What do you get when you put 400 teenagers together for 14 hours straight?

Last weekend, a Northwest religious group got a giant lighthouse built from food-filled cans and a clean-up crew for a nearby school.

The teenagers, ages 16 through 18, gathered on Saturday, March 7, at the North Stake building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a conference called “Shine On.”

At the church, they piled up canned food contributions — youth groups competed with one other to see who could bring the most — and then stacked them up in the likeness of the conference’s logo, a lighthouse.

Their collection totaled more than 4,000 cans.

The building project was just for fun. Before the participants even started stacking, they knew all the cans would eventually end up as donations for the Tucson Community Food Bank.

Down the street at Cross Middle School, 1000 W. Chapala Drive, the teenagers scraped gum off the sidewalk, cleaned windows, picked up trash, swept and otherwise beautified the outside of the school.

The simple gesture paralleled the conference’s focus — how to be a positive influence in personal, family and community relationships. Classes at the conference focused on dating and marriage, relationships, life after high school and talent development.

The teenagers came from all over Pima County, from as far as Sierra Vista and Willcox for the conference, which takes place every two years somewhere in the greater Tucson area.

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