Believe It or Not

    “Believe It or Not,” New Era, Mar. 1988, 40

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    Believe It or Not

    “B.I.O.N.I.C.” proclaim the bright red letters on the large white banner stretched and tied between two trees in the stake park.

    B.I.O.N.I.C? That’s an acronym for, “Believe it or not, I care,” a motto 325 young members of three stakes in Roosevelt, Utah, are ready to prove.

    “Our purpose is to show the community—not just members, but nonmembers as well—that LDS youth care about where they live,” says Doris Haslem, 17, chairperson of the project.

    After an early-morning devotional, cars and trucks are loaded with hoes, rakes, and shovels, and everyone is off to their work sites:

    —At Neola, one of the nearby communities, young men and women are busy cleaning up the cemetery.

    —At Whiterocks, about 15 miles from Roosevelt, a small picnic area is being cleaned by half a dozen teenagers. Though the hot summer sun is beating down, the youth seem to enjoy working side by side. “There really are picnic tables under here,” one of them jokes as more of the vegetation is chopped away.

    Richard Acord, priests quorum adviser for the Neola Second Ward, says, “There were six kids who complained when they first started. But now they’re proud of their work.”

    —Back in Roosevelt’s Old Park, Amie Cole and Melinda Lundstrom are trimming and weeding along the sidewalk.

    “This is something I’ll remember because I’m helping the community,” Amie says. “You feel good making the park—our park—look nicer.”

    —About 20 miles to the northeast, other youth are busy tilling ground in Tridell for installation of a sprinkling system, and planting grass on some community land.

    “Youth need to learn how to put in service and have fun,” says Ward Goodrich, second counselor in the Young Men presidency.

    By late afternoon, the work is completed, and it’s back to the park adjacent to the stake center. But there isn’t much need to learn about fun. After the initial surprise of getting suddenly soaked, you just pick up one of the more than 2,000 water balloons and go after somebody whose clothes are still dry. And when the balloons are gone, there’s a water slide up on the hill.

    Photography by Brian C. Heckert