This past Monday we all woke up at 3:30 a.m., and drove six hours to Virginia to check in Sierra for the EFY program. It was a drive that was all too familiar because we have done many six hour drives in our lifetime, (or more!) We dragged all of our little ones out of bed and hoisted them into the car. I think Sierra was the only one that was wide awake (besides Jon because he was driving) throughout the whole drive. I was tired too, but to my surprise I had a lot of energy! Check in time was at 11:00 a.m. and we arrived five minutes after (and so did a lot of other kids.) We stood in line for about 30 minutes until Sierra was registered. We love meeting people, and this was definitely the place to meet other moms with teens the same age as Sierra. We both made new friends that day, and I'm sure that when Sierra returns home she'll have a ton of photos with many friend requests on her facebook!
She is also excited to see a few friends from her old ward in North Carolina. Particularly one of her loveliest friends, Myranda. They haven't seen each other in three years and I know it'll be a happy reunion for them both.
I had the opportunity to meet one of her roommates. Brittany from Myrtle Beach. They instantaneously became best friends! I had tears in my eyes as I was leaving because I could tell that this is one girl that had fellowship written all over her. I know Sierra will be in good hands.
This is Rebecca from the D.C. area, and her and her mother were so nice. They stood in line behind us and we struck conversation throughout the wait. Her dorm is a few doors down and these two were like two peas in a pod. Even though they are not rooming together...they'll be in the same company and hope they will have a ton of fun!
For those of you who are not familiar with EFY, it stands for Especially for Youth, and it is another great program of our church that I didn't grow up with. Anyone between the ages of 14 to 18 can go, and it's not just for LDS members. This is Sierra's first time going, and her dad and I are both excited about her participating. This program is exactly what it stands for. Especially for Youth. Even though I personally never experienced going to EFY, I know that it is a place for a youth to grow spiritually and to enjoy growing with others. My husband attended EFY as a teen, but I'm sure things have changed in the past 25 years! Still...it is a program that will give any youth a spiritual boost, and hope that it'll last for a lifetime, (and not for a month!)
She has wanted to attend since she was 14, but having my son 19 months ago set us back financially (it can cost up to $500.00 or more). She hopes to attend every summer now until she graduates. Tax return time is a blessing in many ways! I know that this five day program will be priceless and worth every cent! I encourage all youth to attend, and they have financial aid for those who qualify. Those who live in Utah are lucky. All they would have to pay is a $75 registration fee. Too bad we don't still live there. I am glad that Sierra is going somewhere else other than Utah. I know that she will appreciate it as she doesn't take anything for granted. Okay...she's not a perfect kid, but she really does appreciate a lot in her young life. I can't wait for her to return home to tell me stories about what she learned, the new friends she met, the service project that they did, how testimony meeting went, how she did in the talent show (she's playing the piano while singing a song), and how fun the dance was. I'm also curious as to what cute boys she will meet. I don't encourage her, but she is at that age where she is noticing boys...good boys, and I have to wake up to reality to see that. I see her get all giddy when a cute boy will notice her and say hello. She makes me laugh sometimes. See, I'm strict, but I can be a fun mom! I know that is not the reason why she is going. She loves her Savior and I know that her testimony will grow even stronger from this experience. I'm sure it'll top all the trips that we've taken to the beach since school has been out!
We miss you Sierra, and see you in a few days!
*To learn more about EFY...click here.