Sunday, July 27, 2014

Girl's Camp Highlights

In the strength of the Lord I can do all things.
He know hows to change the weakness in me,
So I will let His love lift me up.
He believes I can do hard things if I will trust Him,
And walk forward in the strength of the Lord.
–Jenny Phillips

Monday, June 2
Waaaayyyyy back at the beginning of June, LadyBug and I went to Girl's Camp.
{Can you believe that 23 teenagers turned up at 7:00 am to go camping?
LadyBug is on the front row, second from the right.
I am on the front row, third from the left.}

I use the term "camping" here very loosely. It was a lot different than when I went to camp as a young woman. We had to sleep in tents, dig latrines, and cook on a number 10 can stove. There were a few similarities. We were definitely up in the mountains, surrounded by trees and deer and nature. But that is where the similarities ended. We slept cabins with bunk beds {there were no mattresses; you had to bring a foam pad, but is definitely better than sleeping on the ground}. We had electricity and running water and flushing toilets and showers {never mind that finding time to take one was a completely different matter}. We still had to cook on propane camp stoves and pot guts ventured into our pavilion area to pick up any food we dropped. But there was a fridge in a pantry area with a door that closed to keep the pot guts from getting into the food storage. On a scale from one to roughing it, I'd say we were only one step down from the Ramada Inn.

The camp is situated on 8,000 acres and about 2,500 girls stay there each week. Over the course of the summer 70,000 young women each spend five days enjoying the best Utah has to offer. We left bright and early Monday morning. We had 23 young women from our ward attend. After we unpacked our gear and settled in, we had several fun activities with the other young women in our stake {around 100 more girls}, including a rousing version of Bazooka Bubble Gum, complete with gum for chewing.

Tuesday, June 3
Tuesday was hike day. There were several different hikes as part of the camp certification, and which hike you went on depended on how many years you'd attended camp. I went with the first-year girls. It was a little short of a 3-mile hike and all of the first-years in the stake went together. It wasn't LadyBug's favorite activity. We went at our own pace, walking at almost the back of the procession, but we made it in the end. The trails were amazing, criss-crossing all over the camp and marked with signs so that you could find your way to and from almost anywhere. We didn't have a particular destination, but just made a loop back around to our campsite. The paths were wide enough for only one person and we were asked to stay on the paths, preserving the foliage. It was incredibly beautiful and very peaceful. Even though there were 2,400 other girls there somewhere on the mountain, aside from the girls in our stake, I felt like we had the place to ourselves.
{Top left: Legacy Lake
Top Right: LadyBug and me at the summit of our hike
I know that hat is dorky, but I wear it anyway
Center: Entire group of first-year campers
Bottom Left: My first year campers - Kenna, LadyBug, Abbey, Me and Jada
Jada just turned 13 and the other girls are 12
Bottom Right: Moving upwards along the trail}

Wednesday, June 4
Wednesday we got to go canoeing on Legacy Lake. It was my favorite day. LadyBug, one of our other girls, and I shared a canoe and had so much fun paddling around.
{The bottom picture is a panorama of about ¼ of the shoreline.
Right click on the photo to open in a new tab so you can zoom in for more details.}

Wednesday, we also provided the camp an hour of service. I was so amazing at how self-sustaining the camp is. It is staffed mostly by volunteers; retired couples serving together. They have their own water treatment plant and everyone who comes and stays at the camp gets an opportunity to give back just a little bit. During our service, we pulled some logs along the trail back to our campsite to be cut into firewood. Prior to that, someone had been into the woods to cut down trees that had died. The trees were cut into manageable size logs and dragged to the trail for us to take back to camp. From there someone else cut it into firewood so that we could use it in the evenings for campfires and s'mores. Anything that wasn't large enough for firewood was run through the wood chipper by someone in our group and then later, another group could take it in wheelbarrows along the trails to keep them from getting too dusty and dry. In one our, we provided the camp 125 man-hours so that the next group could enjoy this beautiful camp.

Thursday, June 5
Thursday was the challenge course. There were five or six {I forget} low challenges and each ward was asked to send one or two leaders to be trained on those so they could help the girls when it was their challenge course day. It had a really fun time helping the girls and the challenge course is one of their favorite activities for the week. The high challenge, of course, is the highlight of the day. LadyBug and I were in separate groups; my group did the high challenge first and then moved on to the low challenge where I was trained. From there they moved on to the other courses and I stayed put. I got to see and help LadyBug and my other girls when they came through my challenge, but didn't get to see any of them on the high course. I was told that LadyBug met the challenge with determination.

You start by climbing a rope ladder. Then you have to move from the rope ladder to a suspension "bridge." At the end of the bridge, you get to go on a zip line. My goal for the week was to enjoy the experience as much as possible, so I didn't think about it, but just put the harness on and climbed the ladder one step at a time. I'm so glad I did.

Friday, June 6
When I was asked to work with the Young Women in my ward January, I knew that I would get to do a lot of fun things. And there would be some hard things, too. Girl's Camp was hard and wonderful. When you throw 23 girls together into two cabins and they spend all week hiking and canoeing and staying up late giggling, there is bound to be some drama. But I have to say, the drama among these girls was minimal.

Aside from all the fun things we did at camp, there were opportunities to feel God's love and guidance and to learn together. We met together as a stake for Family Home Evening on Monday. We had wonderful speakers on Tuesday and Wednesday night. We sang together and prayed together. Thursday night we spent together as a ward talking about our experiences and the things we had learned. And each of us was able to spend some quiet time reflecting, praying and studying. Those private moments I spent seeking guidance from the Lord were well spent and have helped me to make some important decisions.

We were all also given a challenge to complete during the week. There were scriptures to memorize, songs to learn, talks to read, questions to answer. You could complete the challenge at your own pace and every one of the 23 girls in our ward, plus all of the leaders who attended {believe me, there was no way I could have pulled it off by myself. The camp director was spectacular, as were the other two leaders who came up} finished the challenge. As recognition for this, we were given a beautiful silver pendant with a young woman and the Provo City Center Temple {currently under construction, and which is very special to me} etched in gold. These were created just for our stake and I was so thrilled to earn mine!

All too soon, our week at camp was over. We were packed and ready to go by 9:00 am. I was home, unpacked, the braids out of my hair, showered and smelling sweet as ever by about 2:00 Friday afternoon. In the weeks since then, even though I got rid of the camping smell, I haven't forgotten the things that I felt and learned there; most importantly that in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.


Christine M said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Elizabeth.

Paulette said...

It was great reading about your trip with the Young Women. I'm sure you and they will treasure the memories of the time you shared together. What a brave group!

Mara said...

That sounds like so much fun, how are you doing?