Youth Parade pushes toward future

Coming together to celebrate ancestors and pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, thousands of children participated in the Days of ’47 Youth Parade in Salt Lake City on July 19.

Some of the youth came donned in pioneer outfits, while others dressed in creative outfits to match their floats.

“[The parade] is a celebration of the pioneers when they first entered the Utah Valley,” said Jim Williams, one of the Youth Parade co-chairs. “[It helps the children] learn about the pioneer history and what it took to come to the valley.”

Each year, the Days of ’47 Youth Parade has a central theme, with this year’s being “Pioneers — Pushing Toward Our Future.” In all, there were 48 entries in the Youth Parade this year, most of them being from stakes in the surrounding area.

“To attend the Days of ’47 Youth Parade is to capture the spirit of this celebration highlighting children, their heritage and their future,” said Lisa Christofferson of the Riverton 16th Ward in the Riverton Utah Stake. Sister Christofferson and her father, Tim Christofferson, were the announcers at the parade.

There were four awards given to the stakes that made the floats this year: the Theme Award, the Utah Award, the Legacy Award and the Spirit of Faith Award.

During the parade, Brother Christofferson said the Theme Award is awarded to the float that best depicted “pioneers who have made a vigorous effort to push forward and obtain a new place where they, and future generations could live and enjoy the freedoms and things we have.” The Theme Award was given to the Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake.

Wendy Wheeler, the Primary president in the Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake, said they designed their float with the children in mind.

“Our first goal was to involve the children as much as possible and teach them about dreams and aspirations,” she said. “[The children] took complete ownership of the float. They felt like it was their float.”

They named their float “The Future Belongs to Those Who Dream,” an adaptation of a famous quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. The children who participated in the design of the float and the parade wrote their dreams on “dream sticks,” which they walked with in the parade. Additionally, the youth were recorded prior to the parade, saying what their dreams and aspirations were. This played over the music while their float was driven down the street.

Sister Wheeler said they feel “very honored” to have won the theme award and a chance to participate in the Days of ’47 Parade on Pioneer Day, where they were first in the procession.

The other awards went to the Draper Utah Mountain Point Stake (the Utah Award), the West Jordan Utah Mountain Shadows Stake (the Legacy Award) and the Woods Cross Utah North Stake (the Spirit of Faith Award).

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