Brigham Young University-Idaho opened its campus from July 27-30 to more than 2,400 individuals who participated in the university’s annual Education Week.
“It’s a spiritual injection,” said participant Deanna Aldrich from Idaho Falls, Idaho. “This is just a concentrated dose of spiritual high and helps you get just a little further along the path. It gets you excited about the things you should be excited about.”
Included in that number are almost 800 participants who registered for the event’s Youth Program. Total attendance increased by 20 percent from 2016. Youth Program attendance increased by 35 percent from 2016.
BYU-Idaho’s Education Week featured classes taught by more than 50 instructors. Class topics range from financial wellbeing to communicating with others in a Christlike way. With over 150 classes to choose from, participants had a wide range of topics to explore.
Along with classes throughout the event, each day also featured a devotional for participants to attend. This year’s devotional speakers included emeritus General Authority Seventy and author Gerald N. Lund, BYU-Idaho’s Student Life Vice President Amy LaBaugh, Department of Religious Education faculty member Curtis Castillow, and author and speaker Mary Ellen Edmunds.
In the opening session, Elder Gerald N. Lund, emeritus General Authority Seventy and well-known author of The Work and the Glory series, spoke about the significance of the Savior’s mission. His devotional, entitled “‘To This End Was I Born:’ What the Atoning Sacrifice Meant to Jesus,” referenced several scriptures highlighting the central points of the mission of Jesus Christ. Lund also offered encouragement for participants to get the most out of the scriptures as they study them.
“Feast upon the words of Christ,” Elder Lund said. “Don’t snack, don’t nibble, feast.”
During Thursday’s devotional, BYU-Idaho Student Life Vice President Amy LaBaugh spoke of the opportunity to get more out of scripture study. Her devotional, entitled “Written for Our Learning, How the Scriptures Teach Patience, Provide Comfort and Give Hope,” illuminated the scriptures ability to provide hope as individuals implement gospel principles. She counseled participants to seek joy through hope.
“Whatever amount of contentment or happiness or discontentment we are currently experiencing in our lives, there is a greater joy through hope,” she said.
On Friday, Curtis Castillow, faculty member in the department of religious education, reminded participants that in all things, God knows best. Through anecdotes both personal and from the scriptures, Brother Castillow demonstrated multiple experiences where the wisdom of God outweighed the vision of man. While encouraging participants to accept God’s will, he also cautioned not to allow a person to be ungrateful for what God has given him or her.
“After all that’s been said I think it’s essential to remember that the Lord doesn’t give or allow things that will hurt you in eternity, He gives you things that will help,” Castillow said. “We need to be careful that what He gives to help we don’t interpret as something that hurts.”
Author and speaker Mary Ellen Edmunds delivered the closing devotional for Education Week. Her devotional, entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” emphasized the importance of not only being a peacemaker, but also dispelling contention. Sister Edmunds recommended participants look to the ultimate peacemaker — the Savior.
“The Savior is our example of peace,” she said. “He is the Prince of Peace, and the greatest example we have of peace.”
Throughout the event, participants expressed enthusiasm for the different programs and variety of classes.
The Cahoon family, who traveled from Tri-Cities, Wash., attended BYU-Idaho’s Education Week for the fourth time.
“Before we came here, we had a long family trip, but our kids begged us to come again this year,” said Tami Cahoon. “Its wonderful that we start together as a family, they go and get spiritually fed and we go and get spiritually fed, we meet for lunch and they go back and have their wonderful experiences and we go to our classes where we try to be better people.”
Cole Cahoon and his siblings Lora and Spencer shared why they loved coming to Education Week and participating in the Youth Program.
“I love it because you can have friends, even for just three days, and you get to have fun,” said Cole Cahoon. “Then there are those spiritual moments that fill you with peace. Everyone should be here.”
Their father CJ Cahoon explained why he loved having his family participate together.
“It’s a great opportunity as we then get to talk about what we learned as a family as its fresh on our minds. We get to ask our kids and hear them say what they’ve learned that is important to them and impactful to them,” said CJ Cahoon. “We then get to see how we can apply it to our real-life family situations. It creates an environment of application in real time.”
With all the classes and devotionals, participants stay busy during their time at BYU-Idaho’s Education Week. When they find free time, however, many enjoy other activities offered during the event like roller-skating, planetarium shows, the BYU-Idaho ropes course, and Center Stage concerts.
BYU-Idaho’s Education Week offers a wide variety of topics to explore and activities to participate in. It also offers what many see as an energizing opportunity to realize what life is really all about.
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