Thursday, July 9, 2015

Girls Camp

In my church during the summer the girls ages 12-17 get to go to girls camp. This year I got to go up for the first time as one of the camp directors! The girls are divided up by year, and each year has different requirements to certify in their level and progress to the next year's activities. For each of the six years I went as a youth the adults planned and directed all of these activities, but that has changed! Once the girls are 5th years they now become Youth Camp Leaders (YCLs). Before camp they help plan the theme, activities, crafts, spiritual devotionals, etc., and once at camp they are largely responsible for directing each day's events. Even though I was assigned to the 1st years with another adult, our main assignment was to drive the girls to camp, sleep in one of the cabins with our level, and be available as backup/enforcers for the YCLs if they needed anything.

Originally we had been booked at a camp a couple of hours away; not too far from Big Bear. The YCLs were going to go up on Monday the 6th and decorate cabins, set up crafts, and prepare for the rest of the week. Everyone else (including myself) would be coming up the next morning and we all would stay until the afternoon of Friday the 10th. With only 4 days until our departure we were told that the forest service would not be opening any of the camps in that area for at least another week! There had been recent fires in the area and they needed to visit each location to clear it for use. We were suddenly sent scrambling for another camp location.

Luckily, a camp only 40 minutes away in the Santa Monica mountains made themselves available to our group, and plans were changed. We would all be starting camp Monday morning, and would have to be packed up and gone at 8:30pm Wednesday night. They also said we'd have to provide our own certified lifeguard for any pool activities as their camp staff would still be on break. We somehow managed to cram all of the same activities into the 3 days, and even though we had been trying for days, we were struggling to find a lifeguard. 

But miracles happen! Late Monday evening I found a lifeguard through a friend of a friend while battling with my phone for service. I was able to connect to the camp master's wifi and get a message out on facebook, and my friend responded through their messenger app. I was getting an occasional text message in too, but couldn't make or receive calls. The lifeguard wisely tried texting me AND sending me a message through facebook, only one of which I received (fb!). We had her email her certificate to the camp master, agreed on times, emailed her directions to camp, and told the girls over dinner that yes, they were going to swim the next day, eliciting quite the cheer of joy. They REALLY wanted to swim! After finishing my correspondence with the lifeguard my phone never let an additional message, text, or facebook alert come through my phone until we left camp, even with the wifi. Like I said - miracles.

It was a fun three days with (mostly) happy teenagers, and hardly any drama. Several girls asked if I was coming back next year (not really up to me), and I would be happy to. My 1st years were generally sweet and helpful and very inclusive with others. I think my biggest frustration was a girl a few years older who constantly refused to have fun, or participate in ANYTHING. She always tried to sit far away from everyone else, and complained whenever we asked her to join the group. During one activity that was designed to have each girl receive a compliment from another camper she sat out saying "I'm uncomfortable with that." You would think she didn't want to be there, but I was told she signs up for multiple camps with our church groups in the area every summer. I don't get it. At least she wasn't in my year or cabin. Teenage angst is irritating.