The kids (who were brave enough) rappelled down a wall. In small groups, they tested their leadership, innovation and strength in a series of challenges, such as getting an "ammo box" across a "river" by making a bridge out of planks and rope, or tying barrels together.
At first our group had a hard time figuring out what to do. But the kids got better at improvising, and everyone pitched in and helped carry out the "missions." People really stretched their limits on bravery!
These activities worked up a pretty good appetite by lunch time, as Londa Davis of Bite-Size Catering showed up with box lunches of wonderful sandwiches, fruit salad, and moist, brownies studded with chocolate chips.Les and Kathryn Sparks made their signature Kung Pao Spaghetti for dinner — little chunks of chicken, ginger and red chiles for heat, and peanuts for a nice crunch. For breakfast, we had Kathryn's fabulous cinnamon rolls.
For lunch on Saturday, we enjoyed pizzas baked in a backyard brick oven, just a few miles up the road at Todd Caldwell home in the Daybreak community. Diane and Craig Caldwell were our ward's Youth Conference chairs, and Todd is Craig's brother. He built the wood-burning oven himself, because he loves making artisan breads. Good thing he's a firefighter so he knows all about fire safety.
My favorite pizza was the Buffalo Chicken Pizza, flavored with blue cheese and Frank's Hot Sauce. I've seen wood-fired ovens in restaurants, but never in anyone's backyard. Some of us thought it would be a great addition to our neighborhood park, if one of the Boy Scouts decided to do it for an Eagle project.
But, when I started looking at the dimensions, I could imagine all the little kids in the neighborhood climbing in and getting stuck in it!
Youth Conference wasn't all about food, of course. There were fun games, inspiring speakers and good friendships. The great food was a bonus.
On Saturday afternoon on the way home, I stopped at The Gateway where my daughter, Amy Phillips, was involved in the Chalk Art Festival. Wow! There were tons of people and lots of great art to see. Since the theme was foster parents, Amy's artwork showed all folks who had served in a parental role to Harry Potter. One woman who hadn't heard of Harry Potter saw the picture of Dumbledore (top, middle) and thought it was Osama bin Laden. An LOL moment.