The first thing I have to say is that we have the most amazing girls in our ward! They were so great at helping and doing everything Annette, who was my assistant Camp Director, and I asked of them. It made the work seem like half the effort because we always had willing hands. We met on Tuesday night to pack up the trailer and to get our personal gear loaded up so we could leave bright and early on Wednesday morn. The girls were so efficient that the effort took only about 20 minutes!!! That gave us extra time to practice our skit and have a huge birthday cake for Sister Jana Stapley!
On Wednesday morning, I came out of the house to find Taylor surprised me with this fun idea! She is so cute and creative! Anyway, when Brother Staheli came to the house with the camp trailer to pick up some equipment, he saw our car and said hurriedly, "I'll be to the church in a bit, I just thought of something I need to do." and off he went. About 25 minutes later, he came pulling up to the church towing our big, white trailer. He got out of the car with a couple more paint markers, yelling, "Who wants to sign the trailer?" Wow. The girls went crazy signing their names, polka dots, and stars all over the trailer. All the cars got decorated and it was an amazing way to start off our trip. Thanks Taylor and Bro. Staheli for your excitement and enthusiasm!
The trip up Cedar Mountain only took about an hour and a half or so. We pulled in to find that we were assigned a VERY SMALL campground, but we all had a great can-do attitude and decided that we would make it work. It ended up being a very cozy, and well designed setup for us, even though all the leaders (about 8 of us) ended up crammed into one tent!! I know Annette got a picture of this, but I'll have to get it from her to post. It was pretty hilarious. We enjoyed a tasty lunch from our camp chef, the marvelous Janna Adams, who fed us beautifully throughout and some yummy birthday cupcakes that Annette made for me.
The first day was led by the Stake and our first meeting was the Opening Flag Ceremony. We met and went over the rules for camp, sang some songs and got to know each other a little bit. Immediately after this the girls went on their hike. This was a departure from the norm, as they usually go hiking on the second day of camp, but the leaders thought it would be good to get up hiking when the girls are fresh, before allergies kick in, and before anyone has a chance to hurt themselves. I think it worked...all our girls went on the hikes and loved it. It also gave Annette and me a chance to set up for our big activity the next day.
My family discovered a fun activity about a year ago called Letterboxing. If you know geocacheing (sp?) it's a bit like that, except that instead of following GPS coordinates to find your destination you use clues like in a treasure hunt. With Letterboxing, people carve rubber stamps and leave them in a box with a notepad and ink. If you find a box, you are to take your own hand-carved rubber stamp and exchange stamp imprints in the notebook you find and in the one you bring. There are boxes like this hidden all over America and it's so neat to see the stamp designs and who has been there before you. So....having explained that...I thought it would be neat to modify this activity for camp.
I enlisted the leaders to help me and we created 8 letterboxes, one for each of the values we teach the Young Women in our ward: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. Each box had a hand carved rubber stamp, a scrapbook page, and an activity that the girls completed as they made the circuit. We had everything ready to go up and the challenge was going to be hiding all the boxes and creating the clues to find them once we got to camp. I even took my computer and a printer up to camp so that I could type the clues quickly, change them up for the different groups and print them out to give to the girls. (I must have looked pretty silly sitting in my car, printing papers from my laptop at camp. And I had a scary moment when the computer wouldn't turn on--it was hot from being in my car all day...but it worked out in the end!) Annette and I hiked all over the mountain finding stumps, and hollowed out trees and rocks where we could hide our boxes. I felt such relief when it was all taken care of.
At the end of the hike, we also had set up a Camp Spa for the girls. We filled a small swimming pool with cold water for a foot soak and had lotions and foot spray, nail polish and lipgloss, hair bands and barrettes. I think the girls had much fun getting their hair done by Sister Stapley and Sister Riddle. We hardly looked like we'd been hiking in the mountains at all.
By dinnertime, it was starting to cool off a bit. It was so hot while we were up there! I didn't expect the heat, so the cool was very welcome. After our delicious tinfoil dinners, we went down to the amphitheater for a fireside by the Stake Leaders. Our Stake President talked to the girls about our newest value, Virtue. He was awesome! He spoke to the YW about what it means to be virtuous...how "virtue seeketh virtue." He told the story of Joseph, sold into Egypt, and Potipher's wife...how she was attracted to him because he was righteous and how when he saw the "red flags" appear, he ran even though it meant his imprisonment and probable death. He encouraged the girls to look for "red flags" and to protect their virtue always. We were all touched by the Spirit and the truth of what he was telling us.
About halfway through the fireside, though, I started to feel sick. I was already crying because of the talk, but then I started crying because of my headache and nausea and by the time it was over, I could barely function. My sweet Taylor saw my pain and ran off to the priesthood camp to get a couple of the men to give me a blessing. I was so grateful for that! It was a powerful blessing and I felt immediate relief. I quit shaking and was able to relax and feel better within the hour. I also feel like it was a great for the girls to witness the priesthood in action. My thanks to Brother Mayfield and Brother Taylor from the Stake!!
After the fireside, we went back to camp...practiced our skit...and Taylor led everyone in songs...we roasted starbursts and marshmallows for s'mores (by the way, if you've never tried s'mores with Reeses PB cups, you MUST!!! I can't believe I've never tried or thought of this before. Janna A. brought them and it was amazing!) The starbursts were not Bro. Staheli's favorite...but the girls loved it.
We had a great first day! It took a while for the girls to settle in, there were noises and crazy birds...I had to climb out over everyone in the middle of the night to go to the restroom (sorry again, girls!)...so basically a perfect first day at camp!