The ward here was quite small when I moved in, but I've been told that it was much smaller. It's growing because of all the movement from a nearby base getting ready to shut-down. Although by the standards we're all used to in the states, it's still pretty small. We have lots of young kids, but for Young Women, it's definitely small. From what I understand, there are 3 Young Women in our ward...Paul or Tina, correct me if I'm wrong, but 2 sisters are moving at the end of this month. So, there will be 1 left, and 1 maybe moving in soon.
Paul (our ward clerk) reminded me that there is a girl in our ward, one of X&X's really good friends who has a birthday the exact same day, so I guess all three of them will be going into the program at the same time. But if you want to get technical, it's a running conversation between the two families that X&X are 4 hours older, so technically X&X are next to go. hahaha. (I can'wait to hear the comments from the other girl's mom. She's quite cool and a good friend.)
I'm actually really excited for them to go into Young Women's. I think they're ready and I think they're going to be really good youth. They are really good girls, although they have their moments, and make really good choices. I just hope they continue to stay strong and that the three of us can continue to have a good relationship. Teenage years are very hard. I just hope we (including all of you who have helped raise them) have done a good job instilling in them enough self esteem, pride, and good values to carry them through.
It's just odd that I'm in this stage of life, you know? I'm not gonna say I feel old or anything like that. I really have enjoyed every stage the girls have gone through and am ready for all the ones they're GOING to go through. It's a bit sad for me though because I feel like the age of 12 is some sort of cutoff date...that once they turn 12 as their mom I can only: be there for them, guide them when they need it and support them with their choices. Whatever major teaching needed to be done while they were children is almost coming to a close. Can I cram in anymore in the next 8 months? I'm going to try. haha. (And I can see all your comments coming over to say "Why are you giving up on them?!" That's not what I'm saying at all. I hope you understand what I'm saying.)
In answer to your question, Beth, we have people from all over, mostly from the states. Not all are affiliated with the military, but most are. Those who aren't affiliated are usually students going to universities over here for a short time. Our ward is mostly young and most only stay for about 3 years.
I can tell you, though, that for the first time in my life, I am in a ward where I feel it is very close to the way the church was meant to be. Because we're all over here with no family close by to take advantage of, there is so much support, not only because of the church aspect, but because of the military aspect as well. People are doing babysitting trades all the time, getting together to hang out, swapping "advice" on where the best places to travel are, uplifting and taking care of those who's husbands are deployed (by taking their kids for hours on end, making care packages and letters) and really caring for each other. There are no cliques (at least from my point of view) and everyone is supporting and doing their calling. It doesn't feel like there are holes or gaps, or bad feelings or jealousy. (And again, this is all according to me.) But in light of all the support those of us over here need, it's amazing how self sufficient everyone is. They've just learned to take care of their own, which is very much how the church welfare system runs. Try to take care of it yourself. Then turn to family. And as a last resort turn to the church. (And yes, I know there are some in our ward who don't fall into the norm of what I'm talking about...let me caveat that before I get a bunch of comments about that too.)
One example I can share with you is that one week before we were to move in, we sent an email to the bishop. Within a few short hours on a busy weekday, we received back from the bishop, the elders' quorum president, relief society president, primary president and ward clerk....welcoming us, asking what we needed and inviting us to the ward Halloween party that next weekend. I don't think I've ever had that kind of fellowship before.
Well, I hope that answered your questions. Now on to dealing with the "Middle School" aspect. :)