Every summer, youth have the opportunity to participate in the Especially For Youth program at BYU-Idaho. EFY is a program dedicated to strengthening Latter-Day Saint youth in their commitment to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are two session held in Rexburg. One during the first week of August and the other during the second week.
During their week at EFY, youth are provided wholesome social experiences and inspiring and edifying opportunities.
The first EFY session was held in Provo, Utah in 1976. Since then, more than 880,000 youth have attended weeklong EFY sessions in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Brigham Young University runs the whole program through its continuing education department.
The program doesn’t just bless the lives of youth 14 to 18 years old. Every year, young single adults have the opportunity to work as counselors throughout the summer.
Counselors are hired and then expected to create a safe and positive environment where the youth can feel the Holy Ghost. They also teach the youth the doctrines and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rylie Prater is from Minnesota and is in his sixth week of EFY counseling. He currently lives in Utah.
“EFY is about helping youth to come closer to Jesus Christ through studying the gospel and having social experiences that they might not be able to have elsewhere.”
Prater explains that one of the main goals is to help youth become closer to Jesus Christ through scripture study, attending classes, making goals and sharing testimonies.
Emma Ents is from Fairview, Utah and has been counseling for EFY for eight week this summer. Ents lives in Utah and attends Snow College.
Ents explains that EFY is more than just a one-week experience. The youth are encouraged to make goals and develop habits they can continue when they leave EFY.
“One of the biggest focuses, along with goalsetting, is what we call ‘taking it home’. It’s a plan that we help them make to not only feel good and feel joy and feel the spirit here at EFY, but to take it home with them. To take the habits of feeling closer to Jesus Christ and serving others. It’s like a springboard into the daily life that they’ll have at home.”
Throughout the week, the youth are able to attend classes and learn about gospel topics taught by selected seminary and institute teachers from different parts of the country.
Every morning, the youth attend a Morningside session where an uplifting message that focuses on the EFY theme is given.
The youth also have time for gospel study and free time each day. There are two dances held during the week. The counselors said this a fun way for youth to socialize with each other.
Ents says she sees changes in the participants throughout the week.
“It’s a really cool experience to see the youth and the changes that they have made and the desire they have to just be a better person and make better choices when they go home.”
Prater said he’s able to see people change through the gospel and he likes knowing he was a small part of the change youth can experience at EFY.
“It’s always amazing to see how they have become better disciples of Jesus Christ by the end of the week.”
EFY sessions around the country being in May and continue through summer until August.
For more information, visit the EFY website efy.byu.edu or contact the Especially For Youth programs by calling 801-422-3187.