Friday, August 26, 2011

Bryce's Chicago Trip

Kristen asked me if I wanted to post on the blog about my trip and I quickly said no, but this morning I got up and decided to go for it.

The trip to Chicago was for a program called Chicago Urban Studes: Inner City Youth. This is a fund that is set up through LDS church members in Chicago in coordination with BYU-Idaho. Grover Wray, one of the teachers from BYUI, is over the counselors every year and hand picks about 10-12 counselors who meet together and plan out everything for the camp as far as activities go. We started planning this camp last November and didn't leave until the 6th of August.

Our group having breakfast together
Left to Right: Grover, Spencer, my empty chair, Brittany, Neil, Jack, Juan,
(right side) Micah, Rachel, Joy, Eric, Mike, and Gina

My group going out to explore Chicago for the day (I'm wearing the cow shirt)

What an adventure. We left Salt Lake City at noon on Saturday the 6th and got to our Hostel in Chicago around 8 that night. It was kind of crazy going out at night because Lollapalooza, a huge music festival with like 100 or so bands over three days, was happening and only like 3 blocks away from where we were staying. I don't think I've ever seen that many drunk people flooding a street and chanting U - S - A at midnight in the streets below us since...well, ever. Chicago is pretty humid, you don't have to try to sweat when you walk outside, it just all happens for you. I don't know if I would give up mild weather in Idaho or Washington for never having to use lotion in a place like Chicago, not worth it.

We all got to go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley field and wait for two hours in the rain so that the game could get rained out. Still a great experience, a little wet actually really wet, but really fun just getting to go with the whole group.

Yeah for free hat and T-shirt night at Wrigley field.

Most of the group, all getting soaked for two hours before the game was cancelled. All of the girls ended up wearing ponchos by the time we left (yeah, guys don't wear rain ponchos, we're tough, we work out and stuff!), but as soon as they called the game, it stopped raining for the rest of the night.

We had some good fun in Chicago for four days before taking 32 12-15-year old boys from in and around Chicago back with us to Victor, ID for the summer camp. We had to be up at 4:30 on Wed. morning of the 10th and take the Orange line to the Midway airport, that was also a fun experience. The kids started showing up around 6am and then we started our, what turned out to be almost 16 hour long, trip to Victor. We took two flight to SLC, then took a bus that started breaking down on us to BYU-Idaho, then drove another hour to Victor. What a relief to be done traveling at that point.

Mike, Brittany, Joy, and I ended up having the middle group that was mostly 13-14 yrs. old. What incredible people to be able to spend 10 days with getting to know and have fun with during the camp. We did some really cool things with the boys like a ropes course, tons of activities and classes about a lot of different things, nightly firesides/testimony meetings, devotionals, and we took all of the boys to see the movie "17 Miracles," about the Mormon Pioneers. This was an absolutely rewarding experience to be able to have a part in the lives of these boys and to see their goodness and to get to learn about a lot of the trials that they have to deal with on a daily basis in Chicago (drugs, gangs, shootings, family life, girls, school, etc.). A few more pictures from this trip will some this up and it was amazing.

Our group name, "Not in da Face"

Our group at Eric's class, learning how to make water
rockets out of two liter bottles.

Some of the boys at the BYUI Badger Creek Ropes Course
learning about one of the challenge activities

All 32 boys learning about how to work as a team.

Some of the counselors and boys riding on top of the trailer we loaded with
hay that we all moved for a service project.

At the ropes course, one of the activities is getting to the top of a 30-foot high telephone pole and standing on top, this was a little intense and I didn't think that I would be doing it myself, but all the boys and other counselors said, 'Bryce, you're next.' I thought to myself, "self, don't freak out," not because it's very high, but it is high when you get to the top and it's just a telephone pole sticking out of the ground.

After a minute of holding on to the top, I braved it.

Well, I made it, without falling off and I realize that once you get to the top you have to say a goal you have, but once I got up there, I thought that I should have already thought of a goal, because that's a little terrifying on top trying to think of a goal.

This was a wonderful camp and I feel privileged to have gone and get to know all of those boys. Maybe next time they'll go to bed before 2:00 every morning when we have to wake up at 6:30.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not a writer.

I think everyone can honestly agree I lack in the skill of writing.

Now that that was stated we can move on.

The summer is almost over and I think I spent the majority of it at work. Our annual convention was held in Minneapolis at the beginning of the month and most of my time the months before were spent sitting at my desk producing labels, forms, and booklets to be handed out for those three short days. My first experience at convention was quite exciting.

I stayed on the 18th floor of a hotel with an awesome view.
I was almost trampled on by people running through doors.
I got to help make the logo. (Ryan deserves the credit)
I was proposed to by the most creepy man in the world.
I was yelled at by a Mennonite woman. (I thought they were supposed to be nice)
I got to see my products in use by the actual customers.
I got a contact for freelance work.
and... I got to see a magic show.

The biggest bummer about convention, other then my tacky green vest, was that I missed the window to see Bryce a day or two before he went to camp. He went to Washington to help his Dad out with a cabinetry job the week school ended, and then left while I was at the convention to help out at an inner city youth camp.

Let me tell you...three weeks is a long time. I don't know how my Dad was able to go on two month business trips when I was a kid.

I was so excited for Bryce to return. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, my heart was fonded. It is amazing how I used to be so independent and had a hard time in the first year of our marriage having to spend so much time with someone else. Now it is the opposite, I have the need to be around people all the time. I was grateful I was able to spend a week while he was gone with my parents in Washington while we were apart. (I'll write about that later)