EFY took this year's theme — "Arise and Shine Forth" — to heart by giving participants a new, digitally enhanced way to do just that.
The program's 50,000 participants will be receiving MP3 download cards instead of CDs to enjoy the music written around the theme of the week-long Especially For Youth program. Along with a download card, each EFY participant will receive an additional card containing three EFY songs that can be shared with a friend. It is part of an EFY missionary packet, which also includes pass-along cards, a copy of the Book of Mormon and a card for youths to write their personal testimony.
J.D. Hucks, program administrator at EFY, said the new technology will cut program costs. However, youths all over the world can benefit from listening to EFY music, and the motivation for going digital is giving access to more youths than ever before.
"We want to get it into more people’s hands and homes — and meet the youths where they're at technologically," Hucks said in a press release.
EFY is a five-day program for teenagers 14-18 with classes, dances and other activities centered around the gospel teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Angela Rowberry, a Brigham Young University graduate from Sandy, was a counselor at the five-day EFY program held on BYU's campus, which ended Saturday, June 9. She said most youths rip music from CDs onto their computers and the MP3 downloads are a way to reduce lost or misplaced CDs, along with saving the program a lot of money.
"I think it's a great thing," Rowberry said. "It's one less thing to carry around."
For Emma Moses, a junior at San Juan High School in Blanding, this year's EFY at BYU was a milestone. Not only was this her first, she is the only child of nine in her family to attend EFY. Moses said the missionary packet was an extension of this year's service project.
"The focus this year was on missionary work," Moses said. "It makes sense that they'd make it easier for us."
Moses said she enjoyed the fun activities as well as sessions full of spiritual thoughts throughout EFY and left feeling inspired. Participants practiced sharing the gospel in a variety of situations, and Moses said the exercises increased her confidence to be a member missionary after she went home.
"There's a lot you can take home with you," Moses said. "I feel a lot more comfortable sharing the gospel with my friends."
Beki Winchel is a current BYU student studying public relations and business management. Besides being a tech geek, she loves social media, music, movies and craftiness. She’s also a fierce Packers fan with a Wisconsin accent.