14 February 2014

RootsTech Saturday

This is the last day of a fantastic RootsTech 2014 conference!

The day started out in a super awesome way! The 9,000 additional people who showed up for the Family Discovery Day have started to make their way into the Salt Palace! Now the Expo hall is filing fast with renewed enthusiasm and excitement. There are about 4,500 youth, some wide-eyed and apprehensive. We will see how that progresses throughout the day. 

What can I possibly say about the keynote speakers today that most of you watched, either in person or over the internet, but WOW!  First, I have never seen anyone talk a s  f-a-s-t  a s Todd Hanson, the producer of The Story Trek. I thoroughly enjoyed the levity, the intensity, and the joy of his Searching For A Story clips.  He is adept at pulling the personal story from other's hearts and sharing it with us. I will be a devoted follower of his show from this point forward! 
If you want to watch the program you can! If you cable or satellite TV has access to BYUtv you can view it there. If not, you can watch the program online at BYUtv - The Story Trek. Register for a free account. 

Stephanie Nielsen, author of the NieNie Dialogues blog, is one tough young lady! I don't remember the last time I was so proud of someone for learning to overcome the worst of the worst and be willing to speak about it and share her experiences with the world. I was honored to be in attendance during her keynote address. Her story of survival to live a new life is breathtaking. Her belief in God has certainly given her extraordinary strength of spirit and body.

Saturday's  FAMILY DISCOVERY DAY was a super special day for LDS members, both adults and youth, and anyone else who chose to attend the sessions!

As I mentioned above, there were an additional 9,000 people in attendance on Saturday above the 8,000 in attendance throughout the prior two or three days. RootsTech made room for about 4,500 adults and about the same number of youth for one just this one day. You might have thought it would be a nightmare but it was wonderful. Have you ever seen so many youth at a genealogy conference in your life? Well, take a look...
Mostly youth registering for their Youth Discovery Day at RootsTech!

Youth enjoying the Expo Hall
Having fun at the Studio C booth
Youth with their matching shirts and colored RootsTech bags
Interacting with the youth was an enlightening experience. Some were walking around just trying to absorb the incredible amount of electronic media, mini-classes, and activities with wide eyes. Others, were just having fun, while still others were so excited to learn anything they could possibly cram into those active brains of theirs!  So refreshing to see and hear the buzz.

They were treated to inspirational messages from leaders of the LDS Church - Elders' Neil L. Andersen, Allan F. Packer, Bradley D. Foster.Other speakers included Elder Enrique Falabela, Heidi Swinton and John Bytheway. The youth have a particular love for the humor of John Bytheway!  The center of their message was to encourage youth to record, preserve and share their family stories. They were taught about the powerful features of the FamilySearch Family Tree and how to help others with their family history - most importantly to teach their family members to seek out their kindred. 

I particularly liked Elder Foster's presentation he gave to the youth on Saturday. He referenced a question that was posed in the prior month's Parade magazine, which asked: When a team of psychologists measured children's resilience, they found that kids who _______ were best able to handle stress.
   a. Ate breakfast together every day
   b. Knew the most about their family's history
   c. Played team sports
   d. Attended regular religious services

The answer was b. The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: "These children have a strong sense of 'intergenerational self'-they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves and that families naturally experience both highs and lows."

We are all related. It's a matter of numbers back to Adam as to where we fall in this world family tree. (So be careful what you say to your neighbor or friend!) Each person has a story that tells who we are, which in turn, tells us who we are to become. There are 156,000 people on earth who leave us every day; we call that death. There are 384,000 new arrivals a day that we refer to as births. By the year 2015, it is expected that the earth will be home to 9 billion people. With the aid of technology we CAN connect them all together.

Comparing family history to a headstone in a cemetery, you have a name, a birth date, dash, a death date. However, the dash is what we are trying to identify -- it's our history.

Quotables: "What I would give for one tweet from my great-grandma!"

"Genealogy changes charts, but, Family History changes hearts!"

Overcome your barriers: It's not just for old people; it's not too hard; it's not too much technology. Let the youth lead! They will search out our kindred!

Elder Foster was very clear about the importance of all family members in searching for and learning about the dash between the dates of our kindred.

To download and watch Elder Bradley Foster's presentation, click here.

Keynote presentations on video for Judy Russell from Friday's session and Todd Hansen.

If you or your group are interested in hosting a Stake Family History Fair, check this out.

Elder Allan Packer's presentation - Spiritual Passport

Elder Neil Anderson Youth Devotional

Plan right now to attend RootsTech 2015 which will be held February 11-16 in Salt Lake City, Utah!