I work with the youth in our church congregation and it’s one of my favorite assignments. They are so good and I look forward to spending time with them – I don’t think they get enough credit for how awesome they are.
At the beginning of the summer, we held a youth conference up in the mountains. We had almost 60 teenagers and half as many adult leaders putting it on. It was quite the orchestrated effort to create an amazing experience. Hallie, Hunter and Bennett were attending as youth, I was there as a leader and Steve was invited to speak one night at a devotional. With most of our family up there, Steve brought the youngest two kids and had his own little camping weekend with them.
The kids rotated through stations of archery, shooting, mountain biking, zip lining, paddle boarding and more. They had spiritual classes. Team building activities. Crafts. Dances. Devotionals. Service projects. We fit so much in our three days.
I was in awe at what we created on a large plot of land in northern Arizona. I know these kids had a good time but they really have no idea the effort that went into to making it magical. It was a labor of love and I’m grateful to be surrounded by leaders who are willing to create these experiences for our group and even more importantly my own kids. I walked away tired, but extremely fulfilled – and so did my kids.
Briggs and Cannon enjoyed their weekend in the mountains as well with their good friends. When the teenagers were occupied they got to participate in some of the activities and they were in heaven. When they weren’t zip lining or making bracelets you could find them crawdad fishing in the stream. They didn’t get to attend the father/son campout so this was a great substitute.
Over a year ago, our church made a change as to when youth progress within their respective classes. It used to be when you turned 12, you graduated from the primary program and went into Young Mens and Womens. For boys this is also when they received the priesthood. The change that was made now has everyone progressing at the same time at the beginning of the year they are turning 12.
Its hard to believe, but Hunter is turning 12 this year! Which means it was time for him to leave primary. He’s never felt so old and at the same time looked so young!
Two weeks ago Hunter received the priesthood and was ordained as a deacon by Steve. This is something Hunter had studied and prepared for and was really quite excited.
It was tender to have our little family gathered together, including both sets of grandparents, as Hunter took such a big step in his life. He is a special kid and he is going to do great things in life!
And because it was such a special occasion, Hunter pulled out his special socks. He was hoping they would offer luck to the Packers. They might have helped the first game of playoffs but they offered no luck last week for the NFC Championship game. Even with their loss, he wears them with pride! Once a Packers fan, always a Packers fan.
Last year was Hallie’s first year at girls camp and I was lucky enough to help plan the camp and experience it with her. It was a camp neither one of us will ever forget.
This year, she was on her own…at least for the first two days before Steve and I were asked to go up on the third day and help out.
We were hike leaders for the “intermediate hike” – which ended up being a beautiful 5 mile hike with somewhat rocky terrain. I typically like to hike to a destination but this round trip trail hike had some beautiful scenery.
We were spectators/photographers for the water activities – that were planned around really warm weather. The weather ended up being a little chilly/rainy/cloudy but they were good sports to shiver through the fun.
I decided I need a bubble machine – oh the fun we could have!
We participated in a fireside, nightly games and Steve was lucky enough to land a role in one of the groups’ skit – I would show pictures but I don’t want to make anybody jealous of his mad skills. 🙂
I thought this activity was particularly interesting. Earlier in their stay at camp, the girls were each given a 6″ square that had a paint by number pattern on it. The girls used qtips to paint their little square. Some squares were mostly white, or blue or green and others blended all the colors onto one square – I’m sure many of the girls thought their painting was pointless as it didn’t represent anything when they were finished.
The night we were there, they unveiled a large abstract picture of the Savior holding a lamb in which each girl played a small role in painting. There was an audible gasp from the girls as they saw the final product. Suddenly the waste-of-time craft they did early at camp had more value: They were part of larger picture and what girl can’t benefit from that thought. It was a tender moment that everyone could feel.
We had a great time at camp. Going for one day to help out is way easier than planning camp – but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. Makes me even more grateful I had the opportunity last year!
We celebrated Bennett and his baptism back in May – and he couldn’t have been more happy with the day of attention and love.
Steve baptized Bennett, my mom played the piano, all the primary aged kids sang a song and Hallie gave a talk. (She reminded us that she also spoke at Hunter’s baptism and Hunter should be able to have the opportunity to speak for the next two baptisms!)
Bennett was fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents by his side to celebrate his special day…
Along with plenty of cousins and friends who love him and support him. (A picture of those we could catch!)
My best laid plans never seem to work out, and as we were driving home from the church for the celebration dinner that we had set up outside, a nice storm moved in. The lights, the tables, linens, centerpieces…it was all for nothing. When we got home, we made a mad dash to move things inside before they were ruined. That’s just how it goes sometimes!