News Story

Church Opens New Youth Camp Facilities in Samoa


A 60-acre family and youth camp built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mountains near the village of Sauniatu, Samoa was dedicated by Elder Fonoti Douglas Jessop, Area Seventy of the Church on 22 March 2013.

About 100 people from as far away as Savaii and American Samoa, and including most of the presidents of Samoa’s 18 Stakes (ecclesiastical units similar to dioceses) and their wives, gathered under the roof of a large new open-air pavilion for the dedicatory service.

The Honorable Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa; his wife, Afioga Tuala Rosita Meredith; the Honorable Tagaloa D. C. Kerslake, President of the Lands and Titles Court; and his wife, Dr. Maria Tala’itupu Kerslake, were special guests of honor.

As the opening speaker on the program, the Deputy Prime Minister said the camp would be a great asset for the youth and thanked the Church for building it in such a lovely place.

He was followed by Elder Jessop who remarked that the camp was built not only for recreation but also as a place to learn and increase in faith. He then offered a dedicatory prayer for the camp.

Afioga Tuala Rosita Meredith cut a white ribbon tied around a large stone marker at the camp’s main gate. This allowed the tarp covering the marker to be removed, revealing the words “Camp Sauniatu” in large letters.

Surrounded by tree-covered mountains, Camp Sauniatu has access to a scenic river and waterfalls.

There are four camping areas, each with three covered pavilions with electricity, piped water and a cooking station. There are also indoor restroom and shower facilities, outdoor volleyball courts, a large sports field and a large multi-purpose pavilion that can seat up to 350 people for classes, meetings or meals. There is also a designated area for tents. Solar-powered lights atop lampposts along the roads in the camp add a touch of high-tech.

Elder Jessop said, “This is the first camp constructed by the Church in the Pacific.”

The camp is already booked for the next several months.

Elder Jessop presented the special guests with emergency preparedness kits, one for each couple. Sometimes called “72-hour kits,” each has food, water and other emergency supplies in a small backpack that can be grabbed quickly when making a rush evacuation, such as for a tsunami.

Children from the Church’s Sauniatu Primary School and the local Latter-day Saint congregation performed Samoan dances accompanied by singers and musicians on guitar and pate (Samoan wooden gong or drum) while lunch was served to the guests and audience.

Besides youth groups, the camp can be used by families and congregations.

“I love the campsite at Sauniatu,” said Faleupolu Toala, bishop of the Latter-day Saints’ Sauniatu First Ward. “There’s nice scenery.  It’s a blessing for me and my wife and kids, and all the people.”

Fellow Sauniatu Latter-day Saint, Kauli Kaio, said, “We love camping and we hope people will come and enjoy it.”

Twenty-one-year-old Alailua Toluono Lufilufi said, “With youth gangs and crime on the rise, it’s good to have a safe place where youth can talk about different topics and share with their peers.”

Faleupolu Siluuga of Nuumau expressed gratitude “for such a beautiful site that will help develop youth, and all people.”

The service was conducted by Lolenisio Lorenzo Neria, President of the Upolu Samoa North Stake with Elder Jessop presiding. Open and closing prayers were offered by Leiataua Price Sau, President of the Upolu Samoa Faleasiu Stake, and Siakisone Taleni, President of the Savaii Samoa Stake, respectively.



Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.