Nursing Students Help Strengthen Youth at EFY as Counselors and Health Counselors

By Mindy Longhurst

EFY 1 Group PhotoImage of College of Nursing students during EFY. Left to right: Jane Goodfellow, Christina Smith, Janae Hancock, Shellie Anderson and Emily Henstrom.

Students from the nursing program help with EFY as counselors and health counselors.

The nursing program helps to prepare the students with certain qualifications to be able to become a health counselor. The responsibilities for the health counselors include at least a certification of an approved training program in practical nursing (i.e. CNA, MA, EMT, LPN or RN). Along with the certification of at least one year of work or college experience. In order to be a health counselor you must be 21 years of age or older. There are usually two to three health counselors at each session of EFY. There are about 750 to 2500 youth participants per session at EFY.

Especially for Youth (EFY) is a weeklong LDS religious camp for youth. Brigham Young University hosts these events. EFY is currently being held in 18 different states nationwide. Combined, the nursing student counselors have worked 14 different states.

The experiences that the youth and counselors receive while at EFY will be remembered for a lifetime. The experiences that they take with them will help the nursing students throughout their careers.

Below is an experience that each of the nursing students have had while at EFY this summer.

EFY 2 Jane GoodfellowAn image of nursing students as counselors. From left to right: Analisa Dawson, Jane Goodfellow and Janae Hancock. Image courtesy of Goodfellow.

Jane Goodfellow

Goodfellow applied to be a health counselor this year because she says, “It seemed like a good way to put my nursing skills into practice.” As a health counselor she likes being able to be “more independent on the judgement calls.” Goodfellow makes decisions every day for the needs of the participants.

Recently, Goodfellow had an amazing experience that really impacted her. On the first day of EFY, a participant became very ill. Goodfellow spent most of that night staying by her bedside and checking on her. The participant had to go home for a few days to get well but was able to return to the session. On Saturday morning, this participant was able to give Goodfellow a thank you card. She thanked Goodfellow for the wonderful care that Goodfellow had given her. The note also explained that the participant had originally decided to go into nursing until she had a bad experience with the poor lack of caring at a local hospital. This experience with Goodfellow showed her that nurses can be caring and it reignited her desire to become a nurse. Goodfellow says, “I had no idea she wanted to go into nursing or how much something as simple as staying up with her would be. It was a reminder of what it means to practice the Healer’s art and how important it is to uplift and heal our patients.”

EFY 3 McKinsey OwenImage of McKinsey Owen (middle front) and her company of youth during a week of EFY. Image courtesy of Owen.

McKinsey Owen

Owen first was introduced to the EFY program as a participant when she was a youth. Owen loved the lessons that she learned there about how much God loved her and how counselors believed in her. She wanted to give back from what she gained by participating as a counselor. Owen says, “Being a counselor has helped to increase my ability to love youth, have a greater ability to empathize, have less initial judgement and a greater desire to understand the circumstances of all people, an increased desire to serve, and more love for my Savior Jesus Christ.” Owen also believes that being a counselor will help in her future nursing career as an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner.

EFY 4 Emily HenstromA group of health counselors with Emily Henstrom (top right). Image courtesy of Henstrom.

Emily Henstrom

Henstrom is both a counselor and a health counselor. As a health counselor she loves being able to help the participants and being able to see them interacting a day after helping them. She loves how they are back to healthy and can have the fun and spiritual experiences they want at EFY. Henstrom says, “You take any improvement and you are happy with it, if you see an increase in their health you feel triumphed!”

Recently she had an experience with one participant that really touched her. There was a boy at one of the sessions that had been sick for a couple of days. During games night he still was not feeling great so he wanted to sit on the sidelines with Henstrom. Her co-counselor was at the hospital with a participant, so she was left alone to take care of 750 participants. Henstrom had to run water jugs all over to make sure the participants stayed hydrated outside. It was getting a little bit overwhelming and this boy, even though he wasn’t feeling well, still did what he could to help Henstrom.

He was eventually able to go back to his company and have a great experience at EFY. This participant later in the week texted to say that he was thankful to have Henstrom as his health counselor. This experience was exactly what she needed during a hard week.

EFY 5 Analisa DawsonImage of Janae Hancock and Analisa Dawson welcoming EFY participants. Image courtesy of Hancock.

Analisa Dawson

As a health counselor, Dawson is starting to learn the need for communication and empathy in nursing. She says, “You need to treat all participants like they are important because it matters to the patient.”

Recently, a participant was struggling and requested Dawson’s help. This participant needed to know that this was a safe space to share what she was going through. On the way there, Dawson prayed to be able to help the participant in a very empathetic and understanding way. Dawson’s focus was on making sure that this participant would have an enjoyable experience at EFY and know that it was a safe environment. The only way that this experience went as smooth as it did was by trying to take an empathetic approach. She took the time to listen and to understand where the participants and patients are coming from to gain trust and understanding.

EFY 6 Amy SutherlandImage of Amy Sutherland (left) and her health co-counselor Angie. Image courtesy of Sutherland.

Amy Sutherland

As a health counselor, Sutherland has practiced teamwork, leadership and organization skills. Sutherland says of her experience, “It is rewarding to work closely with the youth and staff by serving them and I feel blessed to use my training to help those around me. The youth that I interact with are often struggling with illness, injury or other health needs and I love seeing them smile and have fun after they’ve come to see me. There are a lot of opportunities for connection while helping people feel better.” These opportunities to connect and help others strengthens her desire to serve those around her.

EFY 7 Shellie AndersonImage of Shellie Anderson (front) and her company one week of EFY. Image courtesy of Anderson.

Shellie Anderson

Deciding to be a counselor for EFY was an easy decision for Anderson because she wanted to have testimony building experiences this summer. Anderson has grown to love each of the individual youth. She says, “I have been able to see their great potential and get to be their friend. I love seeing their testimony and confidence grow, and sharing my own testimony with those who are at such an impressionable age.”

EFY 8 Caitlin FerderberImage of Caitlin Ferderber (right) and Jessica Jensen.  Image courtesy of Ferderber.

Caitlin Ferderber

Recently, Ferderber had a powerful experience as a health counselor. A participant was having a severe anxiety attack during EFY. Ferderber and this participant and the participant’s counselor were in a room together trying to help him. She says, “Without the other boys in the company being told, they all gathered in the next room and were kneeling and praying for him. All of the boys came together to pray for this participant to get well. This showed me the importance of having compassion and relying on God to help and be there for others.”

EFY 9 Taylor Skippy TrippImage of Taylor “Skippy” Tripp (middle) with a group of youth. Image courtesy of Tripp.

Taylor “Skippy” Tripp

Tripp enjoys being a counselor and helping the youth. She says, “Everyone should be an EFY counselor!” This is an experience that will help her future nursing career. Tripp wants to receive a DNP in mental health to help youth who are struggling. EFY is an opportunity for her to learn how to better work with and help youth.

EFY 10 Christina SmithImage of Christina Smith (front and center) and the girls in her company a week at EFY. Image courtesy of Smith.

Christina Smith

Smith loves the unity of the youth and the ability that she has to love, uplift and support them. One of the best things that she has gained from this experience is the ability to have more charity for God’s children. This has allowed the Spirit to guide her and helped her to feel closer to the youth.

EFY 11 Hailey CoburnImage of Hailey Coburn with other EFY counselors. From the left, Hailey is the third one in the image. Image courtesy of Coburn.

Hailey Coburn

Coburn has been a counselor and health counselor for two years for EFY. During this time, she has tended to many participants. Coburn says, “I feel like it has been interesting to see how much the program really is inspired.” She believes that the program allows the youth to be able to share and grow their testimonies, especially at such a young age. EFY has also taught her to better understand how God works and cares for the youth of the Church. As Coburn prays for the Spirit to help her, she is able to be an instrument in the hands of God.

EFY 12 Hailey CluffImage of Hailey Cluff while at EFY. Image courtesy of Cluff.

Hailey Cluff

Hailey Cluff is working as an EFY counselor this summer and loves it! Even though EFY counselors help the youth, sometimes the counselors receive the most rewarding experiences. What touches her the most is the opportunity that she has to be able to help the youth, especially those who are struggling. Throughout these experiences, she realized that the Savior was the only one who could truly understand what the participants were going through. Cluff says, “All I can do is fulfill the promise I made when I was baptized to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I can let them know that I am there and that it is okay if they are not okay. These moments are the reason we have a Savior.”

Throughout this summer, Cluff has also been reminded of the love that the Savior and Heavenly Father have for everyone. Cluff’s testimony of Heavenly Father has been strengthened, as she has been able to realize that He truly is aware of us and is always helping us on our own process of healing and growth. For this knowledge, she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work as an EFY counselor this summer.


EFY is an amazing experience where the students of the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University have the opportunity to use their skills to be able to help others.

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