What I really want to say is this:
- Teenagers take themselves way too seriously, and if there's any category of people who should be allowed as much license to have fun as possible, it should be teenagers. This is what EFY is so good at bringing out. You take a bunch of self-conscious kids growing up in a world that teaches them to be self-conscious, and you play silly games with them or tell jokes they wouldn't dare let any of their friends at school know they think are funny. This is so important, especially for teenage girls. The level of fun and goofing off you get at EFY is so important for teenage girls because it leaves no room for, one, judging other girls, and two, comparing yourself to other girls. These, in my opinion, are two of the most self-destructive activities teenage girls can take part in.
- It makes the Gospel relevant. Take young 20-somethings, let them teach the Gospel to teenagers, the teenagers in turn teach it to each other, and all of a sudden it makes sense to them why it's important and how it affects their lives.
- There really is a spirit at EFY. Sure, it gets a bad wrap for its blatant emotionalism, but teenagers really aren't as stupid as we sometimes like to assume them to be. They get the Spirit and they understand how to feel God, if you just teach them how. I have a sticky note on the cover of my EFY handbook with this great quotation by J. Reuben Clark: "[Youth] are hungry for the things of the Spirit; they are eager to learn the Gospel, and they want it straight, undiluted...You do not have to sneak up behind them and whisper religion in their ears; you can bring these truths out openly."
*Read in a snooty British accent for full effect.