Courtesy photo
Stack of firewood cut and piled by Pine View High School students in St. George, Utah, attending a work day at the Geer Ranch near Ash Springs. It was part of the LDS Pine View Stake Youth Conference.

June 7-8, a group of Utah high school students, from the Pine View Stake of the LDS church in St. George, did cleanup work at the old Geer Ranch on U.S. 93, near Ash Springs.

Brandon Price, one of the adult supervisors, said, “It’s our annual teen youth conference this weekend,” he said.

Some years ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought the Geer Ranch property to be a welfare cattle ranch, Price explained, “Because the church does so much welfare service, we decided to organize a stake youth conference and this year brought 200 kids, plus about 35 adult leaders, to come here for a work day. We are picking up leaves, brush, cutting up downed trees and branches for firewood, tearing down and building a barbed wire fence, clearing out large rocks from old water channels, etc.”

The group also camped out in tents overnight.

Price said the Pine View stake is comprised of 12 wards and all the wards were represented by the students attending the youth conference.

The reason for choosing to come to the Geer Ranch, he said, was because Joe Phillips, who grew up in Lincoln County, and who is in their stake presidency, “recommended we come here to help improve the ranch.”

Phillips’ father, County Commissioner Kevin Phillips, was one of the guest speakers for the conference meetings on Friday evening.

Another of the adult leaders, stake Young Men’s President David Chase, said, “This is the sixth youth conference to visit and to perform a service at the ranch since the church has owned the property.”

After doing various projects until mid afternoon, the group then used the rest of the day for planned youth activities and team-building events, including following a compass course and even a tomahawk-throwing contest.

It was a windy day, and because of that, Price said the group was not going to have an open bonfire, and their dinner meal was being supplied by a catering firm in Logandale.

On the way back to St. George, Price said the kids were going to go swimming at the church-owned recreational area at Warm View Springs.

One of the Pine View students, Riley Bradberry, said all of them were from Pine View High School, “and none of us have been to the Pahranagat Valley before. We came because, as part of our yearly youth conference, we wanted to do a service project. Every year we alternate as to whether we do a ward conference or stake youth conference, and do something outside of what we as kids might normally experience, especially during the summer, and also something that is God-focused.”

Chase said, “The full stake conference is June 9-10, so we used the days before to have our youth conference and come here.”