We (Hannah and I) are home from another fabulous year at camp. I have been going as an adult leader since Hannah's first year. I love, love, love camp. Camp has been at Beaver's Bend State Park in Oklahoma for a lot of years now. It is a beautiful place. Every year I think that I should get the entire family there. It would be a perfect place for a little vacation.
My responsibilities changed this year. I was a leader over the 4th year campers. Fourth year is a little bit special. This is Indian Princess year. The girls participate in what is called Legend Night. They spend several months before camp learning an Indian sign language to The Lord's Prayer. They are also given a bit of muslin to make a dress. There are a few specifications on constructing the dress, as far as shape and length go. However, the decorating is up to their imaginations. It is amazing what they come up with. Lots of fringe and beading, but not always. One of the more creative dresses I saw was without fringe or beading. The young lady used Sharpies to draw some rather elaborate scrolls and flowers. It was lovely. Hannah choose to use ties on the side, fringe and beading on the sleeves, and then a bit of decorative ribbons. She got a lot of compliments on her dress.
The program starts with a story. This story was written by a sister that had been in our stake about 19 years ago. It was based on a family story. It tells of a pioneer couple that spent a winter with a tribe of Indians. They shared the gospel during this time. The Young Women values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue) were included in the program after they became part of Personal Progress. The parents write a paragraph about which value their daughter exemplifies. Each girl is spotlighted as the paragraph about her is read. Then they perform the Lord's Prayer.
I'm not sure that I can adequately describe how beautiful it is to watch these girls. This year there were 25 girls performing the Lord's Prayer in unison. The entire program is very moving. It is a lot of work. The first part of camp is all practice. Not much free time until after the presentation. Then they get to spend a day on the lake. Unless Oklahoma weather doesn't cooperate. Like this year. We ended up taking them to a movie.
It is a week we stay up too late. There are bugs. There is heat and crazy Oklahoma weather. The girls giggle and laugh and have a good time together. The adults remember that they were once girls and they giggle and laugh and have a good time. Canoes, hiking, horseback riding, archery are all included. But more than that there a particularly good spirit about this camp. The leaders try to create an environment where the girls can feel closer to God. It helps immensely that we are in a beautiful wooded area. Beyond that the leaders all bring a strong testimony of the Gospel. A reverence for His creations. A pure and sincere love of these young women. We want them to have fun, but we also want them to be in places where they can feel the Spirit. Places they can learn how the Holy Ghost speaks to them.
I know that I can't go to camp forever, but I just might try.