Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maddie Goes Native

Last week Maddie attended girls camp for the first time. From twelve to eighteen I went for a week every summer and it was one of the highlights of my experience in the church's youth program. I've had to bite my tongue because they do it differently here, and I was certain it just couldn't be as good as ours was.
Maddie has been looking forward to it for months now. The camp leaders have let her attend mutual several times and even the YW classes on Sunday to get ready. She's passed off camp certification, gone hiking and learned cheers, songs and worked on the girls' theme: Angels in Training.
Finally the big day came and I schlepped her down to the parking lot with all the other girls and leaders and two buses sitting with engines idling. I went over to stand with France's mom Lois, because she knows what's up. I was not disappointed. Lois started chatting up this older girl, saying "This is Frances' first year -- you're not planning to play tricks on the first years, are you?!" the girl told her in a stage whisper "No! We're planning tricks on the 21st ward! [Maddie's group] They put a canoe on our table last year! We missed breakfast while we were putting it back!"
So that's what was going on last year. Those stories don't get mentioned at church the next week, and they never make it up on the bulletin board either!
Maddie came back without great emotional scarring. They did have some girls try to pull pranks on them, but the older girls ran out and foiled them. Instead Maddie came back floating as if on cloud nine and smelling like a potbellied stove. They'd had campfires,
ward skits (in this one Maddie and Fabigail got big parts "because we could memorize the lines!"),
crafts (making dog tags)
a global lack of hygeine and plentiful braids ["I took a shower on Wednesday but the water was so cold!"],
hikes (this one at sunrise which we certainly never did; we were always awakened by the Stake YW president Euniece in her leopard print pants singing to us with a toy xylophone. I'm sorry if that's not they way they did it at your camp -- you missed out.)
teambuilding exercises (each girl had to get over to the other side and each girl had to fit through a different hole. They also did a "trust fall" landing in the others' arms, a balancing exercise, something that looked like hot lava where they crammed onto a raft, and this weird A-frame walking thing which I did not understand),
friends, friends and more friends,
and time out in nature. I think it was a great success! I so appreciate all of those leaders in the first photo who have spent hours and hours just preparing for camp, and then took time off of work and away from family to spend nearly a week hanging out in the woods. Maddie is a true convert and can't wait until next year!
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Jessica said...

God, I hope they never ask me to go to girl's camp. It absolutely terrifies me. Not the camping part. I can pitch a tent in the dark and start a fire with a battery and steel wool. But the sheer mass of girliness horrifies me. I'd rather spend a week in a foreign country with no language or translation skills. Glad Maddie did better than I ever did.

Zina said...

Like Jessica, I'm kind of terrified of being a camp leader, but not because of the girliness, but the, well, overscheduledness. There seems to be a tradition that if you don't keep the girls completely occupied at every moment, they'll come to grief. Maybe it's true, but I like down time. Also I'm not so hot at planning meals even when not at camp. Still, I'm trying to brace myself, since with 3 daughters fast approaching that age range, I'm bound to get a turn.

And now that I think about it, maybe I'm even a little scared of girliness, at least the really drama-laden kind.

Our ward's girls seemed to have a great time this year (and did a lot of the same things yours did--trust falls and a sunrise hike) so maybe I needn't fear. I'm glad Maddie had a great time. I have good memories of Mia Shalom, although the first couple of years some of the older girls were pretty mean. Once we were the older girls, we put an end to mean pranks and befriended the younger girls instead. That totally paid off for us when the younger girls started offering us foot massages or to help when it was our turn to cook.