Colorado stake connects to each other and the community through service

When their youth pioneer trek had to be canceled, the Fountain Colorado Stake participated in a day of service in their city 

This month, around 160 volunteers — including youth, families, community members, missionaries and city employees — came together in a day of service to beautify and improve the city of Fountain, Colorado.

Fountain Colorado Stake President Bruce M. Rands expressed appreciation for a meaningful activity for the youth of his stake to connect with each other and the community.

“I’m grateful we could come together with a great partner in the city of Fountain and work to improve our community,” President Rands said. “Through serving as Christ would serve, the youth of the Church are rising to their potential and sharing the love of the Master with their joy, dedication, and diligence. These two days of service by the youth in both the community and the temple represent the very best of this generation.”

The multiple service projects around the city went so well, stake leaders and the youth are planning another day of service next year. But the service event wasn’t always on the calendar — it came together as another opportunity fell through.

This was the year the Fountain Colorado Stake could have had a youth pioneer trek reenactment. But with only a few months to plan and prepare — and the cost appearing out of their budget range — the stake youth committee had to pivot and prayerfully consider another worthwhile experience this June.

While disappointing to many stake members, it was also a blessing in disguise, said Jennifer Trainor, who had been called with her husband, Scott Trainor, to be stake trek directors. 

“To be honest, a sense of relief came over us due to the challenge of quickly planning such a big event. However, we still wanted to create an event that would connect our youth to each other and their community and to feel the Spirit,” said Jennifer Trainor. 

They felt strongly about a 2023 Day of Service. And since Scott Trainor is also the city manager for Fountain, a suburb of Colorado Springs, and when stake leaders turned to the city with an offer of service, city officials willingly accepted.

Volunteers clear old fence and remove weeds at the Fountain Transportation Facility
Volunteers clear old fence and remove weeds at the Fountain Transportation Facility in Fountain, Colorado, June 2, 2023. | Terri Rands

“We were excited to have a number of worthwhile projects completed in the community while also creating great connections between city leaders and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And what better way to do that than through service?” Scott Trainor said.

‘Service Above Self’ around Fountain, Colorado

With the theme, “Service Above Self,” the planning shifted from trek to identifying projects around Fountain.

The parks department workers helped the stake members identify and plan more than 20 significant projects — including painting pavilions and dugouts, building picnic tables and benches, installing doors on baseball facilities, removing old fencing, installing new fencing, clearing trail areas, re-landscaping areas and much more. 

A volunteer paints a park pavilion roof in Metcalfe Park in Fountain, Colorado
A volunteer paints a park pavilion in Metcalfe Park in Fountain, Colorado, as part of the Fountain Colorado Stake’s Day of Service, June 2, 2023. | Terri Rands

On June 2, the volunteers were divided into groups under the city staff’s direction to oversee each project’s completion. Each participant received a T-shirt, drawstring backpack, water and snacks to take with them. This opportunity helped connect Church members with their community and deepen their appreciation for one another, the Trainors said.

Gordy McCormick, the director of parks and recreation for the city, expressed his gratitude and excitement for future service opportunities working with the Church.

“It’s unbelievable how much we were able to get done that we couldn’t have without these volunteers. We have a minimal parks staff, so the 500-plus hours spent on these projects is invaluable to us,” McCormick said.

The Trainors pointed out how in the October 2021 general conference, Sharon Eubank, then-first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke about how baptized members of the Church are under covenant to care for those in need — and “our individual efforts don’t necessarily require money or faraway locations; they do require the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart to say to the Lord, ‘Here am I; send me’” (“I Pray He’ll Use Us”).

A volunteer paints a trash can enclosure for Metcalfe Park in Fountain, Colorado
Volunteers build and paint trash can enclosures for Metcalfe Park in Fountain, Colorado, June 2, 2023. The project was part of the Fountain Colorado Stake’s Day of Service. | Terri Rands

The stake leaders are already planning the next Day of Service in 2024 and hopes to make it an annual event. 

Stake presidency first counselor President Ryan C. Teeples said, “This project was a wonderful example of the Church members working side-by-side with people in the community. Working together helped form new relationships, and it was fun for our youth to see something they worked on make an immediate impact in the community.”

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