By GABRIELLE SHIOZAWA
Moapa Valley Progress
Five hundred teen girls and their adult leaders from the LDS Logandale Stake traveled to Camp Kolob in southern Utah last week for their annual Girls’ Camp. The beautiful views, quiet forests, and brisk-but-sunny weather at the camp created the perfect environment for the girls to get to know each other better, study the gospel, and participate in a variety of fun activities.
The exciting week included such activities as a talent show, the beloved annual skit night, canoeing at the local Kolob Reservoir, careening down a waterslide, and participating in a team-building obstacle course.
This year’s camp theme was “I will.” Each ward group of girls was given a unique topic to study in conjunction with the overall theme. These topics included such ideas as being Christ’s hands, showing kindness, being forgiving, standing tall, and serving others.
“The main purpose is that we will unite together and be able to carry out the Lord’s work as a unified group,” said camp director Candi Evans. “As we love each other and serve each other, as we stand for truth and righteousness, we can carry out [Christ’s] work here on Earth.”
A challenge was issued at camp for each girl to pass off a series of requirements that would help them master such topics as faith, love, and charity. When they passed off these goals, each girl was able to earn a charm bracelet.
Earlier this year, Wilbur Frehner, former second councilor in the Logandale Stake Presidency, issued a challenge to all of the young women to plant sunflowers and document their growth. Charles Burt, who has recently taken over Frehner’s role as second councilor, continued this contest at camp and explained the meaning behind it.
“It’s not about the sunflowers. It never was,” remarked Burt. “It has much more to do with you.”
Burt went on to compare the sunflowers to the young women at the camp. Even if they were ‘planted in poor soil’ or faced opposition during their journeys, said Burt, they could still grow into something beautiful.
“It’s not where you are planted, it’s about how you react,” he explained.
Burt presented three awards at the end of the week. The honors went to Ashlynn McClure, who grew the tallest sunflower at 13 feet; Madi Fairchild, who grew the largest flower head at 16 inches; and Allie Nelson, who presented the best plant journal.
This year’s guest speakers, local farmers Monte and Laura Bledsoe, continued the theme of growing as they talked about “not only growing vegetables, but growing ourselves, as well.”
The Bledsoes touched on such topics as having a positive attitude, the power of prayer, and how the girls could look to the future with courage and optimism. They discussed the idea that each girl has a divine role to fulfill on Earth.
“We have missions that each of us will need to accomplish,” said Laura Bledsoe. “It’s going to take a tremendous amount of faith, a tremendous amount of hope, and a tremendous amount of will. And we WILL conquer it.”
The Bledsoes also talked about hardships and blessings they’ve experienced as they’ve followed their vocation to become farmers. One such example was a 2014 flood in which much of their farm was ruined. At that time, over 200 people came to help them repair the damage. Monte Bledsoe referred to this act of service as a miracle and invited the young women to consider even the smallest of blessings in their lives in the same way.
“We need to open our eyes to the little miracles. They’re all around us,” said Monte. “This is a day of miracles.”
Sixth-year camper Ashlyn Western commented that Girls’ Camp gave her ward a great chance to get to know each other.
“All the activities, crafts, and late-night tent talks allowed us to make fun memories,” said Western. “I’m glad I went to [Girls’ Camp] every year. It’s always been a week of new growth and fun times.”
This year’s Girls’ Camp attendees will surely retain the impactful lessons they’ve learned and the fun experiences they’ve had at Camp Kolob.