Sunday, August 21, 2011

We 13elieve

Jon and I were able to go to Youth Conference again this year with our stake. I didn't take quite as many pictures as last year, but part of that was because I just wanted to sit back and really enjoy it :) This year was SO much fun! We were much better prepared and had a greater time than last year. The mutual theme for this year is "We Believe" which centers on the 13th article of faith. (I would like to thank my calling in primary for the past year re-teaching me the articles of faith so that I can recite them all again, something I have not been able to do since I was like... 10)

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. Indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul. We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

On Thursday we drove up to camp and were placed in our families. Last year we had one of the biggest families with 10 kids assigned to us to look after... this year - we had 14. Oy!

But they turned out to be AMAZING. Our family was seriously the coolest.

Once we are assigned together and given a family color (silver) we sit together in the dining hall to make our family name and flag. Last year we were the Tree-Huggin' Aliens (as our color was green.) This year, we were the Super Saucy Sparkling Silver Stars! That's right, our family names are always the best. The kids even made oragami stars out of aluminum foil for our flag:

Silver family mom:

Some of our amazing kids - he was King Noah in our skit:

After designing our family flag we played Minute to Win It against the other families. First up was the mummy wrap:

Next they had to transfer gumballs from one end of the table to the other using just the dinosaur mouth:

Then they had to stack dice one by one on the end of a popsicle stick in their mouth:

Then they had to find as many words as possible in a minute:

And then hook keys on the end of a string/paperclip using only their mouths. (I'm telling you, these kids had mad skills)

It was fun to see all the different talents these kids had coming out. Some felt like they had strengths in one area more than others, some kids were very competitive. Others shrunk away from the spotlight. But we made sure that they all took turns and got to participate. Over the course of about an hour that we played all these different challenges we could really see the kids coming together and becoming friends, even if they hadn't even met before that day. I loved watching their faces as they cheered on our family members... So tense!

He's almost got it!


The Silver family dad / aka "the enforcer"

We ate amazingly well at youth conference too. The cooks are fantastic. That night after dinner we had an awesome fireside with Brother Jason Johnson from the Rocklin Stake. WOW he was an awesome speaker! After that we had a dance, and a family devotional. Lights out was supposed to be at 11, but I'm pretty sure the girls were up until 2am.

The next day we started a service project right after breakfast. (Sorry Emily, this picture was just too funny not to put up!)

There were lots of things for us to do - tying blankets:

Sanding blocks (which the kids actually had a lot of fun doing)

And making cards:

We had other workshop rotations like filming our "skit" based on the story of King Noah and Abinadi. One of the stake leaders did an amazing job using a green screen and turning all the family skits into movies that we watched later that night after the dance. We also had some very uplifting lessons on strengthening testimonies of Christ, being part of the Lord's search & rescue team, and answering some of our friend's tough questions on doctrine and beliefs. The kids even got to learn some east coast swing! You can see how excited the girls were for this:

Jon even got in on the fun because we had way more girls than guys in our family:

The kids really had a blast:

Of course our teachers were exceptional - Sister Grace was on the BYU ballroom dance team:

A lot of the kids gained confidence from this workshop, and they learned a new skill too! They were excited to show off their new swing moves that night at the dance.

There really couldn't have been a better place for them to spend the end of their summer.

I loved just sitting back and watching the kids have fun:

During free time, Jon and I came prepared this year to teach Monopoly Deal:

On the last day, our family didn't come in the top 3 for points earned, but our kids were more than happy to join in cheering for the families who were in the championships. I know they don't see it now, because you never do when you're the teenager, but these kids are truly amazing and selfless. I loved watching them join in with their other friends to cheer everyone on just because it was fun. None of them were mad at all that we didn't win at everything. In fact they just let it roll off their backs, agreeing with us that they were the best family anyway - so we didn't need to win to prove it. We could pass along some of our awesome to everyone else:

Orange family competing in blowing cups off the table with a balloon:

Cheering them on!

Ping pong shake:

In the end, all of the families got candy to share. Jon even made a point at the end to get all our kids together to tell them how much fun he had, and we said goodbye with a group hug.

Lindsey (one of our girls from last year) with Charlee:

Emily (one of our girls this year) and Kayla - these were the girls we drove up to camp and back:

Overall I would not have traded that weekend for anything. I think I got just as much out of it as the youth did, and learning so much from their examples has been huge to me. It really made me miss serving with the young women, but I know that your example as a leader never really ends. I only wish I had understood this love that my leaders had for me when I was in their place. It was a perfect way to end the Summer!


Bay said...

Sounds like fun Stephanie! The youth in this area seem really sweet, and they have awesome leaders too ;)

Shilo and Betsy said...

Looks like you guys had a blast! What is your calling? I just got put in as the young women's secretary.

Steph said...

It was great! You're going to LOVE yw, Bets. Right now I'm the primary chorister, but I was the personal progress leader for 3 years before that. Have fun! and use They have great ideas.