Monday, March 24, 2014

Amazing Race Youth Conference - Day 3

This is the fourth post in a series about our Amazing Race Youth Conference. I thought it best to break it up, so that there wasn't an overload of information on each post. As it is, as I'm writing the posts, I feel like I'm constantly thinking, "Let me sum up". (Name the movie...) The previous posts regarding The Amazing Race information can be found by clicking on Day 1, Day 2 - morning, Day 2 - afternoon and evening.

So, here we are on the morning of Day 3...

Day 3

We began this Saturday morning with Temple Baptisms. We purposely didn't make that part of The Race, since we didn't want the kids to rush through such a special experience. So, for those who wanted to (again, not making anyone feel uncomfortable or pressured in any way), we had them meet at the church and they were driven up by Team Parents. They were scheduled earlier in the morning, so we planned for everyone to meet at the church afterwards to begin The Race at 10:30, and that gave them plenty of time to be at the temple before that and get home and get ready for The Race.

At 10:30, they all met at the church building, and we had one of the senior-age girls give a 10 minute devotional to start us off. It was wonderful, and just what we needed to start the day. Now, at this point, I will tell you that we had a couple of teams that were getting pretty competitive and perhaps complaining about each other not doing a task right, and so on and so forth. During the night, I tossed and turned wondering how I would make everything be okay the next morning so that no one would feel unfairly treated. I came up with a brilliant idea... After the devotional, I brought out a terracotta pot that had 8 small gnome plant picks in it. Each team was to send someone up to pick a plant pick (say that 10 times fast) out of the pot. When they picked it, they looked at the bottom of it to see what order they would be leaving that morning. Sooooo, it was basically shaking it all up and making it "fair" to everyone. They left 2 minutes apart, and they all felt good about the shake-up, and they thought it was part of the original plan. I didn't bother to tell them otherwise. :)

The clue they received said, "Many hands make light work. Teams will now make their way to 9600 S. and Highland Ave. Look for the race marker. Assemble project as a team. Once completed, show it to _________  to get it checked off and received your next clue. Be sure to take your project with you for use later in the race."

They all climbed in their cars and drove to the address, which happened to be The Home Depot. We had a marker in the front of the building on a window, and they were to go inside and find someone who would give them a project to build. I'm going to stop right here and give a little side-note about this stop. We had planned very carefully with an employee from The Home Depot regarding this stop. On the day of The Race, Bob and I called our Home Depot contact as we were driving there. Much to our dismay, they said she wasn't working that day and no one could get in touch with her. She had totally forgotten, or blown us off, or whatever. Ugh. BUT, to Home Depot's credit, they quickly assessed the situation, and made some stations back in their lumber area, and quickly got employees to be there. All before any of our youth arrived. It was so devastating to be let down by the one employee, but so miraculous in how they totally stepped up to the plate and made that stop absolutely seamless. Yay, Home Depot!

This is Bob, putting the race marker on the entrance

Teams running into the store

Working on the project

I love how their make-shift tables are pallets of wood

The kids all built a birdhouse together, as a team. They had to build it correctly and have it checked off by an employee there before they could get their next clue. The next clue read, "You have worked on a project together as a team. You can be proud of your work and the outcome of the birdhouse. Your next task is two-fold. First, go outside and find __________ in the parking lot. She will have a box lunch for your team. Your team may stop anywhere you choose to eat your lunch together. Second, after you have eaten, you will again work together as a team... this time to serve many ward members. Drive to 615 E. 8400 S. Park in the east parking lot and send a team member to go inside the door. Find a Task Supervisor for instructions."

So, the teams all drove around the parking lot until they located a car marked with the Amazing Race marker. The ward member who was called as the Food Chair for The Race, was there with yummy box lunches for the teams. All of the teams decided to drive to that next destination (which was the Sandy Dry Pack Cannery) , and then stop to eat their lunch there before going in to the building. We recorded their order of arrival at this stop, since we would all be starting the activity together, at the same time. When they were all finished eating, and ready for the project, we had a representative from the cannery come out to the parking lot and talk to all of the youth about what the process was for the cannery, and what the guidelines and regulations were. And then, we gave them all of their lists of items they needed to can.

Eating lunch

Fun to see all those different colored shirts scurrying around!

Notice the green Task Supervisor shirt (my sweetie pie)

Task Supervisors making sure the orders are correct. The one
who looks like a deer caught in the headlights is my oldest.
He had quite a responsibility keeping hundreds and hundreds
of cans straight.

And of course, as the boxes were being put on the trailer,
a hailstorm ensued. They were quick to get everything
covered, and it turned out just fine. Whew.

To do the planning for the stop at the cannery, previously, we sent out information to all of the adult ward members telling them that as a ward, we had an opportunity to order dry pack food from the cannery. We didn't tell them the youth would be canning it, because we didn't want the youth to know this was part of The Race. The ward members just thought this was a rare opportunity to get things pre-canned from the cannery, instead of having to do it themselves. Those who were interested returned their order, with a check, by a certain date. Then, I divided the items up so that there were 8 different lists that were equal. So, each team had their own list of cans they needed to fill and can. We had a ward member in charge of bringing a trailer over to take the cans and deliver them to our warehouse in Draper, where my son was waiting. He then arranged them in stacks belonging to different members according to their orders. His was a crazy job, to be sure! 

The cannery planning took some real organization and detailed work, but we wanted it to be in The Race, so the kids felt they did something really great for the ward members. It was something different, that most of them had never done before, but actually was needed, and SO appreciated by the ward members. It was a really great stop!

After they finished their canning, they got checked to make sure they had each and every item on their list, they helped pack it on the trailer, and then they were given their next clue, which read, "You have given a valuable service to our ward members in helping them to stock their pantries for emergency preparedness. As a team, get in your vehicle and make your way to the store that ___________ manages."

They had to know (or figure out) what the store was, and the answer was WalMart. They all drove to a specific WalMart in the area, and followed the markers once they got there. There was an employee waiting in the store with instructions as to what their task was there. The task was to take a shopping cart that was pre-packed with items, and put the items back on the shelves WHERE THEY BELONGED. Each team had a cart and an employee to walk along with them and to make sure they put the items back where they should go. It was fun to walk around the store and see the various teams trying to find the departments for different items.

Reading the instructions

After they finished that, they had to find items to total $200.00 (within 10 cents), and have them rung up at a certain cash register. They had fun doing that one, too, and worked well together as teams doing it. Fun task. And when they were done, they had to find the employee in the Garden Department for their next clue. WalMart was kind enough to make snack bags for each of the kids. That was an added bonus, as we didn't ask them to do that. Each youth was given a bag full of snacks and a Gatorade. As they got their snack bag, they were given the next clue, which read, "Teams must make their way by car to Daybreak and find Oquirrh Lake. Look for the markers at the north end of the lake and park somewhere close. Continuing to follow the race markers, find a Task Supervisor who will give you your next clue."

I had pre-arranged with the folks at Daybreak, so they knew we were coming. I wanted to know what we could and couldn't do there, so it took some coordinating. When the teams got to the lake, they looked for a Task Supervisor (in a green shirt) and were given their next clue, along with a box. The clue read, "Open the box and inflate the little row boat. After it is fully inflated, two of your team members must put on life jackets, get in the boat and paddle around the lake (using the enclosed map) until they find the four different Task Supervisors located on and around the lake. Collect a token from each of the Task Supervisors. Once all four of the tokens have been collected, return to the dock, deflate your boat, and return the boat and oars to the Task Supervisor on the beach for your next clue."

The floating Task Supervisors

A Task Supervisor on the dock, and a boat making their way there

This was a fun stop for them. They were able to run and play and be rambunctious and it was all okay. We had purchased the inflatable boats from Dick's Sporting Goods. It ended up being the best and cheapest route for us to go. Plus, having to inflate the boats just added some more steps to the task, which is good in The Amazing Race. We also had previously told the Team Parents to bring two life jackets for their own team's use. They had to track them down and also return them, which cut down on the running around for us. We had Task Supervisors located on three different docks on the small lake, and then also had a couple of Task Supervisors in a paddle boat, floating around, so the teams had to find them and chase them down.

When they had finished the task, they were given this clue, "Make your way by car to ___________ for the next stop in the race".

The next stop was our warehouse, where they were given paint so that they could paint their birdhouse (the one they made at Home Depot).  After their birdhouse was painted, they where directed to a load of cans and lists that they needed to load into their vehicle so that they could deliver the food storage cans to various members of the ward. After their car was loaded (which was enough time for the birdhouse paint to dry), they went to the homes on their list, and delivered the specified cans to each ward family who had previously ordered them. They also took their birdhouse to a pre-determined name of a ward member who would benefit from a short visit and a little gift from the youth.

After they finished those two stops, they were to open up this clue which read, "You are nearing the end of the race. Make your way to the Simons' home for your last task. Your memory is about to be tested, so be ready to work together as a team to finish the task."

After arriving at our home, the teams were each given a packet of laminated cards, which had the name of each of the stops on the three days of The Amazing Race. They had to put the cards in the order that they actually did each of the activities, and then have them checked by a Task Supervisor. This was easier said than done, and it took some thinking, remembering, and working together as a team.

Teams running up my front walkway

Working on the order of their cards

Bragging rights, for sure!

Once they had them in the correct order, and it was checked off by the Task Supervisor, the entire team raced to the Amazing Race mat, to finish the race. When all the teams checked in and completed The Race, we gave them all a key ring and a little treat. We had told them all along that there was no grand prize and to just enjoy the journey (hoping to help them not be as competitive), so they weren't expecting the winners to get anything but bragging rights. The point of The Race was to experience tons of different things in just a few days, and while they were doing it, to serve, to grow, to work, to learn to love team members, etc, etc, and they ended up doing just that!

After everyone was done, we ate dinner together (again, coordinated by our Food Chair), which was yummy Cafe Rio salads and mini bundts for dessert. And then, as they got comfortable, our bishop talked to them about their experience on The Race, and wrapped it all up in a nice way.

Yay for an awesome food committee!
At the very end of the evening, we gave them all a key ring and a little treat. We had told them all along that there was no grand prize and to just enjoy the journey (hoping to help them not be as competitive), so they weren't expecting the winners to get anything but bragging rights. The point of The Race was to experience tons of different things in just a few days, and while they were doing it, to serve, to grow, to work, to learn to love team members, etc, etc, and they ended up doing just that!

There was also a little bag of M&M's attached that had all of
the colors of the teams... all mixed together

And about two weeks later, we had a fireside for all of the racers and Task Supervisors. They were given an opportunity to share their thoughts, if wanted, and afterwards, we gave them all photo books we had put together of the race. The Team Parents had taken photos all throughout The Race, and our special photographer had also taken photos. So, we had tons to choose from as we put the book together. We wanted something tangible that they could have to remember the race by through the years, and it was just the thing. I had a "2 for 1" coupon for the books from Picaboo, so we were able to basically get them at half price, which just fit within the remainder of the budget. Yay!

As I mentioned before, there was A LOT of planning and coordinating for this youth conference. We spent a lot of time going to each of the stops (sometimes multiple times) to make sure we knew the time we needed to allot for driving there and then accomplishing the task.We also made many phone calls and visits to people who worked or managed the different stops. We didn't want our kids to be disruptive at the stops, and wanted to make sure we were doing our activities within their requirements or regulations. We didn't want to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouths, and as far as I know, we were successful in keeping everyone happy!

So, as a recap, the stops/activities were:

Day 1:
Word search posters to determine which teams the kids are on
Cutting and prepping fleece blankets
Running down Porter Rockwell Trail to find a series of words
Going to a ward member's home and finding hidden plastic balls

Day 2:
T-shirt handout
Ensign Peak hike and devotional
This is The Place Monument
   several different activities at this stop
Salt Lake Temple grounds - count the stars on the east side of the temple
Temple Square - find a familiar couple
Lion House - lunch
Church History Museum
Family History Center
Deuel Pioneer Log Home
Brigham Young Historic Park
Brigham Young's Grave Site
Salt Lake Cemetery
Temple Quarry Hike and For The Strength of Youth Activity
Snowbird Tram Ride
Pit Stop: Dinner, Speaker, Bonfire

Day 3:
Temple Baptisms
Church Building Devotional
Home Depot
Box Lunch
Sandy Family Home Storage Center
Wal Mart
Oquirrh Lake at Daybreak
Warehouse in Draper - pick up cans and paint birdhouse
Deliver cans
Deliver birdhouse
Memory Cards
Dinner & Speaker

I have loads and loads of information about the various stops and what planning went in to each stop, but after this long of a post, I think you get the idea. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have regarding our activity.

For information about the entire Amazing Race, 
click below on the specific days.


  1. Thank you so much! This is fantastic! I'm so grateful to have found your blog since we are doing this for our youth conference this year and I'm in charge. Thank you for posting it with all the details, much appreciated!

    1. You're welcome! Good luck with your youth conference... I'm sure you and the kids will love it as much as we did!

  2. This is nothing short of amazing! I have so enjoyed reading the posts about your youth conference and also learning a bit about you as I flipped through to find them. This is definitely an event your youth will always remember!

  3. This is an amazing undertaking! We are planning an event like this on a much smaller scale and I have so enjoyed looking at your ideas and locations. Do you know how many statues are depicted on the monument at This is the Place? :)

    1. I would love to know this as well! We are doing this next month! Also I'd love to know how many stars on the east side of the temple. Did you end up finding out??

    2. We counted 73 statues on the monument. :)

    3. Also... to answer Susan Johnson's question, there are 23 stars on the east side of the temple. (At least that was our count!) :)

  4. So we are doing this. You have a great plan!! Any chance we can borrow your gnome or where you got yours? Thanks

    1. If you Google "travelocity gnome" you will find lots of places to purchase your own. I wish I could lend mine out, but have too many requests, and have had to point people in the direction of purchasing their own. Good luck with Amazing Race! Your youth will love it!