Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tribute Tuesday: Especially For Youth (EFY), The program of miracles

Today I wanted to pay homage to a program that I adore most in the world! I worked 5 years (and would do more if I was allowed) of summers as a counselor, building counselor and coordinator for this program.

The programs sole purpose is to bring youth closer to Christ in all elements of their life. It shows them how you can have such a fun time at places such as activities and dances dances and still keep high standards. It teaches the youth Christ-like principles that they can take home with them and make a difference in their communties.

For those of you who wonder what this is all about, it a what most people understand as a "Bible camp". It is for youth ages 14-18 who are committed to living wholesome standards in a time of life where the world says it is okay to just be part of the world.

These youth come to campuses all over the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Some of them travel long distances to get there.
This is a picture of some youth in Massachucets that traveled hours in a van together to attend EFY at UMASS.

The youth are placed in groups that are with kids their ages about 16-50 depending of the size of the camp that week. Together they study Christlike attributes and pray in the mornings. They have opportunities to attend spiritually uplifting, as well as fun classes, to learn different ways to apply those principles and then of course there are dances,activity nights,and service opportunities to create a immediate sense of love and friendship among those who are going through this experience together. They come and strangers and leave as the best of friends!

A back stage pass to EFY (counselor style) is the flip side of the program which includes the number of counselor and leadership marriages that come out of this program! They say that 10% of counselors marry eachother. I am pretty sure it is higher than that, but we will go with that for now :)This is Brandon and "ERO" who are one of those 10% couples. They were acting this out for an EFY video skit but what people didn't really know is that at this time they were secretly dating eachother. Infact they got to be coordinator partners together for the whole summer and no one knew they were in LOVE! :)

Some might ask how do the counselors get to know eachother well enough to know if they like eachother when they are so busy spending time with the youth?

Counselors spend a lot of time on preparations before the youth arrive on Monday. This is the midwest counselor at their weekly door tag making party (the youth have their names placed on their doors when they arrive first thing on Monday morning)

On free time, they get together and sometimes create some funny memories together. This proves that counselors are hillarious! Thanks to Al Doan and Hans Hassell

And more than anything as counselors we create a strong support group and the love just builds week after week... it is quite awesome! I am so grateful for the friends I met at EFY and the youth that I have forever friendships with. I have see many miracles happen there.Below: This is one of my youth and 3 of the counselor partners that I had my second summer working at BYU. What a great time we all had together!This is a picture of Matt and I when I spent a week in a wheelchair after tearing all the ligaments in my foot when I was doing the train with my youth. A miracle happened and I was supposed to be wheelchair bound for 6 weeks. The next week I was jumping and walking around.As you can see... some of my greatest friends and blessings came from giving my all to this program that I love!



Mindy said...

Ohhhhhhh ... this makes me miss it sooo much more than I already did! Honestly, is life supposed to go on without EFY? I think not. I think that's why so many counselors get married to one another, not necessarily because they are in love, but so EFY can live on and on and on FOREVER!! :)

Brandon and Erica said...

hahhaha...that is awesome! How did you get that picture of us? I love it! And, pretty hilarious that you were one of the "only" ones who actually knew we were secretly dating. Oh, how AWKWARD that picture was!

I love your tribute...yes, EFY is seriously one-of-a-kind. I keep trying to convince Brandon to become teacher so we can be Session Directors. Just need a way to get our feet back in the EFY door!

Meg, you are one of the reasons why EFY rocked as much as it did. And, Mindy...that was the only reason we got married. hahaha!

Meg said...

I have some great ones for you from that shoot.. you and Brandon and Mark and Annie! hahhaha You all used our session camera so I bootlegged them! I will email them to you! They are too classic to not share!

The Burners said...

Wahoo for EFY! I think I made some of the awesome friends from being a counselor at EFY. It helped me want to serve a mission and I even got my call while I was there!!! Thank heavens for EFY! AND - I won't have known you, awesome Meggers. I am so glad I committed to EFY, even though I was scared out of my mind to go to alone to scary Rexburg, Idaho! :)

maia said...

my dream as a teen was to go to EFY. i grew up the only member in my school (all of them) in PA and wished so badly to head out west! what an amazing program! I will make sure my kids can go!!

jill said...

almost all my favorite people are in your pictures. i heart EFY!!

Al said...

meg, I just now found this, and love it! Thanks for all the effort to write this up. Good memories