This weekend was Youth Conference, which is an annual weekend event for boys and girls ages 14-18 put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This was my first year attending, and I attended as a Young Women leader for the youth from my ward (ie congregation).

The conference was amazing.  It was 2.5 days of workshops, activities, meals, and dances.

I got teary one night at one of the dances just watching the kids, seeing how happy they were.  They were all having such a good time.  And it was wholesome fun.  I don’t know if I was comparing it to the school dances I remember and the things teenagers used to do back then or what, but just watching them have so much fun that night was so beautiful to me.  And then looking back on the day and remembering all the things they were taught in the workshops – ideas and perspectives that I wasn’t taught until I joined the Church at age 26 – it was just so beautiful to see.

And the group was so inclusive.  They had a talent show and also performed skits in their teams, and one thing that stood out to me was that while someone was performing, the room was silent.  And then when they finished, everyone got an equal amount of roaring applause.  I remember talent shows back when I was in school and people would be talking during the acts.  The popular kids would get roaring applause and everyone else would get a mediocre clapping just to show necessary politeness.  It was amazing at this Youth Conference to see everyone get such a huge applause.  This group of kids was so loving.  Like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life.

And they were all such good kids.  You could see it in their eyes.  And in their smiles.  Never have I been around a group like this.  It was truly an incredible thing to experience.

I attended a few of the workshops and I learned things and gained new perspectives myself.  We all benefitted from them greatly.  And the Spirit was so strong there.  Especially on the last morning, at the testimony meeting.  One by one the youth got up to share their experiences from the weekend.  This was completely by their choice, and I’d guess probably at least half of them got up to say something.  It was a powerful meeting to say the least.  One girl in particular, gave the most captivating testimony.  It was truly the Spirit speaking through her.  It was one of the more powerful addresses I’ve ever heard – and here she was, a 15 year old.

I am so glad I went, and so grateful I was able to witness it.  It was remarkable and I will always remember it.  I am so grateful that Youth Conference is something available to kids.  Things like this where kids can connect with like-minded people who share their values and where they can be uplifted together are so valuable and important, especially at this stage in their lives.  I really have a lot of respect for Youth Conference and I value it greatly after experiencing it and seeing what it provides for our youth.  I am just so, so grateful.

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