Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A season to be right there with them

I think that when you're involved in something for a long time you start to see that there are seasons to what you're going through. Sometimes it's easy, other times you feel like maybe you should throw in the towel, sometimes you're inspired to do even more, sometimes you learn a lot and sometimes you feel like you're practically starting all over again.
After being a part of three different areas and working with so many leaders and kids I have been through several seasons of Young Life. I love that even though it's always the same organization and program, things continue to shift and change and look a little bit different. In a word, it's very organic. And right now I'm loving this season of YL that feels so much like Shauna's Puppies.

She writes, "They became something between friends and little sisters and extensions of my younger selves. They became a central part of my world, my thoughts, my prayers. My schedule became more and more wrapped around their term papers and proms and problems, and my home became the safest landing spot for this strange, whirling little gypsy wagon of girls."

My own friends and family are spread out all over the Midwest and the country and I miss seeing them all in person. But for now that means that these girls can become a central part of my world and my schedule can be wrapped up in theirs. Tonight I felt so lucky to be invited to join in Haleigh's 15th birthday dinner and it was quite the celebration.

We all got dressed up, sang TSwift in the car on the way to dinner, laughed with the parents, tried different kinds of sushi, tried to catch rice in our mouth, filled up on hibachi, sang Happy Birthday and Haleigh got to make a wish before hitting the gong. When we got back to her house we were met by her siblings and their friends who had all gone trick-or-treating and all of Haleigh's guy friends were waiting in the basement to surprise her.

Right now I'm in a season where I feel incredibly blessed because I know that walking through life with kids hasn't always, and won't always be this easy. Yes, life is messy and hard and we're figuring out stuff together but it's just so nice to be invited into all of that with my girls. As we were climbing out of the car tonight Emma and Emily said, "Miss Wright will you come to my birthday party?" I laughed and said, "Of course I will if you invite me."
Being right there with them is exactly where I want to be--right there at their birthday parties, in a circle on Monday nights, getting a snack after school, watching a movie on the weekend, in the stands at their cheerleading competition, on the phone after something has gone wrong, taking pictures before a dance. Right there with them.

Shauna writes about her puppies, "Now they are graduating from college and dating men they might marry and moving into apartments. We email and talk on the phone." and I pray that I'll still be in these girls lives when they're that old. My first campers are getting to this stage and it's the coolest thing to look back on how far we've come. I don't get to see that first group of puppies as much anymore but they all still have such a huge part of my heart. I hope they know I'm still here for them if they need me, just like when we first met back in Mingo and Teton. That first group of girls taught me so much about myself, about leading and being a friend, and helped me realize what my passion was.

And now there is this new generation of puppies. "This lovely, bizarre group of teenage girls," like Hannah, Libby, Kate, Emily, Emma, Haleigh, Brooke, Haley and Butt that, "let me into their fears and their secrets, and care about my fears and my secrets. They love me with a force that I think only comes with youth, a wide and fierce and expressive force." This a season of Young Life where there is so much to be thankful for, so many girls to invest in and so much whimsy to experience together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hodge Podge Tuesday

"Just watched a YouTube video of Bob Goff and decided that Jack McGee will be him when he's old." -Best text I got all day, Smooney is on to something

Highs of the Day: Hanging out with Lauren and Katy P after school, watching Katy tell her all about her experience at TWL this past summer, writing top 10 lists together, laughing with kcraig and one of my students during 5th period, knowing I get to go to sleep early tonight

Just had to share this gem I found.

A little Pinterest inspiration for today because everyone loves a good quote.

I told a couple of my students today that I probably wasn't dressing up for Halloween. They couldn't believe it since I'm usually very into things like that. I tried to explain that since I dress up with hundreds of people multiple times a week all summer long Halloween doesn't seem as special. But in honor of all the dressing up that will be going on tomorrow, allow me to share some costumes of Camp Tecumseh past, 2008 to be exact.

I'm reading up for my Love Does group tomorrow and thinking on this,

"There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I'm tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually life a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn't come in an envelope. It's ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It's the invitation to actually life, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live." -Bob Goff

Monday, October 29, 2012

Campaigners Halloween Style

Natalie and I had planned to go on a mini-road-trip for a YL errand but ended up just getting an after school snack instead. Coolest coincidence of the day-- I surprised her with the collage I made on Saturday and she surprised me with a super intricate friendship bracelet. Two years ago Natalie would come to Carmel Wyld Life events because I knew then she was a total YL kid. Now it's so cool to see her embracing YL in HSE.


Natalie spontaneously initiated Halloween themed Campaigners via Instagram about two hours before we met. The power of social media. Dozens of kids showed up in awesome outfits.

Dressing up for Campaigners? I think these kids are ready for Club.

I love that kids who didn't know each other a couple weeks ago have become friends through these Monday nights. I loved getting so excited when Courtney Graham and then Mary Liddy walked through the door tonight. I love that Maddy Wilson's costume of a 50's school girl was actually what she wore to school today.

We gathered everyone together that came in costume-- I think my favorites would have to be (see if you can spot them) Pippi Longstocking, Waldo, Pioneer Women and the Lego. These outfits reminded me of opening campfire and Would You Be My Friend If I Wore This day--so great.

And then we had to try to fit everyone into the picture whether they got the memo on a costume or not.

This certainly is one heck of a crew of kids. They come from all different backgrounds and experiences and groups and I love that mix. Having this many people show up is such a blessing but it's also been interesting to navigate challenges I haven't seen a team have to figure out before. For example- what do you do when most kids would rather talk or throw paper airplanes than sing along with the worship songs? How do you make kids feel known and welcomed and unique when there are so many of them?

We talked about this verse in our group, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7 And it is such a reminder of the truth that YL here does not have to be perfect, I don't have to be a perfect leader, and we don't have to be the perfect team. I don't want to be anxious about what's going on here but want to constantly be taking it to God in prayer.

And there are so many things to praise God for...
The conversations that we have in small group and these girls' willingness to share.
Healing of two girls after surgery and a car accident.
A bus full of kids signed up to go on Fall Weekend
The things that break our hearts that show us where God is calling us to
Friends that want to help us grow in our faith

We're starting to tell the kids in the Junior High about Wyld Life events coming up. When I ask them if they've hear of Young Life they usually say, "Oh yeah, I think I saw it on Instagram." How could you miss it when kids are writing things like this after Campaigners,

"So thankful and beyond blessed to have all these wonderful people in my life. I've always dreamed of Young Life becoming big in HSE and it finally has, I cannot thank God enough for it and the people in my life. I've seen the faith of many grow already and made so many awesome new friends. Nothing can get better than the presence of the Lord and the feeling of his plans for our own lives."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Break Highlights

Friday both the students and the teachers got out of school-- our one glorious day of Fall Break followed by Saturday and Sunday. It's been relaxing and grand and just what I needed.

Three days of sleeping in
Rode my bike down the Monon
Coffee, blogging, reading and people watching at Starbucks
Chose four new books for my classroom library courtesy of the PTO (can't wait to read the two I haven't yet)

Finally wrote to Sarah Briggs 
Caught up on all my favorite TV shows
Mom sent me this pic of baby Linc riding around the yard, miss my fam

Finally got the design for this year's FBC sweatshirts, let me know if you want one

Dinner with Eshan at Pei Wei, talking about Young Life, faith, blogs, what we're called to and community

Orange Leaf and bandanna bracelet making with Emily
Hanging out with Rach, Mcs, Michael, Dani and Emily while we watched TSwift on 20/20 and Ellen
Taylor Swift announced she is going back on tour for Red! She'll be in Indy April 26 and I will be there

Playing City with Emel at Einstein's
Skyping with Annie
Collaging and hanging out with Katherine Maxwell

Blogging about being camp sick
Watching my roommates dress up as a Hipster and Honey Boo Boo for their Halloween parties
Family dinner with the girls and Cameron

Hanging out with so many Young Life kids and other HSE kids at Brooke's Fall Party
Walking through the woods with all the Christmas lights strung up and coming out into the open field, it reminded me of good ol' Carroll County
Dance party in the barn to their new fav song Thrift Shop and learning all of But's moves

Recharging at Common Ground this morning
Lunch and catching up with Mary Ellen
Creating new surprises to share at Campaigners tomorrow
Reading "The Future of Us" all afternoon
Getting to see so many of my favorite people, Avery, Annie, Abby, Mary Ellen and Audrey, at YL dinner tonight

 Chick Flick Sunday with Colleen
Anticipation for our Fall Weekend at TWL next weekend

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Camp Sick

Lately everyone has been obsessed with Fall. Everyone is eating caramel apple pops and drinking pumpkin spice lattes like they're the greatest things ever invented. Uggs and knee high boots are here to stay. People are carving pumpkins and hitting every apple orchard and haunted house in a hundred mile radius. But in the midst of bright scarves and a canopy of changing leaves I'm feeling a bit camp sick.

I want to wear my neon Team CILT hat backwards all day long. I want to have rest hour in the middle of the day even if it's only actually rest twenty minutes. I want to eat at a table with my best friends and our campers. I want it to be easier to be positive all day long.

Summer is ten weeks long. One week of staff training followed by nine weeks with campers. For me and many of my friends, those weeks at Tecumseh are the most formative, impactful and meaningful weeks of my whole year. Whether you're a counselor that gets to stay the whole time or a camper that has only come for a week, you can't deny that this place is special.

I want to walk back across Main Field after a night off and stop right in the middle and look up at the stars to soak in the moment. I want to feel summer through the sun on my shoulders, the sand in my Crocs and the chlorine in my hair.

I want to sing loudly and dance crazy and give hugs and not have anyone think it's out of the ordinary. I want to make a difference in the span of a week. I want to sing praise with a choir of campers and counselors every single morning in the great outdoors.

I'll still live in the moment-- promise. I went on a Fall walk to get lattes with Emel and tonight I'll go to a Fall Party and sit around a bonfire. But while I'm living life in this Fall-obsessed world a big part of me is still thinking about summer and my camp kids and how if I were there right now we'd be walking from the lake to pop stop... except that it's Saturday so I'd be doing laundry and napping and writing CILT parent letters.

I want to start up a conversation and friendship with a kid sitting on a bench by flagpole. I want to declare today neon-hipster-outfit-day just because theme days are fun. I want to be able to ask my campers what they remember from chapel and devotions this week.

I want to trade tall buildings for tall trees and my morning commute for a 30-second walk to flagpole. I want to make each week more fun than the last one, determined to make it the best week of the summer for my girls. I want to help counsel the future counselors of this place.

Today one of my first campers ever messaged me and said, "I hope you're living large this fall." I'm going to work to live life to the full all year long of course, and I know that the forty-two non-camp weeks will bring incredible adventures, conversations, friendship, and experiences of their own. But I think I'll always be at least a little bit camp sick.