Heat waves danced in the distance. Several girls lounged on sleeping bags eating Skittles and taking turns with a Walkman. Candy may have been on the do not bring list or it may have been ok. I don’t remember. Music was definitely contraband.
My turn with the headphones came up. The other girls kept shushing me because I felt the need to yell over the music. I finally gave up my turn. The game was too new to me. Poker cards, or face cards as we called them, were definitely not allowed. At the tender age of 12 it never occurred to me that a game called BS was inappropriate! Fun game though. We never did get in trouble. We were careful during the day. At night several girls crowded into the Young Women President’s tent where we played with her!
Shar was the best. She was a spiritual leader but she never took herself too seriously at Girl’s Camp. How could she when she had a reputation to uphold? She was the mastermind behind every practical joke. Plans were meticulously made months in advance. As the elementary school secretary she had connections with another known practical joker, the janitor. Everyone loved Terry. He made school fun. Working as an office aid for the principal and secretary was a blast. I heard a lot of fun stories every Friday when it was my turn to work in the office. Terry would set aside at least one box of toilet paper every year for Shar.
My first year at camp was my favorite. That was the year that I joined the group of cool people. We waited for everyone to go to sleep. In the wee hours of the morning we tiptoed through camp expertly toilet papering every single ward. The 9th ward was tricky because the whole Young Women’s group and leaders all slept in one huge army tent. They were all on cots snoring together. For most of the wards we felt brave and bold enough to whisper loudly. We held our breath for the 9th ward and the Stake leaders. If the Stake leaders woke up and caught us we would be dead where we stood!
The eerily gray sky was lightening more and more as we quickly finished off our toilet paper stash on our own ward’s tents. We had successfully TP’d every single ward camp except the 4th ward. The 3rd ward (my ward) and the 4th ward had been in feuding competition for as long as I can remember. I only feel a little bad that they were blamed by the Stake leaders for the good natured prank. They deserved it because they were the 4th ward!
My second year of Girl’s Camp was just as fun. That year a bunch of us played BS in Shar’s tent for a couple hours before she pulled out the industrial box of school toilet paper. It’s hard to say what prompted some of the Laurels to do this but soon we were all sitting in a circle ripping toilet paper rolls apart square by square. As we ripped we plotted. My mom had gone as a Stake leader that year. She was asked to teach the first aid certification classes and be on hand as a nurse in case anything happened. Everyone thought my mom was cool so we came up with a plan to involve her in our antics.
After stuffing toilet paper squares into large black garbage bags, a few of us went to Stake camp for my mom. One girl pretended to limp while she held onto the shoulders of another girl and me. We slowly made our way into camp while I called out, “Sharon! Sharon!” My mom came and we kept up the ruse. She knelt down ready to check out the fake sprained ankle when we finally whispered the truth. Soon we were all on our way to the priesthood leader’s camp.
We dumped the toilet paper out of the garbage bags and into the men’s tent. There was so much toilet paper that it was almost knee deep. Giggling, we raced back to our own camp. The next morning was our ward’s turn to have breakfast with the priesthood leaders. The tables were decorated with empty toilet paper rolls. There was no way they couldn’t figure out it was us! We’d have a good laugh over it and enjoy our meal together.
Only that’s not what happened. The two men didn’t get the toilet paper rolls. They honestly thought the rolls were creative centerpieces and napkin rings. We kept giggling and asking how they slept and other questions to help them figure it out. We finally had to tell them it was us that toilet papered them. They were surprised because they assumed it was their home ward that did it. Apparently the 9th ward had stapled their socks on the outside of the tent. They put rocks in their sleeping bags and stapled their sleeping bags shut.
Suddenly our cloud of toilet paper didn’t seem as brilliant as we first thought. They laughed anyway. In fact, they kept the toilet paper in their tent the rest of the week. They said it was really soft. It got matted down more and more every day but it took until the end of the week before it lost its fluffy softness. By then it was ankle deep.
I remember having impromptu water fights and laughing hard enough to almost pee. As a nerdy Beehive my best friends were Laurels. Popular ones. The cool girls! I was bummed to have to move out of that ward but it was probably just as well. My Laurel friends would have been out of the program by the next summer anyway. Young Women’s only lasts from age 12 to 18. I probably wasn’t as cool as I thought I was. Just cool by association. I was Tyson’s little sister. Those were the days though! Girl’s Camp was so much fun.
After I moved I didn’t do anything “illegal” in a tent. I participated in dance parties with a flashlight as a spotlight. It just came to me that that’s where I got the phrase, “Spotlight on me! Spotlight on me!” I became really good friends with one of the Young Women leaders and years later found out her family was best friends with Heath’s family. There was more laughter. Laura almost peed not me! But that was at Youth Conference. Young Women’s was where it was at. I love those memories. Especially the ones that happened in a tent.