I just had the three best days at our Stake Young Women's camp at 'Pop's river'. It is nice to be home and to see the boys again, but I would've loved to have stayed longer. The theme for the camp this year was 'Strong and Courageous', which is taken from the church's worldwide mutual theme for the year, which is from the scripture Joshua 1:19 'Be strong and of a good courage'. Sacha is so clever and designed and made logos for drink bottles for each of the girls and leaders which Sarah and her put on the bottles after a great purchase on ebay.
The girls were so excited about camp, but I think us leaders were just as excited as they were! Sacha also put some logos on a couple of vests. This is her 'traffic controller' vest. As everyone drove in she would direct them where to park :)
Sacha and I had the loveliest spot to camp right down near the river, under the trees.
It was so hot while we were setting up. Everyone kept mingling around the river, asking when they could go for a swim.
We had an official opening and introduced the girls the 'Camp Youth Leaders' (the 16 and 17 year old girls). They were all assigned different requirements to do before camp and during camp. I kept joking with them that one of the assignments was to give us leaders a massage sometime during camp, but they weren't going for it!
After a very long, hot morning of setting up it was finally time for some free time. The girls couldn't jump in the river fast enough!
It was so fun watching everyone jump off the platform on the other side.
President Prebble is always a big kid and had more fun than anyone jumping off, doing bombs and backflips!
It was so great just seeing the girls loving being together and having fun. The younger girls were singing 'deglumph went the little green frog' as one of them would jump off the platform, and the older girls were singing 'there were ten in the bed' as they rolled off the jetty into the river.
Jayne and Georgia came down for a visit during the evening of the first day and brought us icy poles. It's great having people live so close that they can pop in and bring treats! Thanks Jayne!
After tea on the first night each ward put on a skit. It was up to them what they did, but they just had to have the theme of 'Strong and Courageous' in it somehow. It was so good to see all the different things they came up with. West Ward did a church spin on 'New Moon' (is that even what it's called - I have NO idea about Twilight!).
Devonport ward used the theatre sports game 'space jump' as they went through different situations where they would be put under peer pressure to do something they shouldn't. It was very clever.
Deloraine wards was also very clever with the story of the cowardly lion who met different characters along the way. Each character was related to a YW value colour.
Burnie branch also did theirs about being put in different situations where they would have to make a choice. It was very funny.
and East ward did a very clever church version of a song called 'boom chicka boom' which had everyone cracking up laughing.
It was a pity that there was a fire ban as we would've loved to have been able to sat around the fire together and toasted marshmallows, but it wasn't to be. Instead everyone enjoyed sitting around chatting or joining in on the sing-a-long.
The girls were so good and actually went to bed pretty early - before 11.30 or so! I thin they knew I was serious about blowing my whistle at 7.30 am so they could get up for an exercise session. Two of the laurel leaders took the session. I have to say that Danika and Jasmine's version of 'exercise' was VERY tame with them just doing a few stretches and then a few pushups and star jumps. I was hoping they were going to burst out a 20 minute aerobic session ;)
There was lots of complaining and moaning that they still wanted to be in bed, but I kept telling them that 7.30 am was a BIG sleep in for me!
After breakfast, and a morning devotional we were planning on going on a hike. As Pop's river is no longer Pop's river it was very difficult chasing up keys to get up to the top flats where we wanted to go. Instead we decided to take the easy option of a 'walk' up to the top of the billy cart hill. Kym and Toni were troopers pushing their boys in prams all the way to the top!
Once we got to the top we had some morning tea and I then spoke to the girls about how we have been asked to 'return to virtue', by the General Young Women Presidency.
After we talked about what 'virtue' meant to us (we had been talking about it a lot last year) we then talked about how we can 'return' to it. We sat and sang a song that we had been learning all year called 'Virtue'. All of the girls then signed a gold banner (gold being the colour of the value of virtue) to pledge that they would return to virtue.
I loved watching Sacha walk the girls down the hill, with the banner held high.
Sacha got to wear her 'hike master' jacket on the hike and was cracking us up as she had some walkie talkies. She would talk to the leaders who stayed behind back at camp and would be going 'hikers to base, do you copy' etc.
As we walked back to camp the girls could decide whether they wanted to walk to camp, or if they wanted to walk further up the river towards 'Ayers Rock' and then float back down to the swimming hole. Most girls chose to float down the river. This was the last photo I got to take on my camera before a message came up on the screen saying '! Error'. My poor camera has died and I'm not sure what is wrong, but I have to send it off to be fixed :(
Thanks to Toni, Sacha and Pres. P for letting me use your photos and also borrow your cameras. I was very lost without mine :(
We had lots of fun floating down the river together. We would hit a few shallow spots with rapids and everyone would be in major pain as we had to walk across the rocks. There were a few tears, but we finally made it back to the swimming hole.
The rest of the day was spent doing camp certification requirements which the girls have to do during camp. It's similar to scouts where you learn survival skills, first aid etc and luckily we had covered a lot of it at our bootcamp already. The laurel leaders were assigned to teach the younger girls some of the requirements which made it a lot easier for us. I had the level 2 girls and one of their requirements was to do something nice to serve someone else at camp. After Toni and I joking all camp that we were waiting for a massage, Logan offered to give me one :) Thanks Logan!!!
The afternoon was then spent either swimming (awesome photos courtesy of Sacha's waterproof camera),
making friendship bracelets (which they spent hours doing and loved!),
and just hanging out together.
The girls loved our 'secret sister' idea. Toni and Abby put together a great hanger where each girl was given a pocket with their name on it. Each girl then pulled a name out and were asked to put something nice in the pocket for their secret sister each day while at camp. They absolutely loved it and would spend a lot of time writing each other notes and putting little treats in. We also put treats and other special things in for them.
The weather became very windy on the second day, and we found out there were severe weather warnings around, so we decided to make use of the Weegena Hall for our fireside and testimony meeting. It was one of the highlights of camp. After we finally got back to camp (that is a whole other story!) it was very late. Pres. P took his group for some star gazing and activities in the night and then the Deloraine girls asked Sacha and I if we would come into their tent for a 'D&M'. That can usually only mean one thing - talk about boys! There was that, but there was also a lot of talk about embarrasing moments and sharing toothbrushes :)
Sacha was cracking me up as if the girls started to talk about boys she would shine the torch in their face and remind them 'return to virtue girls, return to virtue!'.
We finally went to bed at 1.45 am! I did tell the girls they could have an extra 1/2 an hour to sleep in, but to be ready for exercise at 8am. This photo of Lizzie and Phebe cracks me up. They really weren't ready to be out of bed just yet!
Lucy and Laurie took the exercise session and started the girls with a short jog. They then played 'duck, duck, goose', but had to use the sounds they made rather than just saying 'duck, duck, goose'.
Monique is not a person who like to exercise at ALL, so we thought it would be funny to choose her to make her run. She wasn't impressed when Bonnie said 'goose' (or HONK) on her.
After breakfast we met up for our morning devotional which was given by some of the Deloraine girls and Emma. They did a great job and talked about how you can be strong and courageous as you stand firm for truth and righteousness.
After devotional the girls were given half an hour or so to find a quiet spot near the river to go and read some scripture passages that each level of girls had to do, and then had time to write in their journals. It was one of my favourite times during camp as it was a beautiful morning with the sun shining on the river, and all the girls were just so quiet as they sat and reflected about camp and the feelings they had while they were there.
For the last morning we played lots of fun team games. All camp we had talked about being 'strong and courageous' and this was the time for them to show us how strong they were physically as they played 'tug of war'. I love this pic taken by Pres. P of the group huddle.
They also had a relay where they had to try to get as much water from one bucket to another using sponges. It was very funny to watch.
When I lived in the USA I got to play waterbomb volleyball a lot. I hadn't seen it here at all, and thought the girls would enjoy it. The Deloraine girls said they had done it before, but none of the others had. They had to hold a towel in pairs and they then had to try to catch a waterbomb in the towel without it popping and then flick it back over to the other side. If it popped on your side, the other team got a point. The girls loved it.
We had such a great three days with the girls and I really didn't want to leave camp. We got the girls to fill out some evaluation forms to see what they liked and any suggestions or comments they had. It made me laugh as the biggest thing they disliked was my WHISTLE!! I don't know what is wrong with them!!! I think my whistle is lovely - it came with me everywhere I went :)
Rhiannon is not looking too impressed with it right now though!
The other thing a lot of them didn't like were the toilets. I told them they could get a lot worse like 'back in the day' when we used to be in YWs rather than leaders and have to dig a hole in the ground! Every time you used the toilet you had to get buckets of water so you could fill the top of them up so they could flush. I think these girls look quite happy about collecting water for the hundreth time!
Before camp closed we gave each of the girls an award. Some of the laurel leaders came up with some excellent ideas for some fun awards. We wanted to give Sacha's cool vests and the camp sign away to some girls who we thought were good examples to the other girls as they always had a positive attitude and were willing to just get in and help out and enjoy all the activities. Phebe, Paige and Laurie were the lucky ones.
The laurel leaders who are leaving Young Womens this year all received an extra special award for completing their leader requirements. They each got a very special wooden box with the YW torch symbol engraved in the top. It's sad to think that 7 of the girls won't be at camp next year :(
It was actually a bit sad seeing everyone pack up and go. I was glad it was finished after all the preparation and hard work, but it was all worth it. We all look a bit tired and ready for a good shower and sleep!
Toni was amazing as she had Tommy with her the whole time and you wouldn't even know it. He is such a good baby and he was so happy the whole time just smiling at all the girls and getting lots of cuddles.
We had an awesome three days together and hopefully the girls will have lots of great memories of YW camp 2010 'Strong and Courageous'.