|When you've got it you've got it. (I was participating in ugly shorts day)|
*For my non-member friends, Girls Camp is a program for girls aged 12-18. It's typically a week of some sort of camping experience, as far from civilization as you can get. You as director have to plan lodging, meals, schedules, activities, and opportunities for them to grow personally and spiritually. In my area I get about 120 girls to work with.
Coming to the table I brought experience as a ward and stake leader, (church lingo for a local area and a regional area), a girls camper myself as a youth, and a mom who was a stake camp director ages ago. Okay not that long ago (sorry, Mom).
Here's what I've learned so far:
1. Girls Camp in Utah and out in the mission field are two very different animals. Same goals and principals, but very different experiences. I have had several amazing women work with me coming from Utah who feel like a fish out of water because it's so different. It's also usually more work in many cases, as in Utah they have church-owned camps already there for you (wouldn't that be nice!). Also, G Camp is different depending on where you are located. Camp is going to look differently in Alaska vs. Florida.
2. The girls are never the ones who give you problems. ITS THE ADULTS. They are the ones who do the most complaining about anything and everything. It's hot, they are homesick, they are tired, etc etc. You will find diamonds in the rough so hold onto them, appreciate them, nurture them, and use them as often as you can.
3. Most men don't get Girls Camp. They want to try to compare it to Boy Scouts and its just not the same at all. You will have a few leaders that will want to give you some sage advice and pat you on the head. Just nod and say thank you and then do what you've got to do. You again will find some diamonds in the rough. Hold onto them, appreciate them, nurture them, and use them as often as you can.
4. Think, ponder, pray. What are your goals for these girls? What do you want to accomplish? Look at the goals on the first few pages of your camp manual and incorporate them. What do you want to teach them about how wonderful they are, all the things they can accomplish, their divine worth? Most girls don't have any idea of their amazing potential or worth. I have found so many girls equal worth with = looking like Kim Kardashian or quick reality show type fame or how a guy sees them. Teach them what's real.
5. Have fun. Find balance. Girls camp IS NOT Young Women's conference. It is not sitting for hours in workshops. Yes, there are classes and for me, the last day is the most spiritual. But I also want them to work on team building, friendships, and self-esteem and self-worth. Archery, canoeing, horseback-riding, let them try new things and build confidence. Let them be amazed at all the things they can do.
6. Make sure the food is good. Seriously, this is important.
7. Make a secret board on Pinterest that only you and your stake leaders can see. The reason being that otherwise all your girls and ward leaders know what you're doing and you can watch them pin, pin, pin things you might be planning. Once I am done with the current camp, I make it available for everyone to see.
8. Watch this. You want the section titled "Let Laurels Lead." It's all about letting the girls lead. We are turning these girls into leaders. And remember, it's not about the decorations.
9. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. Find great women and utilize them to help you. Delegate. Bring chocolate. You can do this!
Okay, I am getting pictures and posts together to show you what we've done. Last year and what we are planning for this year. Need anything else? Let me know.