The Ma and Pa Handbook

You were chosen to serve as a Ma and Pa because of who you are. You were carefully prayed about, pondered over, and selected by members of the Stake Presidency and stake leaders responsible for planning and preparing the Trek this year. You were chosen because of your great love for the Lord and for your deep and abiding testimonies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will set the tone for the entire Trek experience for the youth in your family. Your positive influence will change hearts and lives. For some youth it will be a unique experience to have a Ma and Pa both with a deep conviction and testimony of the Gospel. Your good examples as you remain positive even through opposition will build and fortify the youth in your care. We encourage you to show appropriate affection toward your spouse while on the trek. We thank you for accepting this responsibility.

Roles of Ma’s and Pa’s

· Enhance the spiritual experience. The Ma and Pa prepare themselves spiritually and seek the Spirit in all they do and say. One of their most important responsibilities is helping the youth benefit spiritually from the trek. Music, stories, testimonies, expressions of love, and family discussions help create an environment in which the Spirit can teach and inspire youth.

· Build unity. The Ma and Pa strive to help members of their group become unified and develop supportive friendships. They ask group members to stay together rather than join with other groups. To help build unity, the Ma and Pa model in their relationship the skills they hope the youth will acquire or increase. They work together in harmony, support one another, and have fun together.

· Challenge youth to participate wholeheartedly. The Ma and Pa make every effort to help the youth in their group become engaged in the trek. Rather than doing most of the work themselves, they help all group members work together and make contributions. The Ma and Pa encourage youth to step outside of their comfort zones, although they must not require them to do anything against their will.

Reminder: Youth Protection Training

All leaders and Ma and Pa Couples are required to complete the Youth Protection Training. Click here to complete this training.

01. Overview of Assignments

Your Trek Family

You will be assigned 7-8 youth to take in and love and nurture as a Trek family. Your youth will vary in backgrounds and strengths. Be sensitive to special circumstances your assigned youth may have. Strive to create at all times an atmosphere were all youth within your care feel loved and accepted. Help them feel, recognize, and contemplate the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Remain Positive

Always remain positive even through opposition. If your youth see you complaining they might feel free to do the same. Also keep in mind that this may be the only experience youth within your family will have ever had with endowed temple-worthy parents that love the Lord. Help them to recognize the power of these temple bonds and covenants through your positive example.

Strive to be an Effective Teacher

Anticipate and be prepared to ask and answer questions. Bear testimony spontaneously. Look for opportunities to teach quietly, especially by your example. We also encourage you to allow the youth in your family to teach and lead. Love all family members and be careful not to choose favorites. Be prepared to teach as prompted by the Holy Ghost.

Spiritually Prepare

Study and prayerfully seek to understand the Trek theme “Go & Do, Because It’s True” and look for ways to teach this theme to your family throughout the entire Trek experience. Spiritually prepare and pray for guidance as you lead your Trek family. Here are additional ways you can prepare:

  1. Personal and family prayer each day

  2. Studying the scriptures daily and seeking for guidance and inspiration on behalf of your Trek family.

  3. Review talks from this past General Conference

  4. Attend the temple if possible

  5. Learn about the handcart pioneers and prayerfully consider their sacrifice

  6. Find and prepare a family pioneer name and history for yourself.

  7. Improve your listening skills

Health Concerns

Review the medical concerns of each family member and become familiar with their medical, dietary or other needs. Please share this information only as needed.

Equipment Check and List

Conduct an equipment check prior to leaving our starting point. Make certain all items fit inside the youth’s bucket.

Physically Prepare

The Trek experience requires physical stamina and endurance. This can be obtained through obedience to the Word of Wisdom, eating a balanced diet comprised of wholesome foods and regular exercise.

Trek participants (youth and leaders) should be able to walk the distances which will be traveled on the trek (unless they have a limiting disability). Specifically, each participant should be able to complete a minimum requirement of walking/running four (4) miles on level ground in 60 minutes or less without undue stress. This usually requires physical preparation months in advance of trek. A training program is included in this packet that will help you acquire the fitness level necessary to successfully complete your Trek. You need to make preparation and plans in advance for anyone in your group who requires special assistance.

Create a Sense of Uniqueness

Create a sense of uniqueness within your family that will enhance the overall experience. You can do this through fun songs, games, secret handshakes, chants, unique pioneer “toys,” etc. Be creative and generate a fun dynamic within your group.


There will be ample time to play games with your Trek family during breaks and assigned family time. Prepare ideas and bring needed supplies, especially pioneer related activities that your family can do during these moments of down time.

“Big Brother” or “Big Sister” Responsibilities

Select a youth to be a “big brother” or “big sister” that will serve as a youth leader during family meetings and on the Trek. Select someone that will be a good example and that the other youth will look up to. Encourage this youth leader to be positive and help motivate and encourage the other siblings. This youth can help prepare devotionals, conduct family meetings, and lead games/discussions, etc.

5 Gallon Buckets

All Trek attendees are responsible personally for obtaining a 5 gallon bucket and lid to be used on the Trek. You may consider designing a padded cushion to go on top of the bucket.


Each family needs to prepare 2 morning devotionals. Assign members of your family to prepare a devotional that includes a prayer and spiritual thought and hymn incorporating the Trek theme into your devotionals.

Trek families will have approximately 1-hour on Thursday and Friday evening to enjoy family time. Ma’s and Pa’s should plan a combination of fun and spiritual activities for their families to enjoy on these nights. You can involve your youth in the planning process.


Stake leaders will provide and distribute a unique journal for all participants once we reach the Trek site. Journal writing is highly encouraged and will enhance the youth’s spiritual experience during the Trek. Please remind your youth to write in their journals throughout the Trek.

Check the Stake Website

Frequently check the stake website at for the most current and up-to-date information.

Pioneer Clothing

All Trek participants are requested to dress in pioneer attire. The responsibility to obtain or make this attire lies solely upon the youth and not the Trek family. Youth should obtain or create their attire on their own.

Sleeping Arrangements

All Trek participants will sleep in their Trek families (a tent for the Ma and Pa, one or two for the YM, and one or two tents for the YW in the group).

We will utilize the resources of the wards to acquire these items for your Trek family.

Trek families will be asked to break down their own campsites and bring all equipment LABELED to the Logistics Trailer prior to daily departure. Upon arrival all families will be asked to set up their own campsites for the evening.

5 Gallon Water Jug

All families are required to bring one empty 5 gallon water jug to be carried on the handcart. Again, please utilize the resources of your ward to acquire one. Carbonated and highly sweetened drinks are discouraged on the Trek. Adequate ice water will be provided to trek participants at points along the trail and in camping areas.


Because of the nature of this expedition, we will not be able to provide menu options for those with allergies or intolerances. We will have cooler space for those that might need to bring additional food. A menu of meals can be obtained from the Stake to allow participants with dietary restrictions to plan accordingly. Those who need cooler space please coordinate with a member of the Stake Young Men's or Stake Young Women's Presidency!

02. Ideas for Games & Activities

Activity Ideas While Walking, Walking and Walking

I Spy

I Spy: One person chooses an object in their mind and says “I Spy with my little eye something ____ (they say the color of the object).” The team then tries to guess the object about which they are thinking. Whoever guesses the object picks the next object.

Connect the Word

The first person chooses the first word, and the next person adds a word after it. Then the following person also adds to the last part of that word. For example, the first person could say “Utah,” and the next person, “Utah Jazz.” Then the third person could say, “Jazz music,” etc.

Buzz Saw or Whirly Gig

Each person will need a large button and string. Simply thread the string through the button and tie in a knot. Put the loop over your thumbs with the disc hanging. Spin the disc around until the strings are completely twisted on both sides. Then pull the strings taut. The disc will spin rapidly as the string unwinds. When nearly unwound, release tension, but keep the string relatively straight between the thumbs. The angular momentum of the disc will cause the strings to twist again in the opposite direction. As the disc slows, pull on the string again and its direction will reverse.

***This will need to be put together prior to Trek but Pioneer children played this as they walked.

Twenty Questions

A game where one person thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the other players try to guess who or what it is by asking only “yes” and “no” questions to the person who is “it.” The game ends when the answer is guessed or when twenty questions have been asked.

Railroad Spelling Bee

One person is chosen to be the leader and he or she spells a word of his/her choice. The next person has to spell a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word and so on.

Trek Trivia

Teach your Trek family about the Willie and Martin Handcart companies by preparing your own set of questions, answers and historical information/stories.

Pioneer Odometer

Tie a bandana to the wagon wheels and count the number of times the bandana goes around the wheel. Determine an amount of minutes or a distance such as your current location to the next large boulder, etc. History: The pioneers wanted to keep a record of how far they traveled each day, so William Clayton tied a red flag on one of his wagon wheels and counted the times the flag went around. He was able to calculate the distance the wagon had traveled using the measurement of the wheel and the number of turns of the flag. This was a very tiring job, so Brother Clayton invented a machine that would do the counting for him. This machine, called an odometer, was connected to a wagon wheel. As the wagon wheel turned, smaller wheels inside the machine moved and measured the distance the pioneers traveled each day.

Small Group Activities When We’ve Stopped Walking

There are occasions on the pioneer trek when you may find extra time on your hands. These “gaps” often occur between meals and scheduled events, or when there is some unforeseen hold-up in the scheduled events. Rather than sending your restless family off to find trouble, you can initiate one of several activities. The following is a list of some games and activities that can be used as “gap-fillers.”


States: Sit players in a circle and have everyone choose a state (or a fruit or a famous person, etc.). Go around the circle twice, having each person name their state so that the players can memorize them. IT stands in the middle with a hat or bandana and approaches a player who must name another state (belonging to another player) before IT hits them on the leg. IT must hurry to the person whose state was named and try to hit them before they can name another state. Whoever is hit on the legs before naming another’s state is IT. If a player says their own state or a state not included in the game they become IT.

Most Embarrassing Moment

Each person in a circle shares his or her most embarrassing moment.

Strengths and Fears

Each person shares one of their greatest fears. When everyone has shared a fear, you should go around the circle again and ask everyone to share one of his or her greatest strengths. This activity can be processed.

Champion the Cause

In a circle, one person shares a peak experience that they have had—one that has meant a great deal to them for some reason or another. When they have completed sharing their experience, the other members of the group share their observations about that person’s outstanding characteristics. This is continued until everyone has had a chance to be “championed.”


Have some of the youth choose a story to act out from the scriptures, and have the rest of your family guess what story it is.

Bean Game

Each player is given 5 beans (or more depending on how long you want the game to last). All players sit in a circle and there is an empty container in the center of the circle to collect discarded beans. The object of the game is to be the first one to get rid of all your beans.

The way you can discard a bean is to tell something about yourself that you think NO one else in that circle can say about himself or herself also. (You can only say things that are actually true). For example, it is my turn and I say “I have floated in the Dead Sea.” If no one else in the circle can claim that to be true for them, then you can discard your bean. If there is someone else that can say that about himself/herself, they get to discard their bean and you cannot. (If there are multiple people in the group that can say that is true for them, all of them can discard a bean, but not the person who said it).

This pushes the players to think of unusual and unique things to tell about themselves so they don’t help another player in the circle win. For example, if you are a BYU/Ute fan, maybe think of something else to share because there could be several BYU/Ute Fans in your circle. Instead, share with the group that you have a pet named “Bubba.” You would be more likely to be the only one in the circle that could say that.

Truth, Truth, Lie

Each person has to tell at least one lie and two truths about himself or herself, and then the group has to guess which statement is a lie.

Get to Know You with Skittles

Have each person get some Skittles (or other candy), taking as many as they want. After everyone has some Skittles, each person has to tell one thing about himself or herself for each Skittle they have in their hands.

Thimble Game

Sit in a circle with one person in the middle. The person in the middle holds a thimble full of water and says a topic, such as colors. The people in the circle each take turns saying an item from the topic. If anyone repeats an item that has already been said, they get a thimble full of water in the face and then they are IT.

I Have a Basket

The players form a circle. The first player begins the game by saying “I have a basket.” The person beside him or her asks “What’s inside?” The first player has to name something that starts with the letter a. The second person has to name an object that starts with b, and so on.

Ducks Fly

Players face the leader, who says what to do. Then they copy the actions of the leader. The leader will say “ducks fly” and flap his arms. The players also flap their arms. The leader continues with other actions like “cats meow”, “dogs bark”, etc. But the leader also tries to trick others by saying “sheep oink”. The players must remain quiet until the leader says it correctly.

The Elements

Everyone sits in a circle. One player throws a handkerchief in the air and calls out one of the elements: air, earth, water, or fire. If air, water, or earth is called out, the person whom the handkerchief touches must name a creature that belongs to that element before the caller counts to ten (such as water–eel; air–falcon). If any player calls out fire, everyone must be silent because no creatures live in that element! The one with the handkerchief then tosses it and calls out another element. If an answer is incorrect, has already been named, or if time runs out, that player must forfeit. Other Ideas: Dominos, Checkers, Jacks, Hacky Sack, Cat’s Cradle

***Large Group Activities will be organized by the Trek Activities Committee.

03. Handcart Instructions

Help us take care of the handcarts. They are a very valuable resource for a successful trek.

  1. Treat handcarts with care; pull or push them by hand.

  2. The back rails and side rails of the handcarts are fragile. You can push on them, but please don’t pull back, lean, sit, or stand on them.

  3. Do not sit or stand on the shaft when it is resting on the ground.

  4. Do not pull handcarts behind vehicles.

  5. No one should ride in the cart, EVER.

  6. Do not run with the handcart. Trek participants easily trip and get run over by the wheels.

  7. When stopping the handcart, slowly lower the shaft until it rests on the ground. Never drop the shaft. Always set it onto the ground gently.

  8. Carefully watch the handle clearance when going through gates and other narrow places.

  9. Stay away from the wheels. Some clothing, especially dresses, can get caught in the wheels.

  10. You may attach a 20-25 foot rope during cart use. The rope allows more people to pull at once.

  11. When going down steep hills, always keep the handcart under control. You may attach rope to the back of the handcart and have everyone help to slow down the cart or turn the handcart around and take it down the hill backwards.

  12. When stopping on a hill, place a rock or some other object behind the wheels so that the handcart does not roll.

  13. Do not pull a loaded handcart sideways on a steep incline (where one wheel is consistently lower than the other). If all the weight of the handcart is shifted to one wheel, it can break.

  14. Do not deface any surface of the handcart (writing, carving, painting, etc.)

  15. Do not leave handcarts on the trails or in campsites. You are responsible for them while they are assigned to your group. If you break them on the trail, you must bring them in. (Duct tape is an effective temporary fix.)

04. Trek Rules

Basic Rules

  1. All trek families are required to wear bandanas that match and correspond to each other.

  2. Youth and family members are required to stay within their family units unless otherwise specified. There will be opportunities in the evenings to be with other fellow friends of the stake.

  3. All participants are to remain modest in dress. No tank tops, low cut blouses. Please refer to the clothing packet at the end of this handout.

  4. Romances between youth are not acceptable during Trek.

While on the Trail

  1. Stay behind the priesthood leader/Trail Boss who is setting the pace.

  2. Everyone has a hand on the handcart helping the family with the handcart.

  3. The pace is slow so that everyone can keep up.

  4. Stay on the trails or in approved areas.

  5. Leaders and youth should be environmentally aware and astute. Be mindful of historic preservation and sensitive to the historical landscape.

  6. Watch for animals and wildlife along the trail or in the campgrounds and don’t bother them.

  7. Leave no trace, and help pick up the traces left by others. It helps to have a small garbage bag on the handcart.

  8. No cell phones, ipods, or any other electronic devices

  9. No horses, dogs or pets, firearms, ammunition, fireworks, ATVs, boom boxes, MP3 players on trek.

  10. Fasting should not be incorporated as part of the treks, as the activities are physically demanding and the lack of food, under such circumstances, would be unwise.

  11. The wearing of white clothing to represent the deceased, those behind the veil, and other such representations are not to be included as part of the treks. Please assure that all who will participate will understand this instruction.

  12. Always leave the trail clear for others. We are a public access trail under a BLM permit in these locations.

  13. You are responsible for your own medical issues.

  14. Pack it In! Pack it Out! This applies to all trek groups: We have no trash facilities.

05. Common Issues to Prepare For


The weather can change rapidly, so jackets and rainwear should be kept handy. Also, wet pants can cause chafing if considerable walking is done after getting wet. Chafing is more frequent in hot temperatures. Remember, the weather may be either hot or cold or, more likely, a combination. Plan for change!

Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

Sunscreen and insect repellant are a must. For protection from insects, including disease carrying ticks, use permethrin products to spray clothing, shoes, hats, etc., according to product instructions BEFORE packing for the trek. Use high percentage DEET products to spray on skin as directed while on the trek. Sunscreen should be applied prior to sun exposure and repeated as directed during the day. Cover all exposed parts of the body. Chafing in underarm and ‘diaper’ areas can be a problem and may be prevented by keeping those areas dry with good air circulation. Products such as baby powder, Gold Bond powder, Zeasorb, etc., may be helpful.


Leave the wildlife alone! Trek participants should NOT hike alone or wander off from their group. A buddy system should be developed. Leaders should know where the youth are at all times. Every person should have a working flashlight.

06. First Aid

Each group should evaluate their situation and rely on their medical staff for opinions, diagnosis, and treatment of any illnesses or injuries incurred while trekking. The following are suggestions for dealing with medical issues on trek, and are not to be taken as all-inclusive or legally binding.

First Aid Kits – Sample Basic Kit (STAKE WILL PROVIDE THE KIT)

Each group leader should carry a basic first aid kit. The following items are some suggested items: antiseptic wipes, mole skin, band aids, Neosporin, hand wipes, scissors, baby powder, feminine products, sun screen, tweezers, etc. Along with the basic items listed above you may need specific items in your family’s first aid kit depending on the health issues of your family members (for example if someone has severe environmental allergies an epi pen should be in your kit).

Medical Concerns

The following are seven medical issues generally faced on trek:

  1. Dehydration/heat exhaustion

  2. Hypothermia

  3. Blisters

  4. Sprains (knees and ankles)

  5. Cuts

  6. Asthma and allergy attacks

  7. Sunburns and Chafing

Dehydration/Heat Exhaustion

Drink to prevent thirst, not to quench it. It is important to have plenty of water and powdered Gatorade, or the equivalent. Most groups carry 10 gallons of water on each of the handcarts. The trail boss should stop the group at least every 20-25 minutes for a water break. When it is really hot, groups may refill their water jugs two to three times during the day. Spray bottles are a good way to help participants cool off. Remember to have participants drink even when they are not pulling handcarts.


  • Pale face; whole body may feel cool and clammy

  • Shallow breathing

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dilated pupils, headache, and dizziness

  • Weak pulse

  • Heavy perspiration

  • Unconsciousness


  • Place the person on their back and raise their feet.

  • Provide shade

  • Loosen clothing or remove some of the patient’s clothes, shoes and socks.

  • Give patient water and Gatorade or equivalent powder; dilute it with water (half and half). Encourage patient to drink all possible.

  • Fan and put cool, wet cloths to back of neck, face, armpits, and lower legs.

  • Give sips of water

  • Put into medical vehicle

The Medical support staff needs to be capable of providing treatment for moderate to severe dehydration, if required. Prevention of dehydration by ensuring adequate fluid intake is critical, but may not always be adequate without careful monitoring. Heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke without adequate medical care and supervision.

Heat Stroke


  • Red, very hot face. Skin is often dry, but if a person has been exercising hard, they may be sweating. • Very small pupils

  • Slow, noisy breathing

  • Rapid, strong pulse

  • Possible unconsciousness


  • Place person on his back with head and shoulders raised

  • Get them into a cool medical vehicle.

  • Undress the person down to the underwear.

  • Cover the person – especially the head – with dripping wet towels, shirts, or cloths.


This can happen to anyone who is not dressed warmly enough in cold weather. Wind, rain, and exhaustion increase the risk. The temperature does not have to be freezing.


  • Feels chilly, tired, and irritable

  • Begins to shiver and then shivering becomes violent

  • Cannot think clearly, stumbles and falls


  • Prevention! Be prepared, eat plenty of food, and drink lots of fluids.

  • Take off wet clothes

  • Get into a sleeping bag

  • If in an advanced stage, the rescuer must also strip down to underwear and get into the sleeping bag so that body contact can warm the victim slowly.

Sprains and Strains


  • Apply cold to reduce swelling and pain

  • Elevate injured part and use compression (Ace wrap).

  • Then 72 hours later, apply heat to increase metabolism.

  • Rest the injured part.



  • A pair of thin inner socks (nylon knee high) under thicker hiking socks will help decrease friction on the skin.

  • Wear shoes that are broken in.

  • If you feel a hot spot forming on your foot, stop right away and treat it before it becomes a blister.

  • Wash it with soap and water.

  • Cut a piece of moleskin in the shape of a doughnut and place it on your foot with the hole over the blister.


  • If you think a blister will break, sterilize a pin in the flame of a match.

  • Prick the blister near its edge and press out the liquid.

  • Protect the wound from pressure with a doughnut bandage and keep it clean with a sterile bandage.



  • Elevate injured limb above body level

  • Apply direct pressure

  • Cover with a pad. If the cloth becomes soaked, DO NOT REMOVE IT. Put another pad on top of the first one, and get medical help.

07. Clothing

Dressing in pioneer clothing can have a tremendous impact on the spirit of the trek. The following is a short description of what the pioneers wore as they crossed the plains. It also gives some hints for trekking in our day.



Men’s shirts were worn loose. They had a narrow neck-band with no collar. Plain colors were most common, but stripes or plaids were also used. For modern day trekkers, light colors will be coolest. Choose something larger than a regular fit, with long sleeves, and it's ok if it has a collar.


Men’s pants were also worn loose. Wool or linen was used. Colors included blue, black, gray, and browns, especially beige and tan. Trekkers in our day find that wool is too hot but that cotton, corduroy, twill, cargo and canvas pants are good choices. Choose styles that are rather loose fitting through the crotch and thigh area to add comfort in walking.


Men’s pants were held up by suspenders that were buttoned on the outside of the waistband, and crossed in the back. Modern day trekkers probably have never used a pair of suspenders in their life! haha!


Men’s everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide brimmed low felt hats, or round crowned hat. Modern day trekkers can wear a wide brimmed western style hat or a straw hat. (No baseball caps please.)


Usually these items were worn only on Sunday or when attending a meeting or social event. Ties were small, black, and silky, and were wrapped around the neck once and tied in the front with a square knot.



Women’s basic dresses were floor length. It could be plain or have many ruffles. The sleeves were full, and long, with buttons or bands at the wrist. Necklines were

usually high, with buttons up the front. Fabrics were cotton in solid colors or small print. Bright colors were popular (especially bright yellow). Blouses and long skirts or jumpers could be used. Pioneer trekkers now have found that dresses and skirts should be mid-calf or above the top of a hiking boot in length (so the girls do not trip over their skirts while pulling).


The standard apron was six to twelve inches shorter than the skirt length. It gathered at the waist and tied. The bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress bodice at the top two corners, hence, the name pinafore (Pinned at two of the four corners!). Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants. Sunday aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib. For trekking today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different items along the trail.


Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside. They were made of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and a back ruffle to protect the neck. They could be white, plain colors or a print, but they never matched the fabric of the dress. Today, bonnets or straw hats for the girls are important; they need to have something for protection from the sun.


These were worn underneath the dress and were normally white. Their length was usually between knee and mid-calf. Modern day trekkers could use scrubs or pajama pants hemmed shorter. Wearing pantaloons helps maintain modesty in trekking situations.

Shoes and Socks

Shoes for both women and men need not be “period” style. Comfort is most important. Do not wear new hiking boots unless you have taken at least two months to break them in. Bring two pair of shoes in the event that one gets wet or causes blisters. Pack clean

socks for each day. Some people wear a double pair of socks, with a smooth, lightweight nylon stocking being closest to the skin.

Clothing Sources

  • Check local second-hand stores or borrow clothing.

  • ASK fellow ward members! There are several families who have older children and still have their trek clothes tucked away for a special reason! You are that special reason! Give them a call.

  • Look up websites for Butterick and McCall’s patterns under costumes (they have pioneer patterns)

  • Here is a great bonnet pattern:

  • There are several bonnet patterns and apron patterns on the internet! Just google and find your favorite! (Actually, ask your Foster Ma & Pa and they can help get you set up!)

Things that are NOT allowed, or necessary, include: electronics of all kinds, baseball caps, t-shirts, tank tops, blue jeans, canned drinks, candy, weapons, perfumes.

08. Specific Guidance That You Might Consider

Study and Know the Pioneer Stories

Find your own Pioneer Hero and study their life. Think about how this person’s example or faith can influence your own life. Share with the youth how this individual has had an impact on your faith and your actions. If you sacrifice the time to truly learn about individual pioneers, when you share their stories about their life on the trail and what they did once they reached the valley the youth will feel the spirit. Remember, you can have a Pioneer Hero and your own Ancestor Hero; many times the youth will not have their own Pioneer Ancestor but will have an ancestor who had the pioneer spirit and left an incredible legacy.

Be a Good Example

Each of you must know that your first responsibility is to set an example to all of those who will be in your family. For some of our youth participants this will be their only opportunity to live with "parents" who have been sealed in the Temple. As a result you can provide an example of how an ideal family unit should function. The rest of this section may give you some ideas about how you can achieve this objective.

Strive to be an Effective Teacher

You will not be able to teach everything during Pioneer Trek. It is, therefore, important for you to focus on a few things that you might teach during the brief time that you have with your trek family. First of all, remember that teaching is always more effective where there are strong substantive relationships. Therefore, it is important for you to work hard to establish a substantive relationship with all members of your family. Do not play favorites; strive for equity in relationships that you build with the members of your family. Remember that substantive relationships are not necessarily based on being "their best friend" or a "cotton candy" approach to friendship, but on genuineness, true interest, effective listening, and being there when they need you. Second, it is important to rely on sound doctrinal principles when you teach. The combination of effective relationships and doctrine can have a powerful impact on individual lives. As you approach the teaching opportunities you have, please consider the following:

Be effective at asking and answering questions Elder Eyring has said that this is at the heart of all learning and teaching. He said, "The Master answered and sometimes chose not to answer questions in his ministry. The most effective questions invite inspiration. Great teachers ask those". That may take just a small change of words or inflection in the voice.

Here is a question that might not invite inspiration:

How is a true prophet recognized? That question invites an answer which is a list drawn from memory of the scriptures and the words of living prophets. Many students could participate in answering. Most could give at least a passable suggestion and minds would be stimulated.

But we could also ask the question this way with just a small difference:

'Have you felt that you were in the presence of the prophet'? That will invite individuals to search their memories for feelings. After asking you might wisely wait for a moment before calling on someone to respond. Even those that do not speak will be thinking of spiritual experiences that will invite the Holy Ghost. Then even if no one should speak they will be ready to bear quiet testimony of your witness that we are blessed to live when God has called prophets to guide and teach us."

Use of Journals

We have made a decision to provide each participant in Pioneer Trek with a journal wherein they can record those things they are feeling and learning. Elder Richard Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve has effectively taught a basic premise for recording spiritual experiences in journals: "I will seek to learn by what I hear, see, and feel. I will write down things I learn and I will do them". During the course of Trek there will be times provided wherein the participants can write in their journal. You should help to provide them a framework that will help them be most effective in this effort. For example, a journal entry might consist of at least one sentence with each of the following questions: What did I do? What did I learn? What did I feel? How will I apply what I have learned?

Elder Scott further expanded on the scripture in D&C 8:2. "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost." He taught that: "An impression to the mind is very specific. Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though instruction were being dictated". He then taught about communications to the mind and heart by saying, "Communication of the heart is a more general impression. The Lord often begins by giving impressions where there is recognition of their importance when they are obeyed one receives more capacity to receive more detailed instruction to the mind. An impression to the heart if followed is fortified by a more specific instruction to the mind." As our youth begin to understand these concepts they will become better at recording what is important in their journals. Journals help us remember what the Lord has taught us. This theme is repeated several times in the Book of Mormon. We need to remember both what we feel and what we see and hear. The raw history is also important to remember.

Remember, it is important in your experience with our Trek participants not to over teach. The above are some general guidelines that you might utilize and apply appropriately as the spirit dictates.

Use Music Effectively

Music can be an effective tool in teaching. You will have many opportunities to sing during Pioneer Trek. Included in this training manual are several fun songs to sing while you are on the trail. Additionally, at the end of the journals that will be provided to each of our youth are several more spiritually-based songs of Zion that you can use at appropriate times to invite the spirit in special ways. There will be those times such as morning devotional or "contemplation reflection" settings where these songs can be used effectively.

Love Your Trek Family

As with your own family, it is important for you to uniformly love every member of your family. Do not show favoritism. Look for positive attributes in each member and seek for opportunities to reinforce them. Each participant is unique and your responsibility will be to give the love and support he or she needs to overcome their own personal challenges. For some the challenge is pulling the handcart, for others it is offering a hand of support to someone in need. Your love for your Trek family will be your greatest resource.

Guide Your Family throughout the Trek

You will guide the family throughout the Trek. You will lead by giving responsibility to the youth and supporting them in those responsibilities; for example: in all family prayers, family scripture study, group hugs, discussions, assignments, meals and activities.

Listen With Both Your Mind and Heart

Someone once said, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood". It is difficult for people to listen to you if they do not feel you are listening to them. By watching and listening you will know what each member of your family needs to strengthen themselves spiritually. You will know when it is time to offer a helping hand or to let him/her struggle on their own. Effective listening requires not just hearing, but observing body language, interactions with others, and other things that might tell you really what is going on in their mind and heart

09. Games

Following are some suggestions for activities to participate in with your Trek family. These are in addition to the materials found in the Trek journals. Please remember that no electronics are allowed on the trial. Also, please do not bring things like face cards, board games, balls, frisbees or other modern sporting equipment.

Family Discussions/Scripture Study

Many groups have family discussions throughout the experience that the Ma’s & Pa’s direct. They focus around the stake’s theme, pioneer stories, and the scriptures. The family discussions are kept short and some are planned while others happen when the Ma’s & Pa’s feel their trek family would benefit from them. Many times they have the youth share the stories they have learned.

They also plan time for scripture study as a family each morning or sometime along the way. Ma’s and Pa’s should take opportunities to share from the scriptures or ask the youth to share scriptures that relate to what they are learning and experiencing.

Ma’s and Pa’s or family members may wish to read from the pioneer’s journals and stories along the trail and in camp. Make sure that everyone can hear. These stories should be used to teach gospel principles that can be applied to the youth’s life. Stories and journals can be found in many sources including the following:

I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail by Susan Arrington Madsen

Journal of the Trail by Stewart E. Glazier and Robert S. Clark

Handcarts to Zion by Leroy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen

Fire of the Covenant by Gerald N. Lund (Historical Fiction Book)


Hop, Step and Jump

Mark a starting point (on the ground if possible). Everyone lines up behind the line. One at a time, each person takes a hop on one leg, then one long step, then one long jump with both legs. Mark each person’s spot or have them stay in their spot until everyone has had a turn. The person who covers the most distance is the winner.

Blind Man’s Bluff

One player is blindfolded and put in the middle of everyone else. When the blind man catches someone, he must try to identify who it is by a quick feel of the head and shoulders. If he gets it right the caught player becomes the blind man, if not, play resume. Sometimes the players spin the blind man before he starts trying to catch them.

Feather Dance

Players form a circle and must keep some downy feather afloat within the circle without touching it. They may blow or wave their hands to create a breeze.

Birdie in My Cup

Players form a circle and one player goes to the center with a cup of water. He says, “I have a little birdie in my cup. What color is it?” He then goes around the circle and asks the same question of each player, who in turn give their answer. If the answer is incorrect, the player holding the cup puts his fingertips in the water and flicks water on the incorrect player’s face. When a player guesses the correct color, they switch places and that player becomes it. If it’s hot outside, the one who guesses correctly might get the whole cup of water splashed on his face and then the cup is refilled for the next round.

Comical Concert

Players all choose an instrument and either they or the conductor comes up with the sound each instrument will make. For example, boom for the drum, plink for the harp, baroomph for the tuba, etc. After each player knows their sound, a song is chosen to which everyone knows the tune and the band members “play” their instruments as the conductor conducts. The conductor may ask members to play louder or softer.

I Spy

One player is it and covers her eyes while the other players hide. When everyone is hidden they all call out “Whoop!” The player who is it then looks for the hidden players. If she sees one she must call them out by name, “I spy John!” If your name is called you must run to the place from which the person who is it started searching, while the person who is it tries to tag you. If you are tagged, you become it.

The Elements

Everyone sits in a circle. One player throws a handkerchief in the air and calls out one of the elements, air, earth, water, or fire. If air, water, or earth is called out, the person whom the handkerchief touches must name a creature that belongs to that element before the caller counts to ten (which she does as quickly as she can). The one with the handkerchief then tosses it and calls out another element. If the animal is wrong, has already been named, or if time runs out, that player must pay a forfeit.

If any player calls out fire, everyone must be silent because no creatures live in that element!

Fly Away, Pigeon!

The players make a circle with one person in the middle. Everyone puts their right forefinger on their knee. If the person in the middle raises her finger and calls out an animal that can fly such as, “Fly away, pigeon!” or “Fly way, sparrow!” the others must also raise their fingers. However, if the one in the middle calls out something like, “Fly way, horse!” the other players must not move their fingers or else they must pay a forfeit. If the player calls out something that flies by accident, such as a feather, leaf, piece of paper, etc. players must make up their minds quickly as to whether they should raise their finger or not. This usually ends in disputes as to whether the item can fly or not and the one in the middle gets the final say. It should be played at a fast pace so that the other players don’t have too much time to think!


Make a double circle, girls sitting on chairs inside and boys standing behind the chairs. One chair must be empty. The boy behind that chair winks at a girl, trying not to be seen winking. The girl at whom he winks attempts to slip out of her chair without being noticed by her partner. If she succeeds in making it to the empty chair, then her former partner is the one who tries to get another girl to his chair. If a boy is caught winking he is out of the game. This could also be played with the girls sitting on the grass.


A circle game with the beginning player saying, “I am going to Grandma’s house. I am going to take her (gift)_____.” The next player repeats the preceding statement and adds a gift of his own.


Divide into two teams, each with a captain. One team is the “sheep” and hides from the other team. The sheep captain watches and gives verbal clues as to where to hide safely while the other team searches for them. When it is safe for the sheep to make it “home”, the captain yells, “Run my sheepie, run!” If any sheep are caught by the other team, they become part of the other team.


Get a button. Leader walks around the circle with a button in folded hands pretending to drop the button in each player’s folded hands. Another player has been asked to watch this procedure. When the leader has gone to each person, the leader asks, “Button, button, who’s got the button?” The player guessing chooses someone. If after 3 guesses the player has not located the button, the guesser becomes the new leader. If he chooses correctly, then the leader remains the same and repeats the process with a new player guessing.


Get a long string with a button threaded onto it. Players sit in a circle with a leader in the center. Each player holds onto the string. The button is moved from player to player while all players pretend they are moving the button from fist to fist. The leader must guess where the button stops when the leader calls out “Stop!”


The first person spells any word of their choosing. The next person uses the last letter in the previously spelled word as the first letter in a word of their choosing. The next person follows in like manner. Persons misspelling their word sit down.


Players stand in a circle-formation with one person in the middle. The middle person is “IT”. IT asks one of the people in the circle, “Do you love your neighbor?” If the player answers “Yes”, the players on each side of him must switch places before IT can take their place. If the player answers “No”, he must then say whom he does love. He will say something like “No, but I love everyone wearing blue.” then, everyone wearing blue must switch places before IT can take their place. The person left without a place is the new IT.


Players sit in a circle and everyone chooses a state (or fruit or famous person, etc.). Go around the circle twice, having each person name their state so that the players can memorize them. IT stands in the middle with a hat or bandana and approaches a player who must name another state (belonging to another player) before IT hits them on the head with the hat. IT must hurry to the person whose state was named and try to hit her before she can name another state. Whoever is hit on the head before naming another’s state is IT. If a player says his own state or a state not included in the game, he becomes IT.


Stand in a tight circle. Have everyone put their right hands in the middle and instruct them to join their left hands with someone else’s right hand. No one should join two hands with the same person. Now, without letting go, the group must become “untangled”.


Each person in a circle shares one of their greatest fears. When everyone has shared a fear, go around the circle again and ask everyone to share one of his greatest strengths. This is an activity that can be processed.


In a circle, one person shares a peak experience that they have had—one that has meant a great deal to them for some reason or another. When he/she has completed sharing the experience, the other members of the group share their observations about that person’s outstanding characteristics. This is continued until everyone has had a chance to be “championed”.

Drop the Handkerchief

Drop the Handkerchief is similar to Duck-Duck-Goose. Form a circle of players facing each other. The person that is "it" will go around on the outside of the circle. The person that is "it" will drop a handkerchief behind one of the other players. The person that drops the handkerchief will race around the circle in hopes they won't get caught by the person the handkerchief was dropped behind. The people around the circle has to keep checking to see if the handkerchief was dropped behind them. The person where the handkerchief was dropped picks up the handkerchief and chases after the person. The first one to sit in the empty spot wins. The one who loses will be "it" next.

Post Office

In this game each player chooses the name of a city. One player is the postal clerk. The rest of the players sit in a circle. The clerk calls out “The mail is going from Salt Lake City to Chicago” (or any other two cities). The players who chose those cities have to exchange seats without letting the postal clerk steal either of their seats.

Thimble Game

Everyone site in a circle. One person stands in the middle of the circle with a thimble full of water. He announces, “I am thinking of a color” (or fruit, state, sport, month, etc.). He walks around the circle, pausing at each person to hear their guess of what he is thinking of. When someone guesses right, the leader throws the thimble of water on them. That person is now the leader in the middle. He fills the thimble back up with water and announces, “I’m thinking of a vegetable” (or whatever). Play continues.


In addition to the songs in the Trek journal, you may wish to have the lyrics for a few of these songs with you (all are available through Church resources):

Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked

The Handcart Song

True to the Faith

As Sisters in Zion

Because I Have Been Given Much

To Be a Pioneer

Press Forward Saints

Joseph Smith’s First Prayer

A Child’s Prayer

Whenever I Think about Pioneers

We’ll Bring the World His Truth

God Bless America

All Things Bright and Beautiful

10. Packing List Information Specifically for Ma's and Pa's

Additional Family Equipment (these items to be transported in the hand cart)

Smaller items should be stored in a bucket, duffle bag, or other water resistant/proof container.

Please label all your personal items.

  • Stake Provides

    1. Tarp to cover handcart (16’x20’ or larger recommended size to provide shade/shelter when stopped)

    2. Two or more awning tent poles (Stake Provided)

    3. Roll of twine or paracord to secure tarp to handcart, for tarp guy lines as awning sunshade, or tent guy lines.

    4. Stakes for tarp guy lines; Hammer for setting shelter and tent stakes

    5. Small family first aid kit—provided by medical staff

    6. Activity Packet for Ma and Pas (Feel free to add your own to supplement if you want)

    7. Garbage bag for wrappers, etc; we will have extras for you at camp the first day

  • (2) 5-gallon water containers with spigots (insulated type)--borrow from the ward or neighbors (Updated 5.22.22)

  • Hard sided cooler (for lunch food each day--need to fit some PB and Jelly, bread, lunch meat, and fruit)

  • Cell phone or digital camera with extra batteries/memory, etc.

  • Ziploc sandwich bags (to keep your camera/cell phone dry, and emergency bathroom breaks--see DL&L rules)

  • Sharpie marker(s)

  • Extra pens/pencils

  • Pocket knife

  • Consecrated oil

  • Small Ma/Pa tent**

  • Duct tape

  • Lantern for evening family gatherings (LED style work great)

  • Feminine hygiene products (for you or young women who may need them)

  • Bungee cords (secure tarp and water jugs in handcart)

  • Small flat nose shovel with triangle handle grip (clear cow pies for tents, hold up front of hand cart when stopped)--Note digging of any kind is prohibited on the site

  • Small hand broom/dustpan

  • Bucket lid opener (optional)

  • Spray bottle for misting/cooling

  • Old bed sheet for privacy for emergency cowgirl/cowboy bathroom breaks

  • Small quantity of no-nut type candy (if desired) for you and your kids. We eat really well on trek, but a little candy while trekking can come in handy:).

**Each family will be issued one young men tent and one young women tent for the duration of Trek. These tents will be checked out to the same family each evening, and checked in each morning. Please help your kids practice good stewardship with all equipment and treat the tents appropriately. The tents are borrowed from the wards and individuals in the stake. All the poles, groundclothes (if applicable), bags, stakes, and tent equipment needs to be checked-in each morning. They should be swept out and kept clean. Please keep food out of the tents to reduce the possibility of animals joining the sleeping kids. These tents will be transported on the equipment trailer during the day.

We recommend you assign one older young man and one older young woman to be the quartermasters for your tents and give them responsibility for supervising and taking care of the tents and any other equipment they check out.

Sleeping bags and ground pads will also be transported on the equipment trailer.

The Ma/Pa personal tent may also be transported on the equipment trailer.

Please label all equipment with name and ward. The stake will provide colored duct tape to mark you gear with company colors at equipment drop-off on the evening before Trek.