Friday, July 11, 2008

Girls Camp from a Leader's Perspective

I recently returned from girls camp as the camp director. I'm really the assistant but the actual director was scheduled to have surgery during the week of camp. She was a huge help getting everything ready, but I was the lucky one to be in charge when we got up there.

I went to girls camp every year I could growing up and the memories I have from those camps contrast starkly from what memories I have from being a leader at camp. I only hope and pray that the girls had a spiritual experience and walked away from camp feeling a little closer to Heavenly Father.

The preparation meetings for girls camp start in February and I'm sure the stake starts getting ready months before that. It is a serious production from picking a theme and creating activities for the girls to go along with the theme, to leadership training for the older girls, to planning overnight hikes, to planning and doing all the food prep for the girls and making sure all the girls have done everything they need to to get ready for camp and don't forget about getting the girls certified. Just so you know, the leaders are exhausted by the time they get to camp and then the fun begins!

This year's camp was more adventurous than I think most are supposed to be, especially for me. I want everyone to keep in mind that I am not a mother. I don't have to take care of or worry about anyone else. I have never been a mother so I don't have any practice with that sort of stuff. Sure I have lots of nieces and nephews, but they all have parents and I haven't done many overnighters with them without their parents around.

So the first night was a little stressful. I think most of my girls were just as exhausted as I was, one had not slept in over 24 hours, another had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before. So at 10:30 imagine my surprise when all the girls were in their tents being quiet, half of them already asleep. I thought this is a good sign. Oh silly, silly girl that I am.

At 4:00 am (mind you that with not being a parent also comes the luxury of enjoying lots of sleep) I hear one of the girls walking towards my tent. I am very wide awake at this point, waiting for them to play a practical joke on me. BTW - I don't do very good with practical jokes, especially when I'm tired. So they zip open and come into the outside little porch thing of our tent. Apparently one of the girls in her tent was having some major pains and wants me. I'm kind of hoping that the YW's president who is in the tent with me and is the mother of two young children would take charge. To make a very long story short after going back and forth about what to do for 45 minutes with the phrase continually being repeated "I'm not a mom, I don't know what to do." I decided to go get the stake nurse. At 5:00 in the morning that is an interesting task considering I had no idea who she was and what ward she was in, and everyone else didn't know much more than me. So after waking up everyone in the stake campsite and two ward campsites, I finally find the stake nurse.

She comes in and promptly diagnoses an appendicitis! Phone calls are made to the parents and our wonderful priesthood holder rushes her down the hospital. It turned out to be a kidney stone, thankfully. But I have to say, I'm not so sure about parenthood. I don't know how you people do it and how you all don't have ulcers by now! :)

The rest of the week went pretty good until we got to the last night. Then I had another girl get the 100 proof deet insect repellent in her eye. After trying to treat it at camp and a persisting stinging feeling, I'm sending another girl down the mountain to the emergency room.

I'm not sure but I think that's a pretty good way to get released from your calling, don't you? What parents are going to send their girls to camp if they all are sent home to the emergency room?

The picture at the top is of the last day. It's a small group. We only started with 10 girls and ended with 8. Thankfully we all made it down the mountain safe and sound and both emergency room girls are doing just fine!


MiriamR said...

I remember going to girls camp when I was in Utah (as a girl not a leader) and there would be at least 7 girls each camp who had to go home for some sickness or to the hospital so I think you did rather well!! Good Job! I can't believe you were over camp, and you survived I can't ever imagine having to do that so well done!!!

Sarah said...

Oh Mable, what great stories!! Seriously, bad timing on the whole appendicitis thing, huh? I'm sure you did an amazing job; knowing how much time and effort you put into getting everything ready. Glad everybody came home in one piece :)