As some of you know, I was called to be part of the Young Women's organization in our church last year. Alas, at the beginning of the year, everything was reorganized, and I was no longer in YW. It was a very sad time for me, as I was looking forward to getting to know the girls more, and to go to GIRLS CAMP, which, if you know me, was one of my most favorite things growing up! So I begged my friend Cressida, who just so happened to be Stake camp director, and President of the primary that just called me to be primary music leader, to let me come, in whatever capacity I could. She totally came through! I was asked to be the activities leader at camp! I was so excited, and started trying to think of great things to do. The way that they do camp here is much different than what I was used to, so the things I thought of quickly turned out to be something I either couldn't do, or was already being taken care of by the craft leader, or the priesthood leaders.
Here is where I decided to just do what I could do, try out some fun games and things, and see what the girls liked. Well, we had some fun things such as MAD GAB Book of Mormon scripture mastery-style, WHO SAID IT? Dieter or Dumbledore, CATCH PHRASE LDS edition, WHO SAID IT? Prophet or Princess, and Personal Progress Taboo. I also had Jaran help me make a huge JENGA game out of 2x4's, which looked like a fun time! I got a volleyball so they could play in the sand pit, and also found a game of ladder ball for them to throw around. I also had a game of Shaving cream balloon tag planned, as well as swimming one night. Here is how things turned out:
Monday- we arrived at camp early with what I called Junior Leaders, but were dubbed YCL's or Youth Camp Leaders. Cressida had things planned out very well, and things were organized as wards arrived with girls. Here, they had cabins for everyone, and so each ward had their own place. Each year had a special colored headband thing, so we could tell how long they'd been at camp, so they got those as they arrived, as well as a pretty nifty camo-lei. It was a lot of introductions and settling in, then we had our first flag ceremony, with role call, devotional, etc. We had dinner, we played some of my games, and we had a nice fun time. There were tons of other things too, but I didn't write things down like I should have, so this is what you get. Also, let me mention, it rained a good part of the day.
Wednesday- this was hike day. All of they years had hikes they had to go on, and so the few of us leaders that stayed back played some cards, and then I recruited them to help me fill water balloons with shaving cream. Alas, things didn't go according to plan. As we filled the balloons, we quickly found that the kind of balloons I had made some unfortunate shapes, that were inappropriate for the girls to be using. Not only that, but the ones we managed to get to look like pears, started popping after a while. You see, the shaving cream kept expanding, even after tying the balloons. So we decided that we needed to stop, and just went out and threw them at each other instead. I was having a bit of a sad time, because I felt that I was failing as the activities director. Luckily, everyone was very understanding, and most of the girls wanted to do crafts anyway- which was scheduled at the same time.
After girls got back from hikes, we prepared for the best thing ever! The YCL's and the stake leaders were to help everyone else go on a little journey. They were to hold to the iron rod, and find their way to the tree of light. The YCL's were the tempters, and the leaders were the encouragers. At the top, two YCL's met the girls to take their blind fold off, and their bishops were there to congratulate them on a job well done. We had a tree decorated in Christmas lights, with a beautiful song to greet them, and Kisha then bore her testimony. It was a very spiritual experience, for some more than others, but I very much enjoyed it. After this, we had testimony meeting as wards, which was pretty great, even though ours is so small. I was, of course, a blubbering idiot, and could barely get words out, but it was a great night!
Thursday- this was our last day. A short day, as we needed to be gone by one. Cressida had asked me to do the morning devotional, so I had put some stuff together. When I got up, my face was swollen from the crying the night before, and who knows what else, so I'm sure I looked a mess. I of course cried through half of what I said, but I think I got the point across. We had some more certification, and then a SLIDESHOW!!! I pretended to help as I watched Tia go through pictures and put things together. As I was sitting there, I realized my socks were really tight and annoying, so I pulled up my pants, and was horrified by the amount of swelling I saw. So I put my feet up on a chair and tried to not worry about it. My feet and hands had been swollen off and on the whole time there, but nothing like this. It had never happened with previous pregnancies, so it was a bit worrisome, but I pushed it to the back of my mind, for the most part. The slideshow was great, and the girls all had a great time watching it. Then it was time to say goodbye! It was sad for me, even though I didn't feel like I'd done a whole lot up there, I kind of felt like the mascot, as my belly seemed to be a standout. I'm not sure that anyone really knew my name, I was just the pregnant lady! I felt as though I'd gotten close to a few of the girls, and that it was really a better experience I got from them, than that they got from me.
Cressida, Tia, Kisha, Tessa and I, banded together much of the time. Every night before bed, we'd meet in the mess hall, and have a warm beverage. Luckily, I had taken my homemade hot chocolate, and what we in my family refer to as Mormon Tea, which is basically a spiced orange drink. We never went to bed before midnight, and I loved having some time with these awesome ladies! They are all amazing women, and I miss them all, even though it's been only a few days since being with them all. I made some fun new friends in some of the other leaders, and I was reminded of the joys of youth. I doubt I was ever as crazy and obnoxious and hilarious as some of these girls were... right? There are so many experiences I'll have to remember and write down, and try and come back and add them. I am so grateful to be surrounded by such great ladies who teach me all the time, and remind me of my blessings!