This year the Girls camp theme was Illuminate. It was based on a talk by President Thomas S Monson, “Be a Light to the World” . The Camp Director designated each day a separate theme-
Tuesday= Flicker- Light from Birth, Divine Nature
Wednesday- Kindle your testimony with everyday habits
Thursday- Radiate your light and let your light shine as an example
Friday- Glow and rely on Christ for your light.
All week long we learned about kindling our inner light- and practiced it with service, practicing scripture study with reading groups, daily prayer as a level, etc.
My responsibility was over the 4th years. We were the Holly wood Stars. One of my assistant leaders took my idea for a Hollywood type sign for our area and made a great big sign that was perfect. Another friend has the red carpet, which came in handy during the awards at the end of the week.
I bought yellow vinyl from Joann’s for Hollywood walk of Fame stars. Each girl wrote their name in one, then we wrote inside jokes and love notes to each other, then cut it apart at the end of the week to take home.
I took some neon lycra and cut it into 1 to 2 inch strips, and sewed them into a loop for neon headbands. It was fun to have something for just our year to stand out in the crowd in. We also had oriental trading neon sunglasses and some fun pens, plus VIP passes on our lanyards.
We made journals with a Hollywood star on them, and some note cards, for the girls to write encouraging notes to their friends.
Other light themed activities included:
Glow worm with a glow stick, with a quote about letting your light shine.
Glow in the dark paint inside mason jars
Mason jar lanterns with etched spray paint
Arise and Shine pillowcases for the Assistant Directors
Necklaces with clear crystal beads, accompanying a fireside about reflecting Christ’s light to others.
So, let me walk you through some of our memorable activities.
Camp wide get to know you activities- Get to know you bingo
The knot puzzle- take hold of two people, then try to untie without letting go.
And the M&M game: Everybody gets a snack size bag of M&M’s or skittles, then each color corresponds to something you tell about yourself (pre determined ahead of time) Like….green is something you love about nature, blue is something you did yesterday, red is something you hate to do….etc.
The stake YW presidency led an activity with each year, where they discussed divine qualities they have and want to develop. Each year decorated huge pieces of butcher paper with the words “I AM…” with qualities all over. They wrote down a quality they had or wanted to develop, then at the end of the week a photographer came in and took pics with them holding a sign with their quality on it. A slideshow is to come.
100 year celebration
This year was the 100th year of camp. After dinner we had a program that described the requirements and activities the first years of camp, a visit and talk by Bev Jones, a leader who’s attended camp over 50 years, and we released 100 yellow balloons into the air. Plus we had birthday cake.
This year we also introduced the spirit stick, given to the year with the best cheer at roll call. It quickly became the spirit curse- you were supposed to carry it everywhere and not leave it behind.
Crafts this year included Friendship bracelets,
tissue paper decopauge onto globe lanterns,
and foil leaf pictures of the future Indianapolis temple. (picture printed on transparencies at Staples, spray adhesive onto transperancy, apply silver leaf and frame)
The girls are spoiled and only have to make meals for themselves one night for certification cooking. We made chili and baked apples over the fire and cherry and pineapple cobbler in box ovens. The first years made foil dinners. Mmm Mmm.
The Fourth Years, my girls, went rock climbing and ziplining at nearby Camp Yale. We painted bathrooms and helped with other chores for a service project. Then we made and ate dinner, then climbed and zipped and finally roasted starburst at the campfire. I was so proud of the girls
Skits- Each of the members of the Stake Presidency was in charge of a group of girls from camp, to put together a talent act, singing or a skit. One group performed a skit about a little bee that goes to Hollywood. Every punchline in the story was accompanied with a song lyric sung by the peanut gallery behind the skit. It was awesome.
Another group handed out kitchen recyclable instruments (drums, spoons, etc) to sing a song in a round and add in instruments each verse. They sang the song “Catch a Falling Star.” It was pretty and the perfect calm song to end the night of crazy.
The most hilarious skit was a group acting out “For the Strength of Youth” – the mp3 played in the background while the girls in groups of 4 acted out the lyrics. So funny.
My year made up a parody to the Ellen show. One girl came out and did stand up about some characters at camp, we danced, then performed some “viral videos” of people letting their light shine. A kangaroo attacked an old lady and was rescued by Beyonce. A homeless lady is given food by Dolly parton in onesie pajamas with a fur hat on. A football player is helped by some super fans. Basically we made skits from random props and they were hilarious. Only at camp.
The skit night included a game for the bishops- all week long a set of Youth Camp Leaders polled the girls questions about bishops and then made a Mormon Feud game for them to compete in. Instead of ringing a bell they had to dance. It was awesome.
All week long I had the privilege of watching the girls interact and love each other, through my photo lens. I love seeing the light in their eyes as they laugh with their friends, attack their leader’s elbows, help each other, as they are so quick to love and be silly.
My sister Carrie came to camp and made a slideshow out of the pics we took all week. Knowing we wanted a pic of each girl made me look for the beauty and light in each girl. It was fun to be the eyes of the camp all week and “creep” on everyone, seeing what they do best, in a setting that allows them to let their light shine.
One of my favorite quotes about the theme of Light comes from Nelson Mandela “When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” I saw that all week long- girls being kind rather than gossiping, girls being silly, being reverent, sharing their feelings or their testimonies in scripture study, and I saw how their light shining in those moments let others relax and do the same.
As I reflected on camp and all the many things about it that are amazing, I thought of this quote from Dieter F Uchtdorf. He gave an address titled “The Love of God” in Oct. 2009. I love what he says about hearing Heavenly Father’s voice:
“As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.
As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.
During this general conference and later as you study the words spoken here, listen for His voice.
As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.
Listen for the voice of the Father in the bounties and beauties of nature, in the gentle whisperings of the Spirit.
In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice.
If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.
As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. And as we become more holy, we will overcome disbelief and our souls will be filled with His blessed light. As we align our lives with this supernal light, it leads us out of darkness and toward greater light. This greater light leads to the unspeakable ministering of the Holy Spirit, and the veil between heaven and earth can become thin.
This is what I think happens at camp. We are able to hear Heavenly Father’s voice all week long, in devotionals, in quiet moments, in the voices of our friends, in hymns and songs and acts of service. And we are so filled with light and goodness, our spirits soar and we feel God’s love all around us. That is why I spend months preparing for girls to come to camp for a week. So they can feast on the feelings of Heaven for a week.
Hooray for Girl’s camp, and all the awesome girls in it.