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Sunday, August 15, 2010

yw camp : important details (don't need a travel log)

holy long post ...
camp was 3+ weeks ago but i want to remember a few things ... i had the awesome opportunity to hang out with the 4th years! i was an assistant leader which translates to indian - not chief (hooray!) ... i did as i was told/asked to do and helped out where i could. mostly i was just an adult 'supervisor'. that makes it sound like the girls were my minions/subjects/subordinates ... on the contrary, i was merely older ... these girls were in charge and they knew full-well what they were doing and rarely needed my guidance! our team had some awesome YCLs (youth camp leaders) that basically did EVERYTHING and we (the adult camp leaders) stood around and watched!

the first day we gathered our girls and took them about 20 minutes north to where they would camp for the night and do their 4th yr hike. we went back up that evening for FHE with them ... wow - these girls are awesome ... this was my first chance to see them in action! Megan Hickman and Whitney Perkins lead the FHE and did such a great job. they talked about goals for YW camp and the things they had talked about on the hike - wanting to get to know each other better, no gossiping amongst ourselves, no drama, be AWESOME and don't have clicks. Megan talked a little about EFY and a quote she shared: "the distance between you and the Lord is the distance from your knees to the floor." we read in D&C 6 and she pointed out the words Pray, Seek, Gifts and Friends and whitney shared Matt. 25:14 about talents. she talked to us about how the Lord will say to us "well done" when we use our talents for good.
it was wo great to see them in action and feel the spirit there with them ... just as they were getting to know each other ... i was still trying to learn names myself!

tuesday morning we went to pick them up and caravanned back with all our girls! after lunch we had our opening ceremony. one of the first tasks was to start preparing a skit ... we had a list of things the girls needed to incorporate and our girls were awesome!! totally not biased opinion! the 4th yrs skit ROCKED!

during our free time Sarah Platteborze and I did a few runs down the enormous slip n slide and then went and played in the river! on our way back from the river we stopped at the crafts pavilion and made ourselves some lip gloss!

later that night, after each group performed their skits (and did i mention that ours was the best?! - and the leaders did not have to perform {halleluiah}), brother fawcett - one of the camp dads - sang an impromptu song ... including a few leaders and girls by name. (pretty stinkin' funny)

one of our jobs as leaders was to enforce the rules ... not fun ... but i learned from the other leaders about being firm and loving. we went to each tent and ensured we had all our girls in at 11:00 - told them that we loved them and goodnight!

the next morning i thought about going to the polar dip ... but decided to build a fire instead - the mornings were COLD!! brother stewart - camp dad - came over and surveyed my fire ... he was impressed ... the last few years he was on morning fire duty for the 4th years ... he was glad i was there to take on that responsibility - and i was happy to do it! ;o)

we did our service project that morning - half of the campers were on mulching trees and the other was tasked with building nice wide walkways ... we collected river rocks the size of one of our feet and made the edges of the paths with the rocks and filled in the path with mulch - they looked great! and we mulched 173 trees! it was a great project!!

later on that day the 4th years were scheduled for the ropes course. Wow - what an experience. we have some strong leaders in this rising generation - and i mean physically powerful as well as enthusiastic and effective. the most outspoken of which were 'taken ill' and were instructed not to use their voices (in an effort to bring some of the quieter girls to the front and allow them to lead. i was even caused to be lame (i know i'm lame ha ha), my leg was 'broken' and i had to be helped across the logs. we learned about team work, trust and how to listen. i personally learned about stinging nettle ... did you know that the spores on the back of the fern leaves can neutralize the stinging?? it's true ... but the stinging lingers for a few hours ... annoying!!

that evening was the night hike ... i had been hearing bits and pieces of what we would be doing but didn't really know what to expect. our YCLs were involved so that left the adult leaders in charge of the evening fireside and we had decided to read the story "The Parable of the Golden Pathway" to our girls. it was awesome ... such a powerful message. when we finished our fireside we had time to read scriptures for a few minutes and use the potty and get ready for the night hike...

the YCLs took us in groups of about 10 ... and my group was the last. as we walked thru the dark forrest, flashlights and headlamps lighting the way, we came across adult leaders that we knew - holding framed pictures of Jesus, Moroni, Nephi, other prophets and the last was President Monson. as we approached each picture the leader would read their scripted part of our journey's narrative and then direct us along the path to the next. when we came to the beginning of the iron rod (PVC pipe) we were instructed to "hold on, don't let go and no talking... " we followed the rod up the path where we could hear our very own YCLs inticing us to join them in the great and spacious building, to 'just let go', saying that 'it was no big deal ... we could come back to the rod after we had some fun' ... it was interesting ... the thought occured to me that i can be distracted by people that i know and even trust. we were stopped on the path ... being taunted ... and then we were blindfolded - one by one. and then the fun began ... we walked slowly holding to the rod. people - YCLs and other leaders - tried to get us to let go of the rod. i had people telling me i was done, there was a snake, spiders were going to get me... but i didn't let go. held on ... followed it to the end, where our stake president said, "well done sister shaw, you made it!" he shook my hand and i took off my blind fold and there was the tree - all lit up ... and my girls were there, the ladies i worked with and many people that i had grown to love thru this camp experience. tears welled in my eyes as i realized that we all made it! we were all there!

later i found out that if the 'tempters' were successful they would take the people who strayed to the 'repentance table' where the camp director would share with them a scripture and talk to them about how Jesus suffered and died so that we have the opportunity to repent. and then they were brought back to the rod to continue on their journey.

we gathered in an ampitheater and President Duce spoke to us about what we just experienced and his perspective ... watching from the end and not being able to encourage anyone/watching girls be taken away when they were so close ... feeling like he had a glimpse of what Heavenly Father sees and feels everyday. it was powerful.

the next day we had "Golden Hour' (in my day it was called 'Land of Destiny' ... same idea), the topic was be the heroine in your own story... be the one that conquers evil, comes thru the test and trials and traps with more knowledge and know how and no worse for the wear. i loved this hour ... and asked for a copy of the notes ... so i can study it on my own (so if you'd like a copy let me know)!

from 2-3:30 we had a fun certification activity with the whole camp - it was 'the amazing race' camp style! each team had to follow clues to their next destination and complete the task presented to them ... it was interesting/hilarious - these girls would most certainly no survive if they were stuck in the woods ...

during the activity we saw president brigman ... he was dressed down and looked like he was ready to play. i had been warned earlier that he was ruthless in a water fight ... but i was unconvinced. we snuck away to prepare ourselves - sarah platteborze and i - donned our bathing suits and filled our buckets. and then it was on! and shoot ... if you weren't with him - you were against him! and no one was exempt. we had a water war the likes of which i hadn't witnessed since the days of ryan litchfield when i was a youth! it was fun and hilarious and 'epic'!!

that evening was our ward testimony meeting ... and since bishop briggs was out of town picking up his son from India, brother perkins was designated to be our bishopric member in charge! he brought ice cream sandwiches from cold stone to endear himself to us - and it worked! we listenen to him share personal stories about tying ourselves to the proper source. and then he opened it up for the girls to share testimonies. they did and we all cried and i shared ... it was wonderful and spiritual and amazing experience that i will not soon forget!

following our ward time we had stake testimony meeting ... i was expecting more of the same in the way of testimonies ... and it was to an extent ... the girls went up and then the flood gates opened and so many girls got up and sat in line waiting for their turn. we didn't finish until past 11:00 and it was truly an uplifting testimony meeting ... sister bushman (camp director) was the last speaker and i just love her!!

that evening we 'tucked in' our little family - told them how much we loved them. the last night at camp is always the one that no one sleeps thru and we weren't expecting a ton of sleep ... but in actuality it was not that bad ... we were all so tired that we crashed!

in the morning we heard the YCLs singing to wake the girls ... they started at the tent next to ours 'they wanted to let us sleep a little longer' and they went to every tent and then came back around to ours! :o) sweet cute girls! love them!!

we busted a move and got packed up and cleaned up and ready to be checked out and then headed down for the closing ceremony. YW camp ROCKS! and i told sister bushman to sign me up for next year!

what i learned: while these girls may not be able to pee in the woods, build a shelter, go without showers, or live without their cell phones ... they have such powerful testimonies. they carry with them such strong spirits and have the potential to go so far in this life. i think that is the focus now ... when i was younger we were in survival mode ... now it's refined to spiritual survival mode. these girls need to be rock solid, and with the programs and activities they have the opportunity to participate in - they are becoming just what Heavenly Father needs them to be.

I am sending a letter to each of my girls to let them know how much they mean to me ... and I hope that I get to work with a few of them next year when they will be YCLs! :
"Sometimes there are not words to describe the feelings of peace, hope and love that I experienced while at YW Camp … I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to know such awesome girls – future mothers and leaders … you really are a bright shining generation … so much stronger than you may think you are and yet pure and innocent … you have experienced so much in your short lives and will have to experience/endure so much more. I’m so grateful for YW Camp, EFY and Youth Conference; bright spots in the darkness, moments when testimonies grow and the Spirit is so strong. I feel blessed to have been able to get to know you and hope that we can be friends forever!!"

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Love it, love it, love it. What an awesome experience. Truly! Your little message at the end...*tear*.