Sunday, July 30, 2017

High Adventure R.A.F.T.I.N.G. Youth Trip

Birch and I had the wonderful opportunity of being youth leaders at the Priest and Laurel High Adventure Rafting trip with our stake youth.  Even luckier is that Tyler was on this adventure as well.  The whole event was so well organized -- from the amazing, delicious food, matching shirts, caravaning to Mabton, OR, evening firesides, and camping supplies.  It was a super hot weekend and so all the sun canopies were so appreciated!
91 Rafters!!!  What a great group of sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year old's!

We did two full days of rafting on the Deschutes river using Sage Canyon Rafting Co.

Tyler riding the bull.

I'm in the back with the black wet-suit.  Yes, I was the only person wearing a wet-suit all weekend -- I may have looked like the odd duckling but I was never cold!

Yes, I got VERY wet.  Me in the back under the water.

Nice hair!

Look at those buff arms!!  (I'm talking about my hubby's)

There goes Tyler!

TONS of great food!!  We had hamburgers, breakfast burritos, teriyaki chicken and fried rice and the rafting company fixed our lunches for us (tacos and steak on the second day).

The evening firesides were some of my favorite.  The first night the YM Presidency did a great fireside about the need for each one of us in this world (used the example of why we like to have a variety of fruit types) and then we had mini firesides with our Bishops.  Our ward had a testimony meeting and everyone made comparisons to rafting, the guide, and life.  The second night the YW President shared a little message and then Birch shared a beautiful message as well.  Then it was opened up for all the youth to share their testimonies.  

You'd think everyone would be exhausted at night -- I was!!  There was still a lot of giggling in tents.

Kids studying scriptures by firelight.

My favorite part of the trip was being with this man!  It's not too often that we get to spend more than a dinner together.
More riding the Bull!

The next day Birch and I were in the same boat so he could protect me.

Tyler loved hanging out with his friends all day.  One thing that everyone really seemed to enjoy were the relaxed late afternoons and evenings.  By 3:30 pm we were all back at camp and everyone just laid around, ate snacks, played games, etc... It was so fun to see the mixing of genders and youth from the stake.

Pretty sure Tyler loved having us there too!

Lots of food!!!  Most of the food prep was done prior to coming to the rafting trip.  Each ward was assigned a meal to help re-heat and prepare and then another ward cleaned up.  The kids were all awesome about helping!
Spike ball!

So glad this rafting opportunity was provided for all the youth!!  Looking forward to our next adventure!

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.