Friday, July 8, 2011

Girl's Camp 2011, part 3

 Something that surprised me about camp was how well we ate. Shauna was our camp director and she made sure that we were really well fed. We always had three square meals every day, which isn't something that I'm used to, but up on the mountain I really wanted to eat at every meal. 

Sandy, Heidi, Taylor

Brianna and Sarah
Everyone had food assignments and clean-up assignments. Some of the girls were great at volunteering and chipping in, and the others learned a little about helping out, but every meal went smoothly. My favorite breakfast out there was a breakfast burrito and a few slices of orange. Lunch was always a sandwich, and that was fine by me, and dinner was usually something great. The last night, when the bishopric came up, we had steak and cobbler. 

Every day, we got a little more dingy and gross. The ash and smoke and dirt all clung to us, and we all got various degrees of sunburn, so every morning we woke up feeling a little more disgusting. Enter Emilee. She kept us in line in the looks department. Well, at least our hair. Emilee does hair and was called upon to do hair every morning. When she volunteered to do something with my bedhead, I happily accepted and this is what she came up with: 

Cute, right?
This was the day that we got to perform our skit. We sang a revised version of the song from Tangled titled, "When Will My Life Begin?" We changed a lot of the words around to reflect the types of activities and hobbies of our girls, though. The thought behind singing this song was to share that everyone has a lot to do, so we need to be careful to not allow the business of everyday life to interfere with our spirituality. We mentioned visiting family, reading scriptures, preparing for Trek, and of course, we had to throw in a few funny things too. So we mentioned writing to a "cute elder serving the Lord somewhere" and had one of the camp nurses (who is from our ward) to help out in the skit where we mentioned visiting the sick...

writing an Elder and reading scriptures. . . 

taking care of the sick


Amid all of the fun, shenanigans, and pranks, there were also plenty of spiritual moments at Girl's camp, and I'll remember those just as much if not more than the fun times. As I mentioned in a previous post, there was the day where all of the girls had their own sacred grove experience and wrote out their testimonies amid the aspens. In contrast, there was also an experience with singing trees. This was where each ward huddled around a tree during an evening meeting. We all walked in silently and after being told what order we would go in, we'd light up a tree with our flashlights and sing a devotional song. That whole area was dark except for the one tree that was glowing, and each song was in some way related to faith in Christ. . . It was really neat, even if the words that I'm typing can't do it justice. 

On our last night, before dinner and just before our bishopric showed up, Sandy told us of one of her plans for the girls. She set it all up so that the leaders would soak and massage the girls' feet, and this was finished off with brand new socks. Now, you might be thinking that this should have gone in with the silliness and girly-girl stuff that we did, but here's why it doesn't fit there: We read the scripture in Matthew about how the Savior washed the feet of his disciples, and we talked about how that was a huge deal. Not only was Christ their leader and their Savior and choosing to serve them, but He was doing so in the most humble of ways. It was a tender exchange to have to show the Savior their dirty calloused feet, but once the disciples understood why it was so important for the Savior to serve them in such a way, they allowed him to wash their feet and literally do a dirty work. Sandy had me read the scripture to the girls and then she did a great job of explaining how in this act she wanted the girls to not think of her, but of their Savior and how he would be there washing their feet if he could. . . of how as a Son of God, He is their salvation, their leader, and also their servant. 

And then, of course, there was our testimony meeting. Initially it was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand I was looking forward to it, but on the other, I was pretty drugged and out of it for the beginning of it. I was given a percocet because I was experiencing a pretty harsh headache. The percocet did not help. I only took half of a tablet after having eaten dinner, and I still felt woozy and a bit crazy. Emilee told me later that she kept looking over at me expecting to see me pass out. She said all the color drained from my face. I didn't know how I was going to get through that meeting and actually be truly present. 

As everyone quieted and started settling down for our testimony meeting, I started praying to feel better, to be able to share what I felt, and to be able to take in what others were saying. And you know what? I got my concentration back, and as long as I didn't move, I didn't feel like I was going to throw up. And I got a lot out of the evening. The other amazing thing was that I wasn't nervous at all when it came time for me to share my testimony. 

Nearly every girl shared her testimony, and each of the leaders did. I think all of the girls felt much more comfortable talking in front of everyone after nearly a week of togetherness. What I took out of it was how blessed we all are. These are all normal girls in so many ways. They struggle with self-esteem, with their schedules, with understanding boys, and with fitting in. But these are also girls that are unlike so many girls in the world right now. They all know the Savior lives and are all working on improving themselves and are staying away from bad situations. What an amazing thing it is, to know so many young women who truly understand that they are daughters of a Father in heaven, to know that they are each striving to do what is right when the world teaches moral relativity.

Through my experience at Girl's Camp I gained a greater appreciation of what it means to be a part of the Young Women's organization, to be a small part of what strengthens these young women and helps them out. It is truly an amazing work, to help a young woman, because either way, teenage girls grow into women and what they are exposed to as girls will shape them into the women they become. There are more than enough negative influences and messages out in the world, which makes me that much more grateful for the positive things that Young Women's can do. If nothing else, if Young Women's is at the very least fun and entertaining, then we will keep the girls around good leaders and other girls who are trying to do their best instead of hanging out aimlessly or getting into trouble. At its best, Young Women's offers girls options, strength, friends, growth, opportunities for service, and a safe haven from the barrage of junk that the world throws at them. I'm glad to be a part of something so positive. 

Our last morning, we all scurried around packing things up and taking down camp. It was all quick and furious  and then the next thing we knew, it was time to head back home. We scarfed down breakfast and took snack food with us and divided up again into cars, and then it was time to face the real world all over again. 

Not as cute the last day, but my hair-do stayed in place while I slept!

View from the mountain
And then we were all home, and we all showered, and some of us got to nap. It felt great to be able to clean up and to sleep on an actual bed where I didn't have to worry about falling down and hurting myself.

*To anyone who read each of my Girl's camp accounts, congrats to you! Sometimes my blog can be my journal and as such it gets really wordy. If you have made it through all of that, you deserve a prize. Thanks!

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