I have gone camping before – several times actually. I’d gone with my family. I remember times when Patrick and I were younger though not too much with my other two sibs. I do remember when Corey and Kayla were both a lot younger, we did do a family activity where we stayed in cabins. That’s the only time I recall camping with the two of them.
I’d gone to girls’ camp through the church. When I was twelve and thirteen I went to a camp called Oakcrest. We stayed in cabins. I remember going to rough camp twice (we stayed in tents) as a youth and twice as a leader. That was well over twelve years ago.
And then there was the one time we attempted camping as a family – before Jenna entered the picture. Memorial weekend 2002. The boys were in a tent and Roland and I tried to sleep in the van.
Roland has actually gone several times with the scouts – even in the winter – which he hates. Two years ago he took Biff and Randy to a fathers/sons – of course they were all so lucky that they could go, and Jenna was not.
Half of Jenna’s friends have gone camping with their families. They are so lucky! The closest that Jenna ever got to camping was sleeping in a tent set up in the back yard. So this year when she came home from an assembly introducing a camp through the school district – which was actually affordable for us – I signed Jenna up for Mill Hollow.
The deadline was on April 30 – and that was the day I had turned my money in. They had two openings – one in June and one in August. I guess I should have picked the one in June. But I thought the one in August might be a nice way for her to end her summer.
None of her brothers had ever gone to Mill Hollow. My first daughter-in-law had – and she loved it. Gave Jenna hope. More reason to look forward to it.
Meanwhile, Roland is in the bishopric and the bishop was asked to assist in finding another leader to go with them to girls’ camp (the Young Women are from age 12-18) and Roland said my name came up. He asked what dates Jenna would be going to Mill Hollow and it was for three of the five days that the young women have their camp. So he asked if I would consider going those three days.
And then three weeks ago he came home from Church all excited, forms in hand, he just needed my signature. Word was that permission had been given so that Jenna would be able to go to YW camp with me. Really? Because I know that in the past leaders have been discouraged from bringing their non-YW children with them.
“What about Mill Hollow?” I asked.
“I think Jenna would have more fun at YW, don’t you?”
Still I wouldn’t have mentioned it to her. But Roland blabbed and she was bouncing off the walls.
The next day I cancelled her trip to Mill Hollow. I hadn’t really wanted to. At Mill Hollow she would have been educated and learned more about plants, animals, geology, ecology, astronomy, etc. Learn history. Enjoy activities. Not to say that she won’t get that at YW, but she won’t be with her peers exactly. I wish now I would have prayed about my decision, but I didn’t.
Last week Jenna anxiously asked if she could tell the only other girl in her primary class that she would be going to YW.
“No. Do not say anything to anybody”
I went to the camp kick off by myself. They started out with a slide show that I thought was pretty cheesy. Oh, this is so up her ally. I think she would have liked it. I still don’t know why I was called when it feels to me like the leaders already outnumber the girls. I was the only person from our ward who attended the kick off. I did not stay for the entire thing as it wasn’t answering my questions.
Even though the forms have been signed and “special permission was granted” I have now been told that we will not be going. And I fully understand. I really do. This program was designed for girls ages 12-18. Those attending (or will attend) junior high and high school. To create a bond, to introduce them to explore themselves. They are not there to babysit or play big sister to primary girls. If they make an exception for Jenna than they’ll have to make an exception for this girl or that leader and that isn’t right. So I do understand the reason for exclusion.
And anyone who knows Jenna knows she is a show stealer and loves attention and has been known to steal another’s thunder – and it isn’t her turn to shine as a young women and she needs to understand that.
So after a week of bouncing, both of us have cried – her at the thought of not going to camp at all and me because I knew that she had built herself up for another let down. If she can’t go to YW she won’t be going to camp at all. We just received the refund for Mill Hollow yesterday.
Roland said that maybe I could call the district tomorrow and see if I can uncanell my cancellation. But this time I will pray to know if it is the right decision for us at this time. Perhaps this situation is a blessing in disguise. And perhaps we’ll never know what that blessing was/is. She’s not as upset about it as she was last week when I told her to prepare herself that we might not be going. Perhaps one day she will understand.
Truth is, as much as she truly, badly wanted to go – I truly and badly didn’t want to go. And it is nothing against camping with the YW. I actually don’t mind the bonding and experience. It’s the lack of sleep. It’s the discomfort of the heat and sitting on the ground. My body wants the comfort of a bed – my bed. And at least five pillows. Not a board with a roll up or air mattress and only one pillow. Though it’s a sacrifice that I was willing to make. But I’m now relieved that I don’t have to go. But as much as I feel relief at not being able to go, my heart breaks for Jenna who never had an input or say. I still don’t understand why I was needed in the first place. Perhaps I’ll never know that either.
Often God does works in mysterious ways, or at least ways that we don’t understand. I’m quite certain that this is one of them.