Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Confession Wednesday: Camp Connections

(This amazing picture was taken by a 14-year-old girl named Kaylynn!)

As YONF has already mentioned, I spent last week at Girls' Camp. Ironically, YONF and I attended the same Girls' Camp as teenagers, although not at the same time (we should have overlapped one year . . . did we? I'm a little embarrassed that I don't remember), and I LOVED Girls' Camp. I didn't just sing the silly songs, I made them up. I displayed exhaustion-induced, overreactive emotions, wore matching visors with my best friend, and showered in my swimsuit in the locker-room-esque shower house. They built the sweet new bathrooms with flushing toilets and private shower stalls in my second or third year, but for the first few years, the shower buttons would zap you with a little electric shock at random times when you pressed them for more water. It was very unsettling. Nonetheless, I lived for Girls' Camp every summer. I'm not sure why YONF and I had such different experiences, but I've been nagging her for months to give it another try, and she really would have this year, had circumstances not prevented her.

This year was my third year attending Girls' Camp as an adult, but the first one that really counted. Two years ago I showed up 3 days late with a post-surgical foot, and narcotics in my system. I don't remember much. Last year was fun, but I was up and back a couple of times and missed a couple of days.

However, this year I got to stay the whole week, and it was fantastic! The group of 30-ish (in number, not ages) leaders up there was a phenomenal group of women, and we have been accused several times in the last 4 days of having more fun than the girls. And the girls had a LOT of fun.

Here's what I love about Girls' Camp (as a grown-up):

* At any particular moment, I have exactly two obligations to fulfill, and one of them is eating. (As opposed to home, where I should be doing at least 25 things at any given time.)
* My wonderful husband takes some time off, and good friends cover the difference, so I don't have a single worry about the kids at home.
* Flushing toilets, hot showers, and delightful cooks who serve up superb meals and snacks.
* Three words: Ooga Booga LOOK!
* Went boating for my first time. Watched a respectable member of our ward and community try to throw 6 different grown women (many of them grandmothers) out of a float tube at high speeds. Gleefully photographed the whole thing.
* My job is to be the camp photographer. I'm not in charge of anything but snapping pictures and carefully assembling a slide show for the last night . . . my absolute favorite part of taking pictures.

In going over last year's pictures, I realized that I only remembered the names of a small group of the leaders. It was a little embarrassing. I decided that for Year of No Fear, I was going to learn the names of every woman at camp this year. It was just a personal goal - something to accomplish for myself.

I didn't realize what an effect it would have on my week at camp. Being able to call every woman by name created connections I hadn't expected, and I came away with several fun new friendships, and the old ones were stronger. It helped me to relax and be part of the fun, rather than observing it like I usually tend to do. By the end of the week, there was a bond between all the women, woven through with all of our varied experiences, personalities, ages, and unique characteristics.

I think we women have a place inside ourselves that gets depleted by all the responsibilities of adulthood. Our families fill important spaces of joy, but I think when we go too long without laughing with girlfriends, it leaves a little hollow place. (Don't you think that's why pioneer women quilted together instead of alone?) I feel like that week spent snickering at ourselves, playing pranks, relaxing, goofing around, and soaking up spiritual moments filled up a reservoir somewhere inside me.

I can't wait to go back next year for a refill, and I can't wait for YONF to come along.

Ooga booga, YONF, ooga booga!

How do you fill up your reservoir?

PS - The Pie Contest Post is forthcoming . . . .


Anonymous said...

Get your elbows off the table Miss Bean dear, Get your elbows off the table, etc. Ah girls camp. I wish I hadn't been the only one in my year from our ward. I think I might have had more fun.

Year of no Fear said...

I fill up my reservoir by getting a good pedicure! I get an hour away from life where I can relax and enjoy myself. Plus everytime I look at my toes it lifts my spirits! I think I'm due for another one soon!

Cricket said...

Mrs. B.,
I agree with you about the women quilting. On the inside cover of the March 2005 Ensign was a picture of women quilting together, smiling with children at their heels. I cut it out because it is something I need to "fill that little hollow place".
On a big scale once a year I try to attend Women's Conf. in Provo. I try to go with friends because it completes the package for me. I could go into detail but it charges that very depleted battery.
On a smaller scale I guess I always involve myself in social situations. I hate missing out on things...girls camp was one of them :(, I love to learn from my friends. Everybody has such amazing gifts that I like to take a piece of them with me to make myself a better person.

bestgrandkidsever said...

I fill up my reservoir reading the clever things my daughters write!

Tana said...

I really enjoy having small groups over or out to lunch. I feel I can make better friends and get to know someone better in small groups. That is something I need to do more of.