EFY Week 1 – "Work and Glory"

So this summer, I have dedicated a chapter of my life to being an Especially For Youth Counselor for four different weeks this summer.

Especially For Youth is a Mormon church camp. We do numerous church-related activities such as classes and devotionals, but we also do fun things like competitive games and dances.

I have wanted to be a an EFY counselor since I went for the first time at age 14. The requirement to be a female counselor is to have one year of college behind you and be 21.

Done and done!
  This was our theme for this year.  

Sunday night rolls in. I go to the session director fireside–it is amazing! I met my fellow counselors, including my co-counselor Richard.
On Monday, counselors helped with the check-in, then we meet our group. I had 12 girls who were 14 or 15 years old. However, my group was confusing because out of those 12 girls, I had 2 Megans, 2 Kaylas, a Kaylee, and 2 Haileys. After we got to know each other, we met our boys and Richard. Each company (group of boys and girls) are assigned a scripture from which we can create our Company name. 
Ours was Moses 1:39 (the Book of Moses is in the Pearl of Great Price, another set of scriptures used by Mormons including accounts of Moses and Abraham). “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” So our name became “Work and Glory!”
The rest of Monday was spent playing Family Home Evening games.
Tuesday’s activities included gospel study and classes. After classes and lunch, participants had the opportunity to have free time. After dinner, we had a dance. Of course there are EFY line dances, so we as counselors went crazy-spastic!
Wednesday is basically the same as Tues. But, after dinner, all the participants wear their EFY t-shirts. We make a banner with our Company name on it and create a Company cheer. Then we play against other companies in games and have a cheer-off. 
However, unexpectedly, it rained on Wednesday night. We were able to get our cheers all prepped before hand, so we counselors decided to scrap the banner and the games and load everyone into the closest building and pile them all into an auditorium room. We had the cheer off there, counselors sung and dance, we had noise competitions, and watched our session director’s favorite episode of Kid History. Finally, the rain had stopped, so we went back to the dorms, just in time for pizza night!
This is the night were we stuff our faces full of pizza talking about our COWs (Crush of Week) and crazy-random-happenstance stories. 
Thursday is the spiritual day; we dress up in Sunday clothes. We had gospel study, a fireside, did some youth activities, and had lunch. Then, we had the variety show–allowing the participants to show off their true talents, silly talents, etc. Free time, dinner, then the Musical Program. Participants and Counselors who decide to participate learn a few hymns and EFY church songs and bear their testimonies. Then, we split up into our companies and have our own testimony meeting. 
This is my favorite part of EFY–seeing the light shine through these teenagers as they testify of their faith and knowledge that our church is true is quite the sight to behold. 
Friday was the last day. Youth in our church carry around pamphlets called For the Strength of Youth. We had mini-lessons on each of these strengths. Then, after lunch, we did a service project. This year, it was to thank the different people on campus who help out with EFY. Most of these go to food services, custodial, and the like. Then, they were to write thank-yous to family, friends, and other people they knew. A few of my girls wrote thank-yous to me. I cried. Free time and dinner. Then there was another dance! Crazy insane time!
Lights out each night is 10:30 because youth are expected to be dressed and ready for the day by 7AM. Counselors go door to door, making sure their lights are out and the participants are quiet. However, since they are all expected to be picked up and checked out by 7:30 the next day, Friday night becomes LOCK DOWN — the night all counselors dread!
We are stationed at each end of the hall. We have to make sure their lights are out and they are quiet, but more than that–they need to go to sleep. We aren’t allowed to go to bed until an hour after we can’t hear them at all. This way, they don’t sneak out on the last night. Counselors don’t go to bed until at least midnight. Most counselors go to bed around 1or2 am. I was lucky and was able to go to bed at 12:30. 

Saturday, we said our last goodbyes. But, as I was checking them out of the dorms, I noticed they had heart attacked my door!

This was truly an amazing experience. I was on a spiritual high the whole week and learned so much from these young teenagers. My own testimony was strengthened and I realized that our future lies with them.
It was a wonderful first week of EFY!
“Work, work, work, GLORY!!!!”

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.