Guys, I have been so excited for this. I know that spending the weekend roughing it in the woods (okay, we had showers and cabins, so it wasn't technically roughing it. But we did have mice!) and living off little to no sleep while trying to manage 8 hyper teenage girls probably wouldn’t rank too high on most people’s list of exciting weekend plans, but for me it was. I have the best memories of Girls Camp when I was in Young Women's. Covering each other’s cabins in maxi pads, living off Fun Dips (which I blame the sugar for the whole "schwimmin' shorts" routine), a cafeteria funeral for the roast chicken, an impromptu ukulele concert, sneaking out to the lake at night, snipe hunts, craft projects, prank wars, mud fights, testimony meetings, spiritually uplifting classes and so many other awesome (and mostly embarrassing) memories. When they asked me to help plan camp, I was all in. I've never helped plan one and the other leaders have never even been to girls camp before, so at times we were totally winging it, but it was fun. Let me tell you, though, there's a LOT of work that goes into planning a camp, and we only had 8 girls! Finding a location, theme, menu, crafts, faith walk, pillow treats, designing and ordering t-shirts, planning activities, gathering supplies, gear lists, permission forms and so many other details that go into making everything run smoothly. But all the hard work paid off, it was an incredible weekend and I loved being able to spend it with Kylie and the chance to get to know the other amazing girls. Our first night started out with a barbecue and an introduction to our theme, "Girl on Fire", which of course lead to an impromptu dance party that carried on late into the night. I think I may have embarrassed Kylie with my dance moves, but I did get an invite to the next stake dance. Just sayin'....
The next day we had a service project planned. Gardening. I know. I am not taking credit for planning that one, I was dragging my feet right along with the other girls. BUT it turned out to actually be so much fun. Some of the girls even said it was one of their favorite parts. There was a nursery in town (at first the girls got all excited because they thought we were going to be visiting babies in a nursery. Not that kind of nursery) that volunteers their time and resources to replanting trees and plants in their natural habitat. They needed help repotting plants, and although that doesn't sound super fun, I think when you're doing anything with a group of friends it becomes fun. They also had some horses that the girls flocked to and took selfies with, along with all the statues and sculptures along main street.
Having a little fun with the horses
And the horses took their turn having some fun too. I love the look on Rachel's face.
We came back for some crafts. Kool-aid lip gloss. Jason and Melissa were so nice to bring back so many craft supplies and treats from the states, the majority of the stuff we had planned wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for them. Boy, do I miss Hobby Lobby and Costco.
And we had the pleasure of introducing them to Hot Tamales for their first time. It was a beautiful thing. I think they're hooked.
The campground has a huge water slide made out of a tarp on the side of a hill. The girls had the best time, although I think they all walked away with bruised buns (and one torn ligament).
It was a pretty quirky place that we stayed at. A total hippie/gypsy vibe. It was perfect. We would stumble across the most random things, like this piano in the woods, or a disco ball hanging in a tree, or stuffed animals in odd places.
Sharpie tie-dye t-shirts. They turned out great, but Kylie's has since faded in the wash, darn.
T-shirt head bands (until I broke the needle on the sewing machine) and selfies in the outdoor bathroom mirror. I handed my camera over to the girls a lot and ended up with 658 pictures. And we were only there two days. But I loved scrolling through and seeing camp through their eyes.
Lanterns they made for our faith walk
Our last meal together under the trees. I loved this gathering area, the lanterns strewn in the overgrown trees created the perfect ambiance. The sheet hanging in the back ground was for the outdoor movie party. The movie the girls picked ended up being kind of lame, but I loved sitting together under the stars and lanterns eating popcorn while snuggled up under blankets.
I can't help but smile as I look back on these pictures, I can almost hear them laughing and their smiles are so contagious.
Our faith walk was supposed to be the highlight, but it ended up being rushed. We got a late start and we had an outdoor movie planned that the camp owner was starting at a certain time. We had asked some YSA girls to come help represent Women of Value throughout history. The girls met them along the path and learned a little about each one and how they represented each of the Young Women's Values. We were supposed to end with singing and a testimony meeting at sunset. It didn't really go as planned, but I hope the girls still got something out of it. After the movie we rounded out the night with some s'mores, games and some toilet papering. And then I was kept up all night by a mouse that I could hear skittering around our room and getting into our bags. I had nightmares that he would climb into the bed or chew through our bags and poop in them. It was a rough night.
Sunday morning the bishop (who had just got released) came up and helped cook breakfast, then we had the sacrament and our own little testimony meeting. I loved hearing each of the girls share their testimony and am amazed by their strength. One of my favorite parts of camp was that each prayer throughout the weekend was said in a different language, with 8 different languages being represented. So many different cultures and backgrounds, all bonded together in a untied faith. Just beautiful. We ended with some friendship bracelets and hair wraps. And that's a wrap. Get it? Okay, that was a little too lame, even for me. Girls camp rocks!