Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh, the places you'll go!

At the end of July I got to spend several days with our Young Women at Heber Valley Camp. It has been said that HVC is a temple without a roof, and I can see that after spending time there. Our YW were there Monday to Friday... and because Sophia is still up at night I didn't stay the whole week, but drove up and back each day. Ryan was great to take some time off to spend with the kids while I was gone. If you read his posts from those days, you'll already know that they survived without me and had a fabulous time (and even asked me when I was home for good if I could please go for a "Spa Day" so they could hang out with Dad some more!). Sophia did great (and was glad to have me home during the night). I loved being with the girls as much as I could, and despite getting pulled over for speeding on the way there one day, I didn't mind the driving too much. Luckily the officer was kind and let me go with a warning.  Anyway, it was wonderful and it was exhausting. 

Our theme was "Oh, the places you'll go... write your own story" and had a strong Dr. Seuss influence. I loved talking all week about the ways we can direct our life's path by the choices we make. 

Here are a few little highlights from my camp experience:

We had heard stories of bears wandering through the camp. Just after we pulled through the gate and turned around a bend, I spotted the bears! They were so still they looked fake, but I was still sure I spotted them. I told my friend that was driving about them, and she did a quick U-turn so we could take a picture. We quickly realized that they were in fact FAKE--made of wood. We still took a picture, and a cute missionary couple stopped on their golf-cart. They were laughing at us and saying, "They aren't real!" We didn't feel very smart, but that's okay. If you look really hard you can see a black bear, right in the center of the picture... also there are two little bears climbing on the trees.

Humanitarian bears... our girls paired up with one of the sewing inclined ladies in the ward to do the sewing of these cute bears before camp, and while at camp they stuffed and finished them. By the end of the week the pavilion was full of bears to donate to our local police department and fire station.

Our class was in charge of a little activity and we did some Minute To Win It games. We stacked cans and paper plates...

 ... we stacked blocks on our heads...

...and the favorite was trying to eat move Oreos from the forehead to the mouth, using only facial muscles.

One of the mornings we spent several hours at the High Ropes Course. When I was 15 or 16 our youth group went to a high adventure camp in Beaver ("B is for the B in Beaver High School..."). I have strong, negative memories of not being able to climb up over a wall and being pushed over by some of the young men. It was humiliating and painful. This Ropes Course brought back some of those same feelings, but now as a YW leader I was able to see the lessons that could be applied to each activity. The leaders were invited to participate in the zip line, which required climbing up a pole and walking across a wire before getting to the jumping off point. I was afraid, but wanted to appear confident and able in front of the girls. I think I was trying to fake myself out into believing I wasn't afraid.

It was so neat to see the girls cheer each other on. I got teary-eyed with several of the girls that were very, very scared, yet did it anyway. I was grateful that all of our girls were willing to cheer me on... they believed in me! That is a great feeling.
 Ryan is sure the pole is only 40 feet high, but it felt like it was at least 100 feet off the ground.

We were safely and securely fastened with a harness and a rope attached to a missionary at the bottom. It was still terrifying. I actually slipped once, and didn't fall far because the missionary stabilized me and helped me gain back my footing, but it shook me up and scared me. There were many moments that I didn't think I could finish. I was sure they would have to help me off or scrape me off of the ground.

I just wanted to make it safely to the Eagle's Nest so I tried to go as steadily and quickly as I could. I felt so relieved when she clipped me in there.

Then came another terrifying realization, that I needed to let go to go down the zip line. I have done lots of zip lines before, and I love them, I feel like they are such a rush, but for some reason this time I was scared.

I probably should have asked her to push me, it would have taken less time, and probably would have decreased the fear I felt.

But I did it! I jumped! And as soon as I let go, it felt like my stomach muscles ripped away from my insides. It hurt so bad! I didn't even really enjoy the ride because it hurt so much, and after I got off I wanted to throw up and cry and double over in pain.

I have tried to learn some life lesson from climbing the pole, walking the wire, and going down the zip line. There are all sorts of parallels to the gospel that I can make... I wasn't really excited about doing it, but I knew I wanted to conquer it. I didn't want to stay afraid. Many times in life there are challenges that can hold us back if we let them. I ran into some small challenges along the way. We always encounter things that are hard or hinder us in our progress. I loved that I was never alone. Particularly during the hardest and scariest time, I was safely anchored in and the missionary was there to save me from really falling when I slipped. I had to make some course corrections and get back on track. Even when it was over, I was in pain, and it lasted for several weeks (I'm still a little sore). Why is that? I survived the challenge! Many trials in life leave us different than when we started, sometimes that pain is lingering, but when it's all said and done, we can be stronger for having done it.  My attitude about this particular course... I've done it. No need to repeat, thank you very much! (Hopefully the hardest of life's trials are like that too... one time only!)

We hiked and sang and and laughed and spent some time on the lake. There were canoes (Fast Eddies and Stable Mabels) for the girls, and these awesome paddle boats for the leaders to ensure safety and order. Honestly, I'm not sure we would have been able to do anything if the need had arisen because our boats were very slow and hard to maneuver. However, I did really appreciate the few minutes of silence that we had on the lake. It was beautiful there!
Camp awards were given out each night... I always left before they did this, but they made an award for me anyway:

I got the "Most Primped-Up Award" (I guess showering each day and applying make-up usually doesn't happen when you stay at camp all week, and you aren't supposed to wear anything besides t-shirts. So noted for next year). Last week we had a post-camp activity and they awarded me the "Life Saver" award, so I got this cool helicopter. It was because of all the things that I was able to bring back to camp during my trips back and forth... I think they included a new air mattress, contacts, craft supplies, citronella candles, breakfast foods, homemade cookies, ziploc bags, and birthday cupcakes and surprises.

I loved being a part of camp! We have a great group of leaders and girls, and it was a privilege to be with them. I spent many weeks at girls camp as a teenager, and some things are still the same. A few (big) things have changed... namely the cabins and bunks instead of tents or sleeping outside... and it seemed to be a lot more scheduled than when I went... but the basic idea of camp is still the same. It's a place where we can build relationships with each other, have a great time, enjoy nature and appreciate God's creations. During the course of our time at camp, there are many opportunities to learn and grow and develop our testimonies of Jesus Christ. No wonder everyone loves it!

**Do you have any experience with Girls Camp?
**Would you have done the zip line?


The Gooch Family said...

I got to go up there the first week of August as a leader, too! Such a fantastic place! Loved it and the experiences there!

Ria said...

Ah Girls Camp...

It is very different from when I was young too!

Rockelle said...

Lisa, what a wonderful summer you are having. I really enjoy your blogs...I am still blogging but for some reason my blog is not just click on mine once in a while and you will see I am still around. Occasionally!
Love, Rockelle

Kristi said...

Those YW are so lucky to have great people like you to look up to. What a fun week...with awesome lady leaders. Love that crew!

CroftsBlog said...

Love the bears. Any idea if there's a pattern you could pass on and where thy were donated?


Lisa R.D. said...

We donated our bears to our local hospital so they could give them to children that were admitted or there for scary procedures. I think some of the bears were given to our local fire department and police station as well. I don't have the pattern for the bears, I'm sorry! I know that the person who found it just looked online for a simple pattern. We wanted it to be easy and with as few pieces as possible since our young women would be doing most of the sewing. Good luck!