We came straight back from the mountains (back HERE and HERE), to unpack and repack for another trip to the mountains with this group:

 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.

I have sure grown attached to this spot over the years.  Last time I went I was in charge of our congregation of girls (since I served as the YW President), and I adored that time as well.  Lots more about that one back HERE…I can’t believe it’s been so many years!
Last time I went just with Elle. 
So much has changed!
The best thing that changed is that this year I went in the capacity of an advisor for the Mia Maids (14-15 year olds) and the ward photographer.  Much more in my comfort zone!…and also the reason for so many pictures…

This time around Grace was a YCL (Youth Camp Leader), and she shone with light and goodness looking after her little crew of girls.

Is it just me or can you see her light just shining away in the middle below?
Here she is with some of her 1st-year-girls she worked with…in their little cabin:

…and Claire was in Heaven since it was her first time in the big camp.

Our theme was B.O.O.T CAMP which stood for “Build Our Own Testimonies,” and it was beautifully woven into all the activities.
We got there and unpacked.
Those were the girls I got to share a cabin with up there^^
At lunch my friend told me that someone in the last stake there (who had taken over our buses when we got there to go home), had lice.  A girl had texted her daughter and shared that great news.
“But don’t worry, it was just in cabin 8.”
WHOA!  Who do you suppose happened to be in cabin 8?  Yep, you got it.  ME.
We disinfected everything as much as we could and hoped for the best.  So far so good…hoping that lasts!  Kind of freaked me out a little, gotta admit.
Here we are in our “lucky” cabin #8!
Ok, so on to camp.  I will let the pictures tell most of the story because I’m out of time!
We practiced for our little “dance-skit” that night.

(Claire was pretty into it:)

We played a game to help the girls get to know each other throwing this question ball around.

One of the things we carried around in our fanny packs were these BEADS to hand out to the girls when they did something great.

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:

“capers” (jobs):

(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:

The stake leaders did a dance I wish I had recorded, because seriously, it was awesome.  At the end they turned on their gloves which lit up as the lights went out and turned it into a huge dance party.

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!

A little of the art turned to hair…


By the end of the second day these girls sure were accumulating a lot of beads!

Our ward congregation bishopric came up the second night.

They brought us ice cream 🙂

Brought some great games and activities…

All the bishops got introduced in our gathering that second night.
Grace was the one who introduced ours.
…and she did a great job.

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.

These quotes along the sides made me completely tear up with the thoughts of what a powerful force women can be.

Back to the Faith Walk, each girl took a large rock along with a sample “burden” and carried it off along the trail.
Here are some examples of the burdens they carried:

They took them and thought about them as they walked with their heavy rocks.

Through the trails marked with scriptures, and beautiful music playing.

At the end of their trails they each read their “burdens” to each other.  I wasn’t there, but I think that’s such a beautiful way to gain empathy for the tough times others go through.
Then they gathered here again and were reminded that the Savior is always there to help them carry those burdens.  We all have them.  And we need not carry them alone.  He is there.
Then they had the opportunity to leave those burdens they had been carrying here.

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!


  1. OMG! Shawni! I was totally with you until I got to those plaques in the forest and now I'm shaking mad. How can you not see the message that women's contributions "are far greater contributions to society than those the lead armies or stand at the head of corporations!" in the home than leading armies or corporations! ?!??"" I would NEVER EVER denigrate the holy, important work of raising a family; it is my life's work. But I also know, see, and believe with every fiber of my being the women need to be heard, and lead, in the public spheres including the military, government, and corporations. This quote denigrates pubic sphere contributions by saying they are not as good. (And in turn we all know men are shaping our families forever as well) I am heartbroken for your daughters and the girls in your church are being taught that it's "better" for them to not pursue pubic life. These girls are just shinning in these photos, they have so much talent, and smarts, and leadership to give. Looks at the horrible policies regarding children, education, and the poor our government has going on right now?!? That you and your church want to deny them access to lead the change is just so sad. I cannot believe that a thoughtful woman like yourself doesn't see the problems with leadership, business, and government being all male.

    I'm giving eyerealm a big break. This is seriously so heartbreaking that it overshadows any great tips and ideas.

    1. Nowhere does it say these girls can't lead armies or influence the world. What it does say is the most important influence is in the home and nurturing family and children. Regardless of what education and career someone has their greatest influence for good or bad is IN THEIR HOME. That is who we are with day after day and we influence them. I know thousands of lds women, some stay home with their children, some work part time, some work full time in a great career. Most are well educated and amazing! These quotes don't denigrate women they just state the influence they can have.

    2. I found the quote upsetting at first too but decided to take a positive spin on it. After rereading it a few times, I think it's the word "greater" that put me off. I have no intention of becoming LDS and am not very knowledgeable about the faith but I'm choosing to believe that the statement is a form of encouragement to moms to know their work is important. Maybe the gentleman was trying to validate a mother's hard work? Let's remember that Shawni is a stay at home mom so is it wrong for her to identify enough with this statement to post and share? With all that said, I have to admit I'd have lots of questions to ask the gentleman who said it if I ever meet him! Until then, I choose to take a positive outlook.

    3. Yeah, I am with Jenny on this one. Read those plaques through the eyes of your young women Shawni. Do they REALLY make it clear it's ok to pursue ALL of their dreams? Including education, a career, motherhood, not motherhood, leading an army and being a kick-butt mom, etc. The GBH quote was OF course meant with love because the man was filled with love, but he was a product of his time and if you read the full talks where most of his quotes originate from – you will not want to share them with your growing daughters. They are sadly, really sexist. Based on your blog I know that you, Dave and Eyerealm are all for education and uplifting women, but do pay attention to the subtle messages these young girls are getting. Where is the "burden" of "I am a girl and I am really great at science and don't know if I want to be a mom, but my church tells me the best thing for me is to get married and have babies". Where is the burden "I am a girl, and think I might be gay, and pray nightly that I can be changed. I don't want to get married." Is anyone acknowledging these church imposed burdens that don't align with Christ's gospel anyway?

    4. I don't think the quotes in Shawni's post mean that women can ONLY have influence in the home, but I can see how a person might be concerned if that is how they are understood.

      I just got done reading the book "The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy" and thought it was interesting to note the Kennedy parents' view on parenthood. Joseph Kennedy Sr. was quoted, "There is no other success for a father and a mother except to feel that they have made some contribution to the development of their children." And of course he contributed a lot to the world outside of his home and held very prominent positions (and was not a Mormon). When Rose Kennedy was asked what job she might have pursued had she lived at a time when women have more opportunity she was quoted as saying, "I have no regrets whatsoever. A college president is a wonderful profession. But for me, raising a child is the most challenging and rewarding profession of all."

    5. I am not a LDS but have many friends who are, and I think it's important to note that these quotes are being experienced by those girls at that camp in a larger context that those outside are not necessarily seeing. That specific quote is perhaps problematic read one way, but if you read more of what he wrote (LDS or not, I found the book that quote comes from a very worthwhile read) you'll have something closer to the context that those girls have. I know that my friends who are LDS have high hopes and aspirations for their daughters professionally – just as they do for their sons. Far from being denigrating of the roles of women in the public sphere and the workplace, it's an encouragement that ALL mothers (and yes, as someone who struggled long and hard to have my children, the focus on motherhood can be difficult in ANY part of our society, not just the LDS church) that the unique contributions that mothers (and fathers) make to ALL of society as parents should not be minimized.

      Put it this way: I work in the public service sphere, and while the work I do is important (at least I like to think so), and I have an impact on many people with what I do, how much can I really reshape people's entire lives with what I do? As a mother, I have the job of shaping my children into the people they will become, so everything that THEY do – including how they shape the children they may one day have, and THEIR children's children – is also a reflection of my impact on the world.

      Ultimately – seen over the span of not just my lifetime but generations – shaping my children is going to have a far greater impact on the world than almost anything I could do in the workplace. That may not be true for everyone, of course, but very few have the types of jobs that can really have the kind of long-term impact that parenting has.

      Just wanted to add that thought as a non-LDS, professional working feminist mother, because I don't have a horse in the "how the LDS church treats or regards women" race.

    6. As LDS people we believe the family to be the most important unit in society and the best way to have a healthy society are healthy families. This is why our leaders say over and over why the roles of mothers and fathers are so important. We believe God has a plan for us that is centered around the family and so that is what is much of our focus is on in the church. It doesn't mean that careers, education or other ambitions are not valuable and important but our top priority is the family. I'm well educated and a strong woman and have chosen the last 18 years to stay home and raise 5 children. I'm now reentering the work force in my chosen field. It is what has been best for our family and I have been more than happy to be the primary caregiver to our brood of 5.

    7. This is one snippet of a talk, showing the importance of Mothers. I am LDS. I don't take it to mean I can't pursue my dreams nor tell my daughters they can't pursue theirs. In many other talks from our general authorities women have been encouraged to get an education and pursue their dreams, to make a contribution to society and be upstanding citizens. You can't take one quote and assume that is the only thing being taught. That's ignorant. I am a working LDS mother, everyone is in very different situations. I think the quotes are inspiring and help me to realize while I am making contributions elsewhere; the most important work happens in the home with your children, whether you are there for them all day, or just on the nights and weekends. Use your time with them wisely and to teach them to be good people. It in no way is meant to be stifling or demeaning.

    1. Wow, I am shocked by your negativity in both of your comments I have read. I am a mom of 4, grew up LDS, graduated as valedictorian of my high school, earned a bachelor's degree in education, taught school, and am now the president and co-owner of a successful apparel brand that is in retail stores including The Buckle, my husband and I also started a non-profit organization. With all of these "accomplishments" that I balance and in a chaotic schedule, the very most important thing I can do with my time is nurture, shape, and raise my children. No where have I been told that is "the only" thing I can do or that I can not do anything else or make any other contributions, but I have the opportunity to be a mother and that is something I do not take lightly. I have these children for such a short time and my influence will be felt for generations to come so it is vital that I demonstrate where my priorities are. This may be as simple as putting my phone down and taking a break from emails while I spend some quality time with my children. It may be hiring out some of my cleaning tasks around my house to free up time I need to be focusing on other things, but my influence serving others through the non-profit, spreading light and unity through our apparel brand, and as a mom are far too important and I know they are things I was sent here to Earth to do. I know without a doubt that I have contributions I need to make outside of the home and I have never once been told I should not do that-even as I keep my family my top priority. My children will benefit and be stronger because of the efforts I make to have strong attachments with them. They will be more resilient and even more independent as they grow up-this info is all very much research based. So YES when raising other human beings it is not putting women down to proclaim that we have this amazing opportunity and responsibility, it is elevating motherhood to its rightful place instead of looking down on it. Women definitely should be in business and government, but there are plenty of other ways to change the world as well ;).

  2. That camp looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. I love to see all those glowing girls and know they will bless the world in countless ways. Both I side and outside the home.

  3. I love girls camp (although I haven't gone since I was a YW myself), but my oldest daughter is a 1st year this year! I grew up in the Glendale Stake and went to Camp Lo Mia every year. Such wonderful memories. Thank you for reminding me of those wonderful times!

  4. Jenny- I am a male and I wanted to let you know what the church taught my mom and what it has meant. I had a somewhat non-supportive father growing up. The church taught my mom to love, support, and care for her kids, teaching them right from wrong, and helping them to become good people in the world. My mom was all of those things to me. She was always on the sidelines of EVERY one of my sports activities. She was there to comfort me during really hard times, and offer words of encouragement when I was down. I promise you that I would have turned out much worse were it not for my mom. Did she have a career? Somewhat? Did she do good in the world and make a difference, absolutely. But I don't care as much about those accomplishments as I do about what she did within our home. It put me on a different path in life, and broke the cycle where I saw exactly how I want to be with my own kids, and am trying my hardest to emulate her example. That is what those quotes are saying. It is good to accomplish a lot of worldly things, sure. It is more important to try and love your kids and help them become amazing people, absolutely. See, it is not a male/female thing, it is more important for men to raise good families than it is for them to be CEO of some company. The church teaches that families are the most important thing.

    1. Cam- thank you for sharing about your mom. And I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that your comment was well intentioned.

      But a word of advice- in the future, when you come across a forum where women are debating and discussing their roles, walk away. You just did one of the most classic examples of "man-splaining" I've ever seen. Women can have a discussion about the roles of motherhood, or careers, or their importance to raising well rounded children without a man butting in to explain what's right and wrong.

    2. And that sounds just a tad sexist that I cannot "butt" in to share what the church, the same one Jenny is slamming from a very inspiring quote, actually teaches and how it can work out in a positive way. Sorry, I must have missed the disclaimer that this was a women-only comment section.

    3. Do you even know what sexism means? Here's the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary:

      "Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex."

      So me pointing out how uncomfortable for a man to come into a space, with the introduction, "I am a man", and then assert how a woman should interpret a quote about women (which you did when you said, "That is what those quotes are saying,") and then ascribe more worth to a CERTAIN type of woman (which you did when you said, "It is good to accomplish a lot of worldly things, sure. It is more important to try and love your kids and help them become amazing people, absolutely.") is NOT SEXISM. In fact, I'd argue your comment is more aligned with anything that'd be considered sexist. There are different types of women- those that stay at home, those that work to make ends meet, those that can't have kids, those that choose not to have any. And none of those women are more important than the other.

      We are constantly surrounded, every day, by women battling it out over this topic. So while of course this isn't a women's only comment section, yes, I think you should butt out. We gift enough amongst each other. We don't need a man adding fuel to the fire when it's not your battle in the first place.

    4. I really appreciated Cam's input and am grateful he shared such insightful views on being raised by a valiant and upstanding mother. I hope I can be like her one day. I also hope my son would have the courage and the love to say the same in my behalf.
      Thanks for having the integrity to stand for family and the worth of a mother, Cam. If no one else took anything from it, a mother in CO did and found it inspiring.

    5. Wow, just, wow, RHrad. Does this mean that no woman should ever comment in a forum where primarily men are having a discussion about "male topics"? Thanks for setting the concepts of equality and open expression back 100 years.

    6. I feel like I misrepresented myself with my comment. OF COURSE I appreciate a mans opinion. I mean, good grief. I'm not a psycho.

      My problem- which I outlined in other comments, and admittedly didn't do so well shaping in this original one- is not a man commenting. It's that a man commented saying "this is what that actually means" in response to a woman voicing her opinions about why that quote caused some discomfort. Cam seems great. I hope we cleared the air with later comments. Br Cam does not have the right to police how a woman interprets an ambiguous comment. I believe Cam's intentions were honorable, I guess I take umbrage with his phrasing. Something I will admit I clearing got wrong as well.

      It was a knee jerk reaction- one I won't delete, because it brought me some introspection and also a chance to voice a view I don't often see in Shawni's comments. I apologize that I didn't use my words in a way that expressed my true feelings

      But to say my comments "set equality and open expression back 100 years" is utterly ridiculous.

  5. I'm with Kara13 on this one. The quote rubbed me the wrong way, but I'm choosing to believe it was well intentioned.

    In general, I also hate it when men, church leader or not, feel the need to outline the right and wrong ways to be a woman. I will never be on board with that.

    But, I agree with Kara13 that the quote was likely meant to be a form of validation to mothers and women who choose to stay at home. Granted, it's disappointing to have to underhandedly criticize other choices in order to extend that validation, but, I agree that the intent was good.

    1. I know you don't care to hear my thoughts on this topic (being a man and all), but I think where the disconnect is between Kara13 (and you) and the quote, is the belief that the stronger the families, the stronger the society. President Hinckley obviously believes that this is true. I tend to agree with him, as I believe we have seen a deterioration of society and families over the last 50 years. Maybe you don't believe this to be true. President Hinckley was not criticizing a women's career choice, only stating his beliefs that a strong society comes from a strong family. And if that is the case, it would stand to reason that a women's (or man's) greatest contribution to society would be creating a strong home.

    2. Then the plaque should say that a "woman AND a man's greatest contribution to society would be creating a strong home." The mindset of the "weaker sex" does a disservice to both sexes, our children, our community, our government, our businesses, and our future.

    3. Hi Cam, I agree with you that it is just as sexist to not hear your words because you are a man offering your experiences. Your mom sounds awesome. GBH was the my main prophet growing up, and I can assure anyone that he was a man full of love. However it does make me really uncomfortable to read most of his archived talks regarding women and they are horribly, embarrassingly condescending. I don't think that was ever his intention, simply that he was a product of his time, unfortunately. But I do think the message that you and the church are trying to convey – that family should matter above all other worldly accomplishments is a great one, and shared by more than just Mormons. I do think that the quotes on all those plaques, taken together by a developing young woman certainly send a message that her best use is to have and raise kids, and those girls may come away with the idea that getting education and starting a career is selfish. Do you think your mom would have had an easier time if she had had a great education with a marketable skill before having babies? Do you think that your if your mom HAD been wildly successful in the working world she would have been any less the amazing woman you knew her to be?

    4. Exactly!!! The LDS church would never is a million years apply this quote to a woman AND A MAN. No idea what the plaques in priesthood camp or whatever they call it say but I'm sure it isn't this.

      And Cam the man is 100% proving my point better than I ever could. I mean seriously the fact that these girls and women have to listen and be lead by "lay leaders" like Cam is crazy. It's intolerable that these girls are subjected to this limiting world view; no amount of "good behavior beads" and other positive reinforcement makes up for it.

    5. A- That quote very well could have come from a talk specifically given to women, in which case might be weird for him to talk about Men. I know there are talks given to men telling us how to be better husbands or fathers that don't make mention of women. I'm not sure where that quote came from.


      My mom actually went to college and got a master's degree in accounting (she was one of the only women in the accounting program at the time). She then went on to be a vice president of a bank before getting married and having kids. Taken out of context, quotes like those can seem to emphasize girls getting married and having kids over education. I feel like my experience in the church (the majority of it being outside Utah), actually pushes women to get an education and have marketable skills. I know I want my daughters to do that. I'm just saying that had my mom been a CEO of the bank AND because of that, less present in my life to teach me things, I would be somewhere completely different. I know I wouldn't be the involved Dad I am to my kids. Now, the question is could my mom have been CEO of the bank and still taught me and been there for me, quite possibly. I don't think the quote is trying to minimize anyone that chooses to have a career, only to state that those things might not be the most important in this life. I often ask myself if, at the end of my life, I will wish I had worked more to gain more in this world, or listened a little more, or been there a little more, or taught a little more to my kids.

      Thanks for the good conversation and thoughts.

    6. Jenny-

      The only reason I stated that I was man is so that people knew where I was coming from, not being a mom. There is no power suggested by that, although you do seem to infer a lot of negative things that fit the narrative in your head.

      I am not a lay leader over any girls actually, and have always been a proponent of equal rights, treatment, etc of everyone. I tell my girls everyday of their life that they can be anything they want to be and to work hard to achieve it. I believe in building people up, not tearing them down.

      And actually, I have never seen that quote before, but I can tell you a very recognized quote for LDS men is about the most important work we will ever achieve in this life is within the walls of our own home. Also there is the one about our most important calling in this life is being a husband and father. so, yes, there are many quotes given to men in the church stating almost the exact same thing as the quote says above.

    7. Cam sadly it's a very common thing to attack those posting here. It's good you said you were a man. It's fine that others disagree still or you further convinced them their own viewpoint. What seems excessive to me is to dismiss you cause are male. It borders on name calling. Recently politeness has gone out the window and not only is it okay to be against something it's evolved into it being okay to be against the people who are for the thing you are against. It's sad. Where did kindness and being free to think differently go? What a boring world if everyone thought the same.

    8. Jenny (also) I actually think that is where you are wrong. The leaders of the church would absolutely say the same thing to men. It is one of my favorite thing about the church. They don't teach women that they need to somehow be like men to be worthwhile. I feel like if anything, the church teaches men to be more like women! I love the emphasis on male chastity, for example, and the idea that God's preferred title is "Heavenly Father". Of all of his achievements "Father" is what he chooses to emphasize.

  6. I feel compelled to say one last thing (because I think I've taken up enough space already with my thoughts)- while I'm uncomfortable with the words on the plaque, and frustrated by some of the comments by another person, I loved this post Shawni. I'm not LDS, but I love reading posts about girls camp each year by the LDS bloggers I follow. Can't beat some time away with a gaggle of girls to relate, communicate, and just enjoy each other for a while with less complications. It's amazing to be able to feel their happiness and excitement just through your pictures. They all radiate it.

  7. RHrad-

    I'm sorry my comments frustrated you. That was not my intention. If you had commented on an article about men being dads and shared your thoughts about your own dad, I would have never thought to come out and tell you stay out of it, because your experiences on the topic are just as real as mine would be. Sexism can go both ways, just as prejudiced and racism can.

    1. Thanks cam. Like I said, I appreciate your story about your mom. It's clear you love her. And it's clear she's a great woman.

      We will just have to agree to disagree about whether or not sexism and racism go both ways. I don't believe they do.

      If you're interested, here are some articles that talk about the topic a bit and outline some of the reasons why they many people believe they don't go both ways. I don't agree with all points, but many make a lot of sense to me:




      Also, I truly appreciate your thoughts. I also can tell you mean well. But I urge you to reconsider some of the language you use when you try to have a discussion. More "I feel this way" and less "this is what that means" lead to fruitful discussion and less "one more man telling us women how we should interpret and feel about things." I literally get that all day. Every day. It's exhausting.

    2. Well that is a whole other discussion, ha. Take racism, I feel (see, taking your advice :)), that anytime you judge someone because of their race that it is racist. If a black person hates a white person they do not know because that person is white, what is it called then? Now with this being said, I do believe that racism and sexism are much more prevalent by certain races and sexes.

    3. RHrad, not to be nitpicking (though obviously I am 🙂 ), but you contradict yourself:

      To define sexism you use the Oxford English Dictionary:
      "Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, TYPICALLY against women, on the basis of sex."
      If it's typically, there has to be the untypical: against men, so it goes both ways.

  8. Oi. Lice. My 4th year, our Girl's Camp got shut down because of a lice infestation. Ew ew ew. Anyone else itching their scalps? 😜

  9. The quotes are not the immortal words of scripture. However I thank God I wasn't born LDS since I could not have a biological child. Gosh it would be agony. I do wonder why so much time seems to be spent on talking and listening to other members and leaders, even putting their quotes up everywhere and less focus on scripture.

    1. Parenting isn't just a sliver of life for parents. The lds church believes in a plan from God that focuses on family. That is why there is such an emphasis. There are obviously circumstances where people cannot have children or choose not to but we believe strong families are the best way to have a healthier society. That is why our leaders talk about the valuable influences of mothers and fathers and how these influences are more important than careers and other ambitions. It doesn't mean those aren't valuable as well but family is of highest priority.

    2. Parenting happens until kids are old enough to look after themselves. People spend more time working and a good chunk of time being students. Even the parent who stays home with the kids may work twenty years in latter life. Thank goodness I adopted so I am can be healthy. If God wanted families and nothing but everyone would have children who wanted them and no one would need to find a family or need to find a child to fit that little important box. I think other Christian's focus on the fact everyone has a Father. It just seems like they are occupied almost all the time to prevent mischief and being trained to go on a mission, marry before college is done and have a larger than normal family size to increase membership but not too many that life doesn't look good from the outside. Church is supposed to help people have a relationship with God. He is who we want to spend eternity with?

    3. You're not "born" any religion. When people get to an age where they are mature enough (NOT 8 !!) they should research the beliefs they were raised with and also those of other religions and make a conscious, adult choice as to what religion (if any) they want to practice.

    4. Parenting doesn't end when they grow up, I am very much involved with my parents and in laws and they are a huge part of my children's lives. We as LDS people believe we will be with our families in eternity and believe those family relationships help us get closer to God.

    5. The relationship is not one of parenting once the child reaches adulthood. They have their own home. They may be parenting themselves.

  10. I'm with Jenny on this one. The Hinckley quote presents motherhood and leadership of an army or corporation as an either/or, when it shouldn't be. We should be encouraging young women to pursue any goal they choose, not teaching them that goals to lead and succeed outside the home are less valuable. We all have different talents and it is important that young women with the potential to make an impact as scientists or lawyers or government officials etc etc are supported and encouraged to do so, not told that they should stay in the kitchen.

  11. The quotes above are said in love. I grew up as a youth when Pres Hinckley was prophet and never felt that I couldn't do or be anything. He actually very much encouraged everyone, both male and female to get an education. And I did. I graduated from university and now have a family. We live in a time where our time and attention is being pulled in many different directions. Many good directions. But the purpose of the quotes is to inspire us. Families are the foundation of a community. If families break down, so do many other areas of our society. Life is hard and instead of tearing each other down, we should try to lift one another. Being a mother or a father and being 'present' in the lives of our children is our most important work. It is good to be an influence in our communities and we should be, but if doing this we neglect our families that can't possibly have a positive outcome. Please don't take these quotes in the wrong light. That is not the intention of them.

    1. Right, but we can do both. Pursuing and valuing a career is not a selfish act, nor is it wrong or selfish not to want to have children at all. This quote is displayed at a site dedicated to young women, and it is hard to see how it doesn't send them a message about the kind of life the church expects them to pursue.

  12. There's two quotes by president Hinckley and one says that husband and wife walk side by side. I think it's easy to read the first quote and get mad. I grew up LDS with Gordon B Hinckley as a prophet and never once felt that he or other members of the church didn't value women outside the role of mothers. Growing up in the church there was a huge emphasis on education. All of the girls I grew up with at church got graduate degrees and now work full or part time. I'm a mother of almost 5, and I've always worked. I grew up with an LDS father constantly telling my sisters and I that we could do amazing things and have any career we wanted and make a difference. He constantly encouraged us to be and do more then he ever accomplished. Maybe I've lived a different life, but growing up LDS I always felt pushed academically, while also being taught to keep a balance and find the value and importance of family. I think the quote that upset some was simply taken out of context. I've heard that quote before, and never took offense by it. Being a working mother is hard, but that quote reminds me why I put so much work into my role as mother after a long work day. My children are important and so is my role as their mother.

  13. Whoa, sounds like that quote ruffled a few feathers, and I have to say that I get where those that didn't like it were coming from because maybe it's a little out of context here. But I have to say Gordon B. Hinckley is one of my childhood heroes and encouraged both men and women to put forth their very best. In education, in love, and in raising families. Oh if you knew that man and saw the twinkle in his eye you would never think what he said was degrading or offensive because he said it with pure love. He was a cheerleader for everyone and I was so grateful for quotes like this as I was trying to raise my young children. I believe that strong families are the most powerful force on earth and that they are building blocks of strong societies as they raise the future. I'm so grateful for mothers AND fathers who put nurturing as a top priority. Everyone sees things from a different perspective, as is very evident from these comments and that is so great because we can learn so much from each other if we try to put ourselves in their shoes.

    I'm pretty sure every woman at this camp came home feeling empowered and loved, and I am so incredibly grateful for opportunities like this for young women. Especially since I have four of them! Things like this have changed their lives for the better and I'm so grateful for all the countless hours of prep and planning that went into all the activities to build and validate and nurture and empower.

  14. I was also affected by the quote above. I work outside of the home full-time, and I am a mother of three. The quote is, in my opinion, antiquated. I think the quote would be better suited to this setting (a campsite designed to lift up and inspire these young women) if a period came after the word society. Any woman – working full time outside of the home or not, mother or not – should be praised for making their house a home where their families and friends can feel welcome and loved.

    Shawni – I am glad that you shared this camp experience. It is apparent that these girls get a wonderful opportunity for bonding and building friendships, in addition to exploring their faith, which at the age of 14-15 years old is invaluable. (Like Lisa – I wam also interested in the clothes pin game you photographed).

  15. I'M BACK!! (Hi, Shawni) I have been silent for a while but had to come out of lurkdome to comment on THOSE PLAQUES… I can't say it better than some of the previous commenters – so I will just say SERIOUSLY, SHAWNI?? Mothers AND Fathers make a house a home. Two MOTHERs make a house a home. SINGLE MOTHERS make a house a home…

  16. Shawni, your blog has had such a positive influence on how I have raised my children the past few years. Thank you for sharing and for opening yourself up to criticism.

    To those of you who aren't LDS who are worried about how women are treated/viewed in the LDS church I would invite you to read a talk given by Gordon B. Hinckley in 2004 about women: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2004/10/the-women-in-our-lives?lang=eng

    The LDS Church puts a huge emphasis on education and owns and operates BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and LDS Business College. AND the church puts a huge emphasis on the importance of families. Taking quotes out of context and becoming offended by them is ignorant. I loved the comment (by Liss, a non-LDS reader) above and hope it's okay to re-post part of her comment here for those who missed it:

    "Put it this way: I work in the public service sphere, and while the work I do is important (at least I like to think so), and I have an impact on many people with what I do, how much can I really reshape people's entire lives with what I do? As a mother, I have the job of shaping my children into the people they will become, so everything that THEY do – including how they shape the children they may one day have, and THEIR children's children – is also a reflection of my impact on the world.

    Ultimately – seen over the span of not just my lifetime but generations – shaping my children is going to have a far greater impact on the world than almost anything I could do in the workplace. That may not be true for everyone, of course, but very few have the types of jobs that can really have the kind of long-term impact that parenting has."


  17. I agree with that quote as well. I think what people including myself are taking issue with is the fact that these young women are being taught that they must choose motherhood exclusively and not also know that they have career opportunities available to them as human beings.

    All of these young women will no doubt go to college and come out with a degree of some kind. Why not encourage them to put it to use and have a satisfying career AND ALSO be a mother. It is possible and very common to do BOTH.

    Why aren't the men told that they should put raising their families first and not have a career? What if the father is the more nurturing one in the family and the mother has potential to make a six figure income? Is that not ok? Or do LDS believe that a father is not capable of being the more nurturing parent, that it's a FEMALE trait?

  18. I had to comment on the lice issue! I remember what we now loving call "lice fest 2003" being the craziest but eventually best year of my girls camp experience! Learning that the previous Stake who used our campsite had had lice was bad, then learning that the stake at the other campsite (our big camp had two separate areas) was dealing with lice and THEN one of the wards in our stake hadn't done a lice check the morning we left for camp… we were a disaster! Hope y'all left lice-free!

  19. I love this discussion here in the comments.

    When I was in college, I was talking to my mom about my career choices and plans. I told her I was contemplating going to dental school after I finished my undergrad, but dental school was very expensive, and I was scared of the large amount of debt. I said "what if I get married and what if I want to stay home with my kids when I am a mom? What will I do with all that debt from dental school?" My mom said, "what if you don't get married? It sounds like you are planning your life around ifs. Just study it out and figure out what career you really want and take the marriage and family decisions when you comes to that bridge. You will know what do if and when that time comes."

    We are LDS.

    I think (I hope!) if you attended a young women's group, for a length of time, you would see that the young women are very much encouraged to seek out education/professional training and choose careers they will excel in. In our local congregation, we hold a career fair for our young women once a year and invite members of the community to come teach our young women about their professions. We've had HR reps, a private investigator, teachers, hospital administrators, a mechanic, an industrial hygienist, an oral surgeon, a dentist, a Nurse Practioner, an anesthesiologist, police officer, and the list goes on and on. We had two girls interested in becoming writers, and we lined up interviews with a local author for them.

    We also had a night once a year where we talked about college prep, college entrance exams, and admissions processes.

    At the time I served in YW, my fellow leaders were a part-time physician, a full time hospital administrator, a part-time caregiver, a full time Human Resources personnel, a full time organizer for hospice, and one stay-at-home mom. Our diversity is a living example of the many choices young women have to choose from.

    There are always ways we can improve, and I like discussions like this because it makes me think twice about the words I use with my kids and the youth when discussing this topic. So much we can learn from each other in this great world.

    1. I agree, fantastic conversation. I see everything you describe at the "ground level" in my Utah area as well, but I think we need to be introspective about where the message is getting lost. It may be getting lost with the very small and subtle ways, where whoever choose those plaques did not dedicate a plaque to one of the MANY times Pres. Hinckley told girls "get all the education you can", but instead choose a quote that out of context does in fact make it seem that family and career ought to be an either/or choice.

      I have been in on a many conversations with a governor appointed task force here in Utah to address the fact that Utah has awesome college entry statistics, but is near the bottom of the nation on completion. Here is a link to a somewhat old article if you are interested. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865559772/More-college-age-students-finishing-degrees-but-women-still-lagging-behind-in-Utah.html
      We have yet to figure out WHY women are starting, but not graduating with statistical assurance, but it IS hugely problematic. I too have been in YW presidencies with a large blend of working and non-working women, and every blend in between and on a personal level, I never felt 2nd class, but institutionally, there is certainly more seal claps for a non-working SAHM. In much the same way that young single adults struggle to find their spot in "the plan" and at church, so too does anyone not fitting into the traditional roles that are set up as IDEAL within the framework of the entire church, and laid out very clearly in the Proclamation on the family – An entire document dedicated to making it clear that the Lord and the Church have a singular idea of what is best – oh but you're still great if you are one of the many who don't fall into that norm, you are given one itty-bitty sentence saying "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." And we wonder why and how our strong daughters are receiving mixed messages?

    2. Yes exactly! I feel this way, too, Natalie. I think it's so important to not think of others who are in the "necessitate individual adaptation" category as afterthoughts.
      I love what you say about having another plaque that also includes Pres. Hinckley's other quote about getting all the education you can get. You hit the nail on the head. The little things we say and the subtle messages we send out have just as great, if not greater effect, on our youth than the big events.
      I guess I feel like my Young Women leaders never really played up the stay at home mom card when I was a young woman…but most of mine worked part time or full time. The few stay at home moms I had as a youth, had college degrees, and had worked or planned on returning to work at some point. I grew up in Montana, and I know Idaho and Utah tend to have a little bit different of cultural expectations with high populations of members living there.
      You know, it just makes me so grateful for those leaders and my mom. She was such a champion for us girls doing the best we could at whatever we chose (the same as she did with my brothers.)
      When I served in Young Women's recently, (here in Oregon), I was really impressed with our other leaders and how they treated the young woman and inspired them. I really admired how they deliberately tried to focus on doctrines and not cultural expectations…even "Mormon cultural" expectations, perhaps because our leaders were so diverse themselves that we all fell into the adaptation category????
      Maybe it is easier to not fall into those pitfalls since we live in an area not heavily populated with members???

      Like you said, lots of room for introspection here. Culture vs. Doctrine. The Lord creates the doctrine, and we the people tend to form the culture around it. Picking out a plaque with a quote from a prophet doesn't seem like shaping culture from the surface, but when you realize how out of context it is and what message it can send when it is out of context, it definitely can shape culture.
      I'm not very articulate, but I love these ideas you bring up Natalie!

  20. My knowledge of Mormonism comes largly from blog reading, so…
    I have no doubt that men and women are encouraged to educate themselves (I actually find this very positive). Yet I read so many times how thankful LDS women are that their husbands provide and that they get to be SAHM. There is nothing wrong with that!

    But is my impression wrong that the church does promote the traditional lifestyle of men working outside and women working insude the home? There might be other examples, but they don't seem to be the majority.

    The quote might be taken out of context. But then it is also taken out of context on the plaque. And if the majority of LDS women are SAHM, girls might (as some readers here) easily get the impression that they should be mothers and not CEOs.

    1. I'm an LDS woman and for many years the ideal was taught to have mom at home with the kids. However in the last few years things have shifted quite a bit. We are a global church and often if a woman doesn't work the family doesn't eat or thrive. So that narrative has changed. Education has always been highly encouraged. My parents treated their sons and daughters the same in the education and career department, I was encouraged to get my education, work, travel etc before I married. The average age for marriage in my family of 7 kids was 25-26. That's considered "older" in the lds culture but I'm so glad I was 25 when I married,
      I had great life experiences beforehand. Also I know thousands of lds women and honestly many more than half of them work. Many work part time or work from home or start a business so they are flexible for their kids needs. Some work full time in a career they love and have their kids in day care. Many work full time as a sole supporter of their family due to death of a spouse or divorce or disability of a spouse. I've stayed at home for the better part of 18 years raising my kids, I've worked some during that time but mostly been at home. we are not wealthy, I just happen to be a magician with a budget 😜. We live in a tiny house, drive older cars, don't take extravagant trips, kids clothes are bought on sale or hand me downs etc. Our life doesn't look like the Pothiers (not being critical just being real) but it's a great life and I wouldn't change a thing.

    2. The quote is found in Gordon b Hinckleys book
      Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

    3. Thank you Cheryl for an honest and differentiating answer and thank you Jones for the book (though I'm not as interested as to actually read a whole book… 😉 )!

  21. This looks like a great girls camp!! What a fun experience to have with your daughters- I'm sure they will never forget having you up there with them!

  22. Love this Camp. Love the B.O.O.T Camp theme of Build Our Own Testimonies. Love the quotes! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Fact is, a mother's role in the home (meaning raising her children) is far more important than any work she will do in the workplace. That's a truth. I love Gordon B. Hinckley and I know his love and respect for all of God's children. It's too bad some commenters felt the need to twist the meaning of something positive to something negative. Thanks to Cam for sharing. And thanks to you Shawni for posting such wonderful things- despite the constant attacks in the comment section. I love your blog. I hope you never let the negative voices stop you from the good you are doing in the blogging world. I appreciate you!!! -Lisa in WA

  23. Thanks so much for this post Shawni! It has helped me so much as I speak to our own Girl's Camp this week! What an awesome bunch! So happy to see Grace and Claire's bright lights!

  24. this is my first time to your blog. love the discussion happening. for me the term "home" can mean many things, for we are all mothers.
    outside the home-i have a sister who had no children of her own and "mothered" my children by encouraging them to be good people, laugh at yourself, and showed them life goes on after a divorce.
    at school- my daughters had some wonderful teachers and professors that "mothered" them by encouraging and teaching them physiology, trig, anatomy, human behavior, volleyball, tennis, team work, web design, public speaking etc.
    at work- my oldest daughter works with a group of women from varying ages and backgrounds and they "mother" each other as they help one another and "be there" for each other.
    we all "mother" as we help to build one another in any and all situations.
    mothering doesn't stop when we are adults. having a caring female in your life is part of mothering. be that "mothering" influence where you are, and that is "home".

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