(Please note – this post is by Lara, not Kellie. Kellie tried to get WordPress to cooperate, but it didn’t go in Kel’s favour…)
Girls’ Camp is one of my favorite things! I went four years as a young woman, and this was my fourth year as an adult leader—I love camping, I love crafting, I love nature, and I love working with the young women. Though we aren’t supposed to covet, I could spent the rest of my life going to Girls’ Camp, and be perfectly content calling-wise.
First of the year I was asked to be the ward camp director for Girls’ Camp. Our Young Women’s program is currently very small, so some of the things I would usually do in this calling weren’t on the agenda, such as a fundraiser. For the camp skit, our ward was combined with another small ward, and their ward to the heavy lifting on that, and for camp itself the stake assigned me to be a leader for the second year girls. Additionally all certification was taking place at camp by leaders specifically assigned to teach. This meant there wasn’t much for me to do except go to a few meetings and wait for camp. Still, I wanted to serve, and I know what I gained when I was a young woman and that was worth giving to others.
My daughter turns twelve one day before the camp cutoff date, and I was genuinely glad I was going to be there for her first year—she hadn’t been away from home before, and that way if she was worried or homesick I was close by—but I found myself not looking forward to camp in the weeks leading up to it. In the past, there has been lots to do to spark that excitement, this time not so much. I felt like there was going to be a lot of down time, and with many responsibilities and upcoming events I needed to deal with at home, I wasn’t convinced camp was going to be a useful expenditure of my limited time and energy.
The first afternoon, after a grueling hike on the tail of a sleepless night, all I wanted was a nap! But I sat at a devotional and listened to a speaker say exactly what my soul had been needing to hear for weeks. The next morning it happened again. Three devotional talks a day felt like warm embraces from my Heavenly Parents, reminders of who I am and what I needed to be doing, and what I am doing right. I had gone to camp to serve the young women, but over and over again I heard the Spirit telling me that I was called to camp this year for me.
The last night at our testimony meeting, my heart was broken as I listened to the struggles and heartache being faced and endured and overcome by the girls in our stake, and the Spirit spoke again—if once a year, we can give these young women a single week where they feel safe, cherished, protected and loved, it is worth any sacrifice made. For some, it’s the only time they have this security. I’m already looking forward to next year, hoping to go again, for myself, and for them.
What is the calling you’d be happy to have forever? Have you had an experience of having your heart change during an experience of service? Where do you feel most safe and loved?