RFG 2012

So, it's not fair...I started this blog way after Retreat was over with, which means I didn't get to gush about every moment of it like my pal Rae. So, since this is my blog which makes me Optimus Prime (see what I did there?), we're going to do a little throwback here so I can celebrate one of my favorite things in this world...Retreat for girls!
When I was 15 (and not yet a member of the church) a friend took me to RFG and I LOVED it. It became a huge part of the reason I chose to get baptized in 2009. So, after that, I decided I just had to be a counselor there! And this year, I was lucky enough to be chosen! (Yes, chosen. Makes me feel more special that way.)
This is Rae & I at registration. See all the lined up water bottles? This must be the second week, because we all seem a lot more organized.
The first thing the director Katie told us when we were hired was that we should start praying for our girls, even though we hadn't met them yet. So I did, and it turned out to be one of the biggest blessings! I was so nervous to meet my group the first week, but as they all walked up to check in, I remember thinking, "Oh yeah! These are my girls! Of course." It was like I had met them before. (Do I sound all mama bird here, or what? Well hang in there, it gets worse.)

I can't believe how fast I fell in love with my girls. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not quick to show affection. (My roommate would always get mad at me because she'd yell "I LOVE YOU!" everytime one of us left or even hung up the phone, and I never. said it. back. I know, I'm a monster.) But by the first night, I was tucking all my girls into bed and telling them I loved them, and I'm sure if I wasn't so dead tired all the time, I would have been staying up late worrying about them. (But give me a break, they were right upstairs. And it's only by some miracle that any of us counselors make it through the week on four hours of sleep a night or less.)

But, don't give me too much credit for loving them so much. They were pretty great. (Also, thank you girls for introducing me to this song. And by thank you I mean oh my, I heard it so much that week I never ever EVER need to hear it again.)

Of course it's the girls that make Retreat what it is, but who doesn't love all the special touches? I will go to my grave swearing that RFG is just plain better than EFY. (It IS.)

I spent weeks making these decorations that were basically torn down in the first five minutes. (Although my sweet girls DID try to fix it with the useless painters tape multiple times.)

The nicknames are also so much fun... the first week I blew it what my real name was, but the second week I held strong! I will forever think Nomi is 100% cooler and all around better than Anndee is.

The other counselors...I was SO excited to get to spend 2 weeks with these girls, and that's all it took to form lifelong friendships. They are the best girls I know! I loved our nightly counselor meetings hearing everyone's crazy stories from the day, or finding out that one counselor was struggling with the same thing you were. And I'm SO glad counselors had to have roommates too, it was so much fun! If you have to stay up until 4:00 planning and making things, only to be up again at 6:00, then dang it, you better have a room full of girls with you. I just love them so much!

This dance. First of all, strangely, this is what I was most scared of at Retreat. See, I DO NOT dance. I have zero coordination, and trying to teach me any choreography is a disaster. But honestly, after the first day I realized there was nothing to be afraid of. One of my favorite things about Retreat was how much it brought me out of my shell. I honestly didn't care one bit what anyone thought or if I was dancing bad, and maybe that's because I had 12 girls looking at me all day long like I was the coolest thing to happen to them since One Direction. Whatever the reason, the self esteem boost was nice.

The second week was an entirely new adventure. I went home after the first week and bawled the whole way home. Then I slept the entire weekend until I had to be back on Sunday night. By the time registration rolled around again, I just couldn't imagine taking on a whole new group and loving them as much as I had the last one. Did I even have it in me? I was really surprised by how different my second group was. The second week should have been essentially the same as the first, but it was like stepping into a new world. I loved them all (of course) just as much, and I think that week I came out of my shell even MORE. (I know, things were getting out of control by then.)

The tears. Oh, boy. I am not a crier...I just plain don't cry. But at Retreat, I think I was crying about 95% of the time. (Rae can back me up on that.) Even now, when I listen to Mercy River songs, I get all teary eyed. ("All my girls are just so beautiful and they don't know it and Heavenly Father really does love me so much and I want to go back to Retreat because the real world STINKS...") It's really a new experience to be on that much of a spiritual high and that lacking in sleep. I promise, I am not nearly as crazy as I made myself out to be during those two weeks. Oh well, I still made friends out of it!

The inside jokes. I wasn't expecting to feel so close to my group. You get so used to having these girls following you around all week that coming home I felt very, very alone. I guess it's "nature" but it really bonds you to someone to have them in your care 24/7. I've never had a little sister, and now I have a bunch of them that still keep in touch with me all the time! I feel so blessed for that.

Saying Goodbye. Probably the hardest thing ever. You turn them over to their parents and feel like giving them a lecture. ("And she needs to read her scriptures everyday, do you understand? I mean it. And she says she can't wake up without an alarm but she really can, and she'll try to convince you she can't live without her phone but I'm tempted to throw that thing out the window...") I got so lucky, both my groups were just awesome. At the closing banquet each group sings their counselor a song they made up. They're always clever and adorable and a new reason to cry some more.

I am SOOOO excited to get married (in 36 days!!!) but I'm really sad I won't be able to do Retreat again. I do know that I was able to be a counselor exactly when I was supposed to...those girls were definitely meant for me and I'm so blessed to have them in my life!
So I might have up a lot of engagements, I might talk a lot about our wedding or our house, but I refuse to take down Retreat pictures because they remind me of one of the best experiences of my life, and help me want to be more like Nomi everyday...just maybe a little less tired and emotional...

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow. Best post EVER! I loved it. By the way, I am about 89% sure that was me yelling at girls in your dancing video! HAHA! How embarrassing! I loved your last line! "And they help me want to be more like Nomi everyday". So great. I just love you so much!