Friday, September 11, 2015

Girls Camp

Two weeks after I left Kneaders I got called to be the Girls Camp Director of our ward.  I love Girls Camp, and I think that Heavenly Father needed me to have lots of time to devote to this. It was a tender mercy for me to have a big project to work on as I transitioned into retirement. Growing up one of our favorite things to do was to make matching pajama pants for camp. Our ward split in October and as a new ward the budget was lean. I felt very strongly from the beginning that I needed to do everything possible so that my girls didn't feel like they were less than another ward just because we were new. I came up with an idea for a fundraiser to buy fabric to make pajama pants. I decided we should make and sell freezer rolls. That way we wouldn't have to bake anything, just make the dough. We sent out the fundraiser sheets during third hour of the block and in that one hour we raised twice the amount of money we were hoping for. It  was such a vote of confidence that I could pull this off. Next we had to actually make 90 dozen rolls, freeze them and deliver them. I just needed something to do in my free time I guess. ;) Very quickly I realized we needed more freezer space. The rolls were very quick to rise in a hot and humid place. We had been talking about buying a deep freezer and this sealed the deal. Our little apartment turned into a commercial kitchen. (I use that lightly.) The girls were rolling and helping but we definitely needed more than an hour to make all 90dz. You know those friends that know you won't ask for help and just show up and help? I have a couple of those. Debra and Emily came over one day to help roll and make the rolls. Debra left me her bosch so I could do two batches at a time. She came back the next week and even stashed several dozen in her freezer. Scott helped roll dough, and the yw came over on Friday night and helped roll some more. Saturday came and we got the rolls delivered.

It really is nice to be married to an engineer, because poor Julia got overheated an hour before I was supposed to go teach the YW. Husbands are pretty awesome. 

Something that is a little different here than what I grow up with is the girls are supposed to do pre-certification before camp. Fires, Hiking, and Cooking. Girls Camp here is more of a Girls Camp/EFY Hybrid. We worked really hard to get all of our girls done with their pre-certifcation before camp. It made complete sense when I got to camp though, I wouldn't trade the spiritual experiences and watching these girls learn and teach each other for anything. We hiked, we built fires, and we cooked. Making cake in Oranges was a hit! I grew up at 7,000ft, and as hard as it is to hike in altitude I would pick that over hiking in humidity every time.

For our hike we walked a nature trail and then hiked up a monster hill to the temple.

We were soaked by the time we got to the temple. The fitbit tracked that the last hill to the temple we climbed 17 flights. At the temple I gave each girl a hanger with this quote on it. 

Hang on to your values, hang on to your goals, hang on to your testimony, so one day you can hang your temple dress on me.  When we got to the temple I gave a little devotional about why it's so important we continue to work hard to be temple worthy.  Just like climbing the hill. It was a really sweet moment. 

We were asked to make a mailbox for our ward and I had this idea to make ours into a Koi Pond. Each girl got to decorate their own fish, and my sister Kristin freehanded the Evans Ranch in puff paint. I just love the personality that came out. 

I ordered the fabric and two of the YW advisors worked out master pattern/cutting layouts for the pants. They cut all the patterns and had them printed on butcher paper and ironed them to the fabric. We had one activity to cut out all the pants. For a second activity I arranged to have Moms and anyone else who wanted to help sew come to the church and sew pajama pants. We had a huge turnout! I only had to do a couple finishing things on 3-4 pairs. For 15 pairs of pajamas it was a miracle. One of the sisters in the ward even made the girls matching headbands out of the scrap fabric.

I made each of the girls lanyards too. 

These were the tags for their doors and little magnet tags for their bunks. The theme was Mission Possible and we were assigned Japan as our country. 

I made some little treats to give to the girls during camp. 
I learned how to make a flagpole with concrete in a bucket. We covered everything in red glitter spray paint because that's what you do. Each of the girls wrote their names and favorite scriptures on ribbons and tied them to the flag pole. I spent several hours with Vicki Cho's Origami School for White Girls so I could teach the YW how to fold origami cranes. We folded a bunch and strung them into garlands. 

This was the craft that I taught at camp. We made scripture cases out of duct tape. 

Reason #23720385092385 why I married him. The night before we were supposed to leave my trailer I had lined up bailed. Mr. Daly managed to pack 15 girls + 2 leaders worth of stuff into two cars. 

Ready to go! 

I found out one of my girls had a birthday the first day we were at camp. So naturally we needed a piñata. 

Some of the girls weren't able to make the pants activities so I was really worried that the pants might not fit. Miracle of miracles they all fit. They looked fantastic! I was so proud of us! 

This is Laurie my YW's president. She's absolutely incredible, hilarious, spiritual, and a dear dear friend. 

For one of the crafts I brought extra fabric and we made matching flip flops. 

Orientation selfie. 

The girls were in classes in the morning, and had free time in the afternoons. One of the afternoons we had ward bonding time. One of the girls had told me one of her favorite memories from camp was playing duck, duck, goose with shaving cream. I was more than on board with this plan so I cleared the shelf at the dollar store with shaving cream. We went to camp in the middle of July in TX. It was HOT! I decided we should just play in the shallow end of the river. It was a complete riot. We had one round and it didn't go as well, so I decided to show them how it's done. I goosed a girl with a big handful of shaving cream and took off running I biffed it into a not so graceful swan dive and that was the beginning of the end. They put me in the pickle pot in the middle. Then I walked around putting giant piles on each girls head so when they got goosed they would smash the pile on top of your head. From there it was complete chaos. Total blast. I packed shampoo and conditioner down to the river and we all washed our hair in the river. It was such a perfect day. 

Our devotionals each day were from the talk "Stay by the Tree." The stake gave us handouts for the girls journals and provided washi tape and cute staples for their journals. When we would introduce the theme for the day in the morning I would put the topic on our "tree" and then we would wrap it up that night. 

The last night we were there was Bishops night. Its tradition to decorate the table for your ward, and I thought I was prepared. That morning at the Stake Meeting Laurie and I were quickly realizing we weren't as prepared as we thought. So we launched into go mode. Our game plan for the week was "we'll figure it out" and we did. We borrowed a red tablecloth from Italy (I had brought two white ones but we had three tables.) The third years were red so we borrowed a couple poufs and lanterns from them. We folded big origami cranes out of scrapbook paper Laurie was prepared with, and hung our little cranes from the ceiling. I packed balloons and chopsticks for centerpieces, and had the girls make Bishop a big card.  We were a little nervous, but our table looked amazing. Laurie even found extra fabric from the pajama pants to make table runners. She's amazing. 

That night was testimony meeting, and it was so tender and pure I don't know if I have the words to describe it. I wanted so badly for my girls to know that they are loved, and that God loves them, and this church is where they want to be. Girl after girl bore the sweetest testimonies. Girls that I've been praying for for months to just talk to me, stood and bore testimony. It's something I will treasure forever. 

These girls were so willing to help, and we turned everything into a game to make things fun. We were asked to take down the human foosball court before going home. The girls pretty much stayed up all night before and I was worried about the enthusiasm. I shouldn't have been worried. These girls are the best. They had that thing down and loaded in twenty minutes. Total Rockstars. Love these girls. 

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