I was 17 when I attended my first true camp. It was leadership camp for high school student leaders from around the state of Alaska. I went with my foster sister Juniper since we were our student body Activities Chairs.
We packed everything in one suitcase (remember Darrell?) and thought our shifty ways were enough to convince the leaders to let us sleep in the same room, thus be on the same "team." We were afraid to be separated.
Those leaders...those pesky "we've heard it all" teachers knew better. We told our sob story of having to share out of one suitcase. Darrell the Director smiled with a big grin and handed me an empty box.
My suitcase for the week.
I wonder if that single experience could be listed on my list of 10 defining moments? Yep, that empty box inadvertedly facilitated something that I think is contributing to why I am sitting in JFK right this second, sipping my soy hot chocolate and listening to Backstreet Boys...yes, a guilty pleasure (sorry Brother Brian--you got all the Metal Music genes).
When Juniper and I got stepped off the plane from camp, my mother has always said that we looked like we had been run over....in a good way. Much how I look like today, without the doubling chin and arthritic spine. :) She said we looked different. No doubt my mother knows best.
I came "home" to my deep soul self that week in 1986. It was so impactful. Like I was born to do it....like some people are born to play hockey. :)
By being separated from Juniper in our room and team, space opened up the opportunity for me (and her) to step out of our comfort zones. We found some wind that week for our fledgling wings and I haven't looked back.
This summer I will attend my 14 and 15th leadership programs. Mr. Fun calls them "Happy Camp."
Having just spent the last five days at the United Nations (and I have the t-shirt to prove it) with the international womens' conference for the whole wide world, I can hardly process it. It was like Heavenly Father himself gave me a new empty box.
I am not saying that suddenly I am going to help save the children of Africa. But maybe I will.
I am not saying that I am going to help build a program at an Indian leper colony. But maybe I will.
I do not have the skills to stop fistula in young women. But perhaps I will learn them.
Maybe I will not win the Nobel Peace prize. But maybe I will. :)
I guess my thoughts are today that I am thankful for this chance of a lifetime. Perhaps it was just a tender mercy from God. But perhaps it is more.
Thanks to the Worldwide Organization of Women for inviting me to attend, especially one SUSAN and ALASKA. :)
For those of you who are LDS like me, you should quite pleased or proud. The ladies who delivered their presentation for the conference who share our faith rocked it. All those church talks in Primary and Sacrament meetings have obviously paid off. They did not talk about the LDS Church or it's doctrine, but the larger doctrine of serving their fellow men as the Saviour would have us do. I sat straight and tall for my fellow sisters, knowing the feeling of the Spirit their words invoked.