Monday, June 27, 2011

camping with crazies

I just spent a week up at girls' camp. I always loved camp when I was a youth. Rachel loved camp. Melanie loves camp. Roxanne . . . not so much. I think she has some of Lauri's genes in her. I went up this year as part of the staff. I was over the hiking, archery and water games.Actually, most of camp is run by the Youth Camp Leaders, YCLs. They are the girls who have been to camp for 4 years, most of them are 16 and 17 years old and they take on a major leadership role. Our stake really has a good history of youth leadership at camp. So basically, the YCL's are the ones to actually teach archery safety and technique. I'm just there to oversee that no one gets shot or overheated out in the 170 degree heat wave we were having that week. The YCLs also lead the younger girls on the hikes, I am just there to make sure they are prepared to head out and again, make sure everyone has enough water to survive the heat.Most of the forest trails were closed due to fire dangers so at the last minute we had to revise the hikes to a nearby trail and all the groups had to do the same hike, just in varying distances. It was a 3 1/2 mile loop. One group did one loop, one did 1 1/2 loops, the older group were to go twice around to do a 7 mile loop, but (dare I say) . . . wimped out and only went about 4 1/2 miles. I only say that because I was hiking with the 2nd year girls and these 8th graders were very proud to have done the longest hike of the day.
The girls all love the archery range. In previous years, they all did a mandatory loop through all the offered classes. This year, after doing their certification classes, they could choose to do any class they wanted. One girls signed up for archery for every available class time. Needless to say we are BFF's now. Among many other things, Rachel and Melanie headed up the Jazzercize class. I think as much time went into preparing their outfits as the actual routines. Awesome.
I got my aerobic exercise each night at 11 pm climbing onto the top of a bunk bed. I am way too old to be sleeping on the top of a very narrow bunk bed. I got additional exercise climbing down off the bed at 2:30 am, down the steps of the cabin, down the hill to the bathroom, then up hill, up the steps , and up a rickety ladder and into bed. I never get up to go to the bathroom in the night at home. Why at camp -- every stinkin' night???
Our overall camp theme was "SOS" (Seeking our Savior). Each cabin came up with a sub-theme relating to boats. Melanie's YCL's were pirates. Isn't this a great banner they painted? I ended up painting the banner for the staff cabin, we were lifeboats:Dave spent the week as part of the support staff too. I'm glad Melanie doesn't mind having us around. Someone asked her if she read the packing list carefully - "It didn't say to bring your parents!".
I think in the back of Dave's mind, he had visions of packing the trailer, and maybe hauling some trash out, but mostly sitting in a hammock. Sadly, there was no hammock time for him. He realized there was some major structural problems on some of the platforms we were using and he spent the majority of the week building and repairing. Dave hand-writes letters to Brady each week and illustrates his stories. I saw him drawing a picture for Brady of the platforms with big gaping holes in them and girls falling through. Brady was involved in the work project when those were built by our stake years and years ago so I'm sure he understood the work involved. Anyway, Dave should have been wearing a Superman cape all week because he certainly was a hero around camp.He is smiling for the pictures, but he wasn't smiling with the blisters, the cuts, the bruises and crawling around amongst spiders webs in the blazing heat all day every day.

Funny things I heard around camp:

One girls had not been feeling well and had been to see the nurse and was told to slow down and take it easy for the day. She didn't show up for her photography class which included a small stroll through the forest. At roll call, when she didn't answer, one of the girls said "She's not here. She's supposed to take it easy so she went to Jazzercize."

On our hike, the girls found out that the older group was altering their hike and stopping earlier than planned. One of the girls immediately questioned why we couldn't do that too and was told "Because we're not quitters, and because we're AWESOME". Heading back out on the trail she mumbled, "But I don't want to be awesome".

After the water activity, one of the girls was going from cabin to cabin asking if anyone had some dry tennis shoes she could borrow. As she came be our cabin we reminded her that everyone had wet shoes, but they would dry overnight. She then asked "Doesn't anyone care about hypothermia?" (It was 97 degrees that afternoon).

During the water games, one of the games was to untangle, and untwist one of their shirts that had been wet, bagged and tagged, and put in the freezer overnight. They were clearly not wrung out enough and were frozen solid as a rock. The winners of the game were the first to get their shirts on. There were all kinds of methods of defrosting, sitting on them, under the armpit, blowing on them, dipping them in nearby mud puddles, then some girls decided to bang them on the trees. One of the leaders watching said "It looks like an Insane Asylum". (It kind of was . . . )

The day we were leaving, the whole camp was ready to leave about 45 minutes before the bus arrived to cart the girls home. Melanie put some music on in Dave's truck and kept the girls busy with a little more dancing. Where does she get her energy? Not from me, I know that.


Suzanne Barker said...

My turn for the top bunk again next year....

Megan said...

Sounds like a fun camp! Can you come up here and come with me to ours? We leave Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, Dave sure was a hero to do all that work!

Bandanamom said...

Girls camp is awesome. I missed not being there this year.

Lauri said...

How did I miss this post???? It brought back a lot of memories. One year when I was stake YW president and was at girls camp, we decided to have a party for all of the cabin moms. they were so appreciative to be away from the girls for an hour. Now I remember why.

Melanie is the kind of YCL that makes camp fun. Love the last video...she not only has energy but some awesome dance moves.