Ok, in my church we don't have any paid clergy. Everything, from the Bishop right on down, is done on volunteer basis. But you don't get to volunteer for whatever you want. You're asked to do a specific assignment. The assignment is known as a calling. My current calling is 1st Counselor in the Young Women's Presidency. What's that mean? Well, the Youth Programme is organised into 2 groups: Young Women and Young Men. Both groups are for youth 12-18. Each group is headed by a Presidency. Each Presidency consists of a President and 2 Counselors. Hopefully there's also a Secretary, but not always (like in my ward. We don't have a Secretary at the moment). Each member of the Presidency is responsible for part of the group, divided by age. The YW groups are: 2nd Counselor and the Beehives (12-13 years), 1st Counselor and the Mia Maids (14-15 years), and President and the Laurals (16-18 years). What does it involve? Normally, every Sunday we'd meet as a big group for opening exercises, then split into individual groups. But, we only have 5 girls in our ward, so we stay together for the class. So, I only have to teach a class every 3 weeks. We also have Tuesday activities. Ordinarily we'd also split for this quite a bit. But again, it's just more fun to be all together. So we only have to run 1 activity, rather than 3 every week. It means that when it's someone else's turn to run the activity, I just get to chill out with the girls. It's fabulous.
The girls are so wonderful. It's very intimidating working with the Youth. You're helping to shape the next generation. During those years where they're much more prone to rebellion. But they're so loving, as well. Nothing beats walking into the room and being bowled over by girls pouncing for their hug. I come home from church or Tuesday activity flying high. Working with these girls is such a rush.
This week we joined the Deacons (12-13 year old Young Men) on a service project. We went out to a local woods to help the forestry service strip the sheaths off the saplings and build creepy crawly critter homes. It was fun. We YW got to do all the tree maintenance. One of the really cool things we discovered that ants had turned the sheaths into homes. They'd filled the sheaths with mud and created these huge colonies. The girls really freaked out about it, because they don't like ants. So we came to an agreement. They'd slit the sheaths, Vanessa (President) and I would come along behind and pull off the sheaths, then the girls would follow again to knock off the mud colonies. If they didn't get knocked down, the tree would rot.
After the activity we walked back to the cars. There was a fence right there, so I suggested a few photos. Here's the whole group warts (read: Deacons) and all:
Unfortunately, not all the girls (or even all the leaders) could be there. Very sad. But it's still a great photo.
I'm afraid that I'm not the perfect example of adulthood that I maybe ought to be. See, there was this mud puddle. And I'm awfully fond of mud puddles . . . you do the math. Or just look at the photo. Sadly, the photo is blurry. It's awfully hard to get a good shot of something like this. It's still a fun shot! Thanks to Vanessa for taking it!
And see? The girls are very much monkey see monkey do. Aren't they fabulous? Wish Lucy and Luise could have joined us. And it would have been great if Claire (2nd Counselor) and Vanessa could have been in the shot. But Claire was off with allergies, and someone had to take the photo!
Fortunately, we're not standing there in sneakers. We've all got wellies (wellington boots: rubber rain/garden/mud boots) on. Yes, I know, if I'd stuffed the jeans down the tops of the wellies, it would have cut down on the mess. But my wellies are quite snug up at the top, so it was more work than it was worth. I just came home, stripped, and stuck the jeans in the washer. Sorted!
So, that's my life! Love my calling. Love the girls. Life is good.
The Colchester Young Women (minus Lucy, Louise and Claire).