So last week was Girls Camp. I say that like you should know what it is and if you are one of my Mormon friends you do. But if you are one of my not Mormon friends you might be wondering. I have no idea how long girls camp has been a part of most Mormon girls summers. Maybe it started when the pioneers were crossing the plains :) I also have no idea why girls camp started. All I know is it is pretty much a rite of passage.You can start going to Girls Camp when you are 12. Some girls love it and some girls hate it. I have ALL sorts of fond memories of girls camp. I was a lover of girls camp. I started going when I was twelve and I am pretty sure I went until I was 17. Every summer. One week of my year. When I first started going we lived in Southern California and then all my girls camp years after that were spent camping on an island in Washington State. I have a group picture from my first year of me sitting in the woods with all the other girls. Someone had french braided my hair (a most important part of girls camp) and I was wearing my favorite, way to short shorts. When I search my mind for girls camp memories it is interesting to realize what comes up.....
saran wrapping toilets
bras on flag poles
learning what on earth hawaiian haystacks were
starting fires in the rain
hiking in the rain
sleeping in tents in the rain
lectures about using too much toilet paper...camp toilets :)
Lectures about where feminine hygiene products go...bless those poor leaders.
talking about boys
learning about the true nature of your hair
I always loved girls camp....oh yeah I already told you that. You did not have to twist my arm to get me to go. Once I grew up I did not get to go to girls camp for many years. But once when we lived in Kansas I got to go as a leader. I was nine months pregnant with my last baby and I went. It was a great time....okay, honestly, a little hot, but a good time. Just recently I was able to reacquaint myself with the "going to girls camp" thing. Last year it was to help in the kitchen. Which was fun, do not get me wrong. But I always felt like I was missing something. This year I was asked to be the crazy, nagging form lady for all the girls in our stake that were going to girls camp. It was not to bad. The state of New Hampshire requires a lot of forms and they are very serious about them and there always seems to be some people who do not think that applies to them but eventually they come around and realize I am not going away :) About two weeks out from the start of girls camp just as form gathering was winding down I got the opportunity to be the craft lady. I AM not a craft lady. I do not have boxes of pipe cleaners and Popsicle sticks in the basement. I do not have my friends save Michaels 40% off coupons for me. I do not have fake grapes. I rarely buy fabric just because I can. But I can get on Pinterest and I do know how to read and I wanted to help so there I was.
I found six craft ideas and did the best I could at gathering supplies and trying to mooch supplies off of the real craft ladies. I was worried about logistics. I like to know in my head all I can possibly know about how something is going to go down. But this late in the game I just had to chill and roll with it....yeah, so please do not tell anyone that I know how to do that it will ruin my reputation as a freak of nature :)
So the Monday of camp came and I headed out to New Hampshire at 8:30 in the morning with my little black Subaru loaded down with craft supplies. I cranked my radio, ate green beans from my garden, and drove for two hours trying to not worry about what I forgot or what may be ahead.
The craft "barn" at our girls camp is the most delightful place in the world. It has a cement floor, wooden walls that have no drywall covering the bones of them, and six tables covered with years of paint and glue gun plops all over them. There is a wooden, waist high ledge around the sides of one wall. There are a few more spider webs than a girl like me would like but I dealt with it. There is a sink....a, "take six years to drain sink" but a sink nonetheless.
The very best part of it all is that there are two garage doors on either side of the craft room/barn and they OPEN. I could hardly wait to open them. The craft barn is far from everything else and hardly any grown ups venture up there to bother you which is good for me because I am a lot afraid of grown ups. I love the sweet unconditional girls who come to play crafting. OH, Wait I have to go back and talk more about the craft barn garage doors.When you open these doors all you see is trees and green. I LOVE it. I had brought some of my cd's and every chance I got I would head up to the craft barn and open the doors to let in fresh air and a breeze and I would crank my music as loud as I dared. Sometimes it would be Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing America songs. Sometimes, Sara Barielles. Sometimes Eurovision song contest.Sometimes Death Cab For Cutie. When the girls came to craft there was nothing that warmed my heart more than to have a room full of girls crafting and singing their guts out to Taylor Swift or Imagine Dragons. SIGH...so perfect.
This was the first year that I got to actually spend time with the girls and I adored getting to know them. I smiled at their different crafting styles. I loved observing their little quirks that endeared me to them. Because I was also form lady I was familiar with all their names and which congregation they were from and that was a bonus.
I got the most awesome assistant to help me with crafts. She balanced my personality in every way which can be a difficult thing to do :) I was thrilled that we worked together so well.
We taught the girls how to make beautiful, perfect paper roses out of old books. We had birdhouses for them to mod podge paper on to...or paint if they felt they needed to. There were magnet boards and nine million different magnet ideas. Yeah, nine million exactly :) Did you know honestly that you can slap a magnet onto anything? :) We also had beads and all sorts of string to make jewelry. There were washer necklaces if you needed ideas for your jewelry. Making your own flowers to attach to bobby pins for your hair and last but not least pom pom pens. Oh, and I almost forgot I bought tons of those bags of river rocks from the dollar store and provided gold, silver, bronze and black sharpies for the girls to doodle on the rocks with. They seemed to really dig those.
I felt sad that my persistent demons followed me to camp. I guess I thought going to girls camp meant I would have a reprieve. It continues to be alarming to me to see how my recent experiences are shaping my ability to have relationships. Sad how I feel I need to protect myself. I love that the demons love hanging out with me so much that they follow me to girls camp :) I hate knowing I am not perfect. I hate that I have to ask lots of questions and that I desperately need to know how things will happen. I wish I did not have that teeny weeny bit of anxiety that I have. Don't worry it is just the right amount of anxiety :) I confess that during the week I felt safest and most like myself when I was up in the craft barn.
The place where I chose to sleep at Girls camp was clear down by the waterfront. Quite a hike from the craft "barn"....yeah, we need to find the person who put the words craft and barn together and have a chat with them don't we? Anyway, I love sleeping down by the water. The cabin down there has tons of windows and a great breeze. Do you sense how I do love a breeze? :) Although traipsing all the way down there in the pitch black dark is very scary even with my perfect humongous heavy duty flashlight. One night I was in the cabin all by myself and heard a very loud crash and then the sounds of something walking in the woods and I felt my little heart rate really pick up...but obviously I survived.
It really was a great week. I love watching the girls take such good care of each other and unconditionally love each other and notice when each other needs a hug or an encouraging word it made me think a lot about why we can not seem to continue that awesomeness when we are grown up women.
So now it is back to real life the part everyone hates about girls camp...that is ends.