Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Superhero Young Women Camp: Strong in the Lord

This year for Young Women camp we focused on Superheroes. Our title was "Strong in the Lord" and our scripture was Ephesians 6:12-17, commonly known as the armor of God scripture. Everyday we focused on a different aspect of being a superhero and battling good and evil.
screenprinting artwork by Katelyn Tillett

Our daily themes were :
1- The Battle is Real- History and Motives of God and Satan, training for battle.
2- Armor of God- Strength in Righteousness and Covenants
3- Know your Super Strengths- valuing your strengths and honoring your weaknesses
4- Saving Souls- Savior's power to save and your power to help others in turn
5- Go forth to Fight- Go and keep on fighting!

I took pictures all week, but compiled some that show unique things that I would have loved to see as a director planning a superhero camp. Here's our ideas for your viewing pleasure. Shoutout to all the leaders, youth leaders and campers that make camp so stinking awesome.

My big project that I loved was making these journals- 1 dollar (from walmart) 4 by 6 picture albums, with pages for notes at devotionals, journal pages for everyday, phone numbers, funny jokes from camp, etc. And extra slots for handouts from each level leaders. 

Decorations/Making the theme come alive

- Our decorations committee put masked balloons around the mess hall doors, superhero costumes hanging next to the support beams, banners of comic book fabric all over, and capes with each ward's name hanging in the windows. They were used later for Bishop's night visits. In later pictures you can see the YW values in bubbles and a backdrop for pictures with props.

Our youth leaders and leaders come to camp on Monday afternoon and campers don't arrive until Tuesday morning. During this time we have training. The Youth Leader had the girls think about battle maps for different temptations and they mapped them out in small groups. 

On the first day of camp, the campers had a workshop with the Stake YW presidency, titled "Sisterhood." They lip synced the "Sisters, Sisters" from White Christmas with funny outfits on, and talked about different aspects of sisterhood- supporting each other, respecting each other's differences, how we as women have power. 

Emily had the most hilarious rendition of different women- the overambitious mother of 15 and the hardcore ninja strict mother, it was so funny, knowing what she's like in real life. 

For Crafts, our amazing crafts and service team had a project everyday. They sported cute fabric capes the first day to stand out as the super teachers they are.

Day one we painted frames and put chalkboard paint on the glass. It has to cure for a few days before you use it, so we did it on day one. The craft leaders had vinyl with "Be Strong" precut before camp, to stick on the frames when they were dry.

On day two, the girls cut up donated tshirts and cute knit fabric to make braided bracelets and turban headbands and fabric flowers on wider headbands.

On day 3 the girls made bags with crayons ironing onto tote bags. (I'm gonna go searching for a picture...i'll update later)

Day 4 the girls made bows and hair clips for the children of a group home for families escaping domestic violence. They have a "store" at the home where kids can earn money from chores and buy school supplies, hair accessories, extras that they wouldn't usually get because their parents are starting over.

For Evening activities, on the first night we talked about Satan's Tactics. I did a mini devotional on agency and the battle in Heaven. Then we had 6 training activities to mimic Satan's tactics (Distract, Discourage, Decieve, from a devotional by Elaine S Dalton at BYU Idaho, Prophetic Priorities). The campers (levels 1-4) were divided up into 6 groups and rotated stations. 

At one station we had shooting stations- spin discs into holes in a tarp, hit the youth leader villains with silly string, shoot the ping pongs with water guns. 

The youth leaders had to pop up like whack a mole, it was hilarious. 

They honed their shooting skills with ping pong balls on golf tees, in foam blocks

They tried their discus skills through a holey tarp (used hoopla's circles)

The young women saved a ducky at the bottom of a large can using teamwork to fill up their sponges and fill up the can.
This station had the young women finding large plastic coins in the bottom of a shaving cream pool- using their xray vision. Once they found all the discs they had to match them together, each one had words from our theme scripture (sword and spirit, helmet and salvation, etc)

At the bomb station the young women had to decipher a coded message, the message said which color yarn to cut.

There was also a damsel in distress station, where the group had to find a young women in the woods and ignore other people telling them where to go.

On Wednesday Night, the youth leaders put on a spiritual night hike. Each station had three youth leaders- one dressed as a woman from the scriptures, and two young women to talk about her test of faith. The young women were sorted into these groups by asking them which woman from the scriptures they wanted to learn about- then divided up into even groups, they studied the scriptures about her and then wrote a 3 minute summary of her experience and what choices she made, why she was a "scripture hero." It was enlightening to me to see all the different ways the young women interpreted stories I knew well, and to see the different ways they identified with women in the scriptures. Plus, hearing their testimony of a specific principle, and watching the young women listen and take it in, was powerful.

Some of our scripture women...

Woman at the well, from the New Testament
Eve, the Mother of all living

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Queen Esther

Emma Smith

On Thursday Night, the bishops visit. And we really show em some love, with skits and lots of silly challenges. They were greeted with their ward capes to wear all evening.

We recycled some activities for them to try.

And added in some preschool skills, like water balloon toss.
After the skits and games for the bishops, they hold devotional and discussions with their ward young women, the one time during the week the ward young women meet together.

Camp Wide  Devotionals

The first day, we have all the leaders introduce themselves with the old cheerleading cheer"
Jump in, jump out, introduce yourself! (clapping 4 times to a simple beat)
My name is _______ (yeah)
And I'm with ______  (yeah)
And I love ______________ (Yaaay!)
Jump in Jump out...

We have the girls learn the scripture of the week by having posters with the phrases 
and practicing at each gathering.

Every morning before Breakfast we have a devotional by one of the stake leaders- one day was the armor of God, with a great visual as seen above. 

One of the devotionals was about valuing your strengths and weaknesses, and we invited a former leader who is a certified yoga instructor to do a superhero themed yoga session and then a devotional right after. 

On the last day, before we go home, every level presents an award for every young woman in their group. It's fun to call out their strengths and funny things that happened that week. 

Other Things I love about my camp....

We order tshirts for the stake leaders, so we all wear the same color all week long. We have the theme of the day screenprinted on the front. It makes it super easy to find someone in charge! 

We also have camp pictures on the last full day, where the girls wear their shirts and we take pics by year and assignments (crafts together, cooks, etc).

Level leaders do some kind of headband or accessory for their level- like superhero bandannas below. 

We have a service box where girl can submit names of other campers doing good deeds to a raffle, and if they win they pick from dollar store/candy/extra tshirts/camp crafts stuff.

One of our levels baked bread as their service to the camp, to supplement the campfire dinner night. 

One of our leaders brought this medical tubing, added pen shafts to the end and clipped it with a binder clip, to make super high powered squirt guns. They were a big hit. 

Our kitchen staff gets extra help from levels every meal, so they make a big list of jobs to do on a whiteboard, then girls check them off as they are done. 

Whew! Camp was months ago and I'm finally done organizing my thoughts about it. I am so grateful to have such a fun calling that give opportunities for me and my young women to learn how to be leaders. I learned this year that anytime I feel lost or like I just don't have the knowledge to fulfill a task, I need to look around and observe the spiritual giants in my midst, and soak up their experience and examples. I had some powerful times this year where I was totally bewildered how to respond and act and other leaders showed me the way. 

Yaay for super leaders and yaay for camp! 

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