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How to Help Young Women Lead a Christ-Centered Camp

The Young Women General Presidency and Advisory Council share how to help youth become strong leaders

A young woman bears her testimony during a Young Women camp. 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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By the Young Women General Presidency and Advisory CouncilChurch News

What does a successful Young Women camp look like? 

Some may say it would include sleeping bags, adventure, friendship, scripture study, fun camp songs and, of course, lots of good food. It may include games, evening devotionals, journal writing, sports and learning new skills. 

Whatever your Young Women camp looks like, we hope each young woman knows she is a part of a global group of diverse young women who love the Lord and strive to become like Him. Each has the ability to seek and act upon personal revelation and to minister at each Young Women camp. 

Camp is an opportunity for young women to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ. They also strengthen relationships with each other, and they develop and practice leadership skills as they plan for and lead at camp. The Young Women Camp Guide says, “Young women ages 16 and 17 can be called as youth camp leaders.” 

These youth camp leaders should have the primary responsibility for planning, directing and evaluating camp.

Who Will Help Youth Camp Leaders Be Successful in Planning, Directing and Evaluating Camp? 

The Young Women Camp Guide instructs: “[Youth camp leaders] counsel with the Young Women presidency, ward and stake camp leaders, and priesthood leaders.” 

What a blessing to be an adult leader, serving side by side with these youth in organizing a camp to help all of the young women increase their capacity as leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ. They will learn how to create an atmosphere of faith, unity and love because of the leadership and love they feel from you.

A leader teaches young women from the Queen Creek Arizona South Stake how to do archery during a Young Women camp at Camp LoMia near Pine, Arizona, on June 3, 2021. Photo by Scott Adair, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.


What Do Leaders and Youth Leaders Counsel About?

There is power in counseling together. During a 2010 Worldwide Leadership Training panel discussion, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called councils a “revelatory experience.”

Just think of the revelation that will come as youth leaders and adults prayerfully seek to know how to meet individual needs and create experiences where the Holy Ghost will come and where testimonies and faith in Jesus Christ will be strengthened and relationships built. 

Planning for camp is a wonderful opportunity for young women to discover the Lord’s will and how He wants to increase their capacity. Encourage youth leaders to pray for these revelatory experiences.

As an adult camp leader, you may think it is much easier to come up with ideas, to plan activities, menus and meals and organize the many details of camp yourself. However, remember that today’s young women need opportunities to organize, lead and lovingly minister. By leading and serving, they learn valuable skills that will bless their families and the Church in the future. They can do it. They must do it.

How Can I Better See the Young Women as Leaders?

Prayerfully seek to see these youth as the Lord sees them.

Corinne Baird, a Young Women president in the Creekside Ward of the Alpine Utah West Stake, said, “Youth must be given opportunities to lead. If not, there is great danger that we will have trained them only to follow in a world that is loudly clamoring for followers. For these noble and great spirits to accomplish the work the Lord has for them to do, they must be given opportunities to become equal to it.” 

You will be led to know which questions to ask and how best to help them become effective planners and directors. When you give them this opportunity, they will surprise you with inspired answers and creative ideas. 

As you counsel together, ask this question: What does Heavenly Father want to have happen in the lives of the youth leaders as a result of camp? Their opportunities to plan and direct will change them, strengthen them and help prepare them for what they were sent to earth to do.

Kylie Robison, left, and Tatum Smith of the Queen Creek Arizona South Stake make crafts during rotations at a Young Women camp held at Camp LoMia near Pine, Arizona, on June 3, 2021. Photo by Scott Adair, courtesy of Church News. All rights reserved.


What About Camp Traditions in My Ward or Stake?

Counseling with youth leaders about past camp traditions is also important. Some traditions may be fun, but they might not meet the needs of the young women today. What traditions need to be left behind? What new traditions are needed to help build unity and faith in Jesus Christ? Remember that hazing, pranks and other unkind, immoral or disrespectful conversation and behavior are unacceptable. Counsel about kind, positive and uplifting activities that will strengthen these valiant young women, and always consider the safety of each young woman and adult leader.

The Young Women Camp Guide counsels, “Keep in mind that everything you do at camp should help each young woman accomplish the following outcomes (see also General Handbook, 11.1.1):

  • Strengthen her faith in and testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
  • Understand her identity as a daughter of God.
  • Live a worthy life as she obeys the commandments and lives gospel standards.
  • Receive, recognize and rely on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
  • Prepare for her divine roles as a leader, wife, and mother.
  • Understand and keep the covenants she has made.
  • Develop friendships and have fun.”

What a beautiful list of potential outcomes!

How Do I Mentor Youth Camp Leaders to Plan, Direct and Evaluate?

We hope you will take this question to the Lord in prayer. We pray for all adult Young Women leaders and for all young women. Your sincere desire to minister with love and help increase the capacity of the Lord’s young women will create an environment of strength, growth and power. With all of these promises, your Young Women camp will be unforgettable.

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Three young women hike together over a hill during girls’ camp.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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