Monday, June 25, 2012

Girls Camp 2012

I don't know if I can convey into words what Girls Camp meant to me this year.  I thought after last year's camp experience, nothing could top it.  I should never short change the Lord.  He will always provide us with wonderful experiences.

I admit I had a lot of reservations about camp this year.  I had heard so many things about the logistics of camp and let myself get worked up about things that were out of my control.  I even wrestled back and forth about whether or not I should even go to camp.  Kevin leaves in just a little over a month and a week a way from my family really is a sacrifice this year.  Just a couple days before camp I received confirmation that camp was where I was supposed to be.  I am so glad that I went, I received far more spiritual uplifting than I could have ever imagined.  I had a wonderful time with the girls but even more than that was what I received for myself.  
We were in a beautiful area out in the middle of what felt like nowhere.  Just getting into the campsite was somewhat treacherous.  Not knowing where we were going exactly and driving a 15 passenger van full of girls was a bit nerve wracking.  My main concern was their safety and getting them to their destination safely.  Again, I found myself not giving the Lord enough credit.  His hand is truly in all things and he would get us there safely.  While safety was provided, we still dealt with adversity early on in our week.  As soon as we turned right onto the path that would take us to the campsite, one of the other leaders found that she had a leak in her tire.  Had we been alone, I know we could have changed the tire for her as we had enough girls who knew what to do, including myself (thank you dad for that life skill!).  We didn't have to though because we had two men traveling with us to help set up camp and do other tasks as representatives of the Priesthood. We are truly blessed to have men who are willing to take time away from their lives and families to watch over.  It didn't take long before we had the tire changed and we were on our way.

Upon arriving, we had to cross the river, the girls did not hesitate, they switched out their shoes and headed right into the camp site.
Girls camp was so fun for so many reasons.  We spent a lot of time laughing.  I got to know a lot of the girls last year but got to know them even more this year.  We have a lot of funny girls.  They truly enjoyed each other's company.  I was concerned that our girls would be on such a tight schedule that they would not be able to just hang out.  That was not the case at all, they all hung out together and played games and sang songs.  One of the games they played was Pterodactyl and it was the funniest game to watch ever.  The point of the game is to not show your teeth at all.  Each player says pterodactyl to each other and the crazier the better.  We were all cracking up.  There were some girls who got so far into the game being silly that half the girls would be out before it even got to be there turn because they were laughing so hard.  It was really fun watching them play and sing together and just take care of one another.

I thought I was going to be much busier than I was.  I found that I had a lot of time to ponder and pray and just get in tune with the Spirit.  It was wonderful.  Where we were at had no cell phone signal.  The first day we were there, Kevin had come up with us.  We had no way to be in contact with the boys and that made me a bit nervous.  We had no signal (no one did) and we were almost 3 hours away from our boys.  I really had to rely on the comfort of the Spirit to let me know that all was well.  It was a great learning experience and reminder to me of who is really in control.  I found myself by the river alone quite a bit, reading my scriptures or just praying.  It was really nice.
I was really grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the other leaders from our ward and the other St. Robert ward. It's funny because I have a lot of confidence in so many areas of my life and yet I find myself often insecure when it comes to being around people in church.  I'm a bit rough around the edges and I have found in the past that people have not bothered to venture past the exterior and have judged me harshly.  I'm about as real as it gets and sometimes my honesty and brashness is all that people can see.  I hope that this week people were able to see who I am inside and to see my testimony and love of the Gospel.  I am flawed but I strive to do good daily.
I just realized that I never got a picture with Melissa and that makes me sad as we spent a lot of time together.

One of the highlights of our camp time was when our girls sang in appreciation to Brother Stribling who was the main Priesthood holder for our entire week of camp.  He did everything and anything for the girls.  He was truly a blessing in so many ways.  One of his favorite hymns is How Great Thou Art, I knew it would get to him a bit but I also know he would know how much the girls cared for him by singing it.  I probably shouldn't have sang and recorded because I was quite emotional and my voice sounds warbly but you can still hear how beautiful the girls sound as they sang with their heart to express their gratitude.

Afterwards, Dave was choked up and the girls just circled around him as he expressed his testimony of the gospel and his love for them.  He is truly a wonderful example of Priesthood authority and what type of man each of these girls should strive to marry.

One of the things that happened that was both disturbing and amazing at the same time was when the girls were taken to go do a service project on the highway.  Someone had decided the best way to transport them would be to use the ranches cattle cars.  The girls were loaded up and taken away.  Myself and a few other leaders were standing witness to this and were slightly disturbed as the girls just walked into the cattle car, no questions asked and then reached their arms out to touch the others who had not been taken yet.  It really took us back to the history books that's for sure.  When the girls returned they were singing hymns and making the best of the situation.  Apparently it had been hot and stuffy in the cattle cars and some of the girls were starting to freak out a bit.  Even though it was difficult the girls had made the best of the situation.  While the images were still slightly disturbing to some of us leaders, one of the adults put it into beautiful perspective.  Our girls had faith in the leaders.  They didn't balk because they knew that we would cause them no harm.  It's amazing really...if only we all had that type of faith to go forward with.

I really don't think all the words I have typed can explain the joy in my heart, the lessons learned and the growth of my testimony.  These girls were so amazing.  The last night they received a message stating that sometimes in life you have to learn to adapt when it comes to adversity and trials.  We asked them to pack up their tents and find other sleeping arrangements.  They did so without hesitation.  They packed up their tents and their stuff and then piled underneath the pavilion that set up as our gathering place.  Most slept in their chairs while others slept on a tarp on the ground.  It was pretty cool.  I slept outside with them on an air mattress so I admit I was impressed with those who slept in a camping chair!
The last thing I want to share is a video of the girls releasing lanterns the last night of camp.  When the camp director mentioned she wanted to do this, I had no idea what to expect or envision.  What happened was truly beautiful.  Each girl got to release a paper lantern.   I wish I knew what some of the girls were thinking.  It was beautiful.  At the end, the girls sang our theme song.  I made a video of the lantern release with our theme song.
Camp was fabulous, I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows my needs.  I feel blessed for the experience to fill my spiritual tank as our family embarks on a long separation.  I am grateful for the reminder that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I am never alone.


Melissa said...

You're awesome! I am so glad that I got to be there at camp with you!

Sammy said...

Getting to know you better and hang out with the leaders was a highlight of camp for me. I learned so much from you in just a week so thank you for sharing yourself and teaching me!