(Photos are below)
rented the YMCA Camp Roger, East of Salt Lake, for our bi-annual reunion of
Clyde A and Mary B. Russell descendents. Families
reserved cabins, put up tents or stayed in motor homes and trailers for three
March, 1986, after a Priesthood blessing by her sons and other family members,
Mom Russell had sat up in her hospice bed to challenge us all to “Pass on the
torch” of faith. In keeping with this
challenge, and reminiscent of the recent SLC Summer Olympic Games, fun
activities were planned for each day following the theme
“Carry the Torch”.
In the lodge were displays and posters featuring family creations and memories. As each family arrived they colored in names on a poster with the five “Olympic Rings”. Each family decorated colored scarves. Second generation siblings were honored with a medal and a tribute from one of the third generation. Games were included for the dinner time as well as spare time, including, “Who wants to be a Family Heir?” with questions from the lives of Russell great grand parents. Skits were created and presented one night. Many of the photos below show games and relays featuring kids of all ages.
On Saturday, all the teen cousins were treated to a special Ancestor Mystery
Game, where they followed a series of clues to discover the identity of a
"Mystery Ancestor" who "spoke" to them at the end of a hike
in the woods, giving them a charge to be their best and carry the torch of faith
to future generations.
highlight of the reunion was a special Sacrament Meeting featuring three of the
family’s returned 4th generation missionaries: Leesa Berg, Evan
Cook, and Nathan Cook
Sunday night we all took an “ancestor walk”, meeting four different “progenitors” telling their stories. We were divided in to four groups and sang together as we waited for our turn. Later, as we listened to Irene, who represented the fourth ancestor, we could hear the previous groups singing Primary songs in the distance, as well as seeing the light of their “torches”. Joan told us later; how deeply this had affected her. She likened this to meeting our loved ones who had passed on before, and following the “light”. We had prepared our flashlights with red and gold colored cellophane, to represent flames (since we couldn’t light our torches, or any fires.) Meeting together and singing was very sweet, especially in the dark, with the tall pines reaching heavenward.
After cleaning up and packing Monday morning, we met to receive
“Olympic” awards and share more love. Jeannette
had put together a cute stuffed figure of a kangaroo, named “McRoo”, which
had been hidden in different places during the reunion.
It had flags and symbols of Scotland and England as well as Australia. The finder wrote their name on it’s list and re-hid it for
someone else to find. The winner of the "McRoo"
game (the last to find it) was Kevin Olaeta, son of Terri Cook Jensen. Everyone
received a chocolate gold piece medal on red, white and blue ribbons.
At a family meeting to plan the next reunion we decided to return to the same venue in 2004. Shawn and Geraldine Cook volunteered to head up Reunion 2004.
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