Such an imaginative title, right on the heels of the last one. But thus I am, back from camp. I rushed back at 10 pm on Friday Night (arriving home around 1:45 am after dropping off a friend who rode with me) to get home for a seminary meeting on Saturday at 9 am. I was supposed to go running with my pal Amy at 6:15 and I even laid out my running clothes and set my alarm. Unfortunately I woke up with the sure feeling that if I went running on the proverbial empty, I would live to regret it. So I completely stood up Amy and tried to sleep for another hour before sending Evan off with Eric to his second swim meet. I spent Saturday till around 2 at my Seminary conference, then we went to see Wall-E (Awesome!), came home to a late-night dinner and then I stayed up late again to get ready for substituting for the music leader in primary. She happens to be my new friend Erin, and I love doing the singing in primary, so that was a fun labor of love. If only I'd had a couple more hours in the day.
So, except for that slightly jarring re-entry into regular life, camp was great. The weather was nice, our overnight hike went really well, it was great to be in the woods and the hills, away from the swelter and rush of suburban life. Sometimes all it takes is a little contrast to give the mind a little rest. Maybe I would get tired of it, but every time I see this now familiar view, I can feel my heart rate go down a few ticks and my mind relax a bit.
This is the group photo I took (about 95 girls plus leaders), as well as the group of 15-year olds that Eric and I and another leader took on the overnight backpacking trip. I really didn't do a very good job on the group shots. I felt rushed and there was a smudge on my lens that shows up in every one. I was very bummed about that, but life goes on. And then, my point-n-shoot camera forgot to bring its memory card on the hike, so I am waiting to get pictures of that from one of the girls. Fortunately I was able to get about 500 other shots of the girls at close range for the daily slideshow and I feel good about those.
Anyway, our little hike gang was a truly exceptional group of girls and it was a pleasure to be with them for that 24 hour period of time. It is a moderately challenging hike, about 10 miles into the woods, carrying fully-loaded frame backpacks. We left around 10:30 am on Tuesday and got back around noon on Wednesday. For many of the girls, it is their first time in a tent as well as their first time living without most modern conveniences except maybe a wristwatch and velcro, and bless them, they always rise to the occasion. It always makes me smile to hear the inevitable comment that going potty in the woods is not nearly as bad as they thought it would be.
As for the rest of camp, here are a few views. These are images from a sympathetic observer, one who holds girls camp in my mind as a bit of magic in the lives of young women. I know there is always drama, that not everyone loves camping, even in comfortable, dry, albeit buggy and sometimes mousy cabins, but for me, it is important for everyone to have a chance to get away from the constant self-consciousness of teenage life. There is value in being able to be be with the girls and cry if you want to and learn to get along and learn what you're capable of. So, I'll go every year that they think to ask me, and I'll enjoy every minute of it.
Now, back to my family to focus on Evan's birthday tomorrow and Jeff's return on Tuesday. Oh happiness!