Question: Did you send your kids to EFY or other multi-day church-based youth camps/activities? How worthwhile do you think they were compared to the cost?
Answers to this varied significantly. Those who sent their kids to EFY don't regret it and feel it helped their kids a lot, but many parents did not have their kids participate, mainly due to the time and cost commitment.
Samantha (and Thomas)
We sent our kids to EFY at least once during high school, even when it was financially difficult. Without exception, they came home with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Moreover, it helped them see that living their religion could be fun, not just a list of commandments--like a backpack of rocks. They felt part of a larger community of believers. They heard other young people bear testimony and felt the Spirit in new ways.
A foundational principle of raising teenagers for us was to make sure they could see their future was bright, with good options for later in life and plenty of wholesome, fun things to do in the present. EFY helped.
Mary (and Robert)
We didn't send our children to EFY or other church based activities other than the ones that were sponsored by our ward or stake. I don't really recall our kids asking to go. They seemed to have plenty to do without adding other expensive things. I am a believer in making your own fun. I am also convinced that it just isn't necessary to add some of these other opportunities to have a good full youth.
We had a guy come by our house when the children were very young. He was selling scripture storybooks. We didn't have money for extras like that and told him so. He challenged our decision saying that we needed those books to teach our children the scriptures. I asked if he thought that we couldn't teach our children direct from the Book of Mormon? He said we couldn't. Now that was a challenge!
That shapes our feelings about EFY and such. We can teach our children directly from the scriptures. We can give them activities going to Temple Square and the Church Museum. We can support their leaders in activities at YM/YW , youth conference, scouts etc. If we had had the money to send them to some of the enrichment activities we might have done so, but they aren't indispensable to our young people.
Marsha (and Richard)
We loved EFY for our kids. We found out about it when two of our children were hired as counselors one summer and had a great experience. They didn’t make much that summer but both felt it was worth the sacrifice. We then began sending our kids and all but two of our children have had exposure to the program. I could see a distinct difference in the development of the testimonies of the ones who attended or worked with this great program. It is a life changer and definitely is work a financial sacrifice… which it was for us!
Jane and Samuel
Our kids were involved in a lot of activities such as dance, choir, football, soccer, biking, and jobs. Two of them did have a big desire to go to EFY and helped pay their own way. One went on a BYU sponsored Trek that was good for her. Our stake had great youth
conferences. They knew there was a time when our finances were limited and they tried to limit their wants to what was most important to them.
Brad and Cynthia
We never did send our children to any of these activities. Living in Indiana, we had to prioritize the spending of money. We were able to provide four children with BYU educations and their trips back and forth. We told our children that life is a smorgasbord and you cannot eat it all or do it all.
Danielle (and Jake)
We never did EFY. We always did girls camp, Scout Camp and Youth conferences. We were unable to afford EFY, and I never really knew about it. We live in a blue collar neighorhood, still do. It is not a big thing in this neck of the woods.
Daniel (and Barbara)
We only had two of our girls go to EFY. They paid their own way and were very positive about their experience. Our boys went to scout camps and liked that too. From what I have seen the church based youth camps and activities are very good for those who can afford them.
Abigail (and Martin)
As far as EFY is concerned, I think I only had one child attend. They were often busy during the summer with soccer and church activities and we usually took a family vacation. I think my daughter really enjoyed it and it was a good experience for her. I'm sure my other kids would have enjoyed it as well, but I don't think there was any harm done by not sending them.
Daniel and Marissa
Anytime a youth has a chance to go to an activity they should. Their family may not have the means to send them to Jerusalem, but it is
well worth it to go to EFY and be with their peers.
Kenneth and Catherine
Our children were not young enough to participate in EFY but they all had the experience of going on pioneer trek, young women's camps, scouting.
Next week: Summary of results from a group survey.