Ardeth Kapp was 20 minutes late for her appointment with the Deseret News because an earlier meeting with a group of young women did not conclude on time. She rushed into her office, greeted her guests and then disappeared to "repair the results of 180 hugs!" before a photograph was taken. No matter the number of young people she speaks to, each and every need for a hug is granted.

As the recipient of this year's Heritage Award from the Utah-California Women organization, President Kapp adds this recognition to a long list of achievements: current general president of the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986 Lambda Delta Sigma Elect Lady, 1989 Collegium Aesculapium Humanitarian Award from the Brigham Young University Academy of Medicine and the 1990 Exemplary Womanhood Award from the BYU Student Association.President Kapp also achieved recognition as an instructor for the Mountain States Telephone Co., a teacher in the Davis County Schools, an instructor for the BYU College of Education, a writer and instructor for a series of television programs and as the author of seven books and innumerable articles. She is on several boards in addition to serving on the National Women's Leadership Task Force.

But face-to-face with Ardeth Kapp, she is much more than an intelligent, beautiful and accomplished woman. One meets a compelling, centered, force for good.

President Kapp is an interviewer's dream - her thoughts are spoken freely and beautifully phrased. One merely needs to ask a question then add quotation marks at the beginning and end.

Asked to look back on her life and note what she understands now that she didn't as she was living it, she answered, "My unfulfilled expectations. The things I perceived as disappointments, evolved into the foundation of the joys of today." As an example, she said, "I didn't do well as a student. Later as a teacher, my success came especially with slow learners. I was honored as an outstanding teacher but it was because I followed the counsel in II Corinthians to find your faith in the Lord and then comfort others in their struggles."

President Kapp and her husband Heber were not blessed with children. She said in an interview in the Ensign, "After a quarter of a million prayers for children, I have responsibility for a quarter of a million young women. I never expected such results." Reviewing her life - accomplishments, trials and disappointments - she said, "I see only the mountain peaks. When I was living it, it felt like there were some valleys."

Of her calling to direct the young women of the LDS Church, she said, "My concern is for their developmental years between 12 and 18. That little piece of time is incredibly important. Those years build on the past and are the link to the future. As adults we need to provide opportunities for them to serve because that's where they get their self-worth, not in the labels they wear.

"Today's world offers so many opportunities there is a greater need to prioritize," President Kapp said. When asked how she does it all, she said, "I don't. The way I feel uplifted in energy and spirit is when I focus more specifically on my goals. What is it we want to happen? Once we decide and make a plan we can be free of all the things we don't want to do. We all have seasons of pruning in our lives. We must be willing to let go of the things we don't need and defend with our lives the essentials: our families and our commitment to God," she said.

A tactful glance at the time finally nudged the reporter out of her office. But not before Ardeth Kapp gave out her 181st hug of the day.


Kapp will receive Utah-California Women Heritage Award at luncheon on Nov. 3

What: Ardeth Kapp receives the Utah-California Women Heritage Award at a luncheon

Date: Saturday, Nov. 3

Where: Marriott Hotel, 75 S. West Temple

When: noon

Entertainment: "Reaching for the Stars," with Luise King Rey as master of ceremonies. Featured will be Gerri Engemann, recording artist and vocalist; David Jewkes, star of musical comedy; The Envoy, a singing group also known as the Ambassadors of Good Will; and Alysa Rey, internationally known harpist.

Boutique: Holiday and other gift items will be included in the day's events from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Philanthropy: Utah-California Women support Deseret Village in Spanish Fork, residences for mentally handicapped men and women. The price of $18.50 for the luncheon includes a contribution to this cause and also admission to the boutique.

Reservations: Salt Lake area, call Joan LeFevre at 355-2646; in the Provo area, call Lily Smith at 226-2716.

Information: Call Phyllis Hillyard at 278-8742.

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