Each summer, youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather across the country for Especially for Youth.
“The objective of Especially For Youth is to provide an lifting, edifying and learning experience for youth where they can strengthen their commitments to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to the EFY website.
Clark Wilcox, a sophomore studying economics and a previous EFY counselor, said the experience is equally lifting for the counselors.
“I’ve met youth that inspire me, adults who become my role models and I meet new lifelong friends,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said one of the youth who inspired him was a shy young man named Ben.
“Ben was quiet at first, but as the week progressed, he came more out of his shell,” Wilcox said.
He said several months later he received a call from a blocked phone number. The caller was Ben.
“He called me to say thanks for the week and that it had meant a lot to him,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said the experience with Ben helped him see the big influence small acts can have.
“That was a pay-off moment, it made my job worth while,” Wilcox said
He said he likes the opportunity to be a role model and to help the rising generation of the Church.
“They want to be there, they have a strong desire to learn and they come with questions about their personal problems back home,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said the experience reminds him of D&C 50:22, which says, “Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.”
One year, the youth were given the opportunity to teach a missionary lesson as part of an activity.
“The counselor in charge of the activity asked those of us who had served missions to share Joseph Smith’s First Vision in our mission language,” Wilcox said.
He said being at EFY is similar to serving a mission because he focused on spiritual matters all day. He also said the youth felt the spirit during the activity.
“Our job at EFY is to help the kids recognize the spirit,” Wilcox said.