Thursday, August 09, 2007

Girls' Camp

Girls' camp started Tuesday. This is where all the girls aged 12 to 18 in our ward, or church, get together for a few days. It's a lot like Girl Guides, which I grew up with, but heavy on the spiritually uplifting side and not-so-much on the outdoor survival side. Although as I understand it, yesterday they learned how to recognize certain grasses and weeds and such and how to cook them up for a tasty, er, umm, edible, treat. So, really, what do I know?

I have been girls' camp once before but it was deep in my I-feel-sorry-for-myself and I'm-not-even-sure-I-beleive-there-is-a-God stage so I don't remember much from the experience at all. I don't even remember staying over night. I didn't have an official calling there, well, maybe like assistant to an assistant sort of thing. I did a lot of the preliminary work for girls' camp but not so much UP there.


So now I'm a fully active member of the church and I'm secretary in my Ward's Young Women organization and here it is girls' camp. I and the other leaders went up last night just for the evening to see the girls' skits and to give our own. We, yes, even me, were really sorry we had to come back home last night. Thankfully, we'll be going up again tonight and this time staying over.

First of all, the camp is situated high above the dirt and grime of the valley. There are actualy trees, well, shrubby trees but trees nonetheless, and little streams flowing by. You can see the blue of the sky, rather than the gray drab we ar accustomed to 'down below'. It was quite lovely.

We had dinner with the girls, during which the conversation of braces and the woes of such dominated the dinner conversation. One of the girls had to eat only pudding and yogurt for dinner because she just got braces on this past Monday. Ouch! And as an aside I have a little story to tell that involves this girls' pudding.

The other night I was talking with one of the camp leaders' husbands and he was sharing how frustrating the whole experience has been for his wife. How frustrating it was to have a mom call up at the last minute saying she needed room in the cooler for her daughters 'special diet'. And how enraged this husbands' wife was when she discovered the 'special diet' was pudding, jell-o and yogurt. I was equally baffled by the story, but purposely did not ask for names because 1) it's not my business and 2) I didn't want anything coloring my good opinion of these girls.

Nevertheless, I immediately recognized and grasped the truth of the situation when I sat across from this sweet girl, her lips taut and barely moving as she tried to spoon smooth pudding into her oh-so-sore mouth. Instead of ridiculing her for her bizarre 'special diet' I applaud her for coming up to girls' camp when she could have sat at home moping and feeling sorry for herself. And when she was done, she freely shared her new fizzy yogurt with her table mates, even though I wondered how much soft food she could have left if she was so willing to share.

I hope that leader who was so quick to bad-mouth this girl and her mom to her husband has recognized the folly of her thinking.

After dinner we had a riot watching the girls' skits. We watched Mad try to find a place for her anger, which she could not, and learned that it's better to forgive; we saw the birth of the a new super hero - The Good Works Hero - and applauded her wondrous good works and learned how we too could be heroes just like her; and finally we learned that anything is possible with faith, and almost nothing is possible without it.

The YW leaders and I gave our own skit. The theme of our camp was S.T.A.R.S., "Standing Together As Righteous Sisters", and I wrote a skit for us to perform for the girls. It was very funny and sweet. If you want a copy, just email me :)

We all caught a ride with this one friend who was anxious to head back down to the valley before it grew too dark, which we were sort of sorry about because none of us were in a hurry to leave. One girl, the most amazing sweet girl you could ever hope to meet who has a life story that would break your heart, begged us to try the 'monkey bridge' with her before we left. We convinced our friend and driver to wait a little longer, while we went down to try out this bridge.

Oh my, it was hysterical! I thought I would pee my pants! It was a rope bridge strung over a shallow lake/large puddle. The girls wildly bounced on the rope so it was suitably dangerous and exhilerating for us. Our president went out first and I was behind her and oh boy I thought she was going to pitch in. Sometimes my feet would leave the rope beneath me, being bounced so high by the exuberant girls at either end - one of whom was a leader who was taking far too much pleasure in seeing us so close to our doom.

Finally we all made it safely to the other side and I just had to hug, hug, hug that girl who took us on that fun little trip. Sometimes as a grown up, at least for me, I get mired in my adulthood and it feels like a couple of lead blocks have been cemented to my feet during the night while I slept. I forget how darn fun it is to just let loose. It's fun to have fun!

So I'm going back up there today with far less trepidation than I had yesterday. Yesterday I feared I wouldn't fit in, that I would feel lonely, that I wouldn't have fun. I bet those are a lot of the same feelings some of the girls felt too, don't you think? (I don't think I've ever grown up) Today I go up looking for some adventure and expecting to find it, and more courageous to find my place amongst these awesome girls.

Wish me luck! I'll try to post pictures when I get home tomorrow afternoon.