This time, our group was called "Rise Above". Well, sorta. We had a few mishaps with our name (i.e. having to change it like 4 times), and my co-counselor and I got pretty fed up with it all, so we decided on "Rise Above". BUT apparently there was already a company with that name, so the BC's gave us "Rise Above Them" which we sorta used, but not really cause it was just obnoxious at that point. We probably didn't handle it as well as we should have... but it ended up not being a big deal, and we still had a great time. And didn't really use our company name all that much. :) Highlights and pictures (not as many pics this time) from this week:
1. My birthday was on Monday of this EFY week! I felt awkward telling everybody about it since they were all people I had just met, but I also felt weird not saying something. So when I met my girls, I told them it was my birthday but I sorta forgot to tell the boys. Well, my dear cousin Annie lives in Provo and wanted to bring me a treat for my birthday, so I was forced to tell the boys as she came up to me on campus singing Happy Birthday at the top of her lungs from like 30 feet away. Oh, I love that girl. She then got my whole company to sing to me, and I was treated very well that day.
2. I got soooooo much more sleep this time! My girls were amazing about lights out. They were out promptly at 10:30 every night! One night we even did the devotional early, and I was asleep by 11. It was AWESOME! It's crazy how just an extra hour of sleep a night can make a world of difference. I wasn't as exhausted by Saturday which was so nice. We also beat the boys to our company spot almost every day! I was so proud of these girls. And it was kinda funny to rub it in the boys faces too. ;)
3. Games night! We had a lot of fun that night despite the whole company name mishap, and ended up being a finalist in the cheer-off and winning the water challenge (drinking a lot of water during the week)! Lucky for the kids, winning the water challenge meant getting to pour water all over the counselor of their choice at the end of games night, and good thing they chose my co! It was great, and we all really bonded that night.
4. This week I tried out to sing a song from the EFY CD for the whole session! I made it through, and they let me sing for all the girls on Thursday. I was pretty nervous, but it turned out well. I'm usually one to hide behind the piano/not sing solos EVER unless I have to, but I really enjoyed it this time. I wish I could have sang for the boys too (wink, wink) but it was fun to sing for the girls.
5. I found myself a new COW (Crush Of the Week) this time. Names will not be mentioned, but safe to say he was adorable. My co was pretty vocal about his COW and all my kids kept asking me who mine was but I was hesitant to share because of what happened the first week. However, I did share, and all the girls did was sneak glances at him during big meetings and tell me they saw him. It was fun.
6. I had a couple of girls who were a little boy crazy this week, and when asking me about my family, they discovered that I had a brother their age. They began begging me to let them call him and talk to him. We were at free time one day, and I decided why not? So I called him and they talked to him and he was giggling and they were giggling and I'm pretty sure it made his life. It was so funny when I told him "Hey Jare, I have some cute girls here who want to talk to you. Is that okay with you?" He was so shocked and excited, it was awesome. And hilarious. Love that kid.
7. We had INCREDIBLE session directors this week!! Brother and Sister Tanuvasa were so spiritual and such a power couple! I so enjoyed hearing from them. Sunday night and Saturday morning they gave us counselors messages that specifically applied to us, and I wish we could have had a whole week of that! But it was great to hear what they had to say to the youth as well, and I learned so much from them the whole week. The way Brother T treated his wife was so sweet - he always called her his "treasure" and talked about how special and important she was to him. I loved them. Such good examples.
8. Again, testimony meeting was a HUGE highlight. I think it's my favorite part of the week to watch these kids (especially the boys) who you thought were "way too cool" for that sort of thing, get up there and bear the sweetest testimonies with tears running down their cheeks. It seriously touches my heart so much. After one boy bore his testimony and went to sit back down, another boy stood up and hugged him as they both cried. Ah. It was beautiful. Luckily I was prepared with tissues this time. I also had the opportunity to bear my testimony because there was a ton of time at the end and all the kids had gone. It's amazing how the bearing of testimony strengthens it. I love the gospel and feeling the spirit!
9. Oh my word. My co-counselor, Scotty, was awesome! We had a ton of fun this week. When I first met him, he greeted me with his Mexican accent and I soon learned that that was a regular occurrence. I heard the accent more than I heard his normal voice! He did a pretty mean British accent too. Sheesh. He was hilarious. And the kids looked up to him sooooo much - and not even just our company! He had a faithful group of boys that always seemed to be around or asking where he was. He was also a powerful teacher, and I loved hearing his testimony. He had incredible experiences to share. He was always so kind to me, and made me feel like I was doing okay even when I felt like I totally screwed up a lesson. He also bought me a book from the BYU bookstore (Way to Be, by Pres. Hinckley) and had all the kids sign it with their testimonies and gave it to me at the end of the week. Such a great guy and example to me and the kids. Thanks for a fabulous week, Scotty!
10. Finally, the last night. Just like the first week, most of us were crying as we had our final devotional as a company. I loved getting a chance to talk to the boys alone and share some scriptures and my testimony with them. I told them "I love you guys. I know it may sound silly or insincere after just a week, but I really mean it. I hope you know that." to which one of the guys responded "Ditto." I don't think I can convey how sweet that response was. I also loved hearing that EFY had strengthened their testimonies. One boy said he wanted to help his uncle get back to church. Another said he hadn't been to church in a while but was going to go again when he got back. As Scotty said the prayer with our company together one last time, he and I both bawled. He prayed that the youth would be strong when they got home, and I could feel the sincerity and hope in his words, and I felt it too. I love these kids and want only the best for them.
Yep. It was another incredible week. I have a feeling I'm gonna have these gushy posts after every week. I'm sorry that they're so long, but I really don't want to forget the experiences I'm having. And hey, this blog is for me anyway, right? I can't adequately put into words the way I feel during EFY. I am so blessed to have this job. I come away a better person each time and I love the spiritual high! I love being with these wonderful kids and again, they blessed my life this week with their strength and testimonies.
Thanks to Rise Above... Them for an awesome week! You guys are the best! LOVE YOU ALL!