Because of this belief, every summer, the Young Women (girls, ages 12-17) and their adult leaders (whether or not they actually like camping) pack their stuff and spend a few days camping. I am a Counselor in our Young Women Presidency, and so, I had the opportunity to go camping this week with our girls. Our ward (congregation) was joined by the Young Women from the 5 other wards in our stake (neighborhood), and while we had time with just our girls, we also combined for a few things with the entire group.
It's funny, as a youth you don't realize the amount of time and stress and sometimes frustration that actually goes into preparing for this camping trip. How hard could it be? You sing annoying/pointless songs, you eat, you sleep in tents on air mattresses that don't stay fully inflated, you make crafts, you wear serious amounts of sunblock and bug spray; add in a hike, a Snipe Hunt, and a few Spiritual moments around the camp fire, and you are good, right?
Our ward's Camp Director and I looked back over the last few days to give out "Camp Awards." We gave out things like "Extra Miler," "Camp Cheerleader," and "Compassionate Camper." As we were looking at what each girl should receive, we realized that despite all of the stress and frustrations, it was all worth it. The girls in our ward got along so well together. There were no petty fights or bickering between any of our girls. Looking back at my experiences camping as a Young Woman, the fights and tears were ALWAYS part of Girl's Camp. It seemed we could never have a camp without it. But these girls are stellar! We had a relatively small group of girls and one really huge tent, so they shared it. Sounds like asking for fighting, right? But there wasn't any. We, as leaders, slept in a smaller tent together, and we let the girls bond. But it spread from our girls to the rest of the camp. They befriended girls from many of the other wards, and left secret notes of encouragement in the mail boxes of several girls who were not their assigned "Secret Sister." They tried to include as many girls as possible in anything we were doing. And really, we had a marvelous time.