Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Girls Camp Review

I am doing a little review of Girls Camp because I happen to know of a few people who are involved with camp and it may be of some benefit to you or to others out these who need some ideas or direction...

First of all, I am not currently in YW's so I had no part, no input, no say, or any influence whatsoever in any of the activities or ideas that I am about to discuss. I did happen to attend the parent meeting last month and I did happen to volunteer to help with anything they needed. And I did happen to get a phone call the following day asking if I was serious about helping followed by an invitation to attend Camp.
The camp director is a friend of mine.

They decided to attend camp in Wayne County, Utah. The nearest town would be Boulder, Utah. Here is the description from the Public Lands Website:

8700 foot elevation. 17 campsites in ponderosa pines between Pleasant Creek and Oak Creek. Fishing in either creek for brook trout, as well as in Lower Bowns Reservoir, a few miles away on Forest Road 186. Additional nearby attractions include Larb Hollow Overlook, which offers a panoramic vista of Capitol Reef National Park, the Waterpocket Fold, and Lower Bowns reservoir. Close access to the Great Western Trail, for hiking, OHV use, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Easy day trips to Capitol Reef and the Escalante -Grand Staircase.

Did you catch the part about the hot showers? That's right. We didn't have showers. Just a spit bath for the week. more info HERE.

The first thing we did when we got there was to divide the girls into groups for their tents. There were 26 girls give or take a few. I know that in the past a lot of care was taken to decide who would be in what tent. Girls were allowed to write down the names of 2-3 other girls that they wanted to "camp" with. And lots of blood, sweat, tears, and some prayer went into dividing the girls up into groups that would make everyone happy. Well, this time around all of the girls names went into a hat and they pulled a name and that is what tent they got. Easy as pie. And almost no tears. Really, there was minimal complaining. I think for the most part it worked out GREAT.
So, once the girls were divided into tent groups, they began decorating a flag for their tent. This is Summer's group decorating their flag, while another group is in the background setting up a tent.

after we decorated flags we set up the tents, then we decorated a camp t-shirt which identified the girls into "tent groups". They had fun decorating their shirts and signing each other's shirts. However, they didn't end up wearing the shirts all that much. Maybe because they were white. I don't know. Or maybe they were just layered under jackets and sweatshirts because it was cool. This is our camp director wearing her shirt:

About the food:

The Relief Society sent us off on the first morning with milk and cinnamon rolls. It must have been because they knew what was on the menu for the next few days. J/K
We each brought our own sack lunch to eat when we first arrived at the camp site. That worked out great.
We also each brought a tinfoil dinner to eat that evening. They were kept in a cooler with ice.
The only problem with that idea is that a few of the girls didn't attend the meeting and didn't get the advice to precook their meat. Summer and I had some chicken with teriyaki sauce, onions, pineapple, peppers and rice. It was really good except that I wished I had a little more sauce.
The next thing about food was the Biggie...72 hour kits. The girls/leaders each had a 72 hour kit that was prepared before hand. They had 3 days worth of food to eat for the next 2 days. Some of the girls were freaked out about it but, this is what I thought:
The head lunch lady for camp happens to be a professional caterer. How can you go wrong?
She had spent (probably) hours and hours compiling all of the items for the 72 hour kits. She even had the girls sample a bunch of different protein bars and vote on which ones they wanted to include. Here are some of the things that they added to the kits:
protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, cup-o-soup, peanut butter, crackers, instant oatmeal packets, MRE's, powdered drink mixes, beef jerky, jelly packets.

There was plenty of food. Some of the girls didn't like certain things in their kits so they traded around. The MRE's were the big issue. I have tasted some of them before. I think they are fine for what they are--nutritionally balanced food for when you have no power/water/modern conveniences. I wouldn't want to eat them every day, but they were fine for camp. Some girls turned their noses up, but they just ate ramen or nuts or some other food they secretly brought from home.
I have been to camp 2 other times and I have seen leaders cook "gourmet" meals trying to keep picky girls happy. This was a brilliant idea to just hand them 3 days worth of food and let them figure it out. Most of them were just as happy as if they were served a gourmet meal. In the past, the leaders were completely wiped out by day 2. With this menu option, all of the hard work went into those meals long before the girls ever arrived at camp. Each girl got a giant ziploc back with their name on it and food for 3 days. the end.

The theme that the YW leaders chose for this camp was something like..."You are stronger than you think you are" which leads into the next topic...HIKING.
That whole subject just flips some girls out.

So, for day 2 of camp, we all went on a hike to Calf Creek Falls. It's about 2 1/2 miles to the falls. We were hiking in the sun on a clear, hot day. We probably should have given a little lecture about dehydration because I think that some of the girls didn't take that seriously enough. I also think that some of the girls might be a little whimpy and have never really sweat and worked too hard. But, in the end, the pay off was worth it...
The girls loved it.
At the beginning of the hike

Eating lunch from 72-hour kits at the waterfall
At the end of the hike, enjoying the last of the shade.
later in the day, after a long nap by most, the girls worked on certification stuff and then skits after dinner:
The girls are baking cookies with a reflector oven.
They turned out pretty good. so I hear.
This is Summer's tent performing their skit.
Lexi, Rachel, Caroline, and Summer

Day 3 was the sunrise hike into Capitol Reef, ending at the visitor's center.

The view from the road as we were driving to the hike location.

This hike began across the road from the Chimney Rock turnout. It was about 6 miles. It was a little longer than the day before, but most of the girls enjoyed the "hike" part of it a little more than the previous hike. I think that was because it was cooler since we were in and out of the water and also because we stayed closer together as a group. In some areas we had to be a little technical and help each other down some rocky areas. Some girls wore swim suits and got wet. really wet. and really dirty.

This day also ended with some napping and some camp certification instruction.
The next day was a service project.
We picked up trash on the road to and around the Lower Bowns Reservoir. Not the girl's favorite part of camp, but it could have been a lot worse.
After the service project, the day was devoted to Feast and Spa time...

This is our YW president.
Because the girls did a lot of their camp certification stuff at home, before camp, it left a bit of free time during the week. The girls had a good time playing games like this cup stacking game. They also played a bunch of other games that I never did figure out. Amazingly enough, the girls were great about including each other and there was no real drama, well except the part about Cassie and David Archuleta.
Thursday night's meal was the "Feast" part of camp and was planned by the girls. It was Navajo Tacos. This is the only picture I got of the entire meal because they made my use my 13 years of fast food experience and I had to crank out the scones for the Navajo Tacos...

We also had dutch oven cobbler. My favorite part about this meal was that I got to use the phrase..."There's more than one way to skin a cat." I think I learned that one from my dad. thanks, dad.

Later that night we had a testimony meeting and also some of the girls chose to burn the flag from their tent.
these were the leaders with their flag.
"Behold, we count them happy which endure."

Here was a quote that I found that we gave the girls on the one of the days that we hiked...
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh.
I think that that turned out to be the perfect theme for this camp. Some of the girls admitted to being pampered little girls and that by hiking and eating from 72-hour kits, they learned that they were capable of doing things that they normally would not have dreamed of doing.
it was a lot of fun and I am glad that I got to go to camp and spend the week with Summer and her friends.
now, I need to get the house cleaned so that I can go to day camp with Sierra and her Activity Days group on Wednesday and with the Cub Scouts on Thursday.


Carroll Family said...

WOW!!! Sounds fun! Was it just your ward, or your stake? Erin goes next week, and we've realized next year we'll have 2 going!!!

Emily and Austin Gray said...

Thanks for the post, Kelli. I am planning for girls camp in two weeks (I'm the stake asst CD, we have 60 girls in the whole stake.) Wow do our girls have it EASY!

Here's a story for your girls. Austin was at the temple with our youth baptism trip and David Archuleta came in and joined the group! He was in Boston for a concert. Message: never miss a youth temple trip!

Tia and Amara said...

Yeah! I'm going back in July I think. My sister's coming up from and wants to take her boys. It'll be good for Tia to be the knowing experienced one for once.

Jess said...

Looks like fun! I can't believe how many yw you have in your ward. We have 8 and only 4 are going to camp. Luckily, ours is a stake camp. I love the idea of using 72 hour kits. I'll have to suggest the idea to our camp director (probably for next year since they already have this year figured out).

Jacobson Five said...

You are always such the hqappy helper Kelli, thanks for coming with me tommorrow.