We took my niece Rachel Steimle from Lawrence, Kansas up to BYU-Idaho this last weekend. She flew into town a few days earlier, spent some time with her grandparents on her mother’s side, a day with us, and then we headed off to the north. I graduated from BYU-I in 1997 and love visiting and was grateful for the opportunity, since it had been 4-5 years since the last time I was up there.

We ran into a bit of snow in Pocatello, but other than that the roads were completely clear and safe and we had an easy journey. The day we drove up it was quite warm, in the mid to high 30′s, which in Rexburg, Idaho is practically swimming weather.

We arrived on Friday, the day before registration, which meant we couldn’t do much other than tour the town. We showed Rachel all the sites Rexburg has to offer, like Wal-Mart, the post office, the water tower, etc. Actually, Rexburg has been built up quite a bit in the past few years since they turned it into a 4-year school. When I was at BYU-I (then Ricks) there were 2-3 “restaurants” and a few fast food places, virtually no recreational activities, and a lot of ice. I spent most of my time skateboarding in my dorm room doing kickflips on the carpet (I have no idea why nobody ever complained about that). But I loved it as it was, and I was almost disappointed to see that they now have a Coldstone, Bajio, Applebees, and about 30 other dining establishments that didn’t exist when I was there. There is all sorts of retail space as well that popped up out of nowhere.

Apparently Rexburg received quite a bit of snow prior to our visit, which you can see in the photos. Bear in mind that warm weather had melted most of it before these photos were taken. I never saw so much snow in Rexburg the two years I was there.

While passing Malad on our way to Rexburg, I phoned up one of my old professors, Craig Bell, to see if we could drop in and say “hi”. He ended up inviting us to dinner at Original Thai on Main Street and we had a great visit with him and his wife, Sue.

That night we stayed with the Pennocks in Idaho Falls, who are old family friends of my brother’s from Kansas. David, the husband, is the executive director of the museum in Idaho Falls, which appears to be a bigger deal than it sounds like. It sounds like they’ve had some pretty interesting exibits (Egyptian stuff, Incan stuff) and they’ve got a Titanic exhibit coming up soon. They were very hospitable.

The next morning we woke up early and arrived in Rexburg around 8 am. We first went to the Ricks building and Rachel registered/checked in. We then went to her apartment and checked in there, and unloaded what Rachel had brought on the plane. Then the fun began as we went shopping. I stayed in the car most of the time since Magdalena was taking an extended nap.

By 2:15 pm Rachel was all moved in, and we got some quick lunch at Wendy’s. We then went with Rachel to the spot where she was to meet up with an orientation group, and said our good-byes. Although Magdalena loves Rachel she didn’t cry at all. She’s such a trooper.

Then Brynn and I went to a parent’s orientation meeting hosted by Kim Clark, the president of BYU-I. It was part presentation, and part question and answer session. It was a great experience. I took a few notes, and here’s what I remember:

Pres. Clark asked the parents to do four things (actually, I think there were more, but my ADD only allowed me to catch four of them):

1. Help your children understand that being here is a privilege. No one is entitled to it, no one deserves it.

2. Teach your children that this is real life, not pretend.

3. Restraint. Don’t be a “helicopter parent”. He then gave a few examples detailing what he meant by that term. He talked about a father who sent him a long email a few weeks ago berating him because the heat was out in his daughter’s dorm room. Upon investigating the matter, Pres. Clark found out the daughter had never contacted the school about the heating problem. Instead, she had talked to her father and asked him to take care of it. He also spoke of students who talk to their parents after every quiz, test, or interesting experience. He recommended less communication and insinuated that once per week was more appropriate and would lead to the maturation of the student.

4. Ask them what they are learning, eating, experiencing, whether they’re exercising and staying healthy, and if they’re getting to bed early.

Pres. Clark gave out his email address to everyone there and invited parents to email him if they ever had concerns they couldn’t resolve otherwise. But before doing so, he recommended parents talk with their spouse, make sure their student has tried to resolve the issue themselves, and to get the whole story from their student in case there’s more to it than what has been communicated. He told a story about a father who emailed him, very concerned because he hadn’t heard from his daughter for three weeks. When Pres. Clark’s office contacted the student, she was asked regarding her communication with her family and she said “I haven’t talked to my dad for a while but I talk to my mom every day.”

Excerpts from a few talks were also referenced in a video they showed, and I’ve linked to them below:

A Steady, Upward Course

, Elder Henry B. Eyring, Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, September 18, 2001

Raise the Bar, Elder Henry B. Eyring, Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, January 25, 2005

Brigham Young University-Idaho: A Disciple Preparation Center (DPC), Elder David A. Bednar, Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, August 31, 2004

You can find a short history of BYU-Idaho here

, and there is a link on the page to a four and a half minute video that I highly recommend you watch if you’re interested in learning more about the school.

And here are the photos:

On the way home we had a clear drive once again and Brynn and I had an argument about whether or not BYU-I is clearly the best church-owned school. I’m pretty sure it is.