News Story

Tahitian Teen Stays Busy Learning, Serving and Growing

One of many young people around the world being inspired to live life and lift others

After weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 14-year-old Kuhio Maraetefau, from Tahiti, decided to organise a camp for his friends, for their first post-quarantine activity.

“I chose this camp project because it was an opportunity for young people to get out of their comfort zone, to get away from the city and get closer to nature,” he said. 


“I oversaw planning the project, establishing the activities and menus, and assigning the tasks and responsibilities to involve each young participant.”

Kuhio came up against many challenges as he planned the camp. But, he says, he learned a lot along the way.

"Frankly, there is a lot to plan and think about when setting up a camp project,” he says.

“I couldn't handle everything about organising the outing. Fortunately, with the help of my parents, we worked out all the important details. And my Bishop, Louis Sandford, was there to help me make this camp happen."

The workshops he arranged helped campers learn camping techniques such as cooking over a wood fire, tying knots, and building camp tables.

But even when everything is planned to perfection, unexpected difficulties sometimes arise, like rain…which came, beginning on the first night.

“What moved me most is that even though I am young, I can achieve great things through prayer,” Kuhio reflected.

“We were united in prayer morning and evening to show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father. I learned to better appreciate the creations of God and enjoyed getting to know the young people and adults who participated.” 

But Kuhio is not just a camp organiser.

After searching the Church’s self-reliance resources, looking for ideas to earn money, he decided to sell and deliver basic foods like flour and sugar to people in the community who have no means of transportation. He was able to save this money to use for his summer holidays.

Looking for yet more opportunities to learn and grow, he talked with his mother.

He reported that his mother told him — referring to the anniversary of when Latter-day Saint pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847 — “this is the week to honour the pioneers.”

Kuhio said, “I chose as another project to make photo frames, with other friends, to honour our matahiapo (elderly) in the ward (congregation)."

His mother said, “He enthusiastically participated in this activity, along with two other families from the ward. He also baked and offered a yoghurt cake to all the matahiapo he visited.”

cadres photo Kuhio aux Matahiapo
Recipients of the photo frames to honour the Matahiapo (elderly), along with the yoghurt cake that Kulio made. French Polynesia, July 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Kuhio concludes, “I have learned that by serving others, I am in the service of God. When I choose to get out of the house to go camping, to get away from my virtual life, I am facing real life, and this is where I learn and progress more."

Kuhio’s goals and projects are part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ new personal development program for youth, called “Children and Youth.” It was announced a week before the Church’s semi-annual General Conference, and became effective January 1, 2020.

Church President, Russell M. Nelson, said of the program in October 2019: “The adjustments…are intended to help young men and young women develop their sacred personal potential.”

In the new program, the emphasis is on the involvement of each youth in their own development in four areas—spiritual, emotional, physical, and social. They have the opportunity to choose individual goals and projects which they can work on personally, with their family, or with friends.


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