News Release

Helaman’s Army Assembles on Yokosuka Naval Base 

Tokyo South Stake Young Men enjoy memorable summer camp.

In June, sixty-five of the Young Men (YM, ages 11-18) from the Tokyo South Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in Yokosuka for Camp Helaman (see Helaman's Army). Their theme was “I Can Do All Things Through Christ” (Philippines 4:13). According to one young man, who said, “We did basically everything fun we could do,” they did do “All” things. But camp was not just for fun. 

Inspired by the children and youth program of the Church (YOUTH), the youth-led planning committee chose activities in each of the focus areas: spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual. Leaders asked themselves, “What would Heavenly Father want to have happen in the lives of the young men as a result of this camp? One young man, Kousei Go (Tokyo 2nd Ward) enjoyed the CPR training. He feels better prepared for future emergencies. Everett Havey (Tokyo 1st Ward) says that the devotionals helped motivate him to read the scriptures more often. 

A post-camp survey indicated that of all the physical and social activities, the tree adventure course with zipline was enjoyed the most. Wesley Moore (Tokyo 2nd Ward) explained that the challenges of the ropes course can be compared to difficult things in life; you need to work hard and have faith, to be successful. 

Manitoa Terooatea (Toky 2nd Ward) helped with the planning. Along with their goal to help the young men improve socially, he said, “We just wanted everyone to have fun.” And they did! A few of the fun activities included: surfing, volleyball, kayaking, a battleship tour, bowling, swimming, and a Nerf battle. Some activities were fun as well as educational. The survival skills and first aid training included a helicopter flyover. 

Each of the activities and events during the week were led by one of the young men. There were also several other leadership opportunities, as the group was divided into districts (like on a full-time mission), with a district leader and an assistant to help with team building and organization. To support the effort to create leaders, a leadership workshop was presented by Rear Admiral Carl A. Lahti. This workshop was chosen as the best of the intellectually focused activities. 

Each district spent time studying the scriptures together every day. At the end of the camp there was a testimony meeting, which was a highlight of the week. Nearly all of the young men took the opportunity to share their feelings and testimonies of the gospel. Some young men spoke more than once. Wesley Moore hoped to share a third time, but the time ran out. Many testimonies were strengthened. 

Peter Smith, the Stake YM President, said that they hoped Camp Helaman would be “an incredible growth experience in the key pillars of the YM program that will be remembered for many years to come.” Comments from the YM would indicate that the goal was accomplished. One young man said, “You guys did a great job this year. I [wouldn’t] want to change a thing, not one little thing; it is perfection.” Another said, “I don’t know if this could have been done any better.” The young men and leaders alike walked away with a renewed sense of joy for the gospel and an appreciation for the Church YM program. 

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