This year's camp was different than anything I have ever experienced, either as a leader or as a girl myself. It was a ward YW camp, not a stake camp. So all the planning and set up and cooking and activities and supplies and equipment was up to us. With just two of us really doing the work, it was tough. It didn't help that one of us was out of town for half the summer and the other of us' husband is gone. But we did great, if I do say so myself.
Bellows was the perfect place to stay. The beach was beautiful, the camp area was shady and grassy, and it felt very safe. Some beach areas in Hawaii don't feel as safe, but I was able to sleep well - and that is extremely rare and important to me. Remember me yelling for dad to save my life in the middle of the night on Mt. Adams? yeah. that kind of thing still happens to me... but not this year!
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay was so fun. You should go there if you come visit Oahu. But if you are coming with a group, do yourself a favor and don't mention that little fact to the ticket people. They have crazy rules about groups there. I should add that to my bad list, but it turned out good in the end.
The hike to Maunawili Falls gets an A+. A week before camp, we set up a compass treasure hunt along the trail to the falls. The girls followed the clues along the trail, collecting little star beads in the YW colors. Brilliant. Swimming in the pool at the foot of the falls was cool. The girls jumped off the rocks into the water. I did not. The hike seemed to be the girls' favorite thing about camp.
Watching the sun rise in the East. Wow.
Catching crabs on the beach after dark.
Singing silly songs around the campfire. This is a secret that I have wanted to save as a surprise for when Nathan comes home, but I have to write it here, so if you are reading this, Nathan, cover your eyes. For fun this summer, Hannah's piano teacher taught her how to play the guitar and she took a little break from piano. Hannah is a genius and picked up chords in like a day. Watching Hannah play guitar by the campfire with all the girls singing along was so cool. (The day we got home from camp we had to rush over to the Haleiwa Arts Festival so Hannah could perform with a girl band. She played guitar and sang her little heart out. I'm hoping someone will email me some photos of that so I can blog about it properly.) Anywho, the campfire songs were great. You never know if the girls will go along with your ideas, and I was a little nervous that there would be some 'tude about singing, but I was wrong....the singing was fun!
Having the best babysitter ever taking care of my little kids. Cammie was a dream come true. She doesn't believe in television, and my kids were in craft heaven all week. They love her and are dreaming of the next time she gets to babysit.
Bellows is a military area and to stay there with a bunch of non-military people was complicated. I had to gather a load of information and fax it to the security people a few days before camp. Unfortunately my fax was lost and it took 4 trips to the gate (15 minutes from camp) to sponsor people on, and 4 more trips to the security office to get it all taken care of. Grrrr.
Planning and buying and organizing all the food is a daunting task. It is so hard to know how much food to buy. This year was easier than last year, as I made an awesome spreadsheet last year, but it was still hard. And though we did a better job this year splitting up the cooking between years, I had a hard time letting that task go. It didn't help that I seemed to be the only person who was capable of looking through the coolers and boxes to find the different ingredients.
A giant centipede in the middle of the night. Eeek!
One of our leaders was a little bit left-over happy. She just could not let the leftovers go. That made for some ice chest challenges. Peach cobbler rewarmed and served for 3 days...Gha.
Girl trouble on the mini-golf coarse. I was having a fabulous time swinging the club when all H.E. Double Hockey Sticks broke loose. One girl called another girl a mean name, that girl started to have a panic attack, no one would take the blame or apologize....oh the drama. All the drama made our YW leader have a bit of a break down, too, which was surprising. What would camp be without the drama, though?
The bites on my belly. On about day two of camp I started to notice a couple of bites on my belly. When we got home and I saw myself in the mirror I almost started crying. I look like I have a bad case of the chicken pox. I'm told to keep cortisone cream handy and they should go away in a week to ten days (I hope it's gone before Nathan comes home...maybe you shouldn't read that part, either, Nathan.)
I heart YW camp!