We’d had a lot of fun but needed to be rescued at the end of camp.

I remember one year when our Young Women camp had been almost perfect. Our camp, named Mirror of the Moon, took place at the foot of a mountain in central Chile. A special atmosphere prevailed, and our happiness and love highlighted the natural beauty of the place. Looking at the mountains, listening to the cascading waterfalls and the songs of birds, seeing the sun in the morning and the stars and moon at night all caused us to acknowledge the existence of our divine Creator. We appreciated more than ever Heavenly Father’s great love for us.

During the week, our testimonies had been strengthened as had our bonds of friendship. We had learned to do so many things—to build, to cook, to believe in our own abilities. Plus, we had been happy.

Now it was our fourth and final day, the one we had looked forward to. We were going to have a testimony meeting at sunrise. We had to get up very early, but we were eager for this experience. Before the testimony meeting, we received letters that our parents had written. Many of us cried as we read them, and we felt a spirit of gratitude for those moments.

Later as we shared our testimonies, the stars disappeared and the sun rose above the mountains. What a beautiful morning! The meeting ended, and we were preparing to go on with the day when the sky became clouded. A light drizzle began.

As the rain began to fall, we gathered together to pray and ask Heavenly Father to stop the bad weather so we could complete our camping experience. Of course, we prayed that His will would be done. If He felt the rain should continue, we would accept it cheerfully.

The rain began to fall harder, and it became much colder. We started to pack up the tents and put everything away.

Then the camp leader and I went down beside a waterfall, and there in the rain, we knelt and asked Heavenly Father to help us be all right. Rising from our knees, we felt a peace and confidence that everything would be fine.

A few minutes after we returned to camp, a man who lived a few miles away drove up. He had seen us as we traveled to our camp four days before. Now he had come to help us. He asked for a telephone number so he could call into the city to have our bus come and get us earlier than planned.

After getting the information he needed, he left, made the phone call, and returned to take us to his house and give us shelter. He had to make a lot of trips, but he didn’t seem to be bothered. Although not a member of the Church, he was truly an angel to us.

We realized that God really was watching over us and was concerned about us. He met our needs through this kind man. “God did hear our cries and did answer our prayers” (Mosiah 9:18).

For us, this was a great way to finish camp.

Planning a Great Young Women Camp

Camp can be a wonderful place where young women learn about our Heavenly Father and His plan for them. A good way to make the camp meaningful is to choose a theme, which “can be a scripture, a name for the camp, or a slogan or phrase that supports gospel principles, the Young Women values, or camp goals” (Young Women Camp Manual [2002], 81).

Here are some guidelines for using the certification requirements in the camp manual. Plan activities that help young women to:

  • Serve. At least nine certification requirements center on service to others. Young women “can find joy in an outdoor setting that will strengthen their love for each other and the gospel and their commitment to stand together as ‘witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9)” (Camp Manual, 1).

  • Have spiritual experiences. At least 19 certification requirements in the camp manual encourage young women to seek the Spirit. “Somewhere in nature you will find a surprise, and it will lift and inspire you for days to come” (Camp Manual, 1).

  • Prepare to be wives, mothers, homemakers, and leaders. At least 42 certification requirements involve skills young women can use in future roles. Imagine young women “returning home knowing how to do things [they] have never done before” (Camp Manual, 7).

  • Understand their identities as daughters of God. At least 12 certification requirements give young women experience with work and physical activity, and 16 requirements help young women discover who they are through leadership. “Physically demanding activities … can help young women develop self-confidence and enjoy a sense of accomplishment” (Camp Manual, 52).

[photo] Photograph courtesy of María Espinoza Alveal

María Espinoza Alveal is a member of the Antártica Chilena Ward, Chillán Chile Ñuble Stake.