Saturday, August 11, 2007

Girls Camp Again

Aww, sweet! Girls Camp was a joyful and eye-opening experience for me. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses and how I might help myself grow. Most of my learning came from spending so much time with the 2nd counselor in the Presidency, Dawn.

I've known Dawn for a long time, but honestly I wasn't sure until just these past few days what to make of her. Perhaps because of my childhood, I am inherently suspicious of people who are very friendly and affectionate. I tend to believe that they are either insincere or over-compensating for something. I tend to shy away from physical affection, feeling that other people don't or won't appreciate my attention because they won't believe that I am sincere. Do you see how my mind works? Always a circle, a rat biting its' tail, I can't receive love without feeling the giver is insincere and I can't give love because I fear the receiver will believe I am being insincere.

Dawn has a wonderful gift, and after these few days I'm certain she truly is as giving and loving as she seems. I've decided that I am too selfish to give like she does, or for that matter, to receive. It's hard for me to not think about myself when I give to another, or to think about myself when I take. Dawn, on the other hand, gives for the pure love of giving, out of love for the other person. She has a true gift and I love her for it.

Because of Dawn's wonderful example to me, I've determined to strive to be less self-centered. For one thing, I need to improve my worship, for I'm certain that if I'm more worshipful the light of Christ will fill me more and I will have more love and charity to share. Then, I'm going to work on thinking of myself less in my family, looking more to how I can show my husband and children I love them, rather than looking for proof that they love me.

This is a life thing for me, born out of a childhood of uncertainty and love granted only under the proper conditions. I've thought a lot about this shortcoming of mine, this weakness, but it was only until this week when I watched and talked with Dawn that I understood how perhaps my weakness might one day become my strength.

Not the update on girls' camp you were expecting, eh? Well, here's a little more conventional information:

Thursday night we enjoyed some canoeing with the girls around the small lake. We had a ton of fun trying to 'hit and run' as my co-paddeler Alyssa called it; our favorite target being Dawn and Joni and their canoe. Joni is a real fun-lover and I enjoyed splashing her with my paddle. *U*

After that we hit the rope swing where I was content to watch Dawn and Wendy (Wendy is our President) give it a whirl. I *said* I couldn't do it because I was afraid I might hurt my 'favorite muscle' (my groin area) because I'm still not entirely healed up from my surgery. Or so I said. Whatever the reason, I couldn't resist when the girls started chanting my name "Ali! Ali! Ali!" and I gave in.

And I'm glad I did too! It was great fun, though I whacked my heals hard in the industrial spool they use as a launch and landing pad. Ouch! But more than the exhilaration of zooming over the water on the rope, it was such fun to just be with the girls, to feed off their exuberance and feel like I was a part of them.

Here's a picture of me, Dawn and Wendy after our turns on the rope swing:
I wish Tammy was in this pic, then we'd have a fun one of our whole presidency. Tammy didn't get up to camp until shortly afterward though.

In the evening we had a Testimony meeting, which was oh so sweet. I bore my testimony, as did the other members of the presidency, and most of the girls. These girls are so amazing, with such wonderful trust in God. I hope their faith never fails them and they always live in the comforting shelter of obedience.

At bedtime the four of us and one fantastic camp leader named Caryn, crammed ourselves into a four-man tent for the night. And oh my but a body-snatcher stole our mild-mannered Tammy from us and replaced with her a really wacky bad karaoke singer. She was hysterical! She and Dawn entertained us and some of the girls till the wee hours of the morning. I laughed so hard my gut hurt and I got a headache. Fun times! *U* We enjoyed singing songs back and forth between our tent and the Laurels in a nearby tent. They enjoyed laughing at Tammy and Dawn and their bad renditions of popular songs. In the morning Tammy had singers' regret, but I don't regret a moment of it. Her entertainment was the best I've had in ages!

In the morning we quickly packed and were outa there. Dawn and I drove home with three of the girls. We sang songs and bopped around in the car earning some weird looks from passersby. But I didn't endanger any lives and I followed the speed limit, but wow we had fun!

Now that I've written a novel, I suppose I can be done. I'm glad to be home, but so glad I participated as much as I was able in this years' girls' camp. I'm glad to have strengthened the foundation of my relationship with these girls and to have learned some things about myself and I am eager to improve. I have a lot to overcome from my own girlhood, but seeing these girls going through their own problems gives me the courage and desire to try to overcome the lingering demons in my heart.