Young women gather to share strength at Georgia conference

Blending diversity into unity, more than 1,000 Beehives, Mia Maids and Laurels from throughout Georgia participated in Young Women's Conference '93 on June 21-25.

Young women from the Atlanta Georgia and Macon Georgia regions met together at the Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center in Eatonton, Ga., about 60 miles east of Atlanta."In areas of the Church where young women are isolated by distance, there is tremendous strength in bringing them together," said Young Women Gen. Pres. Janette C. Hales who participated in the conference.

Addressing the young women during a testimony meeting June 24, Pres. Hales said, "The Church is in need of mature, righteous women of faith."

She encouraged the young women to continue marching forward, saying, "Personal progress provides what Alma described in the 32nd chapter [of Alma in the Book of MormonT as an experiment on the word. It is the process of developing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

The young women, who came from urban Atlanta and other cities in Georgia as well as from rural areas, also heard a videotaped message from Elder Alexander B. Morrison, president of the North American Southeast Area.

After the meeting, each girl received a print of a painting of the Atlanta Temple by Steve Peterson and a hug from Sister Hales, Linda Buytendorp, Nancy Hardy of the Young Women's General Board, or one of the other adult leaders.

Sister Buytendorp, conference organizer, said a highlight of the conference was "just seeing the friendships of the girls and having them see that the Church is strong and vibrant and very much alive in Georgia. I don't think the Church will ever be the same in Georgia."

Aimee Mizell, a Laurel from the Macon Stake who served on the conference's organizing committee, said, "The conference showed us that we aren't alone out here."

Sister Hales said: "One of the greatest fears of young people is the fear of being isolated. So it was good for these young women to be able to make new friendships with other young women who share their values. It makes them feel more secure about their futures."

Roswell Stake Pres. Boyd Hoglund, who presided over the organization of the conference, said the conference exceeded its objectives.

"We wanted the young women to come together in a large group and see the strength of the Church as they've never seen it before," he said. "There is a strength and unity that has come about because of this. The girls now have reinforcement that what they are doing is right."

In order to make the conference as meaningful as possible for the young women, a Laurel from each stake in the two regions formed a committee that was an integral part of the planning, Pres. Hoglund said. A survey was conducted in each ward and branch to find out what the young women wanted from the experience.

While at the conference, the young women attended workshops on such subjects as creative dating, decision making, mother-daughter relationships, cooking, and simple answers to gospel questions. The girls also had free time to enjoy swimming, tennis, crafts and other activities.

Pres. Hales said she was especially delighted to meet with the young women individually or in small groups.

"It makes me feel good about the future," she said. "Sometimes we just talk about the problems of our youth, but these young women know Heavenly Father will direct them if their personal behavior puts them in line with that help."

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