Challenges” were on the agenda.  One example of the challenges was to have teams create a raft made of water float tubes which were then raced to “rescue” a team member from the other side of the creek.

While the challenges were taking place, the young adults had the choice of participating in some of the activities offered at the Centre, which included indoor rock climbing, a giant slingshot and catapult.  Monday ended with ‘Latter-day Night Live’, a series of comedy sketches and skits that brought a ton of laughs.

Sunday was a day of spiritual reflection with Elder Keith Walker, an Area Seventy who supervises the Church in Queensland, as the principal speaker during Sacrament Meeting.  Elder Walker’s remarks included inviting the young people to be spiritually converted and emphasised the need to secure one’s own anchors in the process of reaching out to others. 

The evening comprised a ‘Capture the Vision’ devotional, with Australia Brisbane Mission President, Lon Henderson, and his wife, Carrie, speaking.  President Asa Smibert of Eight Mile Plains Stake [diocese] also spoke. 

Monday was the perfect day to hit the beach.  The morning was spent playing beach volleyball, catching a wave, swimming, and relaxing on the sand.  After dinner, all enjoyed Family Home Evening and a luau, with an evening show of Polynesian performances from different national ‘villages’.

"What an amazing experience it was to be gathered together as children of God to enjoy such a fun and uplifting convention! Memories were made that will never be forgotten. Friendships were formed that will forever be in our hearts,” said Shari Moorcroft, 20, of the Kawana Waters Ward in the Sunshine Coast Stake.

Tuesday was a day of community service as the YSA split up rendering assistance to the local community.  The 800 young single adults were in their yellow Mormon Helping Hands T-shirts, ready for action.  Here are highlights of some of the service activities:

  • Convention organisers had registered the YSA Convention with The Australian Red Cross ‘Club Red’ program.  

Over 27,000 blood donations are needed every week and blood has a short shelf-life, so regular donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are really important in helping us to meet this need,” said Lee Harley,  a Communication  Relations  Officer at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service at Lismore.  There were 60 blood donations by the YSA during the convention.

The beauty with groups registering with ‘Club Red’ is that those who have made donations of blood or plasma will later be able to see how many lives their donations have saved.  This is a wonderful reason to continue to be a blood donor in the future,” said Ms Harley.

  • It had taken weeks to gather all the items to be packaged up for the Uniting Church Food Aid and Care Package recipients but a swarm of yellow-shirted young adults made short work of the tasks.

In thanking the YSAs for their donations of food items, Rob Kelly from the Mudgeeraba Uniting Church, spoke of his church’s 20 year commitment to feeding the poor and needy within the area.  He applauded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its support of the activities of other religious organisations in the area and for the way in which Latter-day Saints live the gospel of Christ.

  • The ladies representing the Tweed Valley Women’s Service (a women’s refuge) were reduced to tears when they arrived to see what had been lovingly collected and prepared for the mums and children they would be caring for over the following twelve months. Items collected included staple food items, toiletry items, school and stationary needs for the children.

Tracy Asby, executive director of the service asked that the young adults close their eyes to concentrate while she explained the fear and hopelessness faced by many mothers and children who live with domestic violence. 

  • Other service rendered included weeding the walking trails at David Fleay Nature Reserve and clearing litter from the stretch of beach between Tallebudgera Creek to 19th Avenue, Palm Beach.   Young adults also performed songs at the Ozanam Villa Nursing Home at Burleigh Heads.

After a day of strenuous service, it wasn’t too hard to involve many of the male young adults in some sport in preparation for later socialising on New Year’s Eve.  A “mate-against-mate” exhibition Rugby League game coached by Ben Hannant, a forward with the Brisbane Broncos, preceded the New Year’s Eve ball, which was Titanic-themed.

The convention was a great balance of spiritual and physical activity. Every morning we started with scripture study class and then morning sports and fitness. It was great making and strengthening friendships within an interactive environment,” said Diana Schwenke, 26, of the Cleveland Ward in the Cleveland Stake.

Brisbane YSA Convention planning commenced in May 2013. Discussions were held with federal and state members of parliament on the Gold Coast, members of the Gold Coast City Council and key opinion leaders on the types of activities and service that could be conducted.

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