Episode 57: Girls Camp

Join Lindsay and Malia as the discuss the structure of LDS Young Women “Girls Camps” and reminisce their own experiences.

Links mentioned in this podcast:
Opening Bumper:Rise and shine give God the Glory (REMIX)
Ending Bumper: Houaida Goulli – I love the mountains
LDS Girls Camp YW Manual
LDS Girls Camp Song List.

10 Replies to “Episode 57: Girls Camp”

  1. I attended two different stake girl camps in WA. There was a huge variety between the two stakes, but overall I really enjoyed camp. We usually had it near a source of water and we were allowed to swim (no shorts required), and had a polar bear dip every morning. We had a variety of activities depending on the camp we went to including canoeing, archery, group challenge course, and hiking. I stayed in cabins, with bathrooms, tents, long houses, or A frames. I actually enjoyed the more camping like experience more than staying in a cabin.

    In one of the stakes we lived in, we had these elaborate spiritual object lessons which would lead into the testimony meeting. For example we had a reenactment of the iron rod.

    My two main criticisms about camp are:
    1. A good portion of our camp songs were related to boys and RMs
    2. Not preparing girls for the experiences before camp, and then expecting to know how to hike and camp without complaining. The scouts do a lot of hiking and camping throughout the year which prepares them for more vigorous activities.

    As a side note, in my parents’ ward is skipping girl’s camp this year to do a high adventure, which is awesome.

    Oh and a couple of years ago in my parents’ stake, there was actually a guy caught filming the girls through a vent going to the bathroom.

  2. For the most part I enjoyed girls camp. I enjoyed being out in nature and feeling close to God that way. The part I didn’t like were the pranks. Even though someone told me that it’s “just a joke” I felt like it was very hurtful. It is probably easier to see it as a joke when people are generally nice to you. When I had friends to be with, it was a lot more fun.

  3. I loved Girls Camp!! It’s the thing that drew me to the church and kept me here – as a lone member in my family – through my teen years. Looking back, I was exceptionally lucky to have amazing leaders and good friends to camp with, and I am very grateful for it. My daughter is heading into YW in 18 months and I worry that she won’t encounter the same experience.

    Also, I married an Eagle Scout, and I have a son in BSA, and they both hate(d) camp – but they are forced to go if they want to advance. I have challenged scout leaders over this, and we have kept our son home for parts of the experience, but it is not universally loved.

    Finally, Lindsay, come join Girl Scouts!! We camp whenever we want to and it’s a blast!!

  4. No skits allowed at our YW camp. NO skits! Imagine the trouble the girls could get into if they improvised some skits among their peers. Thanks for the fun podcast!

  5. I don’t remember my girls camp experience being so complicated! If we had badges and all that, maybe it wasn’t emphasized? We also had cabins to stay in, and weren’t exactly roughing it.
    Surprised about your DI shopping beforehand…camp for us had to be in style and fashionable, just as every other stake activity, and I remember putting a lot of thought into what I would wear.
    I had a lot of angst growing up about my brothers all going on fun Scouting activities (my dad was a scout leader and went all out). So, girls camp to me felt like a condescending nod to girls “allowing” them to do for 5 days what the guys could do all year. I enjoyed camp, and wished I had more opportunities open to me like the boys did (at least in my family).

  6. One of my pet peeves about the LDS church is that American mormons get a much, much bigger budget than wards and stakes outside of the US. Some of your camping experiences seem upmarket.
    In London today, our budget for Relief Society is £70 ($106) for 80 sisters. That’s derisory. What’s the budget in the US? No doubt plenty.

    1. Well, if you think about it, here in the US, there are more members than most anywhere, because we have Utah. I don’t think the Mormon trail leads to London. We have more tithing payers, and generally ,more money, which gives us our budget. It’s not our fault that more people in America know the truth and have found Christ. I’m only a Beehive, but my leaders inform my fellow Young Women and I so we know what’s going on. I’m sorry, but your comment is offensive to some of us American Mormons. No need to hold America in contempt because we have more Mormons, I love my country, and I won’t stand for anyone,not even a sister in the gospel openly bad mouthing my home. Please try to remember that as Latter-Day Saints, we are already different from the world, and targets of ridicule and hurtful words. That’s enough

    2. My camp, in Arizona (in the US), only pays for food, paper journals, and t-shirts, the camp we stay at, a stake member owns. We all bring everything else for ourselves. I don’t know how much they spend, but they try to save as much money as possible.

  7. Great podcast! I attended Girl’s Camp at a BSA site in Missouri. We hiked with the ticks, slept in tents, and swam in a lake, (or sat on the aluminum dock and fried to our hearts content in our modest 1-piece suits.). We did some of our certification before going, so we had more time for fun while there. The food was good, Spirit night not too over-the-top, and was really a positive experience. The only downside was that the popular girls all tented together and seemed to have way more fun than the rest of us, and leaders didn’t always encourage them to be inclusive.

    I was just released after being our ward camp director for many years. We alternate between ward and stake camp. I love ward camp! I tried to choose places that appealed to everyone – we had flush toilets but slept in tents or we might do our hikes before going to camp so we could stay near a lake and swim. We ate well, sang the camp songs, and encouraged girl power. At our testimony meetings we encouraged girls to share one thing they learned at camp, one thing they were grateful for, and one thing they knew to be true. We went around a circle and those who wanted to participate did, those who didn’t want to didn’t have to. This really helped prevent the out-of-control dares and stories.

    I hate stake camp! They always go to Heber Valley, which is convenient, but isn’t really camping. There are always cabins whose leaders bring tons of extra cutsie crafts and food, but they don’t share. Other girls get stuck with the ornery fun-sucking leaders. The schedule is tight and there were years where some groups of girls missed out on some fun activities due to weather, but they couldn’t be rescheduled for later. There was also a lot more pressure to participate and perform spiritually.

    Thanks for helping me remember those years!

  8. I really loved Girls’ Camp growing up. It was definitely a favorite for me, though I can see there was a lot of weird things that bugged me. For one thing, men had a much bigger presence and role at the camp — bishops were expected to take the whole week off in order to be there for the whole week of Girl’s Camp. It was weird, especially because there was some weird fawning over male leaders that went on.

    Another thing is that our leaders would get really uptight about some things — I remember a big deal being made about a skit the girls did where a bug flies in their bra and then they make friends with him. The thing that was deemed “disrespectful” was that the bug had been named Jim (for rhyming purposes, mind you) — the same given name as our stake president. Also, I remember several camp songs being banned for being suggestive or violent. And looking back, some sexist lyrics:

    A man without a Mormon girl
    Is like a ship without a sail
    it’s like a boat without a rudder
    It’s like a fish wihout a tail

    A man without a Mormon girl
    Is like a wreck upon the sand
    There’s only one thing worse in this universe
    And that’s a Mormon girl without a man!
    (We oughta knoooow)

    Thanks for the podcast!

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