July 8, 2011

girls camp

I have been a busy bee lately, and I mean that in the most serious of terms.

Imagine the crazy song "The Flight of the Bumblebee" (if you can't imagine, click here.) Imagine me, a girl of small stature running around with her arms flailing. Imagine incredible toned muscles being formed consequentially. Yeah, that's what I'd call hard core fretting.

I started off last week earlier than usual. Monday morning saw me up bright and early to start a new day, and I was eagerly ready to get going. It was actually kind of odd. Oh well, that's the kind of affect GIRL'S CAMP has on me. After some seriously last minute packing, I was on my way in a VERY packed mini-van heading south to West Plains.

I don't have time to talk about the entirety of every girl's camp I have ever been to, but the past ones have been awesome. I haven't been to ONE SINGLE camp that has left me wanting something ... more. I have cried a little at times at camp, but that is more because I am a crybaby who also isolates herself on accident sometimes and has an unusual tendency to want to stay at home. I didn't think any camp could top last year. It was incredible and everything just WORKED ... especially after an almost disappointing EFY.

This year I think, however, topped everything. Any camp experience I've had can not compare to this year's. Do you want to know why? Good! I'll tell you ...

The first day was HOT. It was only the JC's (Youth Camp Leaders) and the Fourth Years, but it was still incredibly fun and relieveing to be with others that were into the same clean fun that I was. You see, I have a bit of a trek addiction, even now. I still think about my sisters and brothers on the trek. And any chance I get to see them is something I look forward too. I looked forward to Girl's Camp. After seeing all of my friends and playing fifty games of Big-Bootie, we started setting up camp. Like I said, it was hot as all get out, and it was really hard to focus on being positive, but somehow I managed.

It was late at night. Desiree and I were sleeping in the middle of the circle of tents and were trying hard to go to sleep. This task was made very difficult due to the fact that my lovely JC friends were very happy to see each other and wanted to talk the night away. In the distance I heard a thunder clap.

This very same thing happened at trek. I heard thunder, I saw lightning, but I couldn't bring myself to move. When I felt the little droplets falling on my face, I knew it was time to move, and that time had to be FAST.

After a night of little sleep, it was dawn and it was time to meet my girls. I have the privilege to have my mom as the Stake Camp Director. That means I get to see the grouping of all of the girls before anyone else knows about them. During one of my little snoop sessions, I felt like I was supposed to be with the first years, and I was supposed to be with a certain group of girls.

I started loving them far before camp. I made little notebooks for them with flower pens and a cute little safari themed hair clip. For those of you that know me, you know that I am not an extremely crafty gal. I don't really have the patience to do the kind of things that I did for my girls, but I pushed through it because I LOVED them.

You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that my girls were not truly mine. In fact, I was in an entirely different group. I saw the names on my paper and I couldn't believe it. Grace, Holly, Marianna, Emma, Alissa -- their names felt familiar on my tongue when I read them, but it was like the feeling of dry chicken. Filling, but still missing something. No matter how disappointed I was, I decided to put on my happy face and when I met my little first years and handed them the notebooks that took hours to make, I told them I loved them.

Miraculously, I felt walls break down immediately. I truly believe the Lord knows who we are and what we need and I NEEDED those girls. I needed to love them, and I needed to learn how to best serve them. We laughed together, we played together, and we were able to have some truly amazing experiences together.

On the first year hike, I carried my girls when the trail got to tough for them. I carried three backpacks at a time and I loved it! I loved serving them because I was slowly but surely learning to love them. I learned so much, and I began looking at everyone a different way.

During the week we were able to serve a super sweet BFF of mine, Therese. She has Down Syndrome, but during this week at camp, I spent a lot of time getting to know her and she is one of the best people I know. She is an angel, and I am so glad I got to know her. Anywho, our service project this year was to help Therese earn her personal progress medallion, and as I put my all into this, I could see how much Heavenly Father LOVES Therese. When she got her medallion is one moment that I will cherish forever, even though I didn't see much of it because I was bawling.

It was awesome. I can't really do it justice, but my YW leader Sister Norris captured it beautifully here.

I also got a chance to be a part in the GRAND FINALE that our camp always has. It's always very spiritual for me, so I was kind of scared witless because I didn't know if I could have that same effect on others. I was asked to share any experience I had where Virtue has helped me. At first, I floundered. I didn't really know when I had been virtuous, because it seemed to flow through every day of my life. But as I spoke to each group and said something different EVERY time, I was able to think of instances in new ways that I had never thought of before.


Like I said, it was an awesome GC! Words can't describe the way I feel about how my week went.

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