Camp on the beach was incredible. We had a great view of the ocean from our tents, and each night we were were lulled to sleep by the lullaby of the surf. The sound of the wind and the waves drowned out the noise of the girls talking all night, so I slept great and never had to holler at the girls to go to sleep!
One thing I learned at camp is that the Windward Side of the island is where the wind really does blow in from the ocean all day and all night. Also, because of the wind we had no problems with mosqitoes or flies, and though I worried about big bugs, I never saw anything bigger than your average ant!
Our camp in Hawaii had a unique focus - we did not do much certification, but instead spent our time trying some traditional Hawaiian crafts. The girls each made tea leaf leis, lava lavas, and Ohe or bamboo horns. The sound was like blowing a conch shell.
We were also able to go to a Lo'i and stomp in a Taro patch, swim in a fresh water spring, and pound poi. Poi cake is yummy! And fresh taro is not too bad.
My biggest triumph at camp was making some real Hawaiian rice. Remember, we needed rice at most of our meals, and apparently the way I know how to make rice is not the real way to do it. One morning I was left with the rice cooking chore, as all the other experienced rice cooks were either gone or not feeling well or still sleeping. So I walked over to a neighboring ward camp area and asked one of the guys cooking breakfast (brilliant ward - they had their priesthood cook breakfast each morning) how to do it. He told me how to rinse the rice, how to measure the rice and water (rice up to your second knuckle, lift your finger to the top of the rice, and water up to the first knuckle) and how long to cook it. I followed his directions, though I had a hard time keeping the flame on my camp stove down on simmer in the wind. He came over later and check my rice after it was all cooked (and not scorched) and he judged it to be just right. At breakfast the local girls didn't complain about my rice, and one even said it was almost good. Almost a compliment!
We were encouraged to bring Ukulele's to camp, and in the folders that I prepared for the girls, we included songs with cords for the girls to play. I thought that was a little bit of wishful thinking, but I amazed by how many of our girls brought their own ukulele (pronounced in Hawaii as: ooo-kooo-lay-lay) and could really play. This was the most truly musical camp I have ever been to.
We spent a few hours each afternoon in the ocean. I am always suprised by how different the waves and sand can be at different beaches on this little island. The beach we were camped at had wonderful powder-soft sand, and no coral or rocks to cut your toes. The waves were perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing.
Swimming in the ocean was my most favorite activity at camp. I think this was the first time since I was a little kid that I have gone to the beach without small children to look out for. My friend Diane taught me how to body surf, and then we discovered that body surfing with those pool noodles was even more fun! Have you body surfed before? It is kind of a cross between riding a wave, and spinning in a washing machine. I am still finding sand in my ears!
I may not have done a compass course, but I did earn the noodle surfing merit badge!
There were some frustrating things about camp. So much food to fix and chores to assign and girls to keep happy. Rain at night and strong winds and wimpy tents made for some wet toes. Minimal showers left sand in unmentionable places, and the salty air left my lips really dry. Some of the girls were more excited about camp than others, but most of our girls were great! I consider it a success that we didn't have to send anyone home and that the girls didn't attempt mutiny. I'm embarrassed to say that I did use my "mom voice" a couple times. Sorry girls!
Families were invited up the last night of camp for a potluck and a performance. The girls performed a hula for their parents, and they did such a terrific job!
Sadly, they invited leaders to come up and hula with the girls. Can I look any more confused? What am I doing? Twinkle Twinkle?
Later that night we went on a beach walk to look at the stars and catch crabs. Little white crabs scuttle around the sand at night, and are easy to catch. I even caught a small one. While the girls were crab hunting I laid back in the sand (I was already covered in sand so a little more in my hair wouldn't hurt) and watched for falling stars.
We had a nice testimony meeting that night, then sent the kids to bed while we snuck chocolate bars and stayed up 'til 2 in the morning talking. Fun!
I left camp tired and dirty and a little grouchy. But now that my fingernails are clean, my tubs of kitchenware are emptied, and I've gotten a couple nights of sleep, I'm so thankful for the chance I had to go to camp. What amazing young women we have today!