working for efy has been a blessing in my life. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am without it. It has taught me so much, and introduced me to amazing role models. it has been a great three years. I had the opportunity to be a counselor, BC, and coordinator and learned unique lessons each year. Will I do efy again? I'm not sure, but as of right now I don't think so...
so here it is. here is how i will "never be the same" because of efy.
my relationship with my savior. efy came at a perfect time in my life. a time when I was low, and hurt, and heartbroken. and was exactly what I needed. learning about the atonement of Jesus Christ each week brought the needed comfort. Testify to my girls how he knew them, I learned that he knew ME. I was scared and I didn't know what I was doing, but I learned that all I had to do was turn to him. And that has changed my life.
my amazing dance moves. I can do an efy line dance with my eyes closed. and have some awesome nerdy dance skills. I will never hear the song "firework" or "wide awake" without secretly doing the dance in my head- and don't even get me started on "we like to party"
choosing faith over fear. this summer especially taught me this principle over and over and over again. in all aspects of my life. it is amazing how if you have faith nothing seems all that bad. It is all to help us learn and is for our benefit- even the hard things. so why be scared? heavenly father is a smart guy and knows what he is doing. and teaches me that over and over again.
my parenting skills. well with 3 little guys I am a pro parent. oh wait i have no kids. and therefore no parenting experience. but efy has taught me a lot about parenting. one. how much you love your kids and want everything to be perfect for them. I was amazed how quickly I loved my girls when I was a counselor, and how hard it was to see them in pain or to let them go. One week one of my girls dislocated her knee. She sat there just crying, and there was nothing I could do. I tried to comfort her, but was helpless. She went to bed and I just cried. And then realized I could never have kids because I would be a wreck anytime they were sick or hurt. love. it's an amazing thing. secondly, how to set a good example for your kids. we saw a lot of different parents come to the solutions table. it was amazing to see the similarities between them and their kids. the parents who were irrational or rude had children we struggled with. but the parent's who accepted the way things had to be and then found that silver lining had kids who had an amazing week. third. you have to let them learn things on their own and let them fail. we learned this with our amazing BCs. At the beginning James and I were extremely involved with everything, and because of that they didn't feel a sense of ownership. It was week 5 when we realized we had to step back and let them take over. we literally went into our meetings that week and said, "okay, plan tomorrow" and sat there. (don't worry we would make sure everything got covered, but it was mainly them). that week was amazing, and we saw a difference. Things changed from there- I learned that I wasn't helping them at all by doing things for them, I was preventing them from learning valuable skills.
the knowledge of my abilities. i can do hard things. whether it was a conversation I didn't want to have, waiving 15 parking tickets, or doing 9 weeks of EFY in a row- I was able to do it. i learned you just have to take it one step at a time, and keep moving. sitting there and wallowing about it doesn't solve a thing, and the problem is still there. I remember before the summer started thinking there was no way I could be an efy coordinator. I had no idea what I was doing- and 9 weeks... i would die. somehow we made it through. Life is going to happen no matter what, you can't stop time from moving forward. So you might as well jump in with both feet and try your best, and pray that Heavenly Father will make up the rest.
my future marriage. i had a nine week crash course in marriage. James Grant made for a great husband. I learned how it can be tricky to merge "two" families. You each have your way of doing things, things that you thought were standard that weren't. We learned to take what we had both experienced and then create the summer we wanted. What was important? What wasn't? I learned how to compromise, and talk through differences. I learned the importance of communication, and taking time just to have "co-corrdinator dates" aka running errands and talking about things other than EFY. It is so easy to lose your identity- and important to remember that we were real people before efy. I learned about open communication and keeping each other informed. I learned about making big decisions together, and supporting the other person even if you didn't always agree, because you were a team and needed to be unified. I learned a lot from James, and I will forever be grateful. Also watching different session directing couples. Their dating advice. marriage advice. life advice. My favorite advice might have come from the long conversations with Sister Boyle. She told me about when she was dating her now husband how whenever there was a problem he was used to running rather than working through it. Rather than seeing something he didn't like and running, she would make him stop and tell her what it was, and then humbly work on it (because many times it was something she knew she could do better). Humility. so so important. and patience, and work.
my wardrobe. I will never wear a polo again. false, but kind of true. I also have an array of beautiful, colorful, EFY polos in my closet.
my hair. I learned this summer to like my hair down and curly. I did a summer of NO HEAT. Meaning I didn't blow dry, straighten, or curly my hair for the entire summer. Week 5, I started craving getting ready and straightening my hair, it quickly passed. I was amazed at how quick I could get ready, and realized my jealousy of boys was completely validated. The reason behind my "no heat summer?" My hair grows like a snail, and I wanted it to be healthier. So Jenna cut my hair right before I left, and I did my best to prevent any damage. It was successful, and my hair finally grew a little bit longer.
my friendships. EFY has surrounded me with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I could go person my person, relationship by relationship telling about how they have changed my life. There is a bond that comes from serving with others, from constantly talking about the gospel. I have learned so much from the people I have met through EFY, and some of my closest friends have come through the opportunity to work for efy. They are such examples to me, and make me constantly strive to be better.
my future job. because of efy I want to be a seminary teacher rather than a marriage and family therapist. I learned to love the youth, and being a seminary teacher takes everything I love about efy and puts it into a career. perfection.
my love of Nauvoo. this summer I learned to love this place sooo much. it was incredible.
efy has changed my life. as cheesy as that sounds, and as cheesy as this whole post sounds. it was an amazing summer. hard, but amazing.
to get an idea of this last summer... read kjersti's blog just ignore the two provo weeks...and giving out band-aids....and a lot...
pictures to come.