I posted this on my Facebook, but thought I would put it here too, even though I haven't had any views in several months. It's about the Trek I went on about 8 years ago. Our stake is going on another one in a few weeks and there have been many parents and youth that have been less than excited. Here is my response to them:
I've heard a lot of comments from lots of different people in my ward and stake about the upcoming Trek. Lots are good, however some are not as good. Some are extremely pessimistic. After talking to Josh about it for awhile, I decided that I was going to post this note with some of the thoughts I had while on the Trek.
The Trek is not something to take lightly. Sure we had fun, however, what we were doing was much more than simply pulling handcarts and getting sweaty, tired and hungry. It put us in a situation that humbled us and, if we had the right attitude, it allowed us to feel the Spirit for 3 days straight. The feelings that you have and the things that are done while on the Trek are not to be taken lightly. You will be walking on ground that people gave everything they had to get to the next camp that night. Lots of times, not even knowing if they were going to have something to eat, water to drink, or a warm place to sleep. You will be standing on ground where people died trying to give their families a better life somewhere else.
Preparing for the Trek might be time consuming, labor intensive, and exhausting. All that considered, it is the best thing that any parent can do for their kids. Especially those wavering. I had experiences on the Trek that I still remember today and probably will forever. I won't go into detail on what they were, but I definitely grew closer to heaven in those 3 short days that we were on the Trek.
What I remember from the Trek isn't how hard it was or how much we walked each day. I remember the feelings that we had each day and the friendships that were made. I don't remember how dirty we got or how much dirt we ate. I do remember how cold the water felt on my legs while crossing the river in the middle of August and thinking how cold it was in the middle of winter. I remember how the rocks on Rocky Ridge felt under my feet as we were invited to take our shoes off if we would like. I remember how hard it was when the girls had to pull the cart by themselves up the steepest hill I've ever seen to symbolize when the men got called to the Mormon Battalion, and also the girls that had already pulled a handcart up a hill coming back down to help the next ones up the hill. I remember how I felt as we stood in Martin's Cove. No one had to say a word for us to feel the Spirit and the sacredness of what happened there.
So excuse me if I don't take your comments about the preparation being "too hard" very seriously. It is the best thing that your kids could be doing this summer. Don't hinder their spiritual experience by your lack of morale. Encourage all the young men and young women to go on the Trek. And if you need help, give me a call! I'd be more than happy to come share the experiences I had! Sorry if this note offends any of you, but you need to know that I feel very strongly about the Trek and what happens on it.