I just returned from a week at Girls’ Camp with my Stake in Pennsylvania. When my good friends, Toni and Bekah, were called to be the Stake Directors, I was bummed that I would be in Texas all summer and wouldn’t be able to go with them. So when someone approached me and asked me to cook, I couldn’t resist. My friend Stephanie, who cooked at girls’ camp the last two years and is amazing and helped me prepare, told me I would feel like I climbed Mt. Everest when it was over. She was right! It was totally physically tiring, but exhilarating to accomplish.
Below are some lessons I learned along the way.
1. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ASSISTANT COOK THAT DOES!!! I originally thought I would do all the food by myself, with Stephanie and other camp leaders lending a hand when they could. Stephanie was wonderful at helping me to prepare, but I couldn’t have done it without Suzette, my full-time helper. She’s done this a million times and was absolutely awesome! I kept telling her all week that I wouldn’t have gotten out of the grocery store if it weren’t for her. By the end of the week, she even let me call her Zettie.
2. Token Priesthood Holders (Men) are great help in the kitchen. Brother Brant manned the grill every morning and President Roming chopped watermelon or did whatever else needed to be done. Some mornings, they were in the kitchen before Zettie and I were.
3. Go SIMPLE and cook recipes you’ve already made and know how to do. And remember that cooking times are longer for the big recipes. I made my family’s favorite Frito casserole one night. I’ve made it tons of times, but since I multiplied the recipe by 12, cooking took longer.
4. Teenage girls like green peppers. Who knew?
5. The night the girls cook tin foil dinners over the fire is a good night for the leaders to get take out from a local favorite BBQ place. (Toni’s idea was to wrap up one of the BBQ pork sandwiches in tin foil, pull it out of the fire, and say, “Hey! Look how mine turned out!” We didn’t think the girls would laugh very hard, though, so we didn’t do it.)
6. Keep a supply of “contraband” in the fridge--Diet Pepsi, extra cookies, ice cream, and, of course, the leftover BBQ--etc. for the leaders.
7. “Shoe String” potatoes are not hash brown. They’re French fries.
8. Teenage girls think it’s super cool to be served French fries for breakfast.
9. French Toast cooks up quickly. If you need a morning to sleep a little later, opt for French Toast.
10. Campers and other camp leaders willingly pamper the cooks. Zettie and I had 35 minutes on Thurs. afternoon before we had to help the girls put together tin foil dinners. It was the first free 35 minutes we had had all day. My feet were killing me, so we decided to soak our feet. We grabbed the buckets that the girls use to wash their dishes (they weren’t so thrilled with us when they recognized the buckets) and sat out on the patio with our feet in warm water. At the end of the 35 minutes, we had a sign that said, “M&Z Spa,” a plentiful supply of Almond Joy, Chocolate Candy, and Good & Plenty, a girl to change our water when it cooled off, another girl giving us shoulder rubs, and another girl making us tie-dyed t-shirts. Camp goes well when the cooks are happy…
11. At Stephanie’s home, passing gas is another way of saying, “I love you.” We all agreed not to let our own families in on this, for fear that they would tell us they love us.
12. The cooks’ bedroom, off the main room of the lodge, is not soundproof, especially during testimony meetings. No, I wasn’t “telling anyone I loved them.” I was singing silly songs to Chase, Bekah’s baby, to make him laugh. I made a few other people laugh, too.
So, girls’ camp is supposed to be for the girls, but the leaders have a pretty dang good time, too. Thanks Zetti, Toni, Bekah, Kelli, Cynthia, Greg, Pete, Stephanie, Katherine, Becky, Dawn, Melissa (the great), Ashley, Megan, Meagan, and all the wonderful girls!PS - Check my recipe blog for camp recipes.