Monday, July 1, 2013

Can camping be holy?

Blogging has not been a priority for awhile now.  Boyd and I are taking a family history class during Sunday School which makes me think of my own journaling.  For the last 7 years, my blog has been my journal.  It has been a learning process.  I need to be better about keeping up.

We came home a couple of days ago from our ward Girls Camp.  I've never been so non-stop hot in my life.  I have more compassion and empathy for the pioneers who settled this area they called Dixie, than ever before.  They built a temple, day in and day out, through these temperatures, with no shade.  I marvel.

Our camp theme was simply, "I stand", with a Native American twist. The mutual theme for the entire Church this year is, "Stand Ye in Holy Place and Be Not Moved."  I see so many darling ideas on Pinterest for camp ideas but I wanted to remain true to the theme for the year.  I wanted camp to re-emphasize this concept that anywhere we are, when we are worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, can be a Holy place.  Camp is definitely that place.

We called two amazing camp directors, Annie Green and Lisa Carson, who worked, prayed and sacrificed to make sure that they would provide an atmosphere of learning, love and unity.  We are blessed by their service.

We stayed at a place called Clear Creek Family Ranch near Zion National Park.  We thought the elevation gain of 4,000 feet would give us reprieve from the heat of summer, but we were surprised that it didn't give more relief.  Temperatures were above 100º every day.  Months ago, as we were considering and calendaring the dates for camp, we had no idea that it would be this hot.  However, we were inspired to make our camp last only 4 days for YCL's, 3 for the other girls.  This proved to be a blessing, as it would have been nearly impossible to live outdoors for another day.

One of the crafts the girls made, was a personal totem pole.  We had the girls paint, decorate and embellish their poles with things they 'stand' for. Many of them adhered photos of family, temples and Jesus Christ on their totems.  Some wrote their favorite scriptures or quotes from prophets. Each was as individual as each girl.  Those quiet moments of reflection as they contemplated what they would put on their totems and then went to work on them, is something that I will always remember.  I made one myself, and it's in my office next to my computer.

The girls also participated in a difficult obstacle course, including 12 foot walls, ropes, tires and trails.  It took them about an hour and a half to complete it.  There was no way they could have done it without helping each other.  They learned that they could do hard things, but not alone. Life requires assistance from those around us.  And ultimately, we cannot get through it without our Savior.

Barn kittens, para-cord bracelets, feather garland, a giant mouse living in our cabin, the massive treehouse above the tents, the camp director lovingly nicknamed the "handsome skunk", headbands, secret sisters, mosquitoes, Cafe Rio, unity, testimonies, Stake visitors, Moms, Dads, the camp cheer, flag ceremonies, the camp song, handouts, 'singing in the rain' and 'penguin company', dust, puffy clouds, sunrise yoga, water bottles, hot and cold showers, I Stand t-shirts, shade and beautiful daughters of God...are all things that I will cherish forever and that came together for our good and made camp a holy place.

I'm thankful for the hardships of camp and because of my experience, I will never forget how and where to stand in holy places.

I'm also including the link for the foil dinner recipe that I made.  It was so delicious.
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