Summer Break!

 We had quite an eventful week off of school for summer break in August.  Monday began with a trip to see Million Dollar Arm in the theater – you can watch the trailer here. That afternoon saw our group rafting down the Provo River.  It’s a relatively mild river with minimal rapids, where at some points was very serene and relaxing, with other points providing our group some obstacles and unforgettable experiences.

Tuesday took us up Little Cottonwood Canyon for a short hike to Cecret Lake, where we enjoyed lunch and the beautiful scenery. The evening was low-key, going to regular groups and dinner at the house, followed by the usual Tuesday evening prospects – Free Time options and AA.

Wednesday brought our kids to serve in one of their favorite spots – the Humane Society of Utah.  They just can’t get enough of those furry little friends!  They got to fraternize with big dogs, little dogs, cats and even a few from the rodent family.
That night, we were able to head to downtown Salt Lake for a free outdoor concert with the Utah Symphony. It was a wonderful mix of people and a nice night of culture.

The house was favored Thursday morning with a visit from Amanda Loveland, CEO of ModBod Clothing. She shared a wonderful message of authenticity and divine inner-beauty, and gave each of our kids a beautiful necklace as a reminder. “No matter what you look like, what your shape is, or where you are from, we are all women. We have a unique quality to us that is divine and we need to embrace who we truly are OUTSIDE of what everyone tells us we should look like. Divine beauty comes from within and we are all beautiful. We just need to allow that beauty to come forth. We need to be fearless.” -Amanda

In the afternoon, each community in turn visited a large local labyrinth (learn more about labyrinths here.) It is a kinesthetic practice of a metaphorical centering, a journey to your own core. It was a very positive, meditative experience, followed by dinner and a movie at home – projected on the wall, of course!

We ended the week off with a visit from This is Your Band, an LEA favorite. (They’ve been here before!) This incredibly talented band plays and sings backup for our very own stars, karaoke style.  There were some truly choice performances this go round!

Labor Day weekend was right on the heels of this break – don’t go too far!

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Valentines, Visitors, and Various Vacation Viewings: February at LEA

Here’s what we’ve been up to!

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Valentine’s Cards and Treats

Glitter, colorful paper, gel pens, and glue sticks littered the tables on Valentine’s Day as our students “Heart Attacked” the house with valentines for their peers. They snacked on red velvet Chex party mix as they worked. The result was a beautiful collage on the windows comprised of meaningful, encouraging personalized observations.

Lindsey Wells, Mary Kay consultant, skin care demonstration

Lindsey spent some time educating us on some self care. She taught us about our skin and shared some products so we could experience a little pampering. For those who were interested, she also provided little bags with samples for us to keep.

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Midway Ice Castles and Frozen

You may have already seen the Midway Ice Castles without knowing what you were seeing. They have been featured prominantly in some recently viral videos, including covers of “Let it Go” by Alex Boye and The Piano Guys. These videos were released after our visit, but the effect of the massive castles made entirely of ice was still awe-inspiring. After touring the castles, the kids also got to take pictures with an ice princess. After returning to the residence for dinner, we went to the theater and watched the movie Frozen.

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This is Your Band

The nationally-acclaimed four-piece karaoke band, This is Your Band, returned to La Europa to play some music with the kids. With hundreds and hundreds of songs under thier belts and teleprompters with song lyrics, the band transformed our students into rock stars for a day.

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Lindsay and Lexie Kite, Beauty Redefined

Internationally-published twin sisters, Lexie and Lindsay Kite, brought their PhD research on media literacy and self-objectification to La Europa over the break. Their non-profit organization, Beauty Redefined, has articles republished in The Huffington Post, is being promoted by musicans Tegan and Sara, received a shout-out from Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls”, and more. The sisters presented ways to recognize harmful media messages and research-driven strategies to counteract them.

It’s amazing how quickly February has passed. Stay tuned for more fun activities in March!

Spring Break at LEA

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Spring Break was a busy time for the girls who remained at La Europa. We got a little taste of history by watching Steven Spielberg’s movie, Lincoln, at the theater and tested our bowling skills at Bonwood Bowl. The girls participated in groups and therapy as usual, and it was fun to have some low-key activities to unwind.

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One of the highlights of the break occurred when we were visited by four musicians who call themselves This is Your Band. The seasoned group has performed all over the nation and on television and radio, marketing themselves as a “karaoke band”. With over one thousand songs at their disposal, the men could play any song the girls selected. The words for each tune were then projected on a screen and the girls could follow along as they fronted the band.

That afternoon, we took the girls to the Utah Humane Society to socialize with the animals. They played with rodents, rabbits, dogs, and cats and easily bonded with them. It was fun to observe the girls being so nurturing and loving, and many of them wanted to stay longer.

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Our final morning of the break was a surprise to the girls. They knew that they were going to play a game and how to dress, but they weren’t sure what to expect. The director of the Wheeler Farm was kind enough to let us set up an Amazing Race on their property, and when the girls arrived, we split them into teams. We explained the rules for things such as the “fast forward pass”, “detours”, “road blocks”, “u-turns”, and other tasks they would need to complete as they located each clue and location along the route. They also learned about the prizes at stake (movie passes to use with their mentors and “Euros” to use at the LEA store). To start the race, each team received a logic puzzle to solve. Once they completed it successfully, they received their first clue. As they raced from location to location with staff, they worked to complete challenges, solve clues, and use strategies. It took about an hour and a half of running around, and the girls were tired and happy after completing the course. We were proud of all their efforts, and each team received prizes for participating, varying by their order of race completion. They took further advantage of the beautiful weather by playing outside with water balloons, bubbles, and more outdoor games later in the day.

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While we missed our girls who returned home for the break, we had a blast together on campus. We look forward to more fun later this month!