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Favorite Things: Girls’ Camp

By Kellie Purcill

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(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?

About Kellie Purcill

lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

6 thoughts on “Favorite Things: Girls’ Camp”

  1. I'd love to be in young women. I served in that calling as a young mother. I loved those girls. I make it a point to get to know the young women in my ward. They need all the help and encouragement I can get. But alas, I haven't had a young Womens calling for 19 years. I feel like my time is running out to be there and I will never have that opportunity again. I also really enjoy being primary chorister. It was so much fun to teach the gospel through music but again, in my ward if you don't play piano, you don't have musical talent. So I've spent many years teaching in primary. I like primary, I'm just burned out.

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  2. Primary secretary is my all time favorite calling. I love getting to know all of the children in the ward while still being able to have adult interaction with the primary presidency. I also love hearing the plain and simple truths of the gospel in sharing time, singing time and from the precious little ones. The spirit I feel there is only rivaled by the feelings I feel in the Temple.

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  3. Early Morning seminary teacher. I have done it previously for 2 years and loved it (so sad when released). Getting to feel the spirit like that every mornng is amazing. The spirit and knowledge I learn while preparing seminary lessons is amazing. Working with the youth is wonderful.
    I just got released as YW president and that is one of the hardest I have ever done. Would rather do early morning seminary over that any day.

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  4. I just got back from girls camp, and I am amazed at the bond our young women formed. That alone was worth all the work and lack of sleep. They all loved it, and it felt like a safe harbor for some of them. I hope to make our weekly meetings a safe harbor as well.

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  5. Honestly, the only calling I'd want forever is that of a visiting teacher. I've forged close friendships with nearly all my companions, and visiting our sisters has never failed to uplift me in some way – although not always in the actual visit, but somewhere in its prelude or postlude. Besides that, I used to think the worst fit calling for me would be the Primary. I felt totally unqualified. Then I got called to Primary (of course) and somewhere during my time as president I realized primary was the best place to be – maybe not forever, but definitely the best place to serve. Then I thought YW would be the worst place for me. So now that I'm YW president, I know better than to start thinking the Relief Society or anywhere else is the worst place for me. And I'm afraid my dream calling of seminary teacher will only be a dream. But in the meantime, YW is stretching me in all kinds of uncomfortable ways and I'm struggling, I'm crying, I'm tossing and turning, and struggling some more. I love our girls very much, but for so many other reasons I wasn't prepared for, YW is SO hard. I feel bad that I'm finding it so hard but I trust that the Lord will help me as He always has and bless me with a heart changing experience. Soon.

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  6. Paula, if only you lived in our ward. We have a shortage of sisters willing to serve in the YW, and we could sure use a primary chorister 🙂

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