I mentioned yesterday that I sort of dragged my feet going into girl’s camp (parenting worries), but that I was so incredibly grateful for that grand opportunity.

I mean, who wouldn’t love being cradled among these red-rock mountains with these awesome girls?

And with this crew of leaders?

I mean, come on! That is happiness right there.

Oh, there were some not too happy things mixed in there, that’s for sure.

Adventures with no running water for three days and wind storms covering you in dirt and pushing you backwards while you’re paddling your heart out on the river and slivers and broken tents and bugs galore.

But oh! there is something about girls camp!

Especially when you get to be there with your girls. Claire and I were pretty happy about that little arrangement:

(Couldn’t keep my shoes on too well for that photo-op:)

Lucy was a little hesitant (her leaders were hoping I’d come despite her being so dang fiercely independent), but she warmed up to the idea pretty fast.

These girls did the jump better:

Ok so here we go:

River rafting in Moab on the Colorado River

The sky was somehow pink as the sun sank and we gathered together for our first devotional:

There is no filter here…seriously it was the coolest light!

The theme was “LIFT,” and I couldn’t get enough of watching the girls lift each other so beautifully the whole time. Especially these cute YCLs:

And also including this sweet leader who Lucy adores. I mean, can you see those facial expressions even though they’re just from the side?

(That’s the leader who took Lucy to lunch on the last day of school…the “power of one” I wrote about back HERE.)

We were on the river all day the first day.

It was incredibly beautiful, but the wind was so strong at the end that everyone had to work their guts out to get down the river (it was pushing us whole-heartedly with gusto the wrong way).

I rode in one of the big boats the first half of the day (a pic. of one of those bigger boats on the right below), and then Claire and I switched to a little kayak together (one like the one pictured on the left below):

We paddled our little hearts out to get through that last leg, as did everyone else, battling that wind like nobody’s business. (I didn’t have a camera that first day, but these pictures at least show where we were in all that beauty.)

We got stuck paddling in an “eddie” for what seemed like forever and Claire was at her wits end, proclaiming she would never get on the river again. Ha!

When we got back to camp half of our tents were broken/capsized from the wind and all of them are filled to the brim with fine red dirt blown in from the wind gusts.

Awnings were ripped apart, poles were snapped in two…

We spent an hour or so trying to fix broken tents (luckily my friend brought a bunch of good supplies), and everyone just caught their breath for a minute.

Here’s Lucy’s tent post-fix-up but prior to clean-out…can you see all that dirt in there? Tough to see from here, but believe me, there was a thick layer on everything, which isn’t the best welcome-back-to-camp for my particular, sensory girl!

This, after the exhausting rowing experience left a lot of the girls quite miserable.

Nothing a little dinner and a devotional couldn’t fix though!

Later that night, to add insult to injury, Lucy’s front tent door broke (the back one was already broken) and there were bugs galore I tell you! Here are Kim and Rebecca duct taping that back door closed so we could use the clamps keeping that one together on the “front” door.

One of my favorite things was that my activity days girls (from when I served in the primary organization of our church) were old enough to be there and I love them so much. A couple were super homesick and one of my favorite moments was getting to buoy them up (and watching them hug and lift each other). The ability to lift is a beautiful thing. I tucked them safely in their tent after we knelt together and sent up a powerful prayer to Heaven that they could sleep, trying to act all nonchalant that there were so many bugs in their tent. Yikes!

But that prayer worked, and the next day was bright and sunny, and calm as could be.

No wind on the river and a couple good rapids.

Lucy LOVED her boat leader

We had lunch at camp and then we hiked up the river and floated down in our life jackets and it was dreamy.

Crafts galore complete with our river rafting guides telling the best stories to entertain us all:

The stars came out and we had devotional and testimony meeting and there is nothing better than hearing those budding testimonies, so earnest and tearful and beautiful filling up the starry night.

We stayed up late and talked and I found out one of my friends (a leader) is going through a pretty serious health crisis. She has been on quite a journey and I just wanted to hug her up and make sure she’s ok. Life is so hard sometimes!

But somehow camp helps you put it all in perspective.

All those good people nestled in under those bright stars in glowing tents, the spirit still lingering.

We woke up at 5:30am to pack up and head out and drive all day, our showers awaiting us to wash off the layers of dirt and grime. We were pleased as punch to hug up Dave and to sleep in our own beds.

So glad I got another chance to be so grateful for girls camp and how it builds all those involved. So grateful for how it changed me this time around.

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