Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Retreat for Girls

 During the summer of 1996,  in between school semesters at Ricks College, I worked as a counselor for Academy for Girls.  This program sponsored by BYU was similiar to EFY, but was specially designed for young girls ages 12-14.  For five days, I would spend time learning, teaching, crafting, playing, serving, eating, singing, and growing with a group of girls that I would essentially be mother to for the week.  Both challenging and life changing, this summer shaped the woman I am today. 
Soon Academy for Girls, which had been around for over thirty years, was discontinued.  This left a void for young women not quite old enough to experience EFY, but wanting to carry on the tradition.  A few counselors  founded a similiar camp and when I heard about this opportunity, I signed Addy right up.  I knew after my special summer and the life-long friends I made there, that Addy's testimony would grow, and that she too couldn't pass up this chance.  
Addy and I both had butterflys when after our long drive we walked up the sidewalk to see sweet smiling faces greeting us at registration.  All the memories from my days as a counselor came rushing back, and I felt excitement and anticipation knowing what was yet to come for her.  My only worry was that her fears would affect her attitude and would stifle the experience.  Virtually in tears, (yes both of us) I lovingly got her settled into her dorm room as we waited for her roommate to arrive.  A darling red headed girl from Vegas came bounding in and from the smile on Addy's face, I knew she would be alright... even better, I knew she was on her way to changing the course of her life for good.  All week long she shared bonding moments with other girls her age which filled the void of not having a sister.  She attended classes and listened to speakers that taught her how to be a virtuous young woman.  Her testimony grew so much that week, and the biggest reward as a mother, was not only the spirit present at the closing ceremony, but the drive home where she was able to tell me all about her week and the goals she wanted to make in her life.  She is already counting down the days until next year when she can go again! 


Laura said...

look at you Mrs. Blog marathon girl! I'm so impressed! It looks like Addy had a wonderful time at RFG, my oldest will be 12 in 3 more summers, and I'm so excited for her to go!
Also, it looks like from the pictures of her group that 3 of my nieces were in her group...Hannah, Maisie, and Darcy. Fun!