Service and Self-Reflection

Back in April, we spent a week off of school having fun and looking to do some good.

We had a big service day, where all the residents were divided up into 3 projects.  One group continued working on the medical dolls used at Primary Children’s Hospital.  These are used by kids to help communicate their ailments, to create a twin of themselves in the hospital or simply a friend.  The second group went to create and serve a meal at the Ronald McDonald House, a place providing lodging for families of ill children staying in nearby hospitals.  After this, they were able to help beautify a local park.  The third group was able to work on building a home with Habitat for Humanity.  Students cleaned, landscaped, removed scaffolding, and even got to use the nail guns, for a wonderful and deserving family.

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We had a few notable visits at the house – a workshop with the SALT Contemporary Dance Company and a speaker, Lindsay Kite, with Beauty Redefined – both about self-love.  We loved having two different approaches to this all-important topic. We were also treated to a Spa Night at the house, where a manicurist, pedicurist, massage therapist and various masks came to us!  The pampering was definitely a highlight.LindseyBeautyRedefined1 (1)

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This was also our semi-annual R.O.P.E.S course experience!  In an unseasonably warm and sunny week we just happened to schedule our ROPES day on the only day it was cold and rainy – oops!  But it didn’t stop us.  We spent the morning half indoors, doing group tasks and initiatives, practicing team work, communication and support.  After a lovely catered lunch, the precipitation had died down, so we braved the cold weather and got to do some high ROPES Challenges and group coursework.  This is always an amazing opportunity to both grow closer as a community and to examine ourselves and our own limitations, actual or perceived.

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In between all the service, work and inspiration, we also got to enjoy a little skating, some pool, a trip to the aquarium and an Ultimate Frisbee showdown at the park.  Phew!

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Cold (Warm?) Winter Months

With a smattering of days off of school, a few holidays and 2 Parent Days, we’ve had a little fun during the second half of Utah’s unseasonably warm winter!

Some of the fun highlights include bowling, snowshoeing, karaoke night, jumping at the wAIRhouse trampoline park and Walmart Bingo (with prizes!)  We also engaged in some more meaningful activities, like creating medical dolls for Primary Children’s Hospital…

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… and a visit to the Leonardo Museum.

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We had two back-to-back Parent Weekends, with 2 great Fine Arts Festivals. January was themed Happiness and March’s show was about Community.  We always love seeing what our students can come up with, and this past show had some really wonderful and unique additions!

We’ve also been spending a lot of time doing Zumba, volunteering at the local Food Pantry and recording ourselves at SpyHop, a digital media studio where we can record music for free.  And we can’t forget a few fun holidays, where we wrote ourselves love notes (Valentine’s) and colored eggs (Easter, of course.)

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Stay tuned for more comings and goings!

Wonderful Winter Holiday Break

We had a long and eventful Winter break from school this year!  We had a large variety of activities, including time with the animals at the Utah Humane Society, ice skating, zumba, sledding, yoga, special Expressive Therapy groups, watching Christmas movies, seeing Into the Woods in the theater, a Utah Jazz NBA game and even going to see Ballet West’s The Nutcracker.

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We took the wonderful opportunity to participate in many service projects this holiday season.  We cleaned toys at The Children’s Center, made and delivered treats to the local firemen working on Christmas, and wrote letters to our troops overseas thanking them for their service.  We also spent Christmas Eve caroling, giving treats and visiting with patrons at our nearest care center and on another day, played with the children staying at The Christmas Box House.

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Even with all those fun and fulfilling activities, there were many more highlights over the course of those 2 weeks!  Two of the big favorites were a dance workshop and a busy New Year’s Eve.  Salt Contemporary Dance Company came to work with our students, performing for them and then getting them to dance, all the while discussing how to express without words and connecting the power of expression to a healthy, effective lifestyle.  Our kids raved about this experience and we’re excited to say we have invited them back for future dates.

The crew also got to spend the morning of New Year’s Eve at Boondocks, where they enjoyed laser tag, mini golf, arcade games, and much more, followed by a pizza and pasta buffet. That evening, groups competed “Chopped” style, for best appetizers, making up a diverse and interesting last meal of the year – these 2 activities also made the Greatest Hits list!

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Rounding out our activities were an impromptu ski trip, walking Utah’s “Christmas Street” with hot cocoa and an introduction to one of the best party games, The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.  It was a fun, crazy, and humbling vacation!

Thanksgiving weekend

Many of our students got to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, but for those who stayed at La Europa, it was a lovely few days.

On Thanksgiving day, we had a relaxed schedule and catered meal with all the traditional dishes.  After filling up, students were able to participate in a service project for the Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment Center.  We made packages, “Kid Care Packs”, that the center will give to children needing their services, namely victims of abuse.  These packs are meant to comfort kids in a difficult situation and bring a smile.  We even included personal notes of encouragement.

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Friday started with a trip to the Clark Planetarium, where they not only got to see the exhibits, but also had a private presentation and then got to watch an IMAX movie, Pandas, with snacks.  That evening, the group headed to the Ronald McDonald House, where they were able to cook dinner for the families of hospitalized children that were staying there.  We particularly enjoyed mingling with and singing for some of the kids.

Moab!

For some time now, we’ve been getting a suggestion in the suggestion box to do an upper-level camping trip.  We had to squish it in, but we really wanted to get it in before the end of summer, and it turned out well!

Most of the level 4’s and above headed down to Moab, where they slept in teeny tiny cabins (without kitchen, bathrooms, anything – basically a permanent tent!) The first evening brought hobo dinners around the fire, and a backyard wild west show – one of our own got to go onstage!

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The next day the crew packed sack lunches and headed out to Arches National Park for some hiking.  There are some truly magnificent views there – it’s the stuff of postcards, and our kiddos thoroughly enjoyed it. The afternoon was intended for swimming, but the weather was pretty wet that day, so they settled for a nice Italian dinner.

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The next morning had a hike on the agenda, but between the wet weather and the exertion from the day before, the group opted to skip it and head home.  It was a relaxing, beautiful trip and the reports were that it was a great time! Sept 054

Film Festivals and Other Fun

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Another week’s vacation from school, another adventure. Utah is known for its film festivals, but La Europa’s Europie Awards may be one of its best-kept secrets. We were excited for the third-annual iteration of the awards this year, with some talented students participating.

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The students had the chance to conceptualize their own storyline, as well as act in, film, and edit their own short films. Each of the three groups demonstrated team work, problem solving, creativity, time management, and leadership as they worked toward this goal.

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On Friday morning, the students dressed in their best red carpet glam and drove to the Broadway Centre Cinemas in downtown Salt Lake City. They walked the red carpet, got through tight security, and enjoyed concessions prior to the film screenings. After our three esteemed judges watched the films the students prepared, they awarded “Europies” for different categories ranging from screenwriting to cinematography to acting to editing and beyond. They also presented peer awards for outstanding leadership and teamwork demonstrated throughout the week. After some acceptance speeches and some dancing in the aisles, everyone headed back to LEA.

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Beyond the film festival, we also enjoyed several activities. We watched a Sundance film called The Music Never Stopped, played on the slip and slide, gardened, and visited the Utah Humane Society. One of the highlights of the week was an after-hours pool party for the students where they had the entire pool, diving boards, and water slides to themselves. After the awards ceremony on Friday, they also had a chalk art festival outside, were visited by the Intermountain Therapy Animals, enjoyed a barbeque, and danced to the music of a soul band at a local outdoor concert series.

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We love Summertime in Utah, and are proud of the kids for their cooperation and creativity this week!

The Foreigner and a Fine Arts Festival

We’ve enjoyed some fun things at LEA over the past month!

Several students chose to attend the Hale Center Theatre’s production of The Foreigner, a hilarous comedy about an introvert who pretends to not speak English in order to avoid conversation at a hotel. When he overhears a plot involving the KKK, he attempts to maintain his cover while thwarting their efforts. Here are some highlights:

We also loved having our LEA families here this past weekend. As always, the students participated in our Fine Arts Festival. The theme of this FAF was Courage, and we enjoyed dance, music, jokes, student films, and slideshows in addition to our gallery of art, fashion design, and ceramics. We loved seeing everyone and encourage LEA families to check out the family website for footage.