Friday, May 30, 2014

Brave Girls Only- Young Women's Camp

Two years ago I was camp director, and after much prayer and discussion we decided to use the theme Girl on Fire.  That idea has taken off and I appreciate all the comments and support over the last two years- I feel like I have a whole camp sisterhood out there, most of you doing more with the idea than I ever could have!

I wanted to share last year's camp theme now.  Again we stewed over the theme, as it really makes such a difference to the girls and getting them to camp.  We decided to go with a theme inspired by an art group- "Brave Girls", and it all went from there.  The bird in bird cage symbolized the girls and their lives up to now, in protective care and be taken care of in their safe homes.  As they grow and prepare to make decisions about there lives and become more independent, sometimes they will need to be brave and bold in the choices they make.

Bookmarks were stapled to treat bags introducing our theme with a coordinating scripture and remind the girls be strong and brave.
(click and save the page to print on your choice of paper)

Once again, we bleached our theme into our own t-shirts.
The girls always love this because we have a theme, but they get to personalize each shirt and make it their own.  This year it worked out especially good because it was a stake camp with other wards, but we were able to personalize the shirts they provided us.

(here is a look at the back of my t-shirt)
One thing to note- we bought a concentrated extra strength bleach this year- and some of the girls went a little crazy spraying the shirts and actually burned holes right through them.  Use the bleach sparingly and don't buy anything 'super strength'!  Click on the link for last year's camp to see our Girl on Fire shirts and for a few more tips on this project.

We took pre-cut strips with the words already cut out, but had stencils so the girls could make something else (or their name) if they wanted to. The bird was a sticker cut with a Cricket cutter. You could use any craft stencils you have.  I would also suggest cutting out your phrases or theme on a thin place mat- as poster board gets wet so fast.

For our craft we stamped necklaces- and the girls loved that.

These necklace supplies are all available at Hobby Lobby, but because we had such a large group we ended up using dog tags from Oriental Trading, and that was less than 50 cents a girl- plus more space for more words, if they want.  The girls LOVED this, more than I would have predicted. Occasionally (a year later) I still see one of them slip this little memento on and wear it to church or an activity. We used a practice tag for them all to try out a letter or two- that helped them get the feel of it, but this is a relatively easy craft. It just takes time because only one can stamp at a time per set. Have other activities going.

While at camp we also did "Brave Girl Bedtime Stories". We shared a variety of stories around the camp fire or after the girls climbed in their bunks. Some of these stories were from the leaders, times in their lives when they needed to be courageous and could share an experience. Some were from the scriptures, or from our ancestors. One night a leader shared the story of the Book of Commandments- an amazing recount of how two young girls hid the book from mobs trying to destroy everything....this book is now The Doctrine and Covenants.  (Read more about the story with references here.)

This motto started simple but seemed to tie into so much of what we wanted to teach the girls all week.  I had amazing leaders who also ran with the idea and found ways to emphasize the need for courage and bravery in every day life.

Girls camp is such a blessing- here is hoping that something here will inspire you to share the message you need to!

It does make a difference.
These little things we do matter.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birthday Handout - Young Womens

I am now serving as 1st Counselor in the Young Womens. It is an amazing, albeit consuming, job.
We asked the presidency of our class what they wanted to do for birthdays this year, as we like to just give a small little something to each girl in our class on her birthday.

They all agreed it would be fun to give nail polish (and as they are the ones who get it, that made me realize they WANTED nail polish!) so we came up with this simple little handout.

As our theme for the year is "Come Unto Christ" we had to find a way to tie that in- so simple when you realize it is Christ that polishes our lives, makes them more beautiful, and adds more richness and color to every day! What better thought on your birthday?

We stapled the thought to our bag (that is paper grass from Easter supplies and candy bags from the craft area at Walmart).  You could just punch a hole in it and tie it around the bottle, add more goodies to the bag, or decorate it in some other way.

We found nail polish for $.99 - that's a dollar a girl.  I have loved this little handout and was so happy the girls came up with this idea.  Here is a JPEG- just save it, (or copy it), then paste it and  stretch it if needed to fit your program and print on cardstock.

Finally, I wanted to share this thought that has stuck with me over the years.
As an LDS member who fully relies on the grace of God, the mercy of God, and the saving powers of Jesus Christ I am always a little taken back when I bump into people who think we don't believe in these concepts.  I have even heard it said- recently, mind you- that we feel we must do things to "earn" the love our Savior and his holy Father.  Let me tell you this: that accusation couldn't be more wrong if it wanted to be.
We are fully aware it is only through Christ and his atoning sacrifice we have any way back to the presence of heavenly realms.  I am in full knowledge of my reliance on grace every day.  This is why I love the following thought. 

My received love is not conditional. It is not earned. I do not get more when I am good, or a concept of good.  I am loved always, every day, every thought, every sullen moment and every glorious celebration- because Christ is good and loved me first.

Let me be clear- I happen to believe if I want to walk, talk, and commune with him I will be more comfortable doing that if I am knowledgeable and worthy- (how else would I be able to stand in that glory) but none of those things qualify me for being loved.

That is a great thought, a beautiful thought, and an example to me on how I need to better love as a parent, a spouse, and a friend. We are all loved, exactly as we are, right now.