Sunday, June 26, 2011

Three Down, Seven To Go!

In some ways, I can hardly believe week three at Oakcrest has come and gone! In other ways, I feel like I've been working at camp my entire life. I won't lie, when I think about the fact that I have seven more weeks I get a little overwhelmed. But I'm taking it a day at a time and learning to make the most out of each and every day! I am loving every day I am at camp, truly making best friends forever. *Insert the Oakcrest staff with their arms around each other chanting "BEST FRIENDS FOREVER" repeatedly*. 

Week 2 was my floater week, and it was definitely needed! The days blurred together into one. Aside from feeling like a creep while doing shower duty, it was a stupendous week! Partying with the specialists, kitchen staff, and directorship was so great. I could listen to Spud all day, every day. The party went wonderfully! The theme was game shows. We had staff saran wrapped together, people eating onion jello, and girls balancing Oreos on their faces. The highlight of my week definitely had to be our Tree Hut table cheer, where we stood up and yelled, "WE LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER" just to see how the girls would react. I think every girl in the lodge had a miniature heartache just at the mentioning of his name. Coming in close second was getting my braces off :) Okay, that's a lie. Getting braces off = BEST DAY EVER!!!

Week 3 was definitely harder than week 1. I had some super tough girls that made my life a little difficult. Between pranks being pulled, a complete lack of unity, girls who refused to sit on anything but a bench, laughing during Unity Prayers, 30 minutes to get out the door every time, and a never-ending amount of girls wandering off on their own, I was completely exhausted. Some of them seemed so hard headed that I thought I would never get through to them. And I don't think I did, but the Spirit definitely did. Even though testimony meeting was an hour and a half, and nearly half the girls bore their testimonies more than three times, it was still one of the greatest I've had. I was able to see a change of heart in so many of them. They certainly made my week one of the hardest of my life. But I realized how grateful I am for the Oakcrest staff. They were more than willing to take my girls for me, talk about how things were going, and give a hug. Despite the difficulties, there were still highlights:
  • Peter Breinholt concert! (And my girls didn't even have to go to the bathroom during it!)
  • Flour fight
  • Telling my girls to go to bed, convincing them I had gone back into my room, and catching them talking again :)
  • Twinnie's surprise mission call!!!
  • Watching Triscuit kill her first spider
  • During lunch on the hike: "Look, the Draper temple! I can see my house from here!!"-Calle "That's not Draper dear..."-Me "Oh, then what temple is that?"-Calle "That's a barn...."-Me

  • Having my girls do my hair and nails
  • Receiving a note from Tiffany that melted my heart. She was my hardest girl and proved to me that I was actually making a difference in their lives
  • Making rock buddies with my girls
  • Convincing the girls that Dandelion and I are sisters. Still kind of feeling guilty about that one...
  • "Why don't we duct tape the top of our shirts to ourselves so we don't get ticks down them?"
  • Comment during dating discussion while going over For the Strength of Youth: "My brother studied this pamphlet five times before his mission. He said he was going to get married right after he got home. He's been home for two years now, and still isn't married."
  • FINALLY getting a few missionary letters out.
  • Having a girl tell me that day was the longest of the year. I thought she was trying to insult me...apparently it was literally the longest day of the year. 
  • New roommates! Chewy and Guhnat. CAN'T WAIT!
Despite many tears and prayers, lack of patience and motivation, I still was able to learn so much from these girls. It amazes me how little we know the difference we're making in someone until they flat out tell us. It's those little notes the girls leave at the end that make the whole week of hardship worth it. Am I nervous for this next week? Most certainly! But I know that no matter what comes, I'll make it through somehow. I'm doing the Lord's work. I know He is aware of me. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Best Two Weeks

Spending the weekdays from my cell phone and facebook has caused me to conclude that I need to update my blog every week to keep all of you updated about my adventures at Oakcrest!!! So for those who are recently tuning into my life, I am officially a counselor at Oakcrest girl's camp. We are assigned a dozen girls or so per week to do activities with and teach the gospel to.

Last week was pre-camp week, which was spent with just the staff. Can you say BEST week of my life!? It was definitely hard and tiring in a lot of ways. But overall, I couldn't have asked for a better week. I love each staff member so deeply. They are the most thoughtful, caring, hilarious, and flat-out ridiculous group of women I have ever, and will ever meet. The week was spent training, training, and more never-ending training. With information about everything you could imagine being crammed down our throats, you can imagine we were a little exhausted and worried about the weeks to come. There were definitely tears, some of laughter, some of concern and frustration. There is far too much to tell you in paragraph form, so as usual here is a list of what the week was like:

  • Waking up to Disney music being blasted over the intercom at 7 am
  • Side-pony tail Tuesdays
  • Snow outside on the first morning
  • A dead mouse in the cabin
  • Ticks. Everywhere.
  • The most intense ash fight the world has ever seen
  • Evidence of bears and moose in camp
  • A neighbors dog miraculously saving us from some wild creature
  • Singing, singing, more singing, and more never-ending singing
  • Spontaneous dance parties
  • Costume parade
  • Cake fight-so epic!
  • Cinnamon Roll hug
  • Seeing everyone, including myself, struggle with Oak-Approp language and getting creative with alternatives
  • First time shooting a bow and arrow
  • Zipline and obstacle course training
  • Spotting a moose on the hike
  • Almost hitting the moose in the car on our way back to Salt Lake
  • Fire extinguisher training-Oh yeeeeah!
  • Feeling ridiculous on trek-where you're blind folded and have to wander up a trail while holding onto a rope
  • Skit night-"The construction worker's view on Oakcrest"- by Jazzer and Guhnat
  • A wonderful testimony meeting
  • Friends and Family day-One of the best days ever!!
  • Coming to truly love and understand our theme song, "Stand with the Savior"
  • Realizing I have the BEST job in the whole entire world
  • The tips for what to do if a bear comes: Cover your neck, so if it attacks you, it won't get your Jugular vein. Pray, and repent!!!
  • Rain, rain, and more rain
  • Spending free time with Buttercup, sharing stories about our lives. I love her!
  • Spiders, crickets, mice, ticks, and any other bug that's creepy and crawly
  • Meeting the previous Oakcrest staff and receiving letters with advice from them

During Pre-Camp week I was terrified, let's be honest. I was burdened by the expectations set for me and the responsibilities I was asked to carry throughout the summer. But through many wonderful lessons by the directorship, I learned that I was guided to Oakcrest for a very divine and sacred purpose. I now know for myself that I am at Oakcrest for a reason. A reason I don't fully understand yet, but that is there regardless. I learned that the gospel is one of Godly love. I have never felt so accepted and appreciated in my life! I love each staff member with all of my heart and they truly have become my very best friends. I look forward to each day I get to spend with them. 

Now, onto my actual first week of camp!!! We started on our way Sunday night. Unfortunately we had some vehicle problems and broke down for an hour or so until we could get another car to us. We finally made it to camp and received our cards with the information about our girls for the next week. Reality settled in fast. Much faster than expected!! It felt like opening a mission call, twelve times! Monday morning finally rolled around and I was SO incredibly nervous. We waiting in Aspen Grove. Soon enough, the amphitheatre was filled with 400 beautiful girls who I felt such love and compassion for.

The first couple of days were rough. Well, they were all rough. But the first day was especially hard. We had been so used to being around each other in all our craziness, that I forgot how oddly the outside world would respond. The first part of the week was spent rather uncomfortably. They stared. A lot!!! Everything we did was responded to with  a blank stare of shock and confusion. Within a few days, they finally warmed up and joined us in our weirdness and strange Oakcrest ways.

Most of the lessons I had to teach (Scripture study, Unit Prayer, Solo time, FHE) were on the spot, since preparation time is very minimal. One of the joys of Oakcrest-you KNOW you are doing Heavenly Father's work and therefore He is of great assistance in filling your heart with what to teach. Despite the fact that every time we sang, the girl's would pick a song they didn't know and I was forced to sing a solo in front of them, the lessons went surprisingly well. So once again, there are WAY too many things about this week to write about. So enjoy another list :)

  • Standing on a table, dancing to High School Musical in front of 400 girls
  • Learning just how often 13 year-olds have to go to the bathroom. Its A LOT!!!
  • Praying, praying, and more praying. I couldn't get enough of it!
  • Dance party and karaoke!!
  • Being called every 10 minutes to come kill a spider or cricket
  • Many late night/early morning knocks on the door from girls who had to go to the bathroom
  • Continuous questions about what time it was, what we were doing next, and when dinner was
  • Scattering Sunshine :) and answering prayers in the process
  • Learning to love each and every girl there
  • Promptings by the Spirit to teach different lessons than what was planned, and completely winging it
  • Many wonderful and sweet notes from the girls on my birthday
  • Having 400 girls sing happy birthday to me!
  • Being presented "The Scribbles Rock" from Pippin and her girls
  • Birthday cake!!!
  • Staff Serenade- where we carry around torches and sing to the girls
  • Cherie Call concert!
  • Foam slide in the pouring rain
  • Watching 24 girls be blind-folded and try to walk up a trail-such a touching experience, but completely hilarious at times
  • Many homesick girls with faked illnesses
  • Typical teenage drama made easier through prayer
  • Learning what it really means to trust Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
  • Missing the Oakcrest staff more than I ever dreamed I would!
  • Tucking in my girls and reading them bedtime stories
  • Dreams about Oakley talking to a cougar....
  • Being late. To everything.
  • A very humbling testimony meeting
  • The most hilarious skits I could have ever seen
  • Watching Poppy's and Uncle Jolly's reactions to the skits. Completely opposite, and so entertaining
This last week was honestly one of the hardest things I've ever done. With minimal free time, I was running around like crazy, listening to girls whine, forgetting things, having to go to the bathroom, and wanting to do something other than what we were doing. I had several homesick girls or girls who didnt fit in. But all of these problems were made easier through the help of prayer. I cant count how many prayers I said this week, but I know that every single one of them was answered. I felt God's arms wrap around me and comfort me on a daily basis. This week was hard. But worth it in more ways than I can count. Despite their teenage ways, I love each and every one of those girls so wholly and completely. They have touched me in ways I never dreamed they would.  

Before I close, I want to share my favorite Oakcrest miracle of the week. I had prepared a lesson for the unit prayer and was ready to teach it. Right before my free time was up, I felt like I shouldnt teach what I had prepared. I quickly flipped through some books to find something to teach. I briefly prepared a lesson on Heavenly Father's love and understanding our potential. Throughout the day I kept seeing reasons why I should teach the first lesson, which was on gratitude. I kept changing my mind the entire day. After many prayers asking which lesson to teach, I concluded to teach the second one. As soon as I started the lesson, I was overwhelmed with the reassurance that it was indeed what I needed to teach. I don't even remember what I said, but I could feel the Spirit so strongly. That night, as I tucked the girls into bed, one of them told me, "Scribbles, the lesson you taught today was for me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you". Although camp is hard, it's those little miracles like this one that happen every single day that make it all worth it! I have come to feel what pure joy comes from teaching the gospel. I love Oakcrest from the bottom of my heart and cannot wait to spend my entire summer there :) I know that it is Heavenly Father's camp and is exactly where I'm supposed to be.