What I learned from FSY: A young woman from Georgia describes her experience

Addi Jorgensen, back row, seventh from left, is pictured with youth in her company at a For the Strength of Youth conference at the University of North Georgia, in Dahlonega, Georgia, on June 23, 2022.  Provided by Addi Jorgensen
Provided by Addi Jorgensen
Four young women in blue FSY shirts linking arms and smiling with a blue sky Provided by Addi Jorgensen

This summer I had the opportunity to go to a For the Strength of Youth conference at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia. I am 18 years old and graduated high school this year. Since I am leaving the Young Women program very soon, I wasn’t sure what my FSY experience was going to be like. I had been to Especially for Youth when I was 15 years old and loved every minute of it. I soon learned that attitude is everything, and I went there with a mindset that no one was going to force me to learn anything. 

I had a goal to become closer to Christ, and that’s what I was going to do. 

How I #HearHim

At FSY I not only saw my own testimony being strengthened but others’ testimonies around me as well. It was powerful to see how everyone hears the Lord’s voice in distinctive ways and feels the Spirit differently. I learned that I hear Him through the comforting words of others. I was able to hear Him and feel the Spirit through the teachers who taught our classes.

Something unforgettable that I learned is from a scripture found in Isaiah 49:15: “Can a woman forget her sucking child …? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” It teaches that a mother is more likely to forget her newborn baby than the Lord is to forget about us. I do not doubt that our Heavenly Father loves us so much and He gave us this wonderful experience of FSY to help us remember that. 

Addi Jorgensen, second from left, is pictured with friends from her ward at a For Strength of Youth Conference at the University of North Georgia, in Dahlonega, Georgia, at on June 20, 2022. | Provided by Addi Jorgensen

Making new friends 

Being from the South, I am not around a lot of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Coming to FSY — and being around 600 other individuals who have the same standards and beliefs as me — was a very unforgettable experience. It honestly felt like a reunion, like I had met these people before. I imagine it to be like this when we are all reunited with our Heavenly Father again, being around so many people who have the yearning to be like Christ. 

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Not only did I learn from my teachers and counselors, but some of the more impactful things I learned at FSY came from my roommates. I had never met them before, and they taught me more than I could have ever learned from a teacher. I don’t have many friends who are of the same faith as me, and so it was awesome to meet people who are all striving for the same thing as me — to be the best person I can be so I can reunite with Heavenly Father someday. 

Gaining a new perspective

I was able to see the Lord work through people at FSY, and it showed me a whole new perspective of them. At the beginning of the week, I noticed a few people who didn’t want to be there, and they mentioned their parents had forced them to come. Because of this, they weren’t the most respectful when we would have gospel discussions, and this made me feel frustrated. I prayed that they would have a good experience and feel the love of Christ. 

On one of the final days at FSY, we all sang the FSY medley together (a medley of “As Sisters in Zion” and “Army of Helaman”). As I looked around and saw those individuals who had expressed their negative feelings toward FSY, I saw them genuinely singing the words to the medley. It brought tears to my eyes and showed me that the Lord really does look out for everyone and knows your individual feelings and circumstances. They had their hearts touched and were able to feel the Spirit by this experience, and it was impactful to see their growth throughout the week. 

‘Taking It Home’

There was a “Taking It Home″ activity the last day, and our session director helped us make a plan on how we can take these habits we made at FSY and continue to do them throughout our lives. The habits included how we can make scripture study something we look forward to everyday instead of just something we mark off a checklist. I now strive to make scripture study something I cannot wait to do everyday. This was really helpful because it showed me how I can keep the Spirit with me even when I am not in a sacred place, like FSY.

I am so grateful for FSY and that I was able to go this year. I hope other youth all over the world are able to feel and learn from the Spirit while they are there. 

— Addi Jorgensen is a member of the Hickory Flat Ward, Marietta Georgia East Stake.

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