Thursday, July 5, 2012

Girls Camp 2012

During the last couple days before camp, I worked on a number of projects related to camp.  I was going to bling out our ward t-shirts, but that just didn't work out.  We should have incorporated the bling into the design of the shirts rather than deciding to bling them afterward.  It was going to take almost 10,000 rhinestones to do the word beautiful on 30+ shirts - which I didn't have on hand...and would have looked dumb on top of the paint.  So, then I thought about blinging out the word shine.  Far less rhinestones - but again, looked dumb on top of the paint.  So, we just decided not to do it.  Worked out fine, the girls never even knew the difference.  BUT...next year...we will know to plan for this and we will have the best shirts ever!
See...not bad, but not GREAT!  Didn't help that our shirt design was changed by the printer and wasn't what we submitted.  Oh well.
I also made the vinyl for the water bottles again this year.  So cute!  Love, love, love them!  So fun!  I hope the girls will really like them.  I love how they are blue and yellow - the value colors of good works and divine nature - which are the theme and theme colors this year.
I also got the trading beads for our cabin girls and my personal beads done.  Melon Man thinks my personal beads look like cheese puff balls.  I made them to look like the SUN to remind the girls of the SON.  I also made scrabble tile necklaces with flowers on them to remind them of the beauty of their 4th year hike.  And then, the cabin girl beads were all blinged out just for fun.  I used just some fun cheap crystals for the cabin girls' beads, but I told Kelly that her bead and mine were probably the most expensive beads ever at Girls Camp - they were completely covered in real Swarovski crystals!  Man, did they sparkle!  I wrapped all of the girls' beads in tulle and ribbon.
The beads for the cabin girls.  I wish I'd taken a picture of it before it was wrapped!
The bead for Kelly and me - filled with real Swarovski crystals.  Again - I wish I'd taken a picture before it was wrapped!
So this is what my bead necklace started off as.  My cheese puff/sun bead in the center, my overnighter/nature charm/bead, and a special charm to keep my sister in my thoughts and close to me while at camp.  The Courage charm was one that I designed for the camp she was assistant Camp Director for a couple years ago.  I loved that she sent me a few in different colors after camp was over.  I was all about orange this year so that's the one I took.
Melon Man had packed a knapsack for me with things he just knew I would need or at least thought would be helpful to take along - just in case.  Well, I had enough other bags and boxes to take so I just crammed all the stuff into my duffle instead of taking the knapsack too, but it was really sweet of him to make sure I had some additional things I might need.
I also made 10 pint sized jar lanterns to put on our table at night.  I blinged those out and used frosted glass spraypaint to spray over the vinyl cutouts I made.  Then, when the paint was dry, I peeled the vinyl off and it left a cute sun.  Dropped a tealight inside and voila!


I tried to get to bed early the night before camp so I wouldn't be so tired while I was up there, but as it was, I finally crawled into bed around 11:45 or so.  Oh well, 4 a.m. would just come early, I guess.  I ended up not being able to fall asleep until around 1:30, so I then didn't get up until about 4:30.  It was good that I had everything pretty much packed and ready to go already.  Got up, got showered, washed and did my hair so I wouldn't have to wash and style it while I was at camp, and then moved all my gear outside so when my travel partners, Candace Vest, and her daughter Ashley (one of my Laurels) arrived to pick me up, I'd be all ready to just transfer it into their car and we'd be off to the Stake Center.

She arrived right on time and I was out there waiting.  The humidity was up a bit and I was already sweating.  I knew I should have put my hair up, but I didn't.  Crud.  We got everything put in her car and we were off.  She needed gas and we all grabbed a bite to eat for breakfast from the QT.  We drove up to the Stake Center and got there a few minutes early.  Girls were already checking in and there was camp gear everywhere.  A controlled chaos really, but a good chaos.
Candace and Ashley waiting in line to check in.  There were still quite a few girls left to arrive at this point.
Cute Katie Buntin chillin' while waiting for the show to get on the road.
Ginormous Frizzball (me) with Candace.
Soon, Melon Man also arrived and surprised me.  He brought the truck by just in case it was needed, but it wasn't so I said goodbye to him and sent him on his way.  All of our girls were soon there and the buses were soon going to arrive, so we jumped back in the car and took off to head to camp after taking this group shot.  We were missing two leaders and five girls from the picture.  One leader and four girls were already up at camp on the overnighter.  The other leader was dealing with a flat tire issue and I'm not sure where the other girl was at this point since her older sister is in the picture.
When Dolly went up to Oakcrest Camp a few weeks ago, I had her pick up the camp songs CDs and songbook for me.  I had gone there, too, when I was 13 and have loved most of those songs my whole life since.  I wanted to share them with the girls and see if we could teach them some new songs.  Since Ashley was a YCL this year and was riding with us, we listened to the CDs most of the way up there.  It brought back a bunch of memories for me.
I guess Ashley got tired of hearing us sing all the songs so she just crashed...
We soon arrived at Camp Lomia in Pine.  It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but yet it kind of was.  I loved this sign at the entrance to the camp.
As we drove through the gates to the camp, it was like the world changed.  The forest changed.  The light changed.  You could physically feel a difference.  It felt sacred almost.  Once again, I knew this was where I was supposed to be this week.  Not work.  Not home.  Here.  Whatever it held for me, this is where I was meant to be.
We found our cabins, Candace in 15 and me in 16.  My cabin was up the hill a little bit and hers was just a few steps up from the kitchen and ramada.  I kept telling her throughout camp that she got the Hilton and I got the Motel 6.  Hers had three openings at the front and a big window at the back, a fully lit and quiet ceiling fan and an awesome picnic table out front.  She got awesome breezes throughout the day and evening.  Mine had one small opening at the front and a small window at the back.  Our ceiling fan only had one light bulb that worked out of four and when you turned it on medium or high, it made an awful, loud clicking noise.  We hardly ever felt a breeze.  Our cabin was about 120* during the day.  And, our picnic table was old, warped, and made in such a way that this Fatty Girl couldn't sit at it at all.  Luckily, Melon Man had bought me a new camp chair that was awesome, so I sat on it when I could.
Cabin Hilton
The hike up to our cabin
Cabin Motel 6 - we'll leave the one lightbulb on for ya.  Our cabin didn't even warrant a fire water barrel like the other cabins.  I guess they were fine letting it burn down if a fire came through!
I got my bed all laid out and was lucky enough to snag the only bed that had two mattresses on it and was right under the tiny window.  Soon my co-cabin mom arrived and she got set up and then the girls began to arrive.  Our girls were the 4th year girls and they were coming into camp from their overnighter hike and they were DIRTY.  We sent them down to the showers and they mostly came back looking like beautiful young women.  A few of the girls saw the cute beads that Kelly and I had and so we told them to check the bags on their beds where they found their own sparkly bead from us along with some other goodies.

Soon it was time for our first flag ceremony so we headed over for that.  The girls then ate their sack lunches and then there was time for the wards to meet to finish prepping for their skits.  I was a little worried about our skit at first, but it actually turned out fantastic.  More about that in a minute.


Next, it was time to do our service project.  They showed a video of a young woman who has a severe physical illness.  She has been making sock monkeys to give to other kids in the hospital to help them through their own illnesses.  We then worked on putting together about 100 sock monkeys.  It looked like it was taking a long time and I'm not sure we made it through very many.  I was busy taking pictures for Sis. Kapanak with her camera, but here are a couple I did get:




Soon it was time for the leaders to walk down to the "Sacred Grove" which was really called the "Orchard Chapel" where we had a sort of devotional type meeting.  It was a long walk in the really hot sun.  I was dying.  I was sweating like a pig.  Plus, I'd twisted my bad knee as I'd come down from my cabin earlier since the steps were really bad and so walking down there was really hard on me.  It was in the heat of the day and it was like 103* or so.  I finally made it and then I had to walk all the way back, somewhat uphill.  I had to stop every so often to catch my breath and to try to cool off in the shade.  I carried my water bottle everywhere with me.  Too bad the water wouldn't stay cool though.  We came back to camp and soon it was time to retire the flag and have dinner.  Our first night's dinner included fresh fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew) as well as potato salad, baked beans, and some really good hot dogs.


After dinner, we had skit night.  Each ward was given a bag of 5 items they had to include in their skit.  We didn't know what those 5 items were though until that day.  So while we had the majority of our skit already planned ahead of time, we had to find a way to incorporate those things into it at the last minute.  Our girls did a great job.  In fact...I think our skit was THE BEST out of all the skits that night.  Now...it may not be Hollywood or Broadway quality to anyone reading this entry, but seriously, it really was the best one.  And I'm not just saying that because I'm biased because it's my ward.  It just really was the best.


After skit night, we went back to our cabins and we had a devotional from Sabrina Martin, one of my Laurels.  She did a great job and I could really feel the spirit while she was sharing her testimony.  She has gone through some things over the last year that have been difficult, but I can see that she is making progress and as I watched her at camp, I knew this was a good experience for her.  After she was done, the girls easily went to bed for the most part.  They were all worn out from the hike so they crashed pretty early.  Kelly and I sat out on the breeze-less patio for about 30 minutes talking and then we went to bed.  Six-thirty a.m. comes mighty early.

Friday morning did come quite early and we were up and at flag ceremony by 7.  Really?  Do we really need to be up that early?  Yes, because there was so much we needed to do while at camp.  I think the bad thing this year was that we still had so much to do but had less time to do it in since our camp time was cut short this year.  I think it would help to do a few more things ahead of time, if possible, so the girls have more time to just kind of hang out at camp and do things that will build their relationship with Christ more.  I found, myself, that I had a desire to visit with the girls in our cabin, get to know them more, do things with them such as sing, etc.  But, there just wasn't enough time in the day to do that.  If I'd been able to get to know them more through things like one-on-one conversations, I probably would have known earlier than 3 hours before we all left on Saturday, that 2 of the girls in my cabin were non-members and one was actually reading the Book of Mormon and receiving a blessing and feeling the Holy Ghost testify to her that what she was doing was right.  That was what I missed by not having more one-on-one time.

We had a yummy breakfast of biscuits and gravy and fruit, then the second and fourth year girls left for their high adventure activities - canoeing and rappelling.  Since I had heard there wasn't really any shade and that there was a long walk for both of these, I stayed back at camp.  I went to my cabin and read a couple chapters of my scriptures, then went and showered, got ready, and then Candace and I went into town for a bit.  We had a yummy lunch at HB's - a great burger and awesome Diet Pepsi - and then headed back into camp.  The girls were starting to come back from High Adventure and everyone was starting to take their showers.  Soon it was time to go to crafts.  I had an enjoyable time helping some of the girls make a fabric headband and I even made one too.  You can barely see it in this horrible picture of me with Becca, one of my super happy cabin girls, but it's there and it's cute.  Maybe I'll take a special picture of it...
Soon it was time for flag again.  Our ward, unfortunately, had the afternoon flag duties, which meant we were out in the sun for what seemed like forever.  I stayed in the shade as much as I could, but it was still hot.  After flag, it was time for dinner - the dinner I knew was not going to be my favorite - Hawaiian Haystacks - but I decided I would just be happy I had food to eat.  Once I finally got to eat (more on that in a minute)....I was able to put toppings on that ended up being fairly tasty.  So, one may ask what a Hawaiian Haystack is...well...it's chicken chunks in a chickeny gravy poured over rice and then each person puts different toppings of choice on it.  The toppings usually include chow mein noodles, green onions, tomatoes, cheese, olives, coconut, mandarin oranges, pineapple, etc.  I was so happy to see a huge bowl of mushrooms at the end of the table.  The other things, except the chow mein noodles, cheese, and green onions just don't sound good to me with chicken gravy and such over rice.  But...people seem to love these so they are pretty popular at church functions.  Plus, I think you can typically feed about 300 people for about $25 so that's part of why else they are popular.

So, the reason I was delayed in getting to eat dinner is that our cabin got in trouble for being a disaster area.  It was seriously a huge mess.  The girls had been asked numerous times to get it cleaned up.  We'd even been red-tagged by the "caper queen" but the girls hadn't cleaned it up.  So, the girls were told they would not get dinner until it was done.  Off we went, up to the cabin.  We were seriously up there for at least 30 minutes or more.  Finally, one last girl and I came down for dinner.  Everyone else was pretty much done.

After dinner, it was time for chores again, then ward time.  We had a fun time playing a couple of games, except that I ripped a big hole in my pants - my favorite pair of jeans.  Then, all of the wards migrated down to the Sacred Grove again.  I just couldn't do it.  Plus, I'd been asked to help with part of the activity that the stake was doing right before it, so I stayed and did that.  Candace stayed with me and we had a great talk.  She and I really bonded during camp.  I was really grateful to get to know her more.  She was so helpful to me too when I wasn't feeling well.  I was sad that she and I missed the special program in the Sacred Grove.  We soon noticed a bunch of little lanterns coming up the hill back to camp and it was so peaceful and quiet.  The girls had been asked to just contemplate what they'd seen and to be silent on their way back.  There was a special reverence that filled the air.  We walked over to where our Bishop's night testimony meeting was going to be held.  Our camp director and Bishop had come up with a different plan and it was a really neat experience.  Each girl and the leaders lined up in two lines facing each other.  Then, one person at one end went to the person across from them and told them something they loved or appreciated about them.  It was to be something other than physical traits.  Then, that same person would turn and go to the person across the way again and they would zig zag back and forth all the way down the line talking to each person. As they moved on, the next person after them would do the same thing until every single person had talked to every single person.  Amazingly, this took 2 hours to complete.  I was so very touched by many of the things the girls and other leaders had to say.  There were a lot of tears shed, but also a lot of happy smiles and I think it was good that we did this activity.  It was only positive, whereas sometimes camp testimony meetings don't always end up that way.

Afterward, there was special desserts with Bishop and then everyone kind of headed off to bed.  I sat and visited with Candace and Kelly for a bit, along with Kelli from my cabin.  Earlier in the evening, I had had a special feeling for Kelli.  When we were doing the activity, I was dumbstruck and couldn't find the words to describe the connection I was feeling.  She was the same way.  She will join my class in November and I am looking forward to getting to know her more.  We did find out that her middle name is the same as mine.  We also found out that her favorite hymn, 185-Reverently and Meekly Now, is also my favorite!

Finally, I crawled into bed and went to sleep.  It was after midnight, maybe close to 1 a.m.  That darn alarm would be going off too soon...and it did.  Flag again at 7.  Then breakfast, then all the girls left to go on their hikes.  I stayed behind and helped finish cleaning up the ramada from breakfast.  The tablecloth on the serving table was so sticky.  Yuck.  But, I got it.  Candace had tried to do the hike, but ended up having to come back because it was super steep.  Eventually all the girls returned and it was time to get packed up, cleaned up, and ready to go.  By this time, it was hot again and I was just in a bit of a mood and ready to go.  But then, we had to go do awards so we did that.  On my way back, I was resting in the shade at one of the cabins and one of my Laurels stopped by and sat and talked with me.  We talked for about 20 minutes and I think I grew closer to her during that 20 minutes than I have in the whole year I've been her leader.  THAT is one of the things that I was wanting out of camp.

I got back to the cabin and the girls were taking forever to clean up the cabin.  Then, we found out that after a bunch of the girls and Kelly had worked so hard to clean the showers and restrooms, a bunch of girls had gone in and showered and gotten them all muddy again.  Needless to say, it was not a happy time at that moment.  But what did help bring the spirit back into our group was that our two non-member girls in our cabin shared what they felt at camp and how one of them at least was going to start going to church and to mutual activities.  I was very touched by these two in many ways.

Finally, the girls started to get lined up to start heading down to the buses.  Melon Man was coming up to get me and he was calling me because he couldn't find me.  He was mad.  I was upset, but trying not to be in front of everyone.  He finally found me, backed up to where my stuff was, I threw it in, got in the car, and we left.  I broke down and sobbed.  He asked me what was wrong and I just let loose.  Then, when I was done, he asked me what was so bad and it made me think - there wasn't anything really all that bad about my time there.  It was what I made of it, what I felt about it.  I could think it was bad or I could think about what was good and there were far more good things than bad.  And, of those that were bad, most of them were my own fault because I'm so heavy and out of shape - and I can work on that - so that next year, I will be far happier and able to do more things.

Camp really was a great experience and I was so glad I could go.  It was an honor serving these young women, especially during the 100 year celebration of girls camp.  I loved seeing my girls grow and share their lights with the other girls.  I loved getting to know the other leaders more.  I loved feeling the Spirit with us and knowing that Heavenly Father was protecting us and watching over us.  We later found out that the forest service actually closed off the road to where the girls went canoeing and rappelling just about an hour after they had finished their activities due to a forest fire in the area.  We were all so blessed.

I know that our Heavenly Father has a special place in his heart for the young women of the church.  I know that He loves each of them and I know He loves me.  I hope that I can live my life in a manner that shows how much I love Him and that I can share that light with others in all I say and do.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Good Job on everything.