I'm mostly writing this as a journal entry so I won't forget my wonderful memories. :-) You are more than welcome to read.
On Monday, August 1, I met with the Stake Leaders at 10:00 to pack up the food coolers and supplies on the trailer. We met the Junior Leaders (ages 16, 17, and some 18) at the church at Noon. After gathering all of their permission slips and packing their stuff up, we departed for Girl's Camp. :-) The trip up was uneventful. I told the girls to go potty because I refused to stop on the way. ;-) Another car full of girls had to potty an hour into the drive so we ended up having to stop. I gave them a hard time. Once we started driving up the canyon, the dirt road got pretty muddy. (It had been raining the night before.) My car slipped around a little but we managed to make it just fine.
Once we arrived at camp, we unloaded the trailers and got set up. Once everyone had their bedding set up in the lodge, we put the Junior Leaders to work. We had them make Welcome posters for each of their wards. We separated them into committees and trained them in different activities that would occur during the week. It was pretty busy. After the business was over, we just hung out and chatted. It was during our "hang out" time that we discovered our lodge had 3 bats. I think the chattering/giggling of 50 girls made them nervous. Every once in a while we would get our heads buzzed by a low flying bat. They were actually quite cute and small when they were sitting still on the ceiling. :-) We all slowly started going to bed. The final girls finally quieted down and went to bed around 1:30am.
On Tuesday, we fed the Junior Leaders breakfast and got them to work setting up for when the rest of the wards showed up. Once the wards arrived and got settled into their camp sites, the Junior Leaders took their gear to their own wards and camped with them for the rest of the week. We had our first Roll Call around 12:30. Our Stake consists of 11 wards. So, at each roll call, we asked them to share a jingle or something fun. We, as Stake Leaders, did it too. Afterwards, we had a prayer, thought, and flag ceremony. It was neat to watch the girls show respect for the flag. It makes me so happy to see their respect. After the flag ceremony, President Davenport (the 2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency) spoke to the girls and introduced our theme for camp. It was "We Are HIS Hands." We were trying to focus on being Christ's hands through service. He made some amazing bracelets for every. single. girl., leader, and priesthood on that mountain. We had over 250 people there! The bracelets had three "crown" knots. One knot represented the crown our Savior wears, the other knot represented the crown our Father in Heaven wears, and the final crown knot represents the crown the we will wear when we enter into His kingdom. He also did a "clasping hands" knot because our theme had to do with hands. It was really neat to see all the girls wearing the bracelets and cherishing them. :-)
Before we came up, we had each ward decorate a mailbox. We gathered the mailboxes and put them down at the Stake Lodge. We set up a card making station in the lodge so that the girls and leaders could come and make cards for people. At 4:30 every afternoon, we stake leaders gathered up the mail and delivered it to the different ward camps. It was actually a very successful activity. The girls loved making cards and receiving mail!
On Tuesday evening, we had Skit Night. Each ward had to present their banner/flag and a skit. Their skit had to do with their individual camp theme that they were assigned. For example: 12th ward was Hands of Building, 9th ward was Hands of Beauty, another ward was Hands of Service, etc. They did an amazing job. The Stake Leaders and I made up a song with actions and choreography that wrapped up the themes of all the wards. We learned that we shouldn't plan such a long song. We were so winded by the end of it, it was pretty embarrassing!
On Wednesday morning, we had breakfast and packed our lunches for Hike Day. We noticed that our HUGE bag of pretzels were gone. Hmmm ... there were thieves in our midst! ;-) So, during morning roll call, I decided to have a little fun. I asked the girls if they had noticed the old cemetery on the way up to camp. Some had and acknowledged it. I asked them if they knew how those people got there. They sat there stumped and curious. I said, "Those people ended up in the cemetery because they stole pretzels from their Stake Leaders in the 1800's!" There were a lot of giggles!
After roll call, we separated the girls up to send them on hikes. The 1st years, 2nd years, and 3rd years had hikes that day. The 4th years went on their overnight hike back in June. Once the girls got back from their hikes, we gave them time to rest and take showers. 8 shower stalls + 170 girls = a long wait. ;-) Around 2:00 in the afternoon we had a Stake Carnival. Each ward was asked to provide a carnival game and the Junior Leader's ran the games. It was pretty fun. We had a fishing game, Minute To Win It, balloon popping, cake walk, etc. It turned out well and I think the girls enjoyed it!
On Wednesday evening, we had Girl's Camp Got Talent. When we delivered their mail, they had to draw a Primary song out of a hat. They had to plan a talent based around the song. They didn't necessarily have to sing but the song had to show up some where in their talent. They only had about an hour to plan. I am amazed at how many awesome things they came up with! We, being dumb and not thinking, decided to pull from the hat too. We ended up being so stressed! We were trying to come up with a Roll Call, a talent, and play the judges too! Ugh, we were stressed but it ended up awesome. My friend, Carla AKA Carla Cannon, played the role of Nick Cannon. I AKA Howie Lind played the role of Howie Mandel. Sister Oborn AKA Sharon Oborn played the role of Sharon Osbourne. Sister Thompson AKA Pierce Thompson played the roll of Pierce Morgan. We had so much fun! Pierce, of course, X-ed everyone. Sharon X-ed a few and called most "Dah-ling". I hadn't ever really watched America's Got Talent before. Some people told a couple of phrases that he uses a lot and I already knew that Howie was a germaphobic. So, I had fun with the germ thing. Anytime anyone touched each other during their talent, I'd freak out. One ward did a magic show and "cut someone in half." I decided that was reason enough for Howie to barf. So, I pretended to barf in a box. An "accident" happened during the magic show and a hand was cut off. I, Howie, passed out on the ground. Before I knew it, a man dressed as a woman (a VERY ugly woman!) was "giving me CPR!" It was hilarious! Everyone had a good time. When it came time to give out the award for the best talent we were torn. The ward that we wanted to win had already won something else. So we decided to pick another ward that hadn't won anything yet. We did, however, give the other ward an Honorable Mention. Their prize was awarded by me, Howie, and it was a HUGE bottle of hand sanitizer. As the very ugly woman/man person came to collect their award, I proceeded to squirt a TON of sanitizer onto my hands. The woman/man went in for a hug and I totally smeared sanitizer all over his face! From some angles it may have looked like I kissed him but I DIDN'T!! Just had to make that clear. .....
I forgot to mention the Stake's "talent." We ended up rapping to Popcorn Popping! A 30-year-old, a 50-year-old, and two 40-somethings (all white as can be) rapping is something to behold. ;-) I believe our rap went like this: "I went to Girl's Camp and what did I see?, 200 girls staring back at me! (I can't remember the next two lines!) "You can steal our pretzels and all our treats! But we'll still love you and think you're sweet!" "But that's not really so, but it seems to me, That's how stake leaders are supposed to be!"
We got a kick out of it and I got to rap the pretzel part! ;-) I just had to have another little dig at the girls!
On Thursday, it was our craft and humanitarian aide project day. In the morning, we made some 4X4 craft blocks. Kind of like these:
We had some different things they could modge podge on. We had a few different things that said We Are HIS Hands on it and some hand prints. We told the girls they could bring pictures from home to modge podge too. We had tons of paint in a variety of colors. It was amazing to see the creativity of the girls! They were really pretty. I promise to share pictures when I get some from my friend. :-)
For our humanitarian aide project, we gathered donations of fleece fabric. Before camp, we sent letters to all of the Relief Society president's in our stake. We also got some donations brought up to camp. Anyway, we ended up tying 52 blankets! We will be donating them to our local Child Protective Services program so that kids can have a blanket of their own when they enter into protective custody.
For dinner on Thursday, we had the Stake Presidency and their wives come. After the meal was over, our Stake Young Women President went outside to check on something. She noticed a very ominous rain cloud heading in our direction. We had a very nice program and slideshow prepared for the evening. It had to be held outside because there was no way we could fit 250+ people into the small lodge. We all gathered together and the YW President offered a prayer in faith that the weather would not affect us. Not long after the prayer was offered, the clouds miraculously changed directions and went around us! It was simply amazing and such a testimony builder. God really does answer prayers! During the entire evening program and the following testimony meetings, there were clear skies above us. We could see lightening and hear thunder all around us but the rain never bothered us. It was a simply amazing evening. :-)
I forgot to mention that on Thursday evening, the thieves (3rd ward) returned our pretzels. It was pretty funny. They had actually swiped something from every ward there. They had a funny poem to go along with it. It was fun. :-)
Friday morning was a bittersweet day. It was the day everyone packed up and left. For that morning, we (the stake leaders) fed the entire camp. Nothing too crazy, just muffins, go-gurts, fruit, and juice. As we were preparing the breakfast, I noticed our lovely bag of pretzels sitting there. I had an idea! I ran and grabbed a piece of paper and a marker. I also grabbed the biggest bowl that I could find. I prepared my final joke and set it out by the breakfast table. There was a huge bowl of pretzels with a sign that said, "Breakfast for the 3rd Ward! Hahaha!" It was pretty funny and everyone got a kick out of it! Once breakfast was over, the wards went back to their sites to pack up. It didn't take but a couple of hours for everyone to pack up and leave.
I love Girl's Camp with all my heart. I have a huge testimony of Girl's Camp. I was always shy as a young girl. I had a few friends but if I wasn't with them, I was extremely quiet in school. For some reason, I felt more comfortable at Girl's Camp and was able to be myself. I felt like I was free when I was on that mountain! I hope the girls that attended this year felt the same way. :-)