SYDNEY, Australia — As the Southern Hemisphere’s summer comes to a close, most Australians like to make the most of warm, sunny days — on a recent Saturday. They will trek to the beach or find some other way to enjoy the outdoors.

But for 150 Mormon young people, cleaning up Sydney’s Centennial Parklands was their preferred activity for the first day of the Australian autumn, or fall.

Young Australian Latter-day Saints cleaning up a Sydney city park. © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved

Wearing gloves and the distinctive yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” vests, the youths gathered and disposed of cans, bottles, paper, clothes and even a shopping cart.

The park, in downtown Sydney, is used by thousands of Australian families and office workers for respite from the business and busyness of a large city.

The Sydney project was part of a wider, national effort called Clean Up Australia Day. Starting in 1989, the initiative has expanded to include other programs, including Clean Up the World.

Local Church leader Terence M. Vinson thanked the young people and told them that service to the community not only makes where they live a better and more pleasant place, but it also builds personal character.

Cleanup projects supported by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are frequently organized in many countries around the world, including Mongolia, the United States and Tonga.

Full-time missionaries for the Church, of which there are more than 53,000, are also encouraged to find worthy community projects to support as part of their weekly schedules.

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at