Wow. I can't believe I'm done with EFY! It was truly the best 7 weeks of my life. I can't imagine a better way to spend my time than at such an inspired program! I loved working with these awesome kids, meeting a ton of new people, and just feeling the spirit all the time! Seriously it was amazing. Even though by the end of this week I was sooooo tired (5 weeks in a row really does a number on ya) and I could barely even stand at the dance, haha... I'm so grateful that I was able to work this last week with these wonderful youth.
This week, our group was called "One Voice". They were the 14-15 year olds, and they were CRAZY but just so fun. I loved hangin out with them. They didn't give us too much trouble either. They were such good kids, and a perfect group to end the summer with! Here's some highlights of my last week:
1. Like I already mentioned, these kids were 14-15 year olds. Going into each week, I always worry a bit if I find out I have the younger ones, just because sometimes they can be a little bit more crazy. But I had nothing to worry about with these kids. Yes, they were a little hyper, but they were hyper in a good way. It was so much fun hangin out with them! They made me laugh so hard! And they had soooo much energy. It really kept me going since I was so tired.
2. I had such good girls this week! They got along so well. I loved their attitudes and how much they banded together and loved each other, and me too! I felt like I was part of their friend group, which was so fun. I had one girl that stung by a bee and her hand swelled up pretty big. And even though she was in a lot of pain (which I didn't know until I asked because she hid it so well), she had the greatest attitude about it! She never complained, either. Such a great group of girls, and so much fun! They also were so talkative and willing to share in devotionals and that always makes it better for me. They were also so bent on hooking me up with other counselors. Goodness. It was funny, but so awkward! It was cute though. Love them.
3. My cousin, John, got home from his mission on Tuesday!! I figured that if I didn't get to see him when he got home that I would be extremely distracted but I didn't think I would be able to go. However, I decided to give it a try and see if they'd let me leave. Well, the EFY people were angels and let me leave for several hours on Tuesday to see him! I was so grateful. It was so fun to head home (and have a break because I was so exhausted, even on Tuesday, haha). He's his same old goofy self. And although he was a little bit tired, we had fun catching up for a little bit before I had to head back. Even though it wasn't technically a part of EFY, it definitely needed to be included as a highlight :) My kids were so great about it too. They all just told me to tell him hi from them, and they were excited when I got back which was cute.
4. The boys in this group were crazy. But they were so funny. They decided pretty much on the first day that my co-counselor and I were destined to be married (soooo awkward, haha!). They did everything in their power to have us be together all the time. They even went to the bookstore on the last day and bought a bracelet (a really cute BYU one, might I add) and had my co-counselor get down on one knee and give it to me on Friday while they played Can You Feel The Love Tonight iPod. Haha! Oh goodness. But then there was this counselor that was hitting on me and making me feel really uncomfortable, and I told my boys about it and they made it their mission to keep him away from me at the dance. I felt kind of bad, but they did their jobs well. Haha. Love them.
5. I had amazing scripture study again this week. I can't express enough how much appreciation I've gained for the scriptures over the course of EFY. Each day as we read, when the 30 minutes were up I just wanted to keep reading! My co even got after me one day for going 10 minutes over... Oops! Ha.
6. My BC this week, Brittney, was an angel. She's actually one of my good friend's cousins. She was so kind and willing to work with me on the whole seeing John thing. Also, as I was gone seeing John, a girl in my group that hadn't been shown the first day came. Of course it happened while I was gone, but Brittney, with so much on her plate, helped her find our group and got it all worked out for me. I'm so thankful for her! It was also so nice to feel like she was a friend as well. She was my BC my second week of EFY and I loved having her again. Thanks Brittney!
7. Testimony meeting is always a highlight. This week, since we had such a big session, of course we had a combined testimony meeting. But I loved it. Such sweet kids this time. And there was not a single lull for the entire meeting! I love it when that happens. You can tell the spirit is just burning inside them and they just can't help but get up there and share what they know. When I have the younger kids, I'm always amazed by what they know!
8. I had a great co this time. He was so funny, and he had awesome object lessons that the kids really responded to. These object lessons included elbow licking, which was super gross (and I was a victim, haha) but oh man the kids loved him. I hear a lot of people talk about not having a good co, but I lucked out and had great ones every week! Either I was blessed, or I just like people... haha. But really i think I was blessed.
9. Oh goodness. The team this week was SO awesome! They're crazy and just so fun. The coordinators especially, Ryan and Angela, are just made for EFY. I'm convinced of it. I loved working with them, so much. They came up with their own version of "Loathing" from Wicked, which they called "Loving". They sang it for everyone and we all died when they said "unadulterated LOVING". Ha! Oh man. They also had an analogy of us counselors being superheroes and that every time we put on the polo or the nametag we should sing superhero theme music and remember what it stood for. I don't know how much of a superhero I actually am, but it was a good reminder to be an example. I can't believe I've worn those polos for the last time!
10. Since it was the last week and I was so burned out, I was really so tired all the time. First of all, I was blessed with awesome kids and a great co that had a lot of energy, and helped me feel energized when I needed it. Secondly, I really was blessed with extra energy. I know I couldn't have gotten through this week without Heavenly Father's help. I had to pray every morning to just help me keep my eyes open. Even though I wouldn't have objected to napping all week long, I know I was supposed to be there for this final week.
Wow. Seriously, I can't put into words (although I've written a lot of words, haha) how much this summer changed my life. I'm a better person. I have a stronger testimony. I've become more confident in myself and my abilities. I've gained knowledge of and appreciation for the scriptures. I've had questions answered. I trust Heavenly Father and my Savior more. I trust myself more. Although it's true that it'll be different once I get back to real life and I don't have 20 kids following me around telling me how awesome I am all the time, I'm so grateful for the experiences I had. The easy ones and the hard ones changed my life. I also feel like I learned a little bit about what it'll be like to be a parent of teenagers. I know it'll be hard, ha! but also so rewarding if there's even a small taste of what I got to experience with these efy kids. Oh goodness. I could keep gushing for forever, but I'll stop. Let's just say... I'm sad it's over. So sad. I love every single youth I got to work with this summer and I'm so grateful for them and their strength and examples to me!! I will never forget this summer. LOVE YOU TEAM! A lot.