As early as April of this year, plans were being made to attend the annual Youth Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Troy, Alabama.
Many different service projects were begun by the five stakes attending, consisting of Fort Walton Beach, Mobile, Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. Finally, in July, it all came together with an impressive schedule of speakers and entertainers, dances, dinners and devotionals concerts, workshops, songs, slide presentations on the many service projects and testimony meetings. The theme for this year's event was based on Ephesians 6:10-18 "Put on the Armor of God."
Presenters included President and Sister Smith of the Tallahassee Florida Mission, whose theme was Missionary Work; the Austin Family with their musical presentations; Tydee Welty, the supervisor for the Gulf Coast area Church Educational System — all who delivered spiritually uplifting messages.
Attendees, ranging in age from 14 to 18, worked on several different service projects. In Sandestin they labored on food-filled backpacks for needy students with Food For Thought. In Niceville they removed stumps from yards, raked leaves for the elderly, repaired bikes for the Sister Missionaries and made Easter baskets for needy children.
In DeFuniak Springs they made mothers' keychains and made goody bags and delivered them to hospitals. Crestview youth visited the Crestview Rehabilitation Center and played bingo with the patients, including a 103 year old, and sang to them, cleaned houses and made sleeping mats for the homeless. Fort Walton Beach wards collected food for Sharing and Caring, cleaned cemeteries, researched for Family History and visited nursing homes.
By the time Youth Conference had ended, all were strengthened spiritually and had donned the full Armor of God to protect themselves from the temptations of the world.