Updated: Oct 3, 2021
It's been quite a ride thus far. These few months are full of just about all the hijinks you could think of. We are moving into a new chapter in the branch; one with an increased amount of spooks, snows, and sweets.
But for now, why not take a look back at this summer and the many adventures we've had along the way?
Stepping Back: Sailing the Not-Very-High Seas.
Camping trips are sweet. Island trips are sweet too. Way back, in June of this year, we did both; we camped on the legendary Kalispell Island in Priest Lake, with about 13 or so people. It was, needless to say, an incredible experience.
The trip started with a small team of initial people, who felt they could get there early and get their feet wet, so to speak.
This was the Dream Team: John, Josh, Mason, and the Pres himself.
As a bonus, after setting up, we had the island to ourselves for an entire day and a half, in the which we relaxed and did, aside from some setup, not much. It was glorious.
Things continued to heat up, both literally and figuratively. The water was chilly at first, sure, but by the time we had traveled to the shoreline to pick up the first group of lakefarers, things were looking pretty summer-y.
Everything escalated from there. The first group consisted of a merry bunch; Hunter. Devin, Emily and Elizabeth. Soon after, we were bringing in Meagan and Dakota, Kayla, Rachel, and more.
No time was wasted. With the diving board (ship-sized) being included, our group proceeded to dunk themselves into the cool waters of what proved to be an intensely hot day.
It didn't stop there; jumps and dives galore continued. Eventually things died down as the day came to a close, transitioning into campfire songs and scrumptious grilled goodies.
It was here that there was a palpable peace we could feel, alongside the presence of the Holy Ghost. There was a comfort that came alongside us. It was incredible and wonderful, and a testament to how even the most uncommon experiences can lead to the increase of your testimony in the Gospel.
Things continued on after that night. The next day came with a great breakfast and the Kalispell Hike. We had more swims and dives, a decent count on our sailing trip, and more Hot-Dogs and Hamburgers than you could shake a stick at!
It wasn't long before time let us know this trip was nearing its conclusion. As things winded down for the final time, one thing was sure; this trip left an unforgettable impression; one which will likely remain with us for years to come.
The Graduating Seniors
This was a relatively small event, in which we were able to welcome in the graduating seniors into our humble branch. Many of these seniors went on to become staples within it; though sadly many also had to leave for college (as is often the case). This event was a wonderful little get together involving Croquet, more grilled food (the usual. Melted cheese on those burgers! Yum), and a last minute water balloon frenzy. Cheers and lovely wholesome laughter abounded. Another one for the branch history book.
Gibby and the Cooldowns : The Fellowshipping of the Branch.
It's time for the Cooldowns. This three part series introduces us to the wonderful visits we had to the home of the Gibby's, where our Branch President and his wife graciously gave us the opportunity to swim, relax, and create real lasting friendships and bonds alongside members of our branch. The first trip consisted of much of the Relief Society, Elder Foxworth, and Rob. It was a trip in which one of the biggest highlights was the incredible (and succesful!) attempt to get every one of the relief society sisters onto a single inner tube. It may have been short lived, but hey, it worked!
Part Two saw us bring in a small increase. Here we had a few more guys show up too, as well as those sisters who couldn't make it to the first one. The sweet thing about this one is that afterward we also got to participate in karoake. Live karoake. With Mason and Pres Gibby donating talent via vocals and Guitar. The opportunity to participate in a couple of rounds of Lacrosse presented iself as well, with the night ending on some Michael Jackson impersonations courtesy of Devin and Connor: the dynamic brotherly duo.
Part Three came with a massive step-up in turn-out; the big finale! Everyone who's anyone came, except for those who couldn't of course, and the place was hopping. New and old branch members alike came to experience the joy and fellowship of these little ventures. It was a one stop shop for all things fun in terms of Summer, and it was the last opportunity for many to not only experience outdoor swimming and sun this year, but also before the fated college trip (the wonderful memories we have though are here to stay!).
The Cool-downs ended and are over for this year, but stay tuned. There's a pretty good chance they will return!
The Abundant Life Conference
This was a short little event hosted by the Church which really focused on the Single Adult and Young Single Adult wards and branches. There were so many things to do here it would take forever to list them all (but you can check them out on the old post). We had a few from our branch attend; the news was it indeed was a terrific experience and many important lessons were learned. Make sure to consider such events in the future. They're often beneficial in ways you'd never expect.
Game Night was a trip to the land of board games; specifically, Say Anything and a certain controversial game who's name has been redacted. An evening of simple fun, there's nothing quite like some nice wholesome group games to bring some positive competition and friendship.
This one was heated, not gonna lie. Our flour got a little baked from the sparks flying on either side of the competition field! This one was a joint collaboration with the Shawnee Ward, in which we threw fluffy projectiles at each-other in an interesting twist on Capture the Flag. Fortunately we ended that night with prayer and snacks which did a lot to ease things into kind banter and fun interactions as the night came to an end. Unfortunately, this was a no-picture taken event. But trust me, even if it was really intense, it was also heaps of fun.
The Adams' Burgers and BBQ!
A trip to the Adams' reveals really great friends and lots of olympic themed activities. See for yourself!
Cookie Time : Helping Widows
We had the good opportunity to perform some service this time around with some home-baked cookies, recipe courtesy of Elder Foxworth. Make no mistake though, it was a process.
First came the instructions. Elder Foxworth needed us to learn the basics of cookie baking properly if we were to be up to snuff. It turns out that guidance paid off, as we produced stacks upon stacks of these freshly baked snacky circles of pure deliciousness. Also make no mistake; we were did eat a few of them too; there were so many that, after delivering our packages to those in need, leftovers were inevitable!
Now amidst this, there were a few Relief Society activities as well! The details weren't given, except that the events were relaxing and wonderful, and consisted of a refreshing spa sort of experience, as well as a pool party. Keep this in mind; this post only shows so much! You should come too!
As far as Elders Quorum, the same story; there was a dodgeball tournament of sorts. If you want to participate you're always free! All this stuff is announced on Remind and at Church, and a lot of times on Facebook as well (links in the upper right corner of the website!)
The Cleaning Crew's Three Part Series
Okay, now this was quite a special experience. Last August we all got together to clean the Sitka building once a week. This was headed up by the Elders Quorum President (Bryan, of course). The events consisted of everyone appearing one by one over the course of a couple of hours as we did our best to scrub the place clean (and frankly we did get some pretty great turnouts! It's great to see people wanting to be a part of it).
Of course, afterward we celebrated with a trip to the Pizza Co. pizzeria. In fact, since the first trip was such a huge success, it has almost become a branch tradition to visit it every time we do a cleaning trip, as you will see, we proceeded to do throughout the course of this month. The first was a journey in classic pepperoni, cheese, Hawaiian (oh my goodness, yum) and even margarita pizza (the you-know-what stuff is cooked out! So you can eat it!!). It ended with a desert of which the name escapes me at the moment: Ice-cream scrumptiously spilled over caramel inside of deliciously cooked crust. It was an incredible concoction, what can I say.
The next few were similar in experience, a wonderful time which we got to meet people, visit with them, talk and enjoy each other's company, and more. I've heard there will be another such event coming up; believe you me, you don't want to miss it.
Here's a highlight; Nathan was able to be baptized during the month of August, and it was honestly amazing how palpably strong the Spirit was here.
There aren't words to express how special these experiences are. Please consider coming to one when you can! Nathan is now a regular member of our branch. If you see him, go ahead and say hi!
He did get the chance to bear his testimony. He's an epicly awesome guy.
The Crafts of the Arts: FHE
We continue to do FHE events each week. These are on Mondays and we do send out the details: on Facebook, Remind, and of course in the Branch itself when the Sacrament meeting ends.
Here we had an example of this; the Arts and Crafts event. It was interesting, and continues to be really wonderful to see, how nice having such great turnouts has been. Of course if you weren't super Artsy, board games and the like were still on the table, so to speak.
The Post River Pictures
Very recently, the service opportunity to help clean the Spokane river was taken up by some wonderful volunteers in our Branch. These volunteers helped pick up trash and store it safely away from being a hazard to others' health, would they have remained in that river. Thank you to those who were able to be there. They managed to snag a few awesome pics.
The Camping Trip Finale
Here we come to a close with two more finalizing posts. The first is Part Two of our camping trip: Sail With Us 2 : Electric Boogaloo (yes that's the official tagline, according to me)!!
Here we really did hit on one of the final opportunities for us as a Branch to hang out with a lot of people we had grown closer to over the past few months, before heading off to college (ha! College!? Life stuff!? Yeah, yeah, it's important, we know)
The recent post tells the whole story, if you want to check it out. One tiny tidbit that wasn't included there: this trip wasn't quite as crazy as the island trip, though there were stories of bears coming through these campsites in years prior. Bear this in mind. Of course, plenty of precaution was taken and safety ensured (and even then, bears are still pretty rare supposedly). It is part of what it means to be alive to engage in these sorts of incredible events.
The Triple Temple Trip
Finally, we end things off with one of the most important events we've ever (and ever will) host; the Mt Spokane YSA Temple Trips. From the end of August, up until now, three opportunities appeared to visit the Spokane Temple and do baptisms for the dead.
Kayla graciously hosted an event a few weeks earlier (from the second Temple trip) in order to help others prepare names to go.
It wasn't super attended though, so do think about potentially going to one of those when the opportunity comes up!
These spiritual events speak for themselves, so I'll let these pictures tell the story.
Until next time, keep it classy. Remember; we are always Christ focused: it is why He is the centerpiece on our site's homepage. Christ is our light, our Heavenly Father is our wonderful caretaker who loves us to a degree we cannot possibly imagine.
We invite you to continue to come with us on these trips, or to come for the first time if you haven't been able to for any reason.
Hope to see you there!!