Another semester has ended and have said goodbye to students. After four months together it's hard for the kids to imagine Wednesday chapel dinners without them.

 

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Some of these girls really stole Canaan's heart and I'm thankful for young adults who are willing to show my kids love. It's been hard, though, for Canaan to say goodbye to them .... along with goodbyes to Lauren, Steph, Justin and Lauren.

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My family wasn't planning on coming on the final trip to the beach because Nate had a game and if I go alone with them I'm not able to be much help to staff. But Nate's game got scheduled early and he decided to drive down late to join us. While it was a stressful trip in the dark at the end he really wanted to be supportive and I appreciated it. I realized it's really important for my kids to have those final moments with students and say goodbye well because they do invest and create their own version of deep relationships. They spent hours in the waves with the students and avoided any jellyfish stings (I was not able to avoid it but it might be my own fault for developing a game of chicken around the idea of being the last person to get stung and staying in the water til we were down to the last. This was a totally feasible game since at least 14 of us got stung that first day ... some multiple times.) I appreciated feeling like I was able to relax a bit more on this debrief than the last, but also able to be more focused on this debrief. I got individual time with some of the girls I'd been meeting with (therapy session sitting in the sand, looking at open water anyone?) and saw some incredible growth on those final nights. EBB and I led a devotion, and while it stresses me out to plan, I enjoyed speaking in a different capacity. We played volleyball in the blistering midday sun, drank batidos on the sand and did fireworks and affirmation on our final night. 

 

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The kids came to say final goodbyes during pre-banquet pictures.

Emily is from Chicago area and is abou the teeniest people I've ever met. She looks delicate and refined and gorgeous but she is totally silly and scandalous. She loves kids a whole bunch.

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(Left to right) Sarai adores kids too and she spent many Wednesdays playing with my two. She looks like the sweetest girl in the world when you meet her (and she is) but she is also total mischief and I enjoyed many conversations with her. Ricki is sassy and can't help but be her whole self all the time. She came in and pursued learning who God is with her whole heart and her growth was enormous and beautiful. She also has killer dance moves. Brenna is competitive, assertive and stands out in a crowd. She can be like a dog following a scent when she wants something ... but often that thing is a relationship with you or to care for you in some way. She's fierce like that and she fiercely engaged in relationship with me, covering some really hard topics and often claiming, "I hate you" before immediately going and doing whatever challenge I put before her. Chelle is another midwest girl and she often beats to her own tune. She got hurt twice in the semester, once on a chainlink fence and once when a basketball hoop and back broke off and fell on her head, but she managed to keep a good attitude throughout.

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You've heard me talk about these girls a lot already. RCs Lauren & Lauren. These were sweet, sweet relationships for me and they also took the time to sweetly love my kids. I will always remember Lauren (left) acting out alien encounters while the kids ran and chased her and Lauren (right) won't be forgotten since she talk my kids Gangnam Style and loved writing them notes.

 

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D has been on staff longer than anyone currently but this is her last semester as she is moving to Arkansas to work in an afterschool kids program. She will be amazing at that because she exudes gentleness and encouragement to kids. She and Eden have a special bond and I appreciate that she engages her in Spanish.

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Staff: 6 out of the 14 pictured here are off onto other adventures and we will miss them dearly. This was a unique crew who focused on the whole team and working together and never sought to compete or outshine.

 

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They are also just a ton of fun.

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Student life staff. These are my main team. We have to trust each other fully and communicate well all week long, every week to make sure that the students are well cared for and challenged. This team did an incredible job of it. One of my favorite parts of this semester was reading Present Over Perfect together and the unique conversations we engaged in through that. But we also have about a million fun memories full of laughter, as well as moments of shared sadness or hard situations.

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