How in the world can I be a Young Women leader in my ward??? I’ve barely been out of the YW program for two years. However, this opportunity has helped me grow tremendously. Young Women’s Camp is something I looked forward to every year as a girl. I loved hanging out with the cool leaders, singing camp songs, and staying up all night. Yet, when told I would be going to camp as a leader I was SO nervous. I wondered: Would the girls like me outside of church? Would I even be useful? How could I be in charge of the safety of four girls on the drive up to Jackson, WY? I was becoming increasingly overwhelmed. GOOD NEWS. I had the most amazing time. (We made it there safely)
Our Theme: I Am A Pearl of Great Price
A pearl used to be considered the most valuable gemstone on earth. However overtime, Many jewelers have decided to culture their own pearls because Natural pearls have become increasingly rare and difficult to find… Similarly, in our world today young girls have a false view of what it means to be a woman. Our society tells us to be sexy, vain, and selfish when really a woman should be kind, virtuous, and loving.
I know we hear this all the time but I think it’s worth repeating: “We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” – Margaret D Nadauld
Like many, pearls are my go to jewelry. It may be because it’s my birthstone. But mostly I think it’s because pearls can not only stimulate your femininity but, can also lift ones spirits and remind one to walk with dignity. They symbolize so much and help me remember that I am and should strive to be pure, kind, and genuine.
No two pearls can be identical. The latin word for pearl literally means unique. Here are some of the unique pearls in my life.
My sister Lizzie is a pearl because she has passion for life and shows it with her music. She lights up a room with her voice and isn’t afraid to share it and her feelings through songs.
My mom is a pearl because she has unconditional love. She Continually forgives me and those who have wronged her. Helping me understand that love is more important than being right.
My grandmother is a pearl because she teaches everyone she sees the gospel. She is the ULTIMATE member missionary. She is proud to be an LDS woman and makes sure that you and the whole world knows it.
And My young women are pearls, never have I seen such conviction to live the gospel righteously. I grew up in a place where it seems like everyone lives the gospel because that’s what everyone is doing. So when I see you walking to church on your own because you want to learn more about our savior I am almost moved to tears. I am so impressed with your poise and maturity and ability to include others and to be like Christ.
My last girls camp was one full of strange memories. The first day we went on a hike to Legacy Lake. We were all smiling and laughing enjoying each other’s company. Sophie Barton, my friend and fellow H25 ward member, seemed the happiest of all of us. She was doing what she did best, singing along the whole trail. I had no idea that this would be one of the hardest days of my life. While on the way back from our hike Sophie collapsed and was sent to the emergency room. What we thought was only severe dehydration turned out to be something much more serious. A leader returned hours later with the news that Sophie had died. This like nothing else was a trial of my faith. I remember going home that night on the bus in tears wondering what to think. Sophie was strong and had an unwavering testimony of the gospel. She gave me and our whole community the best example and brought us together more than anything ever could. Sophie even at 17 years old touched so many people and continues to today with Sophie’s Place. She showed me that even though things seem difficult and hard they are worth it. She lived with kindness and charity in her heart and was the happiest person alive. To remember her the color white was chosen. Ribbons, candles, clothing etc. was and still is seen all over the neighborhood. White was chosen because of her purity, selflessness, and love. To this day when ever I see a white ribbon, butterfly, or even when I put on my white pearls I think of Soph and all she stood for.
A pearl is made when something irritating or parasitic enters the mollusk. The mollusk then builds layer upon layer to turn something bad into something beautiful. Despite all the sand, mud, and gunk in an oyster a pearl is made. Just Like a pearl, we too have been shaped through trial and tribulation building ourselves layer upon layer. To the world it seems hard to be a natural pearl but let me stress that it is so worth it to be a christlike LDS woman. Fake pearls, although beautiful on the outside are just plastic on the inside. Use the Young Women organization to build yourself layer upon layer like a pearl from the inside out. Gain values to become a real pearl filled with faith, individual worth, virtue, etc. to help make you truly happy and strong enough to stand as a witness at all times and in all things and in all places. Most people opt out of finding a real pearl and decide to settle on something they think will make them happy because it may seem easier or more convenient. We must remember that natural pearls were not made in a day! Pearls are made after many years of new experiences and learning from mistakes.
We are ALL pearls and you are God’s PERFECT creation who he loves eternally. You are a rarity, so be different than the world. Do the things that are hard and unpopular. As you act kind, genuine, and selfless like daughters of God that heavenly father intended you to be, you will become the happiest you have ever been. You will be a pearl of great price.
Now a few pics of our fantastic camp!