FSY stakes new on-campus claims with ongoing construction

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For the Strength of Youth participants travel from Heritage Halls to the Wilkinson Student Center, skirting construction on the northeast corner of campus. FSY is open to youth aged 13 to 18. (Emma Everett)

For the Strength of Youth, a summer camp organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is returning to BYU campus this summer with some slight adjustments to accommodate ongoing construction projects.

Campus construction primarily impacts Brigham Square and nearby areas. Historically, FSY groups have used this area for mealtimes and meeting spots. (Emma Everett)

In years past, FSY counselors and participants have typically used the grassy areas around the Wilkinson Student Center and the Harris Fine Arts Center for meeting spots. With the north end of campus now transformed into a construction zone, they will be moving south, according to Provo session coordinator Tyler Dawes.

Those on campus can expect to see FSY participants using the greenspace near the Clyde Building and the Thomas L. Martin Building. Groups will also extend into the quad between the Spencer W. Kimball Tower and the Joseph Smith Building.

Assistant Director of FSY Matt Hyde said this summer’s sessions will be “even bigger” than last summer’s record-breaking enrollments. Despite potential inconvenience, he invited BYU students to view FSY as a service opportunity.

“For the first time in their lives, these teenagers might be in an emotionally and spiritually safe environment,” Hyde said. “It’s cool that we’re sharing our environment with kids who need it so badly.”

As a former BYU student himself, Dawes said he understands the potential difficulties FSY sessions create. However, he said he hopes students will be able to feed off the participants’ energy.

Visitors to campus should know they may experience longer-than-usual wait times during lunch hours in the WSC. They may also want to avoid campus in the late afternoons when FSY participants have scheduled free time.

FSY counselors come from around the country to work in Provo for the first FSY session of the summer. They are all first-time counselors. (Emma Everett)

BYU marketing student Grant Bertagnini will be coordinating several Provo FSY sessions this summer. As a liaison between campus and camps, he is uniquely concerned with FSY’s use of BYU facilities.

“BYU is such a big campus, we can find other areas to use,” he said. “It might mean you walk a little more … It always works out.”

Senior Loeli Roberts worked as an assistant coordinator last summer and will be stepping into a coordinator position this year. Establishing expectations is important to ensure participant safety and enjoyment with ongoing construction, she said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, but we won’t try to push the boundaries,” Roberts said. 

The first FSY participants arrived on campus Monday, May 29. Sessions will be ongoing through August 19. 

“FSY is an inconvenience, but it’s also a very good cause,” Hyde said. “Please tell us if something isn’t going right, because we want to be good guests.”

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