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YOUTHS `STOP AND SERVE'

"Stop 'n' Serve" sounds like a convenient gas-and-goodies market, but it actually was the title of a youth conference here.

Eighty-four 14- to 18-year-old youths from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota - all members of the Fargo North Dakota Stake - united from June 9-11 for activities and to perform acts of service for residents. Detroit Lakes citizens were generous in their support when the town's newly remodeled LDS meetinghouse was destroyed by fire in 1986.Following the fire, a number of churches in Detroit Lakes offered their facilities. LDS members met at the Seventh-day Adventist building until a new chapel was completed last spring.

In addition to service projects, the youths who attended the three-day conference participated in dances, workshops, movies and swimming.

But the highlight of the event was the service rendered.

Four or five young people joined with an adult leader to form a team. Each team went to one of about 10 residential areas in Detroit Lakes. The teams contacted residents and offered to do work around the yard or home, or to help the family in other ways.

One group washed cars, another weeded gardens, and others mowed grass, planted flowers, washed windows and trimmed around trees.

Public service notices were placed in the local newspaper before the conference so residents could telephone and arrange to have work done. Articles explained that members of the Church wanted to do something in return for the kindness they had been shown when the building burned.

Youth groups gathered at the new meetinghouse following the service projects to share their experiences and participate in activities.

"This youth conference will stand out as one of our most successful," said Gerald Cardon, a member of the stake presidency.

Mark Cochrane, a stake youth leader, explained. "When I went up to the homes to set up some projects, people answering the door knew who we were, recognized the shite shirts with the red `Stop 'n' Serve' logo and knew why we had come."

Added Eric Sinclair, 15, of Fargo: "I loved it. We washed a car and mowed a lawn."

Church leaders said the community service was well received. One resident expressed "amazement" that youths would perform service without payment. The experience benefited not only the community but also the young people who gave of themselves.