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The ETS Spring Fling Thing '98..... Stated simply, an activity for all ETS participants in the spring. Nah. It was much more than that. How about a time to meet others, to enjoy the ones you know, to have an extraordinary amount of fun, and to conquer the seemingly impossible? To share a mutual love of adventure and learning? To enjoy the incredible beauty of God's creation? Yes. For you poor souls out there who had to miss this experience, we wanted to share with you the great time we had...and convince you that a meeting like this is something ya' don't want to miss.**

"Pray that it won't rain!!!" The concern of the day, it was very important to us that God would be merciful enough to prevent the clouds from unleashing what appeared to be some good chances of rain. Where I live in Encinitas, the sky was absolutely

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picturesque, but looking towards Escondido, the heavens looked rather ominous and FULL. Rain did not mean a cancellation, but it did imply a lack of fresh air activity that we all craved. Not so. Though a light rain inflicted our activities for a few minutes, the Lord blessed us with cool and comfortable weather in which to apply ourselves to all of the action we desired.**

"Why did you come here today?" A seemingly simple question received a variety of answers. "I came so I could meet other ETS students," said Dana Spear of Fallbrook, CA. "Well, because Mr. Hinrichs invited me," replied Melodie McDonald. "To meet others and have...that's kind of obvious...fun," added David Newheiser of Escondido. "I don't know," 3 year old Angie Tilton tried. "To meet others and to enjoy the people I already know," Ivan Heitmann of Riverside stated. Now come on, isn't this getting a little repetitive, everybody? Mark Newheiser put some pizzazz into it. "I came so I could see, meet and conquer!" :) "I came to meet Mr. Hinrichs and all my friends. " Sarah Palmer of Nevada City remarked.   Ali Tilton expressed some mature filial duty, "  Well, (1) my family was going, (2) Mr. H said that all of the other local students were coming, so I thought it would be wise to come also, and (3) to have fun of course."   "To meet other ETS students and all," Josiah Shea commented.

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All in all, the whole of the group agreed that meeting other students was the main goal of the preparatory work, the long hours of driving, and the intricate planning. As homeschoolers, interacting with youth of our age is one of the most difficult aspects of life to work into the schedules. Being involved with a group ranging from 80-100 certainly promised to be a great experience

Activities, activities, activities. Soccer was the first activity of the day for those of us who loved sports, could withstand a short downpour, and were willing to accept the possibility of falling in the mud. :) This particular game was interesting

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in that the teams were made up of everyone from league players to frightened beginners. It proved a fun experience. A few souls (muddy, very muddy) discovered that regular shoes did not grip too well onto the slippery turf and resolved to cheating (yes, Ivan, your cleats). Several others found that even though we're not experienced, us beginners are capable of pulling a few tricks...<lol> Still others insisted on switching teams whenever they thought theirs was losing. (Deserters! :P) Nevertheless, we all (may I speak for everyone here?) thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. After the game, we dispersed and busied ourselves with a number of different pastimes. Lawn croquet, football, picture-taking, and the CUSeeMe chat box were among the favorites.

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Football on the lower lawn.

(Time for a little lecture here: Why didn't more of you on-line students come and see the fun? We had the video camera pointed all over the room so you all could enjoy the activities with us! Tsk tsk! Special thanks to those who did show up though...) While we students goofed around, the adults enjoyed a leisurely tour de Hinrichs, led by Mr. Hinrichs Esquire himself. A tour of the gardens, orchards, Mr. & Mrs. Hinrichs Senior's house, and Mr. H's "school" were included with history lessons of the property. Many of the adults had a wonderful time. (Another reason to come! There's fun for all ages at an ETS get together!)**

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A caravan to Grace Bible Church marked the second half of the fun. GBC is conveniently situated near the Hinrichs Estate and provides a large place to hold a potluck and line dancing. As more and more people filed up the stairs of the church, some families made it their duty to set up tables and arrange the potluck meal. Once everyone (including some new arrivals!) had come, Mr. Hinrichs said the prayer for the food and gave us an itinerary for the evening. Following, all of us made a beeline to the food tables and began sampling some ethnic cuisine. (Many thanks to all of the families who prepared the gourmet menu! It was all delicious!) For about an hour, the entire group ate their food, conversed on many philosophical issues (ahem...<yeah right>), and became better acquainted with one another. Mealtime for almost 100 ETSians

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can be interesting... some short-lived food fights, mass spills, and threats of soda pop hair added to the excitement of fellowship. :) After having our fill, Mr. H announced a time of musical entertainment, which would require a hasty cleanup of GBC's Fellowship Hall. We must have been excited, for many of us have never seen a hall of its dimensions cleared so quickly. Two vacuums did their duty (and had to be dodged and jumped over by owners of endangered feet), groups of students folded chairs and tables, the strong men (thank you, thank you) stored all furniture away, Mrs. Eastman organized people to wipe off tables and chairs, and others set up seating along the outskirts of the room. Total estimated time: approx. 30 minutes. Good job, everyone! <cheers> The best part was yet to come.**

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Most ETS students have an avid love of music, instruments, and dancing, as was displayed center stage at this year's Spring Fling Thing. Led by Mr. H, several talented musicians combined to make a most pleasant and fun ensemble group. A banjo, bass, flute, cello, and violins performed some favorites like Old McDonald, She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain, and I'll Fly Away while the rest of us tuned in and sang. Clapping hands, stomping feet, and many laughs proved it to be an enjoyable experience. (And who _can't_ enjoy about 80 people whistling simultaneously?) Everyone loved the concert and are looking forward to a reuniting of these skillful musicians! (Don't be shy now; if any of you are musically inclined and are planning to come to another meeting, please bring your carry on

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instrument!) Following shortly after, the Hinrichs bros. (Mr. H and Joe) demonstrated a simple line dance series and bid us all participate. The initial cries of desperation from those of us who had no clue how to dance turned into laughter and much enjoyment. The Hinrichs brothers patiently led us through the steps, beginning at a slow pace and then combining all of the moves. An "OK, you're ready now!!" from Mr. H forced us into a line. The banjo and bass started up, and before long the room was alive with noise. If you have never tried line dancing, come to an ETS get together. It is fun, awkward, and physically challenging all at the same time! The procession of line dancers was caught on a lovely <groan> candid camera... (Courtesy of Mr.J. Newheiser. For more information, dial 1-800-ETS-CANDID. This candid camera session is coming soon to video follies near you.) :) For those of us who were not completely spent after the first round of music, Mr. H taught us some advanced line dancing steps. The lively music began again, and we dancers found our feet moving more and more quickly as the banjo kept speeding up. Panting but refusing to drop out,

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several of us continued to dance until the little band lent some mercy and struck the last note. (Three cheers for the line dancers!) Tired, happy, and still feeling the adrenaline rush, we realized all too soon that the fun had come to a close. One glance at the clock all but said we had a blast. Time had _flown_!! "Well, that concludes our Spring Thing '98 everybody! Thank you for coming and for your support!" These last words from Mr. H were bittersweet. (Again, may I speak for everyone?) We had such a fun time, it was rather sobering to part with the excitement and play of the day. Parting good-byes and the hopes to have another reunion concluded the ETS Spring Fling Thing 1998. **

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"I asked you earlier in the day why you came. Was your purpose accomplished?" The overwhelming response was a hearty yes. The most memorable comments are as follows. "Yes. I saw, I met, and I conquered line dancing!" Mark Newheiser stated. "Yes, I met lots of other students and had a really great time. I only wish more people had come..." Dana Spear exclaimed. "Uh huh," Abby Tilton smiled. "Yes, I had a great deal of fun, and I met some other students and enjoyed the ones I already know, " David Newheiser replied. Many others, though not recorded, had wonderful things to say about this get together. But their was no doubt that the question of the day was, "Mr. Hinrichs, why in the world did you host this activity?" His answer? "I just love seeing my students and enjoying the beauty of God's creation with them." :) Amen and amen! The ETS Spring Fling Thing '98 was not only a success, but it helped build lasting friendships with the ETS students. You have another opportunity to participate in an

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ETS get together in mid-August! Scheduled for August 15th, this ETS gathering promises to be an even more fun experience. We local students (and Mr. H, of course!) would love to meet those of you who are out-of-state and n0 classes on-line! Please consider this occasion, even if you are far away. Our families would love to have you stay with us, tour around San Diego, and just have fun. Mark your calendars--and we'll see you there!



Your fellow student and journalist :),

Christy Giannestras


"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1John 1:7)

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