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$650,000 for the Young Women!

Last Sunday a man in the stake came into the Relief Society room to make an announcement. It’s one I think you will appreciate. At least I did.

Three stakes in my area including mine all use a rustic camp in the mountains for the annual Young Women Camp, with land that was donated by members some time ago. It has tent sites, etc., but no real facilities. The tri-stake group approached the church and asked for funding to build a large, multi-purpose building. The total cost of the building is $800,000.

On the condition that our three stakes raise $150,000 (about $70 per family), the church has agreed to fund the rest. They want to start this summer. As soon as we raise the money, they will begin building.

The leader stressed that this camp was specifically for the Young Women. It could be scheduled by other stake, ward, youth, or even family events, but Young Women get priority scheduling for the site.

He asked for feedback and whether we approved and supported the project. The responses were unanimously positive, with one older woman specifying that the updates and changes to the women’s program were welcome.

As the man left the room, I stepped outside. I didn’t want to take up lesson time, but did want to ?ahem ?speak up about the issue. When he was in the hall, I told him very briefly how envious I was of my brothers when I was a kid. How they had such a great program and so many fun things to do. He responded by saying, “I know! There was nothing for the girls!” I nodded. Then I told him how glad I was that the church was willing to use these resources to give these girls a nice campground and that our family would fully support the project.

It was interesting that when the same project was presented to the High Priests Group (I do not know if it was the same man), none of the info about how it was “primarily for the Young Women” was mentioned. I hope that isn’t because they think it would seem less important. Still, if you feel compelled as I sometimes do to speak up about things that seem problematic, it behooves us to speak up at least as often about things that are helpful.

Camping isn’t my favorite thing in the world, and I’m not sure that giving the girls a camping experience “just like the boys” is really the most efficient way to create a girls’ program that serves young women like Boy Scouts serves the Young Men. But I am sincerely grateful that the stake leaders and the church were willing to listen to the “complaints” about the camping facility and to take action to fix the problems. And I’m also grateful the church is willing to spend money to make the Young Women Camp a better experience for the girls.

Two thumbs up!

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • facethemusic July 22, 2009, 12:06 am

    WAY COOL!!!

  • ksjarvis July 22, 2009, 6:22 am

    That is fantastic! I can’t say that I am a huge lover of girl’s camp, but it really is nice that the church recognizes the need to invest money in something for young women to make their camping experience better!

  • Tinkerbell July 22, 2009, 12:26 pm

    Sounds like a much different response than when our stake guy came into Relief Society to ask us to support Friends of Scouting. Noone wanted to take the paper to make a donation (including me). When I told my husband, he said, “That’s okay – I got two. One for me and one for you”. Argh.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 22, 2009, 12:40 pm

    I have the same reaction to “Friends of Scouting.” I’ve discussed this before, but there are two reasons:

    (1) The strong-arm technique of an adult coming to my door with an envelope, informing me that “my part” is $X

    (2) The lack of parity for the girls

    If the “donations” are really voluntary and the ward collects the same for the girls, I’m all in. Programs cost money and if I participate, I should pay.

  • ChanJo July 22, 2009, 12:56 pm

    I think the same thing. Im happy to give to scouts but not when they forget the yw. The excuses just don’t cut it anymore.

  • agardner July 23, 2009, 5:42 am

    That is fantastic! I haven’t been to girls camp in like 25 years and don’t intend to start now (in other words, I’d probably spend the money somewhere else if given a choice)…but I think this is great. It’s interesting the emphasis on “voluntary” when Friends of Scouting comes across as anything but voluntary (I know it technically is, but when a bishop stands up and says that each family’s “assessment” is such-and-such and then the YM president calls because you didn’t donate and wonders when he can pick up your donation…UGH!)

  • Tinkerbell July 23, 2009, 1:29 pm

    Wow, I have never had anyone tell me my family’s assessment for Friends of Scouting or call to ask me about it. That really would bug me.

  • agardner July 23, 2009, 6:02 pm

    Wow, I have never had anyone tell me my family’s assessment for Friends of Scouting or call to ask me about it. That really would bug me.

    Wow, what I would give to be so lucky! 🙂

    I haven’t ever had it happen outside of Utah, so maybe it’s a Utah thing. But it did happen in almost every Utah ward I was in.

    The worst was when we lived in a really wealthy area (in my rented (grandma’s), worst-in-the-neighborhood house). The bishop (whom I dearly loved and still do!) said that our ward had the money to really support the FOS drive and that while it was voluntary, he suggested $125 per family. Of course this was when we were fairly newlyweds with a couple of young kids, and $125 was just way too much! So we didn’t donate and no one said anything to us. I’m sure there were others in the ward who gave much more than the suggested amount, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

    The next year (same house, different ward since it had split), we again were asked to donate. I think the suggested amount was $75, which was still a lot for us since we had added another baby by then and a husband barely out of grad school. Scouting wasn’t exactly a priority since I had three kids, all 4 and under, and all girls. So, I didn’t donate again! The YM president called and said, “I noticed you haven’t donated yet to FOS. When can we stop by to pick up your donation?”…I just stammered and told him to stop by sometime, and I donated $25 grudgingly. I was the Primary president at the time and didn’t think it would sound very good to say that I think this is ridiculous…but now I wish I would have. More people need to speak up.

    When I did make a comment once about scouting in a ward council meeting (something the bishop said about the scouts having a ‘frivolous’ activity) and I jolingly said, “Isn’t everything the scouts do frivolous?”…the high council rep said to me, “Sister Gardner, you won’t think that when your girls are old enough to date and they want to date a non-scout”….

    Um…what do you say to that when you married one? LOL.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 23, 2009, 7:58 pm

    Posted By: agardner“Sister Gardner, you won’t think that when your girls are old enough to date and they want to date a non-scout”….

    Holy cow. I want to spit.

  • ksjarvis July 24, 2009, 6:23 am

    “Sister Gardner, you won’t think that when your girls are old enough to date and they want to date a non-scout”….

    Seriously? I think some people might just be a little off their rocker when it comes to scouts!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 24, 2009, 1:28 pm

    That’s funny. I’ve asked a lot of questions of the boys my girls have dated–and my husband’s job is to scare them silly–but neither of us has asked if the boy was a scout.

  • agardner July 24, 2009, 2:45 pm

    neither of us has asked if the boy was a scout.

    That’s pretty much what I told him – just that it wasn’t the first thing I’d ask about. If the guy’s an Eagle, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too. What I said to him that day and what I still think is that I want someone who will treat my daughter well and who is a good guy. Scouting isn’t even in the equation.

    I dated two guys who I knew were Eagles (well, at least that I can think of at the moment). One is an awesome guy and still one of my good friends, and the other tried to rape me. Point being…being a scouter really didn’t matter. Jerks are jerks, good guys are good guys. If I had a list of 100 questions for the guys my daughters will date, scouting would probably not even make the list.

    I married a non-scouter, my dad and brothers are non-scouters, they are all great men and I’d be happy if my girls brought home someone as good!

  • Lewis_Family July 24, 2009, 5:55 pm

    I have never had anyone take it that far, then again we live in the poor part of the ward, maybe that is why they leave us alone :bigsmile:
    I think I would get too much satisfaction of telling them what I thought about their “voluntary donations”, that is why I have never gotten the chance to 😉

  • ChanJo July 25, 2009, 3:03 pm

    I have nothing to say. I just need a place to cool down. 🙁

  • Michelle D August 9, 2009, 10:21 pm

    I haven’t been to girls camp in like 25 years and don’t intend to start now (in other words, I’d probably spend the money somewhere else if given a choice)…

    Angie, wait a few more years until you have daughters raving about how much fun girls camp was… Then you’ll understand the purpose of girls camp is another venue to help the YW come to Christ, and I’d bet you’d be willing to spend the money if you were asked to do so. 🙂

    I’ve never been asked to donate to either FOS or girls camp – but I’d be willing to donate for GC faster than for FOS!

  • agardner August 10, 2009, 9:39 am

    Angie, wait a few more years until you have daughters raving about how much fun girls camp was… Then you’ll understand the purpose of girls camp is another venue to help the YW come to Christ, and I’d bet you’d be willing to spend the money if you were asked to do so.

    Michelle, now you’re starting to sound like my high council rep who said I’d appreciate scouting once my girls started dating. :bigsmile:

    I’m just not that much of a camping person. I didn’t love girls camp or find it especially spiritually uplifting when I went, but I’m sure if that’s your “thing” it could be a really great experience. I personally would feel much closer to God by taking all the YW to see a really good symphony or something…I guess God just works in different ways with different people. All I ever really got from girls camp was dirty and no sleep, but I do recognize that for some girls that’s exactly the connection they need. So, I support it, and I’ll even go if asked as part of a calling. If it were my money (which I guess it kind of is, lol!) I wouldn’t spend it on camping. Someone else wouldn’t spend it on the symphony…to each his own.

    But I still think it’s great that the girls are getting the money for their camp! :bigsmile:

  • Michelle D August 10, 2009, 10:43 am

    Angie, as a youth I only enjoyed camp the first year. I didn’t even go every year. I had some pretty bad experiences. I dreaded the first year I had to attend as a leader – and ended up loving it! The way the girls interact with and accept each other has a lot to do with it. So does the way the stake/ward leaders run the program. Our stake in Cincinnati had it down wonderfully!! What a difference that makes. My two oldest girls have loved girls camp and made some fantastic friends throughout the stake. I hope our new ward/stake is the same way.

    I certainly didn’t mean to sound like your HC rep who said you’d appreciate scouting once your girls started dating. UGH! :devil:

  • agardner August 10, 2009, 11:06 am

    Aw, I was just teasing with you! I know GC can be a good thing, I just didn’t care for it myself. But I’m sure it must do some good or the church wouldn’t keep doing it. Camping and I just don’t get along!

  • Lewis_Family August 10, 2009, 11:09 am

    ah, so you want to axe the camping part, and do more retreat style? I am down with that :bigsmile: as long as money gets to the yw some way, right? 😉

  • agardner August 10, 2009, 11:19 am

    How about a spa day and then a good show (broadway, symphony, etc.). Heck, I’ll even roast marshmallows afterwards. As long as I don’t have to get eaten alive by misquitoes and sleep in a tent, I’m good!

  • Alison Moore Smith August 10, 2009, 1:48 pm

    Posted By: agardnerI’m just not that much of a camping person.

    Just to disabuse you of any misinformation, Angie. You do not have to be “a camping person” to be called as the camp director. Trust me on this. :shocked:

  • agardner August 10, 2009, 2:07 pm

    Just to disabuse you of any misinformation, Angie. You do not have to be “a camping person” to be called as the camp director. Trust me on this.

    Lol, which is why I hesitate to even say I don’t like it, because it’ll jinx me!

  • Alison Moore Smith August 10, 2009, 6:41 pm

    Well, at least you have a clear understanding of how the Spirit is moved. 😉

  • Lewis_Family August 10, 2009, 7:29 pm

    HA!

  • mormonmom August 12, 2009, 8:53 pm

    WOW! That camp sounds absolutely FABULOUS!

    Our here in Missouri, we have to rent a camp. The ones I’ve gone to are usually pretty nice. There are usually cabins and indoor restrooms. Sometimes they have to walk to the restroom building though. The camp they went to this year was so far back in the boonies that there were bugs from Jurassic Park running and flying all over the place! Yuck… I only visited on “leader night” and that will be all I do next year too, if it is at the same place. I had bug spray on and still had two ticks on me! yuck, yuck, yuck…

    MormonMom

  • Alison Moore Smith August 13, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Camping in Florida was insane. You’re not in the mountains. You’re just sitting in the bug-filled woods in 98 heat with 98% humidity and no ac. IMO it was just stinking awful. Just before we moved back to Utah, I was the camp director and spent a week SIX HOURS AWAY in the misery. When we got home, my daughter and I each had five or six embedded ticks and…a resistant strain of head lice. Oh, it was lovely.

  • Tinkerbell August 13, 2009, 1:53 pm

    Try camping in Texas.

  • ksjarvis August 13, 2009, 2:40 pm

    I agree Alison. Campling in Florida in the summer is HORRIBLE. If girls camp absolutely has to be done during the summer, why oh why, couldn’t we just have it at a beachside hotel????

  • Alison Moore Smith August 13, 2009, 4:16 pm

    I voted for camping in the winter. (Hello? It’s sub-tropical!) They did in one year in the spring but had trouble because the public and private schools weren’t on the same schedule for spring break and our stake spanned more than one school district. This was, to me, one great example of the church organization not working well in a different area.

    One year (before I was involved) our stake did have “camp” at a hotel close to a beach. But that was what we call “gang camp” when a bunch of thugs (teen girls who had joined the church, basically, because the missionaries were cute and their own parents were happy to have someone else take them and drive them places and pay to entertain them :beard:) took over the camp, stole half the stuff, screamed curses in the faces of the priesthood leaders, threatened to beat everyone up (including my 12-year-old daughter), and, of course, were not sent home because they needed to be “fellowshipped.” 😐

    Anyway ?

  • Tinkerbell August 13, 2009, 4:24 pm

    That would be an interesting topic of discussion – how far we need to go in fellowshipping. I feel like I deal a little with that with our neighborhood kids. On the one hand, I want a gospel sharing home. On the other hand, I am sick of parents who seem to think that it’s okay for their kids to knock on my door from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Michelle D August 14, 2009, 12:28 am

    MormonMom, what part of Missouri? We just moved to Canton.

    Our stake in Ohio also rented a place for camp – usually a girl scout camp.

  • ksjarvis August 14, 2009, 6:34 am

    One year (before I was involved) our stake did have “camp” at a hotel close to a beach. But that was what we call “gang camp” when a bunch of thugs (teen girls who had joined the church, basically, because the missionaries were cute and their own parents were happy to have someone else take them and drive them places and pay to entertain them ) took over the camp, stole half the stuff, screamed curses in the faces of the priesthood leaders, threatened to beat everyone up (including my 12-year-old daughter), and, of course, were not sent home because they needed to be “fellowshipped.”

    I have real issues with that kind of stuff. By being tolerant of that kind of behavior, what kind of message are they sending to the rest of the girls? That its OK to act that way. When it is not OK. I am all for being loving and kind and trying to do everthing possible to help people, especially the youth, learn and grow, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. When the behavior is completely disruptive and confusing for the rest of the group, something needs to be done.

    We had an extremely sad incident at this year’s girls camp. Two girls were found sleeping together in the same bed. They were seperated and put in different cabins. But the next night, after lights out, they were found taking a shower together in the central bathroom. They spent each day together. Holding hands, sitting on each other’s laps. And yet they STILL were not sent home. I couldn’t believe it. The argument was made that the girls needed to stay so that they could see the good example of the girls around them and could feel the love of the leaders. I’m sorry, but immoral behavior is not something that I think should be tolerated like that because it sends the messsage to all the other girls there that it is perfectly OK to behave that way.

  • kiar August 14, 2009, 9:40 am

    Holy crud! if one of those girls had snuck a boy into the camp, and was cuddling with him, she would have been sent home pronto! That is a huge thing, and the fact that the leaders did not discipline the two involved is ridiculous. There is way too much liberty given to the youth (kids in general) these days. And they wonder why the standards and rules for going on missions have had to get so stringent! Urg!
    Disrespect and disregard for rules have become the norm. I can’t even fathom what my daughter is going to have to face when she is old enough to go to camp.

  • Alison Moore Smith August 14, 2009, 11:16 am

    ksjarvis, the leaders in charge in your ward/stake are idiots.

    We’ve discussed this issue at length here in the past. It was this wrong-headed thinking that prompted the post about the mom who invited the suicidal child molester to live with the child he molested–and got rewarded with a home makeover. Tolerating evil and sin perpetuates it AND it punishes those who we should be protecting.

    IF you must choose between “showing love” to someone who is sinning, harming other, and breaking rules and protecting and properly teaching those who are doing their best to do what’s right, I say CHOOSE THE LATTER.

    Let me give you one example. I’m adopted and have always had a very soft spot in my heart for kids who don’t even have the most basic things in life, like a HOME. But I have also dealt with the issues of these poor, desperate abandoned kids (a brother, two nephews, and one niece) enough to know that as much as I’d love to help some of these kids, I will NEVER do it while I have young kids at home. And I would never do it unless my kids were significantly older than any of these kids. Because even though they need love, they will almost always cause chaos, significant harm, and even abuse on the others.

  • mormonmom August 17, 2009, 4:35 pm

    Posted By: Michelle DMormonMom, what part of Missouri? We just moved to Canton.

    Michelle,

    I live in Lee’s Summit, which is a suburb of KC. Where is Canton?

  • jennycherie August 17, 2009, 8:01 pm

    Holy cow! We are in the same stake! I am in the KC 1st Ward (along with facethemusic). Nice to meet you!

  • facethemusic August 17, 2009, 8:25 pm

    Is that you Lesta???

  • Michelle D August 18, 2009, 9:02 pm

    Mormonmom, Canton is in northeast Mo. About 2 hours north of St Louis; 30 min south of IA; across the river from Quincy, IL. We are in the Quincy Ward, Nauvoo Stake.

    I have a good friend who used to live in Lee’s Summit. She enjoyed it there. Her husband is still a huge KC Chiefs fan.

  • mormonmom August 19, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Helllllooooo facethemusic!! It tis I! You found me out!! haha… Drat! I gave out too much info!! :shocked:

    Michelle, so you aren’t too far from Nauvoo then. Well, you’re just down the road a piece then. 😉 I have to be a Chiefs fan too. Even when they stink. :fierce:

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