When I sat down to write a post on Zion’s Camp last year, I was at a bit of a loss. I hadn’t really been involved with the camp myself. In order to genuinely describe it, I ended up interviewing my younger brother who had attended. Since then, my brother has repeatedly told me how much he enjoyed the camp, piquing my curiosity. When Jordan was assigned to photograph as much of the Zion’s Camp activities as possible, I offered to help him out just so I could tag along and see what was going on.
I wasn’t disappointed. The purpose of Zion’s Camp is to prepare youth to serve as missionaries, and from my perspective it was the perfect place to do just that. As they arrived, each participant was sorted into a district by putting on a magic hat. Wait, that was Hogwarts; I’m always getting that confused. What I meant is that when the youth arrived at Zion’s Camp, they each received a “mission call” that assigned them to a district and to a companion. Each district was named after a country (France, Korea, Mexico, and England) so that these future missionaries could prepare as if they already had received a call.
Every day was filled with activities. There were district and zone meetings where they discussed the Gospel and how it can be taught. There were opportunities to practice teaching with investigators. One morning they hiked up a mountain where, after a wonderful devotional, they each spent a little time alone with the Spirit. They played all sorts of games where they learned to have fun and work together. They learned, as Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women General President, taught in General Conference a few years ago, that not only can they do hard things, but that “in the strength of the Lord, [they] can do all things.”
While they were on campus, each district stayed in one of the modular houses at Carriage. My favorite part of each day was when all the participants went back to their houses to make dinner. Jordan and I would go to photograph them and we’d have some time to talk with them and get to know them. What impressed me were the districts that would work together to make dinner. You could feel the love they had for each other and for the Gospel that bound them together.
I’m glad that I got to get a closer look at Zion’s Camp. I can’t wait until the other sessions later this summer. Here’s a shoutout to all the future missionaries who participated. You guys are awesome! Thanks for being willing and worthy to carry on the work of the Gospel.
(Post by Alec Johnson ’14. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)