Once we arrived at Andrew's new pad, the boys quickly unpacked the new fad... Stack 'em. The gist of it is to arrange 12 cups in a set series of pyramids and then hit the timer as quickly as possible. When that got too intense, we switched over to backflips.
After Andrew had fallen on his head too many times, we decided to help repair at least a little of the damage with some of the masks Joo had brought over from Korea. Ironically, the boys in the group handled this very "maturely,"
...while the girls found it a bit more intimidating and giggle-worthy.
It really was good to spend some solid time with friends again. While the next time I assume a role of working with high school students, I probably will be a bit more professional, I recently reflected over my years of service in my twenties and whether or not it was worth it to take some unconventional risks and become closer to the youth I worked with (essentially viewing them more as friends in many contexts). The answer was a resounding yes... the relationships formed on both sides of the friendships, both for myself and the youth, was much deeper, more sincere and impacting, and many of them are still going strong today as these youth enter the work force and join the "real world." Of course, that precept could be generalized by simply saying that I value relationships, and the decisions that ultimately enhance my relationships are often the guiding ones at key points in my life.