Tonight I was just working on my Lehi's vision pages for my scripture journal. At one point I needed a break so I started to make a YW directory page to go in the YW binder I made for our new Bishop. This binder has all our calendar stuff, certificate stuff, personal progress tracking stuff,etc....Now I'm working on making a few pages that have pictures of all our YW with their info to include in this binder. I realized I didn't have any photos of them on my laptop so I went to Facebook, makes sense right? Well I quickly decided I should just take individual pictures of them to use but I looked through old camp photos. I got so excited for camp this year after looking through them. I'm grateful that we have such a great group of YW, they are fun and silly but also serious and caring. They are just good girls.
I started thinking back over the years I've been in YW (I think it's been 5+ years now, WOW). There have been SO many YW come and go, some I totally forgot about, some I'm sure I don't remember but there has always been a 'core' group of girls who have always been active and have been in our ward forever. While All the YW I've taught are great, I'm thankful for those 'core' girls who are such good examples to everyone around them.
I actually get a little sad when I think of all the YW I've gotten to work with over the years. Many have made poor choices and fallen away from the church, made up their own life paths. Some of them I still see and keep in contact with and I see how much harder their lives are than they need to be. Sometimes I feel guilty like I should have been better or tried harder to make them learn gospel principles but then I realize I shouldn't feel that way. Agency is what it's all about. I can't go to church for other people, I can't follow the commandments for other people, I can only do it for myself. I can try hard to be an example and teach those I get to be around what's right and wrong but ultimately it's up to each individual to choose the right or not.
As I've been typing this I've thought of more and more girls who have graduated or moved away in my 5 years and remembering really fun times we all had together. Wednesday night activities seem so easy and so relaxed. Sometimes I don't think they can really make a difference because it's just a 'fun night' but it really does make a difference. The girls are able to connect with their church friends and have good wholesome fun, or learn a new skill. It is important. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all the stuff that my calling has involved over the years because it seems like the girls don't understand how much WORK and effort and thought goes into each activity, each sunday lesson, each attempt to go support them in their various activities/sports. Then I realize that's not the point. I don't need to tell them that I spent 2 weeks preparing a lesson that is getting eaten through by random chit chat before the lesson starts, I don't need to tell them that we stayed up until midnight packing girls camp totes, that we spent 15 minutes trying to label one of those totes. When they grow up and are leaders, they will realize how much their leaders did for them and they will (hopefully) be thankful, just like I am for the leaders I had. I never realized how much work they put into everything. I hope I'm being a good example to them and that they can learn just one thing from me. They are worth all the time I've spent and all the energy I've put into this calling.
That's why I'm grateful to go to camp again this year. Even though I have some issues with different things and sometimes would prefer to stay home, in my sweats where I can have my own 'space' I'm able to overcome that a little bit at camp, forget about how uncomfortable or tired I am and make sure they are ok, that they are well cared for and are having a good time.
I'm so excited for camp!! I get a little nervous for all that still needs to be done (cleaning/packing/loading/grocery shopping/food prep/cleaning.....) but I know it will get done and it will be a great time.