Friday, July 3, 2009


On Monday I took my two oldest nephews to EFY at Southern Virginia College. If you have no clue what EFY is, it's a 5 day program through my church called Especially for Youth. It's an AWESOME experience for youth ages 14-18; you attend classes, have dances, meet tons of new people, learn about Christ, learn about the scriptures, learn a lot in general, play games, have fun and just overall LOVE IT. The kids stay in the dorms and are broken up into groups; 10-15 males/females in the individual groups with one counselor, and then 2-4 of the individual groups to make up their bigger groups to participate in activities with.

I attended 4 EFY's was a teenager and got to work as a counselor one summer during college. My nephews who are 17 and (almost) 16 have attended EFY in Minnesota, and wanted a new experience this year. I volunteered to drive them down in Virginia if their mom agreed to fly them out. So here we are, all that happened, and now I'll report.

The college is in Buena Vista, VA, which is about a four hour drive, give or take time depending on traffic. Most people would pronounce this as "bway na", but the Virginians, or at least southern virginians, pronouce it as "bue na" (right Holly :)? ). we (Evi, Sam and Joel and me) got there after a few traffic jams on Monday morning and all the memories came flooding back. I attended my last session of EFY at the same college, AND was able to be a counselor at the same place. So when I pulled in, my immediate thoughts went back to 2000, when I was last on the campus. I saw the counselors and I thought they all looked like babies! I am sure they are all fantastic, but they looked so young. I thought, "did we look like that too?" (which of course, I'm sure the answer is yes), and also that I must be getting old :) !

The boys got all checked in, but fortunately not in the same group, as per their request. BUT, they were both placed in the ONLY non-air-conditioned dorm on the campus, BUMMER. The website said the rooms were air-conditioned, so we didn't bring fans...and then we get there and got the truth. We were able to spend $10 to rent a fan for the week though, which I feel like is a bit of a rip-off since they told us the rooms were air conditioned. Aside from that, check in was great and they were ready to go.

I couldn't just put Evi right back in the car to go home, after being strapped in the carseat for so long already, so we wandered a bit. Plus, I didn't want to leave right away because a) I wanted to see some of the places I remembered, but b) it felt strange to just unload them and leave! I was sort of the stand in parent in person for these guys, and my sister entrusted me with their care (well, they're almost adults, but you know what I mean). It was my first experience like this, to drop someone off and drive several hours away, so I wanted to be sure they had everything and were taken care of. I knew they were ok, but it still felt strange to drop them off and say, "see ya in a week!" But Evi and I had a great time wandering around, so it worked out well. I went to explore places I knew from my last time there, and also found some great new additions to the campus. It's a beautiful campus and seems like it would be a really great college experience (assuming you like a small school, that is).

Just outside the town on the way in, I saw a picnic area (the Ben Salem Wayside) along a river and thought that would be a great place to stop on the way home. So once Evi and I were finally back in the car, we headed for our "picnic" lunch of m&m's, combo's, peaches, cold peas, and raisins. Really healthy, I know! That's what I get for not making bread the day before, no sandwiches!! It was beautiful and serene. We sat in a nice shady spot and had a cool breeze, and it couldn't have been better. Once we finished eating, I thought Evi would enjoy putting her feet in the river. Since I know my daughter pretty well, I stripped her down to the diaper for "getting her feet wet". I was nervous about bacteria in the water or anything else that could harm her; I made her keep her diaper on and tried to make absolutely sure she didn't blow bubbles or drink the water. After 20 minutes or so, several people upstream had the same idea and were swimming in their clothes, after that a father and son got in with swim suits, so I figured we were safe (or we were all being silly).

It ended up being so much fun. If I had a change of clothes with me, I would have joined her for the fun. Instead, I just took some pictures with my phone and loved to watch as she played with the seashells and the rocks covering the bed of the river. I love opportunities to do something fun and spontaneous like that. We didn't have any time constraints and didn't have to rush home, so we could just take a lazy day. Afterall, we'd be sitting in the car for at least 3 hours, so we might as well have some fun before the trip starts! Evi really seemed to enjoy herself, so I'm so glad for the opportunity to stop there.

Now it's Friday and the week has flown by, and I will go pick them up bright and early tomorrow morning (this time I'll get to leave Evi with Daddy)! It was a long drive and lots of effort from a lot of people, but for the boys to have a great time makes it worth it. Hooray for EFY!!

Some pictures of Evi during our fun time on the river:

(by the way, that's mud on her shoulder, NOT a leach :) )