Girls Camp Adventures

I know Girls Camp is not everyone’s cup of herbal tea, but I love it. I always come away with new skills or insights. For example, one year I learned that the quickest way to fill water balloons is via the tubes in the toilet tank. Another year I observed that girls singing hymns to a counselor who claims to be in the throws of a demonic possession will not in fact cast out the crazy. Two counselors from other countries informed me that in some cultures, “Only sluts go to college.” Other insights include: accidentally doubling the butter in the chocolate sheet cake recipe is a GOOD thing; making the camp director go skinny dipping with you ensures that you will not get busted; never let anyone put you in traditional Guatemalan dress for skit night unless you weigh less than 100 pounds.

I discovered this year’s bonus while sleeping in the “library” (a cabin with a few book shelves). I found an LDS romance novel that made me almost wet myself. I am so excited to share the synopsis of Love Beyond Tomorrow with you all that I can hardly stand it. “Lauren Holt is tired of the dating scene and the heart-ache of dead end relationships.” Alrighty, I think, this jaded heroine is probably in her mid twenties, which, by Mormon standards, makes her practically an old maid. But wait…“So when the time comes to start her FRESHMAN year at BYU-Idaho, she is thrilled to leave the boys behind.” Shouldn’t all relationships for a high schooler be “dead-end?”

The drama continues for our teenager: “But love has other plans for Lauren. She soon meets Ben Morrison—a handsome, intelligent man, who, unlike the boys, isn’t intimidated by her softball skills.” Is this killing you, or is it just me? If I had a nickel for every relationship that ended due to softball intimidation… Now here is my favorite part: “Lauren is surprised to learn that Ben has transferred from Harvard blah blah blah.” I’m sorry, I had to stop and reread that line a few times. Yes, it does in fact say that Ben has transferred from Harvard to BYU-Idaho. I’m pretty sure that just doesn’t happen. (Aside from Kim Clark, but that’s a little different)  No disrespect to BYU-I. I’m a cougar myself and the closest I’ve come to attending Harvard was teaching ESL to nannies and grad students at their extension school. And the fact that my parents are more proud of that part-time job than they were when I got my masters from the Y leads me to conclude that nobody in their right mind bails on an Ivy League for Ricks. Just saying.

“Lauren is surprised to learn that Ben has worked his way into her heart. But can she take another chance on love? Or will everything fall apart when Ben suddenly faces a life-altering crisis?” I wish I could tell you the nature of his crisis (Spiritual? Intellectual? Sexual? Maybe his credits won’t transfer.) But I do know that I planned on taking the book home with me. Not just to show it off to all my friends, but mostly to keep it away from unsuspecting campers who might read it and actually believe one could be romantically washed up as an 18 year old. But I didn’t get a chance. One of my Mia Maids got hold of it and took it to her cabin to read to her group. Apparently they were up all night laughing their heads off. God bless those girl. And God bless Girls Camp.

What are your feelings about Girls Camp? If you went as a girl did you enjoy it or do you have PCSD (post camp stress disorder)?

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20 Responses

  1. Anonfornow says:

    How exactly is a post belittling someone’s work of any value at all? The book might be poor, but I see no value in mocking it. Isn’t that against the policy here anyway? I guess you can be a hypocrite when you run the place.

    • Annie B. says:

      I didn’t get mocking from this at all. When you write up a book review with an honest critique of a poorly written romance novel, all you really have to do is lay it out there and it speaks for itself. The OP wrote that she wanted to take the book home with her, so what I took from the post is that the OP loved the book in the same way that I love and treasure the 1980’s film Flash Gordon (complete with Queen soundtrack); it’s so bad, it’s good. Although the Queen soundtrack is probably the one part of Flash Gordon that is so good it’s AWESOME.

    • Anonfornow.

      I don’t think Heather is picking on the author of this novel. I think she’s ridiculing the romance genre in general. The point of her whole piece is how much fun Girls’ Camp is. Since one of the fun things her girls did was sit up all night reading and laughing at this romance novel, her quotes from it are important.

    • anonforyou says:

      Sorry, but I see value in this post; like how hard I am laughing right now. Besides, there was no name calling are belittling of the author. OP didn’t say, “What a terrible writer? Who writes crap like this?” She found the premise entertaining – and that book just got a little more face time.

  2. My wife, I know, loved her Girls Camp experiences, and looks very much forward to when she can be a part of it again (hopefully not waiting for 10 years when our daughter is old enough to go).

    For me, spending my one day as the token Priesthood holder for our ward, I really enjoyed it, especially the work the girls did to try and include me in their activities. I had no expectations of doing anything but sitting and waiting to be needed for a blessing (I now know how a fire extinguisher feels), so I really enjoyed the activites, songs, and other stuff they specifically made an effort of including me in.

    Course, I also massively underprepared for how cold the world is without a sun and central heating, but that’s another story.

  3. jks says:

    Well, isn’t any press good press? It made me go look at the book online. Turns out he left Harvard to go to BYU-I because he had just joined the church. Which makes this guy NOT insane to leave Harvard, but sweetly eager to be surrounded by the church and meet lots of LDS people.
    So, not only does it sound like a great book to laugh about because of the overly dramatic romance, but it also sounds like a book that might be a fun read if you like romantic romance novels. While too many/too much romance in entertainment can be detrimental, a little can be fun.

  4. Deborah says:

    I laughed so hard I almost woke the baby. #hazardsofbloggingwhilenursing

  5. Janna says:

    Reminds me of a post on Mormon Women Project, a website that I generally do enjoy, that was billed as “After delaying marriage, so-and-so sought and fulfilled another dream.” I did the math, and the women in the article was 23 when she got married. Delayed, indeed!

    Some of the happiest memories of my life were made at girls camp. In fact, the tears are welling up as I write. The first thing that pops into my head is feeling appreciated. It was so clear to me, even when I was young, how much work our leaders put into preparing. All those beads! And the team flags! The yummy meals! The supplies in the art barn! The pixie tree! If any of you were in the Boston Stake from 1984-1989, you know what I mean. I felt important and cared about – every time I went.

    I also learned how to talk to God all the time, not just when praying, during “Gospel Gab” with Diane Kellogg (Exponent II woman!) and that when a speedboat of boys moons you when you are taking a leisurely row in a canoe, it’s funny, not perverse (Bonnie Horn and Irene Cornwall – Exponent II women!). Singing the camp songs, especially the rounds…no words can describe.

    I loved it!

  6. S says:

    Are we to assume the life altering crisis Ben faces is the decision to serve a mission, thus leaving our poor damsel Lauren, like Julie in Saturday’s Warriors, to “wait” for him while at the same time dating every RM at BYU-I? If so, maybe the author is setting herself up for a trilogy! My wife and daughters have loved Girls Camp over the years. Like Frank P, I too know what it’s like to be a male chaperone at camp. Give me Girls Camp over Scout Camp any day!

  7. Annie B. says:

    I’m a fan of Girl’s Camp, but I’m also a fan of any camping in general. My favorite parts were always the hikes,and any free time. The leaders who went above and beyond to organize things that were enriching and fun are still my heroes. Like you, the best memories I have from girl’s camp are the not-so-conventional experiences. I didn’t find any romance novels in my cabin at girl’s camp (we camped in tents), but I do think my grandma is adorable for the collection of romance novels that fill an entire wall of shelving in her cabin bedroom.

  8. Brem says:

    Ooh! I want to know what the crisis was! Enough that I might actually go read this book. And girls’ camp can be AWESOME. I learned some awesome planning/leadership skills there.

  9. Shelley says:

    I love girls’ camp through my Beehive and Mia Maid years, and I couldn’t wait to be a YCL. But we moved to a new place for my YCL years, and we were given zero responsibilities and the leaders hated being there.

    In the end, I have mixed feelings about girls’ camp.

  10. Kirsten says:

    I have wonderful memories of my Girls’ Camp days. I suppose that is the reason I am so sad that my daughter has had the opposite experirience. She hated her first year– she wasn’t treated well and considering she isn’t much of an outdoorsy gal, it only served to isolate her more. She has never gone back. Our stake has changed the week when they hold camp to a time that conflicts with her marching band camp. I would love to help at camp, but never have been asked. I thought as YW pres. I would get to go, but here they don’t seem to ask leaders to go. (Perhaps this is because they heard about my frozen-bras-up-the-flagpole escapades from my youth)

    • Annie B. says:

      That’s so sad that your daughter had a bad experience with GC. I think it’s cool that you have a desire to go as a leader. I think when my daughter is old enough for Girl’s Camp I’m going to try to find a way to be involved. My outdoor enthusiast brother got his calling as a scout leader by showing up to a snow-camp preparation meeting (in sacrament meeting they invited volunteer helpers to come) with a whole bunch of snow gear for boys to borrow. They called him to be a scout leader very soon afterward. I wonder if I could swing something like that.

  11. Mhana says:

    I’m glad to hear all this positive stuff. I did not like girls camp. I only went one year, my fourth year. Our fourth year hike consisted of walking under the power lines, because there were no actual hiking trails in the area. What I remember most vividly was a girl from my ward who went off her medication and flipped out. We slept in these little covered wagons with bunk beds in them and she grabbed both sides and started rocking it back and forth. I was terrified. I remember hating snipe hunting, though now I can’t remember if my co-campers were the perpetrators or the victims — I’m guessing perpetrators.

    Anyway, I’m glad people like it maybe I could try to change. When I was called to YW I informed the Bishop that I was absolutely not up for doing GC, in part because I teach in the summer and don’t have free time, and also because my memories of it are not great. He assured me I wouldn’t have to, and we didn’t have it this year anyway.

  12. TopHat says:

    I went to Girl’s Camp for only 3 years. My 4th year, when I was 15, I was taking Driver’s Ed over the summer and was not allowed to miss a class, so I couldn’t go to camp. My 5th year, the stake/ward leaders said that I wouldn’t be allowed to be a youth leader since I hadn’t done my 4th year and I’d had to camp with the 4th year girls. Not being with my friends and some extra tensions/drama with girls in my ward led me to decide not to go to camp. When people asked me why I wasn’t going to camp I just told them I had to work that week (I started working at 15 and held 2 jobs most summers, so not unreasonable), but really it was because I didn’t feel welcome. But that was my whole YW experience, too: didn’t really feel welcome. I was so glad to move up to RS when I turned 18.

  13. jks says:

    Someone please read this book and tell us what the crisis was!!! I’m left wondering……

  14. EmilyCC says:

    jks illuminates above, “Turns out he left Harvard to go to BYU-I because he had just joined the church.”

    I loved Girls’ Camp…it showed me just what a community of girls and women could do when left to their own devices. I definitely had some of my formative feminist experiences there.

  15. Sandra says:

    I laughed so hard. This was awesome.

  16. Ludie Weinstock says:

    I remember vividly the day my family moved from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Chicago. I was all of ten years old and like any child would be, excited to see the city. My father had received a promotion at the bank he had worked at since well before I was born and we were now leaving the relative comfort of our home for an apartment on Michigan Avenue. Driving into the city was almost surreal, and although sullen over leaving my friends behind, I was enthralled with the possibility of great opportunities that lay ahead. All the wonder and amazement I was experiencing after having traveled through the concrete canyons of the Windy City was soon overshadowed by the news that my father decided to impart to me the moment we entered our new domicile. I would be sharing a room with my younger brother.,

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