From March 20-22, nearly 200 boys and girls from Mesa, along with their church leaders, descended on Superior for a three-day retreat that included a significant service project at Fairview Cemetery. The title of the youth conference was: Good, Better, Superior. The 14-18 year-old youth from the Mesa East Stake of the LDS Church used the old Superior High School as home base for the three-day event, which included instruction, games, dances, service, and a talent show. The group was hosted by Elijah and Marjorie Cardon, who own and live in the old school. Elijah, who also serves as the local leader for the LDS branch, commented, “We love to have groups from the Valley come and enjoy the facilities and the history here in Superior.”
On Friday afternoon, the youth spent three hours beautifying our Fairview Cemetery. They kicked off the event with an introduction from Margaret Gaston, town manager, and Anthony Huerta, public works director, who reminded the youth that every grave represents a life and a story worth telling. The group’s activities included removing weeds and applying weed killer across large swaths of the cemetery, pruning back unwanted trees, planting six additional Italian Cyprus trees, re-painting of all garbage cans and spigots, cleaning up generally, especially around the section of unknown graves, and picture-taking of all headstones so that they can be catalogued and included in online family history sites like billiongraves.com. The youth enjoyed the project, with one participant, Britni Porter, saying, “I loved doing my little part to clean up this important resting place.” And President Michael J. Toone, the president of the Mesa East Stake, added, “It was sweet to see all of the kids working so hard together. When we were finished, in their eyes I could see a real sense of pride in their work and a connection with this town and its cemetery.”
As the group left town on Saturday afternoon, they took memories of Superior with them. One of the boys, Austin Denham, said, “What a great three days. I made some new friends, laughed a lot, and got to give back to the community.”
One of the adult leaders of the event, Laraine Eddington, summed it up well, “We could not be happier with the facilities, the town, the content of the program, and everyone who contributed so much time and effort to make the conference a success. The youth seemed to love everything about it.”
The group expressed appreciation to the leadership of the town for their partnership and support.