Yes, it was time for Young Women camp.
I felt so lucky I got to go with these girls of mine:
…and forty-four others I love so much I would like to claim as my own as well:
Oh, and these women?
I learned so much from them. They are good to the core.
And they all know how to rock the fanny-pack. HA! We had all these little things to carry around up there so our camp director found these online and they worked perfect:)
Ok, but let’s back up for just a sec, because I need to explain a little of what camp is for those who don’t know.
Girls’ Camp usually happens once a year in the summer. Here in the desert we have mostly done it on a stake level, which means all the congregations that make up a “stake” join together to make this happen. We didn’t do camp last year since it was our “Trek” year and so much was going into that (read all about that experience I loved back HERE). You have to be 14 to go on Trek, so the under 14s did their own little camp back HERE, which Claire adored.
But this year we were back on stake camp in this gorgeous spot up in the mountains that the church has set aside and actually blessed to be a gathering spot for young women.
This time around Grace was a YCL (Youth Camp Leader), and she shone with light and goodness looking after her little crew of girls.
…and Claire was in Heaven since it was her first time in the big camp.
(Claire was pretty into it:)
We played a game to help the girls get to know each other throwing this question ball around.
And they got to turn them in for snacks and/or treats. Wish I had a picture of that little table where they could turn stuff in!
But here are Grace and Piper enjoying one thing they “bought” there.
Where we ate:
(LOVE that mutual theme this year!…more about that HERE)
Love that these sisters got to be together.
Here’s a little clip of our ward’s skit:
We had our own ward dance party that night in our little gathering spot.
Love the smiles that come out when a dance party begins.
…and also that I get to be behind a camera rather than dance 🙂
These leaders were cracking me up.
One of my favorite parts was the next day when this guy from our stake who had been a marine spoke:
Honestly, he was pretty amazing.
He told us his story of how he built his own testimony (the theme), and it was so beautiful. It involved his mother passing away, and his anger at God, and his journey to figure out what brought peace and happiness.
My favorite part was when he talked about how we all have “good seeds” given to us in life. From our parents, leaders, teachers, friends, church, scriptures, etc. Sometimes, like up at camp, those good seeds are so plentiful it’s almost like they’re raining down on us.
But no matter how many seeds are thrown, or how good they are WE are the ones who have to decide for ourselves to plant them in our hearts. They will just be scattered to the wayside unless we make room for them.
There are so many SEEDS I want to plant in my heart that I learned from those three days up at camp.
In downtime the girls painted, among other things.
But I took pictures of the painting because boy howdy do we ever have some good artists among these girls!
Our ward congregation bishopric came up the second night.
They brought us ice cream 🙂
The Stake Presidency joined us that night too and did their own little deal.
And then, my favorite part of camp:
The TESTIMONY MEETING where each girl got a chance to share their feelings about the Savior and the gospel.
It’s always my favorite part of camp.
The spirit was so thick and beautiful surrounding us as these girls shared their thoughts, their worries, their triumphs, their vulnerability, and as we could all feel the love of God encircling us and loving us all, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made or sorrows we’ve endured.
He is there.
And that night, we all felt it in strong force.
Our ward YCLs:
The best part of the last day was this little gathering:
I’m going to call it the FAITH WALK.
It was where the girls got to walk on these trails and think more about how much the Savior wants to help carry their burdens.
He has already paid for them.
They met in this little grove where there are all these cool things about families. I think this is new because I haven’t seen it before.
They took them and thought about them as they walked with their heavy rocks.
Through the trails marked with scriptures, and beautiful music playing.
Symbolically representing how we can cast our burdens on the Lord and He will guide us through.
Oh how I hope these girls will remember this in their lives. I look at each one of them and realize yes, there are hard times to come. Who knows what they will be? They could be little things or big things. But through them all, I hope they will remember in whom to put their trust. And who can make their burdens light. The One who loves them more than they can ever imagine. The One who died for them and suffered for every hard thing they will come across.
Oh I hope they will remember that.
As they let those seeds of Faith I talked about earlier take root in their hearts along the road.
I love girls’ camp!