News Release

Canberra Stake Youth Handcart Trek

Seventy-four youth from the Canberra Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently undertook a re-enactment of a pioneer handcart trek.  Emulating Mormon pioneers who crossed the American plains pulling two-wheeled wooden carts more than 1,600 kilometers before reaching their destination in Salt Lake City, Utah, the teenagers gained an appreciation for the hardships and sacrifices made by those early pioneers over 150 years ago.                       

The youthful trekkers were dressed in authentic pioneer costumes as they pulled handcarts loaded with food, cooking gear, tarps, sleeping bags, and clothing for seven people, from Hoskinstown through Tallaganda State Forest in NSW.  The trek took four days and nights and covered 44 kilometers, some of it in rough terrain.  Designed to test and teach the youthful participants, it was successful on both counts. Most of all, they had fun. 

One young women on the trek, Utopia Kikkert, had this to say about the experience: “The Trek was a lot of fun, especially the ‘women’s pull.’  Only the women were allowed to pull the handcarts up a very steep hill, while the young men stood by in respect.  Everyone worked in silence as they strained to get their loaded carts to the top of the hill.  We all said a prayer and definitely felt the Spirit.”                            

Tony Abel, second councillor in the Canberra Stake presidency and organizer of the trek said, “By making them physically struggle and asking them to work hard and overcome challenges, they got an appreciation of their family, faith, surroundings, themselves, and the blessings they receive from God.  It opens up their eyes and gives them the strength and courage to have a go at something.”

Stake Young Women’s president Annie Waddoups observed  that “A trek is a fantastic way to unify the participants because they have to work together to accomplish a goal they could not do alone.  Youth blossom when they are away from the distractions of technology.”


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.