Thursday, June 28, 2007

Life's Lessons Learned at Girl's Camp

Valerie J. Steimle

I just got back from our church’s girl’s camp and I am encouraged and invigorated. Any time a church puts 40 girls together for a week out in nature, good things happen. Even for the adult leaders, there is bonding at night as we sit around the camp fire and talk.

With forty girls camping out in the wild you have all kinds of temperaments and emotions thrown together. They all learn to get along with their fellow campers as well as learn to appreciate nature. Especially when they have to live without all the comforts of home. Collecting firewood, keeping the campfire going, cooking over a fire, setting up tents, morning flag ceremony and hiking through the woods all have life lessons to be learned.

Collecting enough of the right kind of firewood and covering it with a tarp to keep it dry helps us to think ahead in life. Making goals for what we want to accomplish keeps us on target. If we forget to cover the firewood, dew or rain will wet the wood and you have a problem. Thinking ahead is always a good thing.

Keeping the fires going for a campfire can help you to understand the nurturing of a relationship. Staying in a long term relationship needs emotional support during the good and the bad and it teaches you patience. Just like being patient enough to stick around to keep the fire going-it pays off in the end.

Cooking over a fire keeps you on your toes. You watch to make sure the fire doesn’t get too hot and you don’t burn anything. Kind of the way children are by the time they are teenagers. They certainly keep you on your toes.

Securing the tent stakes can remind us that we should keep ourselves grounded in life from the wicked ways of the world. It's too easy to be swayed by what is popular. We can see the blessings of keeping ourselves unspotted against what comes along in life. Those stakes keep us in one place just like we would keep our tent.

Having flag ceremony every morning reminds us that we should be thankful for our soldiers in arms from the first gun shot during the Revolutionary war to the bombs dropping on Baghdad. We are so blessed in this country for the many men who fought to keep us free and safe from the rest of the world.

Keeping on the path during the hike can remind us to focus on what is important in life. Stopping to smell the flowers and keeping on the straight and narrow even when the path is difficult are life lessons that stay with us. Some of those hills we climbed walking through the hot sun were brutal but we kept going. We did not give up and go back. We did not stray from the path we were to walk on.

Yes, living out in the wilderness has its insights and we can remember what we learned from our experiences at Girl’s Camp.

7 comments:

  1. The beautiful thing about maturing is that we're able to see the things our parents were trying to teach us when we were young. Looks like this was a very fruitful camping experience for you--and I'm sure lots of the girls picked up some lessons, too. Thanks for reminding us.

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  2. I just discovered this blog and love it. Thank you!

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your analogies, Valerie. I am going to share them with my daughter before she goes off to camp in a couple of weeks, as a way to help her stay focused on the positive. Actually, I think i will print it out and give it to our ward camp director. She is very young and lots of fun...but I think it would be great for her to be reminded about the purpose for girls' camp.

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  4. Thank you for visiting, Emily. Come back often. We're glad to have you.

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  5. Yeah for camping! Great experience for girls and leaders.

    Your observations, Valerie,are great. I tried to suggest the same idea (that obedience to camping rules brings rewards just as obedience to all correct principles frees us) when I wrote a little song for girls' camp about a quarter century ago. The theme was 'Roughin' it Easy'. As I remember, it went something like this.

    We're the girls of _____________ Stake,
    This week we're camping out.
    We're goin' to rough it easy and
    Make do or do without.

    We have leaders who are faithful
    And they're also lots of fun
    So we'll listen to instructions
    And we'll follow every one.

    We're roughin' it easy,
    Roughin' it easy
    As we joyfully keep the
    Commandments of the Lord.
    Right livin' is easy,
    It's tough, but it's easy,
    And eternal life is our reward

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  6. Wow. That is a great little song, Anna. Great idea for camp.
    Thank you for all of your comments. It is so satisfying to get positive feedback for something you write. Kari-I'm glad you can use it for your daughter.

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  7. Yes, Valerie. We live and love by positive feedback, but we grow from the negative.

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