8.20.2012

Flying Angels!

3rd week of EFY: Complete! It was an incredible week yet again. I had the younger group for the second time, and am beginning to think I will have them for the rest of the weeks, which I am totally fine with! I love the older kids, but I love the younger ones too! Both groups have such different feels to them but they're both great, really.  I also love the fact that I can connect with both age groups, seeing as I enjoy many of the things that the younger kids do (like Justin Bieber and Fablehaven and Kid History... guys I think I'm a 14-year-old in a 21-year-old's body) and it was just great. Even though we stayed at Old Heritage at BYU and they were super gross, I enjoyed myself so much.

I had such an amazing group of kids this week, and we called ourselves the Flying Angels! We had an awesome cheer at games night that our kids came up with completely by themselves, though we didn't win because I don't think the BC's believed that we didn't help.  But it was such a fun, fun week! Here are the highlights and pictures in no particular order:

1. This week was my first time having girls that all came with roommates (my first 2 weeks they all came alone, which I thought was crazy because I always came with a roommate).  I was a little worried that this would mean they'd take longer to reach out and make friends with everyone else, but I had no reason to worry! They all took to each other super quickly and were practically best friends by the end of the week.  I think this was the most unified group I've had.  They all just loved being together and meshed really well.  It was cool to see all these girls from such different backgrounds get along and become friends with each other, and they were including me in this friendship as well.

2. This week was the 4th of July! When I was younger, I came as a participant over the 4th and it was great, so I knew this would be fun.  We had games night with ALL the sessions (1700 kids!) on one field.  The BC's made it seem like it was going to be super crazy and difficult, but I didn't have a problem with it.  It ended up being so much fun! The kids were really excited and riled up because of the holiday and it added an extra spark to games night.  After we finished with the games, we all separated by session and had our pizza nights on the field with our companies and got to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks! While I'll admit they weren't the most amazing fireworks I had ever seen (I expected them to be better, but I'm thinking they might have toned it down because of the fire problems) it was still SO much fun.  We all really bonded that night and it made Thursday that much better.
3. We had an awesome group of boys this week.  They were all super hilarious and talented, and we had two boys from Australia! It was funny that they happened to come the week that we celebrated America. :) It was fun to see their reactions to fireworks (they'd never seen them before!) and to hear about their country and the differences between ours and theirs.  It was also absolutely hilarious to hear them make fun of our accents! It went back and forth though.  By the end of the week, most of our group was talking in Australian accents.  Hopefully it didn't bother them too much.
4.  Every week there is a variety show where the kids can try out to show off their talents for the whole session. It's always fun to see what the kids can do. People are so talented these days! Well, we had several kids in the show this week and it was so fun to cheer them on.  One of them sang Soldier by Gavin Degraw (LOVE that song. If you don't know it, look it up. now.) And he was amazing! The kids were all drooling over him (boys included, not even joking).  We decided to have our own little talent show during free time and ended up just playing the piano for each other and singing and laughing, and it was so much fun! It helped us bond as a group too.  So many talented kids! I also sang for the girls again this week, and my girls begged me to sing the song again during our mini talent show, so that was fun.  I'm loving singing for people lately! It's totally getting me out of my bubble and it's definitely good for me.

5.  Since I had the younger girls again, it was only a matter of time before they found out about my brother.  They asked if they could call him this week, without me even suggesting the idea! I was so surprised! But I let them do it and Jared just loved it, haha.  The best part though, was that one of the guys in my group found out that Jare was their age and took the phone from the girls and talked to him for like 10 minutes. He is a hilarious kid and I have a feeling they would be best friends if they ever met.  Oh man.  I love my bro.  He's getting spoiled with all these girls wanting to talk to him every week.  I hope he doesn't get a big head. ;)
6.  This week I had such a sweet roommate! She was seriously one of the most genuine people I have ever met.  As I was expressing some nervousness and frustrations at the beginning of the week, she took hold of my shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said "You are amazing, Ashley.  Don't forget it." She's one of those people that you just don't question because of her genuine sincerity. She continued to say things like that throughout the week to comfort me even though she had her own struggles and troubles.  I was so grateful for her selflessness! She was a sweetheart and I really feel like we're kindred spirits.  So much so that we were up til 1 on the first two nights talking.  I had to put my foot down to get some sleep! :) But she really helped make the week great.

7. There's an activity that we do every week where the youth role play what it would be like to share the gospel with their nonmember friends.  It's always awesome to see the youth step up to the plate and teach the gospel! I'm constantly amazed at their strength and power. As the BC's were explaining the activity, they did a role play of their own to demonstrate what would happen.  Two of the guys were teaching one girl and totally went into missionary mode (which was awesome, btw). As they recounted the story of the first vision in Joseph Smith's words, the spirit spoke to my heart that the words were true.  I've already had this confirmation, but it was wonderful to get it again, and in a setting where I wasn't exactly expecting it.  I love the gospel!

8. This year EFY is focused a lot on missionary work.  On Friday every week, the missionaries come and talk to the kids and help them understand that sharing the gospel with their friends isn't as scary as they think it is.  I always love hearing the missionaries give their perspective.  This week we had a special opportunity as a session.  One participant that was supposed to be a part of our session passed away before he was able to attend, and his family was having a really hard time coping with the loss.  Our coordinators passed out 3x5 cards to everyone and had us write down a scripture, quote, or anything that had helped us in times of trial to send to the family to read as they went through this hard time.  It was really neat to see us all come together as a session, and the spirit was definitely in the room as we all wrote our thoughts for this family.

9.  My coco Jared! We had such a great week.  He had such power in his retelling of scripture stories and I so appreciated his insight into the gospel and how much he genuinely cared for the kids! He was super supportive and nice and we were on the same page.  He also went to high school with couple of my friends from USU so that was a fun little connection.  He was completely hilarious, but the best part about it was that it would come out at the most random times! He joked with me once that when he flirts with girls, he shakes his shoulders (I was totally dying of laughter. Wish I could describe it better) and then for the rest of the week he'd say things like "Ooh, I like that polo" and shake his shoulders and I totally cracked up every time. It was a great week, and I knew he respected me and the kids really looked up to him.
10. Testimony meeting! Ah! I always love it so much.  It had been raining earlier in the day but had cleared up in the afternoon, but after the fireside, we got to the doors of the Wilk to head to the building where our testimony meetings were and it was POURING! Seriously, raining cats and dogs. The kids started to get chatty and excited and I was worried that it was going to ruin the spirit of the night as they had us run across campus to the building.  Although we all arrived in the room completely soaked to the bone, the kids settled down and it ended up being a wonderful testimony meeting! Seriously, I am amazed every week by the kids that get up there and bear the sweetest, most heartfelt testimonies.  I can always see it in their faces when they really mean it. This time we even had a couple of kids get up twice! I loved it.

I'm sure most people don't even read these EFY posts, but I like having these memories written down.  I'm doing well with making good memories and loving every week, and I think it's pretty safe to say this has been the best summer of my life so far.  I'm having so much fun, learning so much, and coming so much closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  Seriously, I don't know what I would do without the gospel in my life! My testimony has been strengthened so much and I can't wait to drink up my last 2 weeks of EFY.  I've said it before, but I'll never stop being amazed at how strong the youth of the church are. Their testimonies and love for each other and the gospel strengthen me and make me want to be a better person every week.  Seriously, BEST JOB EVER. Can't believe the summer is more than half way over!
Thanks to my Flying Angels kiddos for an AMAZING week that I will never forget! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

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