“At Home in the Woods—Rachel Wilkinson of Alton, New Hampshire,” Friend, Feb. 2008, 20–22
Rachel Wilkinson (11) lives in the New Hampshire woods near Lake Winnipesaukee. Some of her neighbors are deer, moose, bears, and porcupines. The White Mountains rise up less than an hour away. Rachel loves the woods, the lake, and the mountains, but most of all she loves her family.
Rachel tries to make sure that people feel included. Once, a new girl at school was sitting all by herself. Rachel sat by her and called out to her friends, “Hey, come on over.” They all sat around the new girl.
The school teaches snowboarding and skiing each winter. Last year, Rachel helped a disabled boy ski down the hill.
The Wilkinsons attend Church in Wolfeboro, about 10 miles (16 km) away. Though there are a few other Latter-day Saint families in Alton, they don’t have children Rachel’s age, so her many friends are of other faiths. Friends often ask her to go out on the lake or join them for a barbecue on Sunday, but she always says no and explains why. None of them has taken offense. “It was hard saying no at first, because sometimes you really want to go,” Rachel admits. “But it’s getting easier every time.”
Swim in the lake
Play flashlight tag in the woods
Ice fish and ice-skate on the lake
Keep a journal
Write poems and stories
A good student, Aaron (14) is a great example to his younger sisters. He protects them and watches out for them. He excels at skateboarding and snowboarding. Hannah (6) is a “ball of energy” who likes soccer and basketball, nature and animals. She expresses her opinion confidently.
Rachel’s favorite kind of family home evening is held around a campfire. After the lesson, the family sits talking and eating s’mores in the light of the glowing coals and the quiet of the woods. The s’mores taste good, but the sweetest part of the experience is being together as a family.
“Rachel is sweet and caring and humble. She’s always looking out to make sure that others are OK. At church all the younger children gather around her. She makes sure they get to class or have a drink of water if they need it. At home if there’s something that needs doing, she’ll jump in and do it.”
“Rachel is like sunshine. She’s bright and uplifting. She has the Spirit with her and makes good choices. She’s diligent, and she doesn’t give up. She knows when people need to laugh and does something silly to brighten their day.”