Friday, June 30, 2017

I Wish I Brought the Melatonin (or, "My Sister Was Right")

I did it. I survived Girls Camp! (I say, as if people actually thought I wouldn't.) Here are my thoughts on camp and being the assistant stake camp director:

The girls: For the most part, I have no complaints! We had 86 girls from the different wards, and about half that many leaders. As my calling was on a stake level, I didn't have a lot of direct interaction with them, except for the YCLs (youth camp leaders). They are good girls who are (mostly) excited about being there. Sure, there are some issues and some girls that make it really difficult for everyone, but with nearly 90 teenagers, in the woods, with no phones, for a week...they did great. There was the one night I could hear them awake at midnight until I threatened them with a night hike.

My job: I was lucky enough to be assigned the daily hikes. Every day I led a group of girls on a hike. I had YCLs and adults to help corral the girls. The 1st years do three miles, 2nd years do five, and 3rd years do...whatever (which ended up being about 3.5). It was a really great way for me to get to know some of the girls. I also got to know almost every trail in the park. (There are roughly 12 miles of trails, and I hiked 10 of them.) They were pretty standard forest hikes, but it was nice to be moving and with the girls. I liked that job. Outside of that, I just made sure that people knew where they were supposed to be and that they got there.

The food: For the past eight years, two women in our stake have done the food. And when I say, "do the food," I mean they do EVERYTHING. And they do it outside, on stoves or in dutch ovens. They are amazing. We ate breakfast casseroles, asian chicken salad, pulled pork sandwiches, pineapple upside down much good food. And the best thing about it was that I didn't have to make it...or plan for it...or buy it...or hear two boys complain about it. It was maybe the best part of the week.

The location: We went to a state park (one of the two my family hasn't been to) in western Maryland. Like most of Maryland's state parks, it was in a forest and had nice bathrooms (yup, with showers). The very good part about it is that because it's "in the mountains" (re: at an elevation of 2500 feet), the weather was really much better than at home. Our highs were in the 70s. The very bad part about it is that "mountain" weather can change very quickly. We had mostly sun, some clouds, and rain. The worst rain fell at 4 a.m. on our day of departure. Which meant 34 very wet and muddy tents to pack up. Which meant 34 tents to set up, clean, and dry back home.

My sanity: It was hard. It's like parenting in that you're always on. And these were even longer days than my at-home parenting because these girls didn't get in their tents at 7:15 p.m.! So mentally, it was exhausting. I did get some runs in, which helped. But I mostly felt like I was walking around going, "Um, what am I supposed to be doing?" Being tired didn't help. With little to no wind-down time each night, I had a harder time falling asleep there than at home (hence the melatonin, just like Emily said I should bring). This meant later nights than I was used to. Oh, but I did enjoy being in a tent by myself! (Adults can't be in tents with girls.)

The aftermath: I could not stop thinking about camp-related things for about two full days. What went well, what didn't. What changes would I make/suggest next year. Then there was the hour spent online reserving the 40 sites (plus two shelters and a recreation hall) for next year. I'm still working on some other clean up (post-camp surveys, reimbursement, yearly camp project plan, thank yous), but I think I should get a break from it soon. Maybe. Hopefully.


  1. We get that in the Midwest too. Anything above sea level is referred to as a "mountain."

    Glad you survived! As the father of a YW, I appreciate all the work our leaders do for my daughter!

  2. I am glad it went well for the most part! Our girls were at Greenbriar State Park. I went up for 1 evening, but didn't stay the night. I could tell a lot of work went into it. Leaders like you ROCK!

  3. I think it actually sounds amazing - I mean, challenging, but super great. Temps of the 70s would sell it for me. That and the awesome, I-didn't-have-to-cook-it food! :)

    The girls were in their tents at 7:15?! That's got to be a typo right?!

    You do rock. Too much apparently as you'll be the Head Honcho next year. :)

    Oh, I love being right - but sorry your sleep was sub-par. But now you know!

  4. Got it - I read that the girls didn't get in to their tents until 7:15 and I was super confused. Now I read it the way you wrote it!