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Saturday, January 22, 2005 

Girl's Camp: It's a Love Hate Thing

1987: Beehive 1st year camper – We were at a Boy Scout camp in Missouri. Tents…daddy-long-legs… My sister Amy was a 4th year, and was already the epitome of COOL. I hung out with her friends and felt like I was the bomb because I got TONS of older-girl attention. Highlights: popping popcorn on the black top using a sterno…watching the F-16s mock dog-fight while on the hike…hot boy scout life guards…swimming the mile (felt AWESOME, have yet to feel such endorphins again…)…meeting other girls from the stake for the first time, all-night conversations with 10 girls crammed into one tent. Lowlights: worrying about looking good at girl’s camp (yes I was one of those, but only this one time)…being involved in contraband radio playing involving “I Want Your Sex”… (older girls are so cool and rebellious)… one girl’s house burning down to the ground so she had to go home…

1988: Beehive 2nd year camper – Had to be at a camp with cabins; still in Missouri…it was weird. Our family was moving in a week, so I was a little preoccupied, and my best friend was acting weird (like she didn’t care that much that I was moving and she was using girls camp to find a new friend right before my eyes). Don’t remember much except for going swimming and seeing a leader get out of the pool right in front of me with “personal” hair down to her knees. I dry heaved involuntarily. I had no idea such things could be! Sorry that is a gross image, but it has stuck with me. Thank goodness for the invention of board shorts!

1989: Mia Maid 3rd year camper: New Jersey. New ward. New stake. Kind of a cool camp with quasi cabins. DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE. Wrote scathing letters home to Mom telling her how unfair it was to be here when younger sister was having a birthday and (idolized) older sister was leaving for college. Mom was there for part of the time which I loved. One younger sister there with me… was that the year she was my secret sister? If so, she painted a face on a piece of wood that touched my heart and I’ve kept all these years… Highlights: the white captains hat I wore the entire week…meeting some cool girls in the stake…cooking chocolate cake in dug-out oranges. Lowlights: condoms on the ground…this WAS New Jersey, after all.

1990: Mia Maid 4th year camper: Massachusetts. New ward. New stake. Got to go on the coolest overnight hike/camp trip eva! We went up to New Hampshire to this gorgeous lake and hiked out onto and island. Well, we took a boat to the island AFTER we hiked. Incredible. Highlights: Met some great girls. Jumped off a cliff into a FREEZING lake. Lowlights: Going number 2 outside in between two rocks. Camp itself was awesome. We had an amazing group of girls…no drama, no tears, lots of fun, lots of singing, great testimony meeting.

1991-1993: Junior counselor 2 years: Massachusetts. Highlights: getting to know girls in the stake and their younger sisters, being at camp with MY younger sisters and my mom, being thought of as inspirational, teaching lashing, again those yummy orange chocolate cupcake things… Lowlights: Hurricane Bob destroyed the camp ground one year, so they sent us to a RV Kampground that was next to a landfill. Big Stink and 1 million sea gulls…! Last year of girl’s camp I had to work.

Girl’s Camp (GC) is a great thing. I love camping in general. I loved that they attempt to teach outdoor skill to the pampered and spoiled. I loved playing with fire. I loved singing the songs in 9 part harmony, of course. I loved performing flashlight “water dances” from the dock. I loved skittery little first years. I loved that in my groups, we never had drama or popularity contests. I loved the adult leaders trying to be funny in skits.

But I disliked the anxiety I felt over going. I disliked worrying about forgetting something. I disliked the bathrooms and being constipated all week. I disliked crowds. I disliked the hikes for some reason, even though I like to hike. I can’t explain it, but they made me SO nervous! I think it is because I read a lot of Holocaust literature and they reminded me of forced death marches. Irrational, I know, because I like hiking in general. I disliked it when other groups didn’t get along. I disliked feeling hungry.

While being a young woman’s leader as an adult, I have avoided camp TWICE. That’s pretty rotten of me, I’ll agree, but I don’t know if I could handle the young female drama. I never experienced it myself at camp, I just know it exists and I have little patience for it. I also dislike sleeping really close to other people, breathing their air… Give me a tent… Although, I have always wanted to have cornrows… Writing this, and reading about this all week makes me want to go to girl’s camp, but each summer when the time rolls around…I’m nervous again.

I know that girl’s camp is a great opportunity for some girls to get out of their bad environments. It is honestly therapeutic for some people to be out in nature, and to be constantly reminded of things of a spiritual nature. Morning devotionals, testimony meetings, spiritual thoughts, singing in the trees, learning mad outdoor skills, etc… I think it makes an impact on some girls. I was so shocked to find out that Boy Scout camp was WAY different. Lots of urinating on people and things… But my “testimony” of camp has been renewed this week reading about everyone’s great experiences. That’s all I got…

Number 2 is really the only drawback to camping. And being hungry. And sleeping next to people. I think buddy burners are probably the best part about camping. Confession: I've never had cornrows. But I don't claim to be a real woman. 

Posted by Kacy

Carrie Ann. I love reading Saturday because you are hysterical and a down right honest with no apologies (okay one apology… And yes… thank goodness for board shorts) kind of girl.

I can’t believe how many different camps you have been to. I think you should consider adding Camp Shalom to your list. 

Posted by Rebecca

You closed with "urinating on people"? I was just feeling all warm and fuzzy, too.

I thought about doing my post in this style... but I couldn't remember enough about a couple of the years to make it work.

Was your dad military? You sure moved a lot.

(Sorry for the randomness here... It's the best I can do on a Saturday before 5).


Posted by Kaycee

I have actually spent the night at Camp Shalom. How about that? I did go up for a "leadership training" thingy two summers ago. It was supposed to be for 5 days and I only went for 2, and then I was in Hawaii during camp. Speaking of...I am SO suprised at the amount of time they expect young women leaders to spend away from their families! I don't have that excuse, but come on! 

Posted by Carrie Ann

I basically had the same experiences Carrie Ann did. "Is your dad in the military?" was probably the most frequently asked questions we ever got as kids. Would you believe he's worked in retail his entire career, and with the same company? I really don't know if it is normal for every retail family, but it was for us.

Sometimes our mom and dad would say, "We're going to have a special family meeting tonight," and we would immediately know that either 1) mom was pregnant or 2) we were moving again. I really should save this for a personal blog, but I feel like gushing.

I feel kind of let down, now as an adult, because we moved so much. My experiences at girls camp, for example, really suffered because I didn't know anyone very well. Being the "new kid" all the time really sucks. Now that my daughter is in school if she says "new kid" I practically wash her mouth out with soap and lecture her about how mean that is to call someone because it singles them out and reminds them how lonely they are. She must think I'm crazy.

My first GC experience was the one where camp was held the week before we moved (across the country, by the way). The memories are sparse b/c I never saw those girls again and don't really remember them even to this day.

Since we were in the same place '91-'93 I did enjoy camp, even though I fought it every time. Our mom was YW president and we knew how much time and effort she put into it for months, and that she didn't really want to go probably more than WE didn't want to go. (She is the LEAST "campy" person I know...besides myself.) I would fight her about not wanting to go and then cry because I didn't want to leave when the week was over. (That darn testimony meeting always did that to us.)

I was very much relieved when they didn't need me to attend camp as a leader this last summer. But, then it was and continues to be referred to in lessons about "how great this or that was", and I feel like I really missed out on bonding with my girls. I think that is what it is supposed to be all about.

It's not my parents' fault, but I hear it is normal for people to reach this stage in life and realize your parents weren't perfect, and get all worked up about it.

I feel like a big baby. Thanks for giving me a forum to gush. Cheaper than therapy.  

Posted by Suzie Petunia


You need a talented, beautiful, example setting sister to spend girls camp with?

…And a sister that will make sure you have a wonderful birthday even though you are away from your family and close friends???

Three cheers for Carrie Ann's new assignment. GIRLS CAMP?!?!?!

I vote Carrie Ann!!!

Posted by Rebecca

Can *I* come to girls camp too? Picture it... Kacy, Carrie Ann and Sarah Marinara... oh the stories we could tell and the young minds we could warp... that just sounds like good times to me. :) 

Posted by Sarah Marinara

Whoa...I can see the blog now: Kacy, Carrie Ann and Sarah...warping young minds since 2005. What a TEAM! 

Posted by JP

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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