Sunday, July 23, 2017

Retreat for Girls

Back in January I was pondering about how to help Alysee really feel of the worth that God has for her. I wanted her to have a really spiritual experience but not have to worry about boys (ie. not EFY). My pondering lead me to find a week-long camp called Retreat for Girls. It is patterned after Academy for Girls that ran for years at BYU but no longer is offered. It is only for girls 12-15 years old (must be 12 by Dec 30th). It is held at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. The speakers are the same as EFY and the week is filled with service, classes, and fun. I decided that this was just was Alysee needed, though it's not cheap! They offered two sessions and each session holds 180 girls. You stay on campus in the dorms and are broken up into counselor groups.

It was a crazy time for us to make a quick trip to Logan, UT but Birch and I loaded up Alysee, Taylor (another girl from our stake), Chloe (to drop off at her cousins, the Kimball's house in Caldwell, ID) and hit the road Sunday morning.  We took a pit stop in Zillah for a Bishop's Training Meeting and then on to Fruitland, ID for sacrament meeting with Jill and Bernt White's family.  Our next stop was staying the night at the Kimball's new home in Caldwell.  It was so fun to spend some time with them and Tavia treated us to the most delicious dinner.  Monday morning we got up early and were on the road at 6 pm.  We made it to Logan just in time to stop at the temple for pictures and then on to campus to drop off the girls.
Alysee took this beautiful picture of the Logan temple
Alysee and Taylor - we really didn't know Taylor prior to this trip but she was absolutely delightful

At the registration table -- the girls were full of nervous butterflies

Meeting her counselor, Angel and picking up her room key and bag of goodies

Got her dorm room all set up.

Saying our goodbyes -- Alysee was still feeling very nervous and was hoping that she and her roommate would get along.  It is crazy to think that in three year we will be doing this for real at college.

Alysee and her roommate, Adaline from CA

Alysee said her favorite part of going to bed each night and waking up was the view out her window -- she was looking straight out at the Logan Temple

A beautiful building on campus that Alysee met in for some of her classes

One of Alysee's favorite days was when they received a fake mission call letter.  She was called to serve in the Manila Philippians Mission.  They had five minutes to throw on a dress and then they went and learned more about the mission from a counselor that had actually served in that mission.

Alysee had a WONDERFUL experience and is really hoping to be able to go back again.  As she has shared about all her experiences I could tell she had daily opportunities to feel the spirit.  She LOVED the speakers, attended a modesty Prom fashion show, made some super cute crafts, learned hair, make-up, and word lettering techniques, did a service project, met new friends, and learned more about herself.  

Taylor and Alysee became fast friends and enjoyed the ten hour road trip home together.

Today Alysee spent an hour sharing notes from the talks, her crafts, secret sister gifts, pictures, etc... from her week away.
I am thankful for the founders of Retreat for Girls at fulfilling a need that Alysee (and so many other girls) have in being comfortable in your own skin and being submersed in spiritual experiences.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chloe off with cousins

We took a pit stop at Tavia and Vaughn's beautiful new home in Caldwell, ID to stay the night on our way to Logan, UT.  Chloe, the lucky girl, was invited to stay for the week with the Kimballs.   She had a BALL!!!!  I love that the kids all love being with their cousins and it happens less often with the Kimballs so this was extra special.

She had a great week of swimming twice, playing with all the girls (and Calvin), and just getting to know her cousins better.

Chloe is counting down the days until our big extended Ditto reunion when she gets to see the Kimball girls again.  Our home was a lot quieter this past week with Chloe and Alysee gone!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Blisters, Sand, and Brotherhood

Two weeks ago Tyler had the opportunity to hike 50 miles along the Washington coastline with his fellow scout troop. Birch was able to join the last three days and took some AMAZING pictures!!! What an experience!!!! They were treated with the most beautiful coastline weather and only had one surprise rain storm one night (when most had not put up their rain fly since the weather had been so nice). I'm so glad Tyler and Birch were able to share this experience.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nate heads off to Scout Camp

It's hard to believe this is Nathan's last year at Scout Camp -- Nate was lucky to have Birch head up with him for the first day and night of camp.  Nate worked on five merit badges and was able to complete them ALL!!!!!!
5 am - all packed up and ready to go

Nate was pleasantly surprised that the water was warmish this year.

Always whittling 

Wednesday night Birch went back up to camp with the Stake Presidency and played the guitar, gave a spiritual message, and fed the boys ice cream and brownies.

So happy these two can share this experience!