August 13, 2015

Mission: Possible, YW camp 2015, part 1

The day after Layla's birthday, I headed out to spend a week at Ensign Ranch with the Young Women of our stake for girls camp.

I have a deep love of girls camp and the amazing experience it provides for the girls and the women of our stake. Our testimonies of Jesus Christ are strengthened, we become more unified as a stake and develop friendships, and we learn things about ourselves and who we are and about this beautiful world that we are blessed to live on.

I was thrilled to be able to go to YW camp this year, yet terrified to go as the Stake Assistant Camp Director.

Suzanne and I were novices at serving in this capacity, but I couldn't have asked for a better Director to figure things out with.

And it was her birthday on the first day of camp.

But I shouldn't get ahead of myself because YW camp was months in the making. Seriously, I had no idea how many meetings and how much time planning girls camp actually took. There were so many details to plan and organize.

One of the biggest items on our to-do list was deciding on the camp theme. Our stake YW's presidency had been talking before I was called as assistant and they wanted to have the theme have a focus on missionary work. When I heard this, my first thought was a little dream I'd had since I was a YCL at my own girls camp--Mission: Possible. 

You see, one year ,when I was a Laurel, they asked us as YCLs to give suggestions for next year's camp theme. My friend and I thought it would be so fun to have a Spy theme and use Mission: Possible.  We shared our idea, but our stake went with something else instead. 

Back then, I wanted to have that theme so I could run around like one of Charlie's Angels and wear sunglasses and pose with my fingers like a gun.

My reasons for suggesting Mission: Possible this year were a little different. I still thought the Spy theme would be fun, but mostly I wanted the girls to understand that each of them has important, unique missions to accomplish in their lives and those missions, and the ultimate mission to return to our Father in Heaven, are possible through Jesus Christ.  

We chose the scripture "With God, all things are possible." -Matt. 19:26

We decided on daily statements to help them understand their missions and how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can help them accomplish them. We shared these with the leaders who would be at camp so they could incorporate them into their plans for the girls.

Wednesday: Share the Gospel (be an everyday missionary, prepare to go on a full-time mission, set an example, bear your testimony and live it)

Thursday: Discover You Life's Mission (what are your talents, gifts and skills? how can you use them to bless others?, you have an individual worth and divine nature, what might your career be--nurse, mother, writer, personal trainer, zoologist, engineer??, What does Heavenly Father need YOU to do?, serve and uplift others each day, we have small daily missions (call your grandma, smile at a stranger, give advice to a friend, etc.) and missions that span a longer time (a church calling, the mother of an energetic kid or the mother of 8 kids, leading an organization, volunteering at a school, becoming a doctor etc.), how do you figure out what Heavnely Father needs you to do--prayer, the Holy Ghost, scripture study, your patriarchal blessing can guide)

Friday: Make and Keep Sacred Covenants (keep your baptismal covenants and prepare for temple covenants, make decisions today to help you return to Heavenly Father)

We got an amazing staff of women to work and plan with to get camp all together.  These are the four YCL advisors who worked with me and Suzanne.

At our first YCL meeting, we presented the theme, went over some housekeeping business, and took the girls pictures individually and in groups. 

Our next big meeting (there were plenty of smaller meetings in between these big events) was the YCL retreat. We stayed overnight at a beach house. The girls played games, met as committees, and we held devotionals. I got to speak to the girls about our theme, Mission: Possible.

The six of us and the YW Stake Presidency. I love these ladies.

Our High Council and Stake Presidency members. These are wonderful leaders.

We had meetings with the Camp Directors and level leaders, and then in May was the big Camp Kick-off with all of the girls.

Many of the wonderful women who served at camp . . .

Another one of our big meetings was right before camp. We ran around the gym like crazy sorting shirts, sweatshirts, preparing name tags and booklets, and finishing the backdrop.

Like I said, there were so many details to plan for camp that by the time July 7th rolled around we were ready to do it, not necessarily ready in the way that we felt confident that we had it all together and knew what we were doing, but ready to let it all play out, for good or for bad.