We based our conference on a “mission” principle. Our youth were put into dorms that had its own district name and they belonged to a zone e.g District Helaman Zone Omner (we based the names on Book of Mormon names and places). We had the youth arrive at conference in their Sunday best where we had registration and orientation. Thereafter we had dinner and then we showed them the video called “How rare a possession”. Because of some of the distances traveled, some more than 500 kms they had an early night. On day two they woke up and had to do personal prayers and scripture, district prayers and scriptures and the choice of doing a Zone testimony meeting. Now all this was based on the game of life concept. The scored points for all the things they did and could get extra points for doing extra “good” things. We then split the day into two and the group was also split into two as we had approx 250 youth there. The first group had to attend “workshops”, it was basically a choice of spiritual and not so spiritual games they could do. Matching the names of the prophets, fishing, palm reading, scripture questions etc (it was basically a choice of whether they wanted to do it or not – some chose to ignore the activities and sleep or do their own thing and hard as it was we left them to do that yet keeping an eye on them. The other group played all sorts of sports and both these groups where given points as to what they chose and also in the sports side for participation. then we had lunch and then the two groups swapped round and the whole things started again. They were then given some free time and in the late afternoon we did the mini olympics games in the activities handbook with them. That night we had a three course dinner where the wards had to decorate their own tables and they we judged according the best decorated and given a certificate for various reason (funkiest, best dressed, inspirational etc.) and an award ceremony for those who had completed Duty to God and Personal Progress and received their medallions, and then we also recognized those that were up to date with their booklets (girls and guys) – great motivations tool they each received a certificate and a bag of goodies (just some sweeties). We also recognized them for doing the stake challenge which is to read the Book of Mormon every 4 months, we recognized re-activation and gospel in action for those moving up from primary to youth who have achieved this award. It was a wow evening. After that it was scriptures and prayers and bed time.
The following morning was Saturday (but for us Sunday meetings took place). The youth dressed up in their Sunday best again and started the day the same as the day before. We had a choir competition in the morning just before lunch and then before lunch the youth had to hand in their score cards so that we could tally up the points. Unbeknownst to them, their scores determined what they had for pudding after their meal. According to their scores they were divided up into Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms. Those in the Celestial Kingdom received trifle for pudding, those in the Terrestrial received jelly and custard and those in the Telestial received an apple and a biscuit. Well to say the least we had some very upset youth who felt that we had been unfair and after lunch when we had our final Spiritual meeting where the Stake President Spoke to the youth he made them realize that we can either work hard and do the things that are right (you can also have good clean fun) or not be bothered and that was how life worked. He then challenged them to remember the feelings they had when they did not make the celestial kingdom and to work on it so that they can be assured a spot with the Savior and Heavenly Father.
Well. by the next week-end we had all the Bishops phoning us and asking what we had done to their youth because they were all raving about the spectacular conference they had and how it was the best ever. All I know is that it was hard work but well worth it. By the time the final day came, all the youth were cheerful and were up at 05h00 in the morning ready for prayers and scripture study and testimony meetings.