YW camp was quite the adventure this year! It was so much fun to be part of the planning process and see it all come together. Our YCL’s did such a good job. Camp was nonstop fun. But the very best event happened on the first night. We had the opportunity to have Michelle Craig, the 1st Counselor in the YW Presidency, come and speak to our YW in a special devotional. Wendy Ericson, one of our assistant camp directors and Sister Craig were college roommates. It was a beautiful twist of fate that she was able to come and be with us for one evening at Camp Batel. She made considerable sacrifice to come–traveling all day, just to turn around and fly out of Laramie at 6:15am the following morning.
The girls decorated signs for her arrival and we lined the roads to welcome her to camp. The girls were so sweet–they cheered and clapped and were so excited to meet her.
The moment she stepped out of the car we could all feel an overwhelming sense of love. The YW just flocked to her. They all wanted to give her a hug and she happily obliged. I could see in their eyes that they could feel her special spirit and overwhelming love. At dinner some cute little 1st year girls asked her to sit at their table. They were totally enamoured and hung on her every word. Sister Craig also went and sat with the YCL’s for a little while and she was so complimentary of all the planning and their execution and leadership. She really lifted them up.
After dinner we all went to the amphitheater for the devotional. There were two wards camping in the lower half of Batel that we weren’t using. We invited them to come and listed to Sister Craig with us. Her talk was spectacular. She said she intended to get through all the “Ups” but as she was preparing, she got stuck on “Look up.” She taught us to look to their Heavenly Father and not look side to side for comparisons. She taught us to look around us and love and serve one another.
One of my favorite sections was on distraction. She said that the greatest enemy of spiritual growth is distraction.
When you stand in holy places, be WHOLY there. Don’t get distracted. Be the kind of person Heavenly Father can count on to show up, lift up, speak up, stand up, cheer up.
She played us her favorite rendition of “I Know that my Redeemer Lives.” She asked us to pick our favorite line and to ponder on it during our time at YW Camp. I picked. “He lives to calm my troubled heart.” Such a beautiful line and a beautiful reminder that as we look to the Savior he will send his peace.
After the devotional each girl received a little battery operated candle and we walked down to the lake quietly sings hymns and primary songs. The girls had an opportunity to set goals for themselves as we sang. Near the end, all the girls gathered around Sister Craig and sang, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” They sounded like a choir of angels! And nearly everyone wanted to give Sister Craig a goodbye hug.
I knew it would be fun and special to have Sister Craig with us, but I could not have imagined the impact she had on each of us. Lives were truly changed, prayers answered, and we felt the love of the Savior so strongly. It will be one of my favorite spiritual moments for the rest of my life. And that Spirit lingered at camp long after she left. It was such a touching evening.
Wendy Ericson, Michelle Craig, Gail Bench, Tara Banks, Heather Tracy, Wylie Anderson, MarLinn Angus.
When we arrived back at camp after the lake activity, we were delighted to find we’d been heart attacked by the Cheyenne wards as a thank you for letting them come listen to Sister Craig. It was so sweet! We had our 4th year girls plan a fun little thank you back to them 🙂 .
The next day was filled with classes in the morning, and then the Disaster Course in the afternoon. I was unbelievably impressed with their fake wounds! They should have a career in Hollywood makeup. The disaster course is always a highlight of camp. Then, the moment the YCL’s have been dreaming of….All Camp CAPTURE THE FLAG. It was epic. Because our boundaries were so big, we ran out of time before either team captured the flag. So we left all the rules in the dirt and said first team to bring the flag back to our meeting spot won. Blue team won by only about 1 min. We’re gonna have to change some rules and require pants, but I have a feeling we saw the birth of a tradition. And we kept the nurse very busy with all our scraps and cuts.
Thursday night was skit night and dance party. The skits were so clever and fun. We required everyone to use a 7up bottle as a prop and to use the line, “It’s a clean, refreshing taste.” Every ward was assigned one of the “Ups.” The Stake leaders were assigned “Speak UP” and Heather Tracy wrote the most darling skit using Horton Hatches an Egg as the framework.
Then, DANCE PARTY! One of the classes earlier in the day was to teach the First Years all the EFY line dances. Then, at the dance, everyone has so much fun dancing the night away and eating Nachos. We kept the dance to one hour this year and it was perfect. Enough time to have fun, but not so long that the girls lost energy.
We went to bed and listened to the wind howl and the rain pour down all night long. We knew the weather was going to be cool on Friday when we woke up, but we did not expect to unzip the tents and see SNOW. On June 21. The Summer Solstice. The temp was 32 degrees and more snow was in the forecast. We weren’t prepared for winter camping conditions, so, after counciling with the YCLs and Ward Camp Leaders, we decided to pack up camp and move our final evening to the Broomfield Building. Getting out was treacherous! SO MUCH MUD.
The B1 ward was amazing. They set up tables for our dinner and made sure everything was ready for our arrival. We decided to do testimony meeting before we left camp and I’m so glad we did. Batel is such a special place. I truly feel like I am standing on holy ground when I am there.
We had Bishop’s night in the warm church and President Remund gave a talk about letting the blessings of Heaven rain down on us. He compared it to our experience at camp. It could have been a yucky, cold disaster, but we all chose to see the good and let the fun experiences outweigh the bad. The Bishops were so creative. Some had the girls build “Campfires” with their cell phone flashlights, others brought ukuleles and sang camp songs. I was worried the YW would be worn out and just ready to go home after our freezing adventure, but I’m glad we stuck it out and had bishop’s night. It was so worth it.
YW Camp 2019 is one we’ll never forget!