As I’ve been sharing with you different programs for the youth (specifically the Young Women) of our church, I wanted to touch on one of my favorite programs and that is Girls Camp! Girls Camp takes place during the summer months, and all girls, ages 12-17 are invited to camp with their leaders for 4-5 days. Depending on where you live, you might camp in tents or cabins, you might have running water or you might not… It all depends on the area you live in and where camp takes place. Some camps are just for the wards and others are for all the girls in the stake, again, it just depends. Growing up, I move around a lot, but I was able to attend 2 ward camps and 4 stake camps, and each has their pros and cons. Overall though, I LOVE Girls Camp!
The purpose of Girls Camp is primarily to help the girls grow closer to their Heavenly Father through communing in the outdoors. I don’t know about you, but I feel closest to God while surrounded by His creations, and that is why we have camp. They also are able to grow closer to their peers and leaders, and learn skills that will (hopefully) stick with them the rest of their lives.
A typical camp involves morning and evening devotionals, singing time (especially around a campfire), and fun activities (crafts, canoeing, etc.) during the day. Girls also work on their camp certification (different for each year they are at camp) that include items such as learning to build a fire, tie knots, use a compass, etc. There is generally an hour or so of quiet time for the girls to read their scriptures, pray, and journal about their thoughts and experiences at camp. The last night of camp, the girls gather around a campfire and share their testimonies with each other, which is always such a powerful hour, and rarely anyone leaves with a dry eye.
I wish I had more camp pictures scanned in to my computer to share with you. But in lieu of those, let me share with you a couple of special experiences I had at camp, that strengthened my testimony.
- When I was a second year, I specifically remember bonding with my two good friends Jenny and Jacey. These two girls were always there for me, not just at camp but at school, and we had so much fun on our hike together that year. I also remember finding “my tree” at camp, where I could go, lay out a blanket underneath, and lean against it as I read my scriptures. I felt so close to Heavenly Father there, as I sat and read His word. It was also a great place to view our camp, so I could see my fellow sisters bustle about, and I felt such love for them, too.
- My fifth year was probably my favorite year at camp. I was a YCL (youth camp leader) with one of my closest friends (Jamie, pictured above, on the left – I’m on the right if you couldn’t tell). James and I got along so well and we learned so much together that year. I felt an overwhelming sense of love from my Heavenly Father that year, for me and for every girl there. We sang, we danced, we taught and I really think that angels might have been in our midst that year, for the Spirit that I felt was so strong.
Camp not only led me to my Father, it lead me to lifelong friendships. And those experiences are why I love camp, and why I’m such an advocate for every girl to get the opportunity to go. I have also loved going to camp as a leader. It’s definitely more work, but it’s worth it to give the girls the same opportunities and experiences I had as a teen.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Girls Camp! I’d love to know — did your church have something similar? Tell me about it below!
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