The Alvord Desert Experience: Ike and Tash Class of 2017 Street Team

It has been almost 7 years since we started our senior model program, more affectionally referred to as the 'Ike and Tash Street Team."  When we first started our rep program it was to create a link to the high schools and to high school seniors so that we could grow our business and become a strong competitor in the senior market here in the South Sound.   What we didn't expect were the relationships that would develop, the fun we would have and the ministry that this little idea would become. 

Every year, before summer ends, we try to do a really awesome amazing stylized shoot for marketing purposes.  As the years have progressed those shoots have turned into experiences;  and now they are road trips.  Some are just a few hours, some are 1 day, but this year, we up'd the ante and took our girls on a weekend trip!

It has been my dream to shoot at the Great Salt Lake or White Sands National Monument, but as you can imagine - getting 20+ people to those places can be challenging.  I went on a google search looking for salt flats in the Pacific Northwest and happened upon the Alvord Desert.  

Alvord Desert is in the southeastern corner of Oregon, below the Steens Mountains .  It 84 square miles of a dried up lake and its ABSOLUTELY stunning.

I presented the idea to the girls and their parents, noting we would be driving 10.5 hours to the middle of no where - they got excited with me, and three weeks later we packed up two vans to head to the desert.

Each of these beautiful girls have woven themselves into our hearts.  They are all so bright, generous and kind and every opportunity we get to spend with them is so treasured.  I can't believe this is our life and how we get to spend our days.  We are so blessed and so thankful!

To check out our adventure in video format you can catch Part 1 of our trip here

and Part 2 of our trip here

These videos put into words - what I won't in this blog post and show just how fun, raw and real our adventures together are. 

To narrow down 700+ pictures to create a blog post is so tough, but here's a little sneak peek of what took place that day.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post, the fun boho looks we created.

Hair for this shoot provided by: Bronte Stevenson

Makeup provided by: Isabel Boyd

Styling: Tawny Smith of The Chic Chameleon

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” - Baltasar Gracian

Israel,  Clover Park High School - Class of 2017 -  Israel is so special to us.  She is an encourager and a protector.  Wise beyond her years, she is the "mama bear" that protects those that she loves fiercely.  She is so talented, a student leader at her school, serving as a cheerleader actively encouraging school spirit among her peers, while also pursuing her education at community college.  When she graduates she will not only have a high school diploma, but aslo an associates degree.

“If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music. “ - Anne Lamont

Ally,  Rogers High School - Class of 2017 -  Ally is our thoughtful girl.  Always encouraging those around her and building them up.  It isn't rare to receive a text from Ally or her mom and to hear that they are praying for the girls, or us and our business.   Ally always comes with a gift, is is always first to help.  She has a servant heart and it comes forth every time we are together.    She is a talented student and a focused volleyball player.   

Vanessa,  Curtis High School - Class of 2017 - Vanessa is full of joy!  Can you tell?  In the short time that we have known her I have never heard her utter a cross word about anyone or anything.  She is constantly encouraging and building up those around her.   A talented singer, she is also a creative and is full of amazing ideas.   I can always count on Vanessa to bring positive energy to anything we do and her presence is such a blessing. Besides being absolutely stunning, she also is a high school track star!

I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty. - Joy Harjo

Tori,  Rogers High School - Class of 2017 - Tori is my quiet girl.  She sits and watches and pays attention, but when she speaks it generally full of thought and wisdom.  She is a deep thinker and wants those around her to be honored and respected.  I see this in the way she carefully makes sure that all of her words are used to edify.   Tori is the third of a set of sisters who have transformed our street team experience and our lives and its an honor to know her.  Besides being wise, she is also actively involved in volleyball at her school and running start, and like many of our girls, will graduate with a diploma and a degree. 

Sophie, Wilson High School,  Class of 2017 - Sophie is so special.  She is quiet, yet, witty.  Calm yet a force to be reckoned with.  We heard about Sophie before ever meeting her, and when we did, she didn't disappoint.  Sophie walks in so much love and grace.  She is the kind of leader who leads strong, but can also follow just as well.  It's no question in meeting her why she is so highly respected by her peers.  She is a student leader, Senior Class President, but is also committed to keeping her body in shape, and runs track. 

A desert is a place without expectation. - Nadine Gordimer
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Hannah,  Bethel High School - Class of 2017 - Hannah is the kind of friend that everyone would want in their corner.  She loves hard and with a fierce fire that continually burns.  When Hannah is for you she is for you and stops at nothing to show you her love and commitment.  She is sensitive, and that sensitive heart allows her to see others - to respond in love and grace, and to meet their needs.  I have watched her encourage, build and support the ones around her with so much love and she is a beautiful example.  She has so much love to give and share and her school is blessed to have her. 

Sammi,  Stadium High School - Class of 2017 - Sammi is our resident Vegan and our modern day hippie.  The way she sees the world is so beautiful.  Being in Sammi's presence is an instant "pick-me-up" - she sees the very best in others and is intentional about pulling them out.  You can't be around Sammi and live life the same.  She is the kind of girl who challenges you to think about how you can be the best you that YOU can be, and then stands with you while you go on your journey.  I have learned so much about loving the little things in life by watching and listening to Sammi live her life in that example.   Sammi loves and cherishes those around her and fully embraces the good and bad things life has to offer.

Besides being an import from the 60's Sammi is already committed to play college soccer on scholarship in California and we are so proud of her!

Asia,  Life Christian Academy - Class of 2017 - is so thoughtful.  Always calling and checking on us to make sure we are okay.  Always volunteering and coming through when we need help.  She has the heart of a servant and we can always count on her.   Asia is kind.  Wise.  Dependable and obviously so beautiful!  She is also a student leader at her school, and is a cheerleader!

What makes the desert beautiful, said the little prince, is that somewhere it hides a well. - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint -Exupery

Auna,  Decatur High School - Class of 2017 - Auna is probably the funniest girl on the street team.  If we had an award for comedian, she would get it.  She is ALWAYS making us laugh, always redirecting us to see the good and always encouraging us.  She is a natural leader and an incredible empathizer.  She knows how to encourage and build those up around her and she is amazing and seeing all sides of a perspective and getting you to think about the big picture.  It's no wonder that her peers continue to pick her for things that put her in the forefront, class president, homecoming court - she does it all and wrestles too! 

Tatyana,  Federal Way High School - Class of 2017 -  Taty is our real life Disney princess.  Gracious, kind and thoughtful.  Always with a smile on her face.  She is easy.  Easy to get a long with, easy to love and we love her so much.  She is a basketball star among so many other things and she hold those that she loves so close.  When you think of the anchors in your life, Taty would be one that would pop into your mind.  She is always there, always consistent and never changing. 

Ariel,  Tahoma High School - Class of 2017 - Ariel is a firecracker.  Quiet, yet fully present, taking everything in.  She is strong and thoughtful and caring.  A cheerleader, she is also caring and concerned with the needs of others.   I had this conversation with Ariel in Oregon where she really helped me see how valuable family is - she loves her and those she loves she honors and protects.  We value who she is and we love having her on our team. 

Keep bubbling over with abundant joy, peace and love. You may be the only well-watered oasis for someone going through a desert in their lives.- Caroline Naoroji

Tenley,  Tahoma High School - Class of 2017 -  Tenley might be the most grateful senior I have ever met.  Always always saying "thank you," always valuing her opportunities, always doing what she can to show up and to be a part.   There are few days that pass where Tenley doesn't remind us of how grateful she is for and to us, and her actions so beautifully line up with her words.  She is a person of her word and always follows through.   That type of character in a young person is so hard to find, but Tenley has it down.  She is also brave.  She goes towards the trials in her life full force ahead.  Never scared, always willing to fight for what and who she wants.  

Tenley also displayed that bravery on this trip, capturing a bat and letting it lose out into the world, while Ike hid in the bathroom - peep the video above.  Having Tenley on the team is such a blessing!

Shelby, Foss High School,  Class of 2017 -  When I think of words to describe Shelby, immediately I hear independent, self - starter, motivated.  Shelby, recently nominated homecoming queen is one of the strongest high school seniors I have ever met.  She handles everything in her life with grace and works so hard for everything that she has.  I met Shelby almost two years ago, when she was a sophomore/junior and immediately fell in love with her.  When you meet her, its easy to know why.  Besides being gorgeous, she is strong.  She is passionate about her school, serving in ASB and is committed to everything she sets out to do, including representing us.  It is a joy to know her and to watch her win at everything she sets her hands to. 

Love me or hate me, the desert seems to say, this what I am and this is what I shall remain. - Joseph Wood Krutch

What a precious precious trip, one that I will never forget.  Thank you for helping to continue to tell our story ladies.  We love you so much and we are so thankful for what EACH of you adds to our growing family. 

For more info about our street team program visit here

To book a Class of 2017 Senior Session visit here

*Not pictured, but still so important our girls:  Carissa, Emerald Ridge High School /  Da'Shalynne, Wilson High School and Meghan, Steilacoom High School