|My co really wanted to do a straight face picture... but a few of the girls and I missed the memo. Oops.|
My last week of EFY was wonderful, as they always are. I can't believe it's been over for 3 weeks already! I keep seeing all these pictures and videos on Facebook of EFYers and it just makes me miss it so much. Because my weeks were spread out this year, I really felt like I was able to more fully appreciate each individual experience and I'm so grateful for that. I was blessed in so many ways during the last week of EFY, and I'm so grateful for all that I got to experience! It wasn't perfect, but really nothing ever is. I was just glad I got to hang out with these crazy kids and remember how much I LOVE being a counselor. Such a good week. Here are the highlights:
1. After being stuck in Old Heritage and the Morris Center two of my three Provo weeks this summer, I was beyond thrilled to learn that we were staying in Helaman and eating at the Cannon this week! I personally don't love either cafeteria, but no one will deny that the Cannon is a thousand, nay, a million times better than the the Morris. I've told my BFF Cami Jo, who majored in diatetics, all about what they do at the Morris and she was very concerned about the fact that they were breaking like 15 health codes (cause she knows these things). So, anyway. The Cannon is a blessing. Also, the nicer dorms with air conditioning are always appreciated, since I don't prefer melting as I sleep. Hooray for BYU having SOME good accommodations. :)
2. I got to see a lot of my EFY friends from the Nauvoo team which was SO much fun. They had an awesome summer together and I'm kinda jealous I wasn't with them for more than the two weeks, but they welcomed me right back in like I'd been with them the whole time. We caught up on all the crazy happenings of the summer, reminisced about our silly inside jokes from Nauvoo, and just had a great time. Love them. I also got to see two of my guy friends from high school which was super fun. I love running into people I know at BYU. When I was talking to one of them, my EFY kids were all standing about 10 feet away staring at us and scrutinizing our every move. After he left they were absolutely convinced that we loved each other. Obviously they couldn't hear him telling me about his serious girlfriend (who is now his fiance) :) Oh, EFY kids. They just want to marry their counselors off so badly! It's hilarious.
|It's just not a BYU EFY without some graham canyon. Best ever.|
3. EFY is famous for doing silly activities that you can turn around and apply to the gospel. We call it "debriefing". The kids are introduced to this on Monday night at FHE, and then continue to do it throughout the week. When you tell them "we're playing a game!" they usually get all excited and have a great time. Then after the game is over, you sit them down and say "now we are going to apply this to the gospel." and they look at you like "umm.. you are crazy." but they always come up with the most amazing responses and it's really cool to watch. One game that I've never really been too fond of is called "Aura". To start off, the kids line up across from each other, reach their hands out and touch the hands of the person across from them. They then close their eyes, spin around, and then have to find their partner again without opening their eyes. It's not the most exciting, but the debriefing usually goes well. When my co said he wanted to play this one I wasn't too jazzed about it, but he just said "trust me". And I'm so glad I did. He started it out the normal way, but had different "levels" that got progressively harder each time. He would tell the kids to stand in one spot and he and I would move them around to completely random places. The best, though, was when he had one line lay on the ground, and he'd tell them "roll to the right until I tell you to stop. Or, if you hit the road you should definitely stop." This was hilarious to watch, but when he told the boys to roll to the left and one rolled to the right, I lost it. I was laughing SO HARD! It was the best FHE games night I've ever had.
4. I had the most wonderful girls this week! I got the older group which I just love. I've had some awesome younger groups, but the older ones just have a different feel and vibe. I had one girl that had just graduated high school, and I just don't feel much older than them! They were so sweet and thoughtful and also hilarious. One night as I was checking their lights out I knocked on one door and the girls popped out and tried to scare me. Didn't work, but it was hilarious. On the last night when I was doing checkouts, two of the girls and I talked in Russian accents the whole time which just made us giggle and was so much fun. They were also so sweet! I got the nicest note from one of them at the end of the week, and that always makes me feel so good. They were so willing to do anything, and they loved to try to help me with my boy troubles. :) Also, a few of them talked to my brother on the phone (a tradition I've started when I have the right age group, cause it's fun for him and them) and he has been texting two of them nonstop ever since. The little flirt. :) But it was SUCH a good week. It's also a tradition at EFY that at the Tuesday dance they send all the boys away and let the girls have one final dance. Usually it's to Party in the USA (ick. Also, Miley should be removed from the EFY playlist, let's be honest) but this time they did Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I personally don't enjoy dances too much, and most of my girls this week didn't either, but we really enjoyed this one song at least. The music stopped at the last chorus, and I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but we all just sang the rest of it anyway. And for some reason, I got chills. It might sound silly, but music is just SO special to me and the fact that we all sang it together, and to hear it echoing off the walls and just perfectly in sync was just a magical moment. I love music, and I love my girls!
(Even though some of the pics got way over exposed because the girl taking them held the camera in the sun... I still love them. I think they look cool :)
|See, those purple lines look like magic or something.|
5. The boys. Oh, the boys. We had some hilarious ones this week! I loooved them so much. My co started off the week by referring to me as their "mother" and for some reason it just stuck and they called me mom the rest of the week. :) All the girls thought it was so weird, and were constantly asking me if it bothered me, but oddly, it didn't bother me one bit. I just loved it! And I never hesitated in responding to it. The best was that we had a kid from England (who got verrrrry tired of us saying "say that again!", "say 'hamburger'!" "That's really how you say that?" over and over again) who called me "Mum." Cutest ever. It was also hilarious when we were in the bookstore one day and they all come running toward me saying "mom! mom!" at the same time, and a little 3-year-old boy was staring from them, to me, and back to them trying to figure out how I could possibly be the mother of 12 teenage boys. So funny. I also got the opportunity to talk to just these boys on Friday morning and I SO enjoyed that. I loved talking to them about their goals for the future, hearing about their mission plans, and their desires to reactivate their inactive family members or friends. One of them also suggested we read the BoM as a company this week, and we all thought it was a great idea! We assigned 24 pages out to everyone and it all got read which was such a cool bonding experience. Seriously incredible boys! I know why Pres. Monson lowered the mission age. These boys are ready.
6. My coco, Ry Bear. His name is Ryan, but his nametag says "Ry" because he didn't want to be confused with other Ryans. But, to further be unique, he went by "Bear." So, I took to calling him "Ry Bear". He was SO great. So chill, so thoughtful and nice and hilarious. He bought me drinks from sonic, chocolate from the bookstore, and bottles of water. He got me something every day! So sweet. He was also great with the kids and we had such a good time. He also has a signature drink called the "George Randal" and he made one for me and it was SO GOOD. Yum. I'm so glad we got to be cos this week.
7. I got the opportunity to sing for the girls again, and I always so enjoy doing that. It helps me get out of my comfort zone, and gives me the chance to bear my testimony through song which I love doing. I don't know why it is that whenever I sing for EFY I always (except for one time) sing for just the girls, but it just must be where Heavenly Father knows I'll be most effective. Really, singing at EFY is not about the praise or the recognition or even the music, it's just about testimony and the spirit. I learn something new about myself each time I sing for the girls, and I'm grateful that I've been able to do it so many times. I love music and the gospel!
8. Ry Bear had the idea to have the kids come tell us their favorite scripture and why during gospel study each day. It not only gave us a chance to learn more about them, but it also was kind of a personal time with just us and one youth, and to hear their testimony one-on-one like that was so powerful. We also had some really cool gospel discussions when they came to us with questions, and that was cool to experience as well. I know I say it in every EFY post and already have multiple times in this post, but the youth are SO impressive! I am just endlessly amazed by their strength and testimonies.
|This girl's name is Ashley and we have the same birthday!!! Mitch is also a June 18th baby, but he refused to smile... punk. When we all realized we had the same birthday, we had to take a picture, obviously. I love birthday twins!|
9. Testimony meeting was a little bit crazy because we had 4 companies in one room and there was really no way everyone could get through. I think maybe half of the kids got up, if even that. Because of that, only 3 of my boys were able to go, and we ran out of time before some of my other kids that were in line had the opportunity. But the ones that did go bore the sweetest, purest testimonies I had ever heard. One sweet boy in my group got up and said "I know I'll see my mom again". I had no idea his mom had passed away, and it broke my heart, especially since he had also been calling me mom all week without hesitation. Because of him and all the other testimonies I heard that night, I was again blown away by the strength and faith of the youth through their trials. They are such incredible examples! I also had a testimony meeting with my girls in our Reflect and Review that night, just so they could have the opportunity if they wanted and that was a sweet experience as well. Love the youth so much!
10. I know I usually end on a spiritual note, and I'll come back to the spiritual in a second. But I just could not do this post without talking about the last dance, and it was honestly my favorite part of the whole week! I'm personally not a huge fan of dances, and especially after doing 11 weeks of EFY the playlist (that NEVER changes) gets really old. But for some reason, this dance was just amazing!!! It may have had something to do with the two cans of caffeinated soda given to me by my co just before the dance (ha!), but I just went NUTS and had sooo much fun! The fact that it was under the bleachers at Lavell Edwards stadium was SO exciting for me (love that place). Then my co came up to me and said, "want to have an awkward dance party with me?" and I said "of course!" and he instructed me to tuck in my shirt and we danced on the bench for a whole song with our kids filming us the entire time. Hilarious. Then, at the end of the dance, they played all the line dances in a row, and those are my favorite. So I went up to the front with some counselors and some of my kids and just danced my heart out! It was amazing and felt so good and released a lot of stress and ah! Best dance of my whole EFY career.
|Looooove this place soooooo much.|
It was truly an amazing week, and a wonderful summer. I'm so grateful for all the people I got to work with, the things I got to experience, the friends I made, the gospel principles I learned, the testimonies that were strengthened, and so much more. EFY is a crazy, stressful, wonderful experience and I consider myself SO blessed to have done it for two years now. Above all, I'm grateful for all the youth I've been able to work with and get to know! I've had over 250 participants in my 9 weeks as a counselor and they never cease to amaze me each week. I know I gush about it entirely too much, but I just love it and can't help myself! What a wonderful program and experience. As I retire another set of polos, I will be forever grateful for the things I've learned from these weeks of EFY.