NEW HAVEN, Conn. One hundred youth from the New Haven Connecticut Stake participated in a five-day handcart trek re-enactment in Cockaponset State Forest on June 28-July 2. They celebrated Joseph Smith's birth and studied his teachings. Youth and adult participants discovered their family pioneer roots, as well as the history of other prominent people in the Church and in society, including Aurelia Spencer Rogers, first president of the Primary.
Dressed in mid-1800s clothing, they pulled 600-pound homemade handcarts over 13 miles of rugged state park logging trails. Mud and huge puddles created by a series of thunderstorms made the steep inclines and rocky terrain a real challenge and very realistic to what the original pioneers experienced.
"It was hard work!" said Jenica Sedgwick, Bridgeport Ward, of the women's pull segment. "I have never sweat so much or used so much strength. My arms ached and I cried a little. But we made it to the top of the hill and, now, after that experience, I feel like I can accomplish anything."