Last week over 100 young women and 30 adult leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in the Chattanooga area gathered in the sleepy little town of Benton, Tn. for their annual “Girls Camp”. This year the camp was held from Tuesday, June 4, through Friday morning, June 7, at Camp Agape. Camp Agape is a ministry of the churches of the Polk County Baptist Association. The camp location is beautiful, it is well kept and its employees were wonderful to work with.
The theme for this year's camp was “Rise Up and Find Yourself Through Christ”. The “Youth Camp Leaders” (or “YCLs”) chose the theme for camp, drawing ideas from two quotes from church leaders and a favorite scripture verse from the Book of Mormon:
“Rise up to become the women of faith and courage our Father in Heaven needs us to be.” ~Bonnie L. Oscarson
“God is on our side. He loves us and when we stumble, He wants us to rise up, try again, and become stronger.” ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” ~Moroni 10:32
Stephanie McGuire (from Ringgold) served as camp director and Cindy Wolfe (from Hixson) served as her assistant, with other local church leadership helping to guide and lead different aspects of camp. Young Women ages 11-18 years old are invited to attend Girls Camp each year. Age groups were divided into camp levels, with the oldest girls (the “YCLs”) mentoring the younger girls. Each day at camp was spent doing activities designed to help the young women develop their relationship with Jesus Christ, build their testimonies, strengthen relationships with other young ladies their age and enjoy the blessings of being in the beautiful outdoors. Recent changes to the guidelines published for Young Women Camp have been put in place to allow the program to be adapted to meet the needs of young women around the world.
The weather was projected to be rainy and stormy but didn’t dampen the spirits of the camp as the clouds miraculously parted during nearly all of the outdoor activities that were planned. For example, just as the last group of girls finished the one-mile hike portion of the “Challenge Activity” on Wednesday, the rain that had been threatening all morning began to fall. All of the young ladies and their leaders were able to get inside and conclude the activity together as the rain poured down. Additional activities that took place during the week included white water rafting the Ocoee, tubing down the Hiwassee, hiking to Benton Falls, boating on Lake Ocoee, kayaking, workshops teaching Christlike love, modest fashion, getting answers to our prayers, crafts, self-defense, hair braiding, cooking in a crockpot, a CPR class provided by WE R CPR, and much more. Our concluding event, the final night of camp, was a bonfire testimony meeting, overlooking the lake, where the young women were able to share their thoughts and feelings with one another and bear testimony of Jesus Christ. Truly a faith strengthening opportunity.
Local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chattanooga area look forward to being able to return to Camp Agape in the future for other youth camps and events.