POCATELLO — The nearly completed Pocatello Idaho Temple is looking even brighter this week thanks to the efforts of local youth.

Approximately 100 teens and some adult volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Grace, Soda Springs, Arimo and American Falls stakes recently gathered at the temple to help clean up the garden beds and plant flowers.

“I thought it was a cool service project,” said 13-year-old Kallie Stoddard of the Grace Stake, who was excited to do some work at the temple she will be attending in the future. “It was an awesome experience.”

Kevin and Ann Loveland, who serve on the temple’s open house and dedication committee and are spearheading youth events, said those who participated in the project enjoyed seeing the temple’s progress and being a part of something bigger than themselves.

“Anytime the youth come by, they’ll always have the memory. (They can think), ‘I helped plant this or I was part of this,” Ann said. “It’s an incredible thing. It ties you to the significance of something far greater than just yourself.”

Many of the youth who cleaned up the grounds and planted perennial flowers at the temple last week also helped clear sagebrush from the site prior to the groundbreaking in March of 2019.

“It was really cool to see how far they’ve come,” said Brandon Neal, 16, of the American Falls Stake, who participated in both activities.

Callie Hamp, an adult volunteer from the Grace Stake, agrees.

“I never pictured it would be this pretty,” she said. “When we went up (before, it was) just a hill of sagebrush and then, boom, there’s this beautiful building with all these new homes around it.”

Stoddard, who also participated in both activities, says the outside of the temple is gorgeous and she’s looking forward to being able to go inside of the building soon.

“I’m excited,” she said. “Just seeing the inside and all the work that’s been put into it — I’m sure it’s beautiful.”

A public open house is set to take place at the Pocatello Idaho Temple Sept. 18 to Oct. 23, prior to the building’s dedication on Nov. 7.

Free tickets to the open house can be reserved at pocatellotemple.org/open-house-tickets.