Sunday, April 15, 2018

july: Ward Campout!

Our ward got reallll ambitious and planned a huge campout for the second weekend in July. This thing was almost a year in the making and turned out SO great. I'm shamelessly copying and pasting a LOT from our 2017 ward history about this campout - which is okay because I wrote the ward history ;). So it might not flow super well since Imma randomly stick in extra pictures of our family that weren't featured in the ward history... also I'm tired... so we'll see how this all comes together!

 In July our ward embarked on the big Mormon Battalion ward Super Activity. This outing was months and months in the planning. 

From Bishop Swenson"Towards the end of 2016 I had a desire to do an activity that could include everyone in the ward, from the primary kids to our more senior members. In the past, ward campouts and dinners have been planned, but I had a desire to have an activity that everyone could be a part of and that could form memories and strengthen testimonies for years to come. This idea became the topic of several Bishopric meetings. It was decided that we would do a Mormon Battalion Trek. After receiving confirmation from the Spirit, it was presented to the Ward Council. Lots of excitement, ideas and concerns were brought up... we decided to move forward. A committee was formed, the youth got involved. Every organization was represented in the planning process. The ward caught the vision and were excited and so many people wanted to help. Carts were built, food was planned, activities were planned. The site was reserved. Everything so naturally fell into place. It was amazing to watch it happen. In April of 2017 I received a job offer in El Paso, Texas and would be leaving Nampa about two weeks before the activity was to happen. My heart sank. I so desired to be there and be part of this great activity, but the new Bishop jumped right in and also saw the vision. I received so many pictures of the activity and it brought tears of joys to me. The purpose of the activity was fulfilled, everyone had a great time and I know that this inspired activity had a great impact on many people, kids, youth, and adults."
We headed to Camp Glenwood, a church-owned campground about an hour and a half away from Nampa. Ward members stayed in cabins, tents, and motorhomes/campers. Brother Rolfson is a rockstar who worked out the logistics of who camped where. The Izatts called Cabin #15 home sweet home.

First we had to get there, of course. Here is some of the fun from the truck ;).
The area was so, so beautiful and provided a wonderful place for us to camp and enjoy the Lord's creations on this earth.

The food was also beautiful, haha! We had two separate kitchen areas; Sister Hyer headed up the main one inside the lodge for families and Brother Murphy was the point man for the outdoor kitchen that fed the youth. 

We found a lovely little stream next to the campground, which was perfect for some wading, gold mining, and even sleeping - Brother Stan Bishop set up camp with his hammock above the water!
If you look reallll close in Brother Corn's gold panning bowl? dish? ... pan? you can see a tiny bit of gold that I accidentally dropped back into the stream like forty seconds after that picture was taken. Whoops!
Couple more pictures of the stream: Carma and Jack and Clark and Andy loved it!

The basketball court was a popular attraction. Brother Janes spent quite a bit of time out there and was happy to play with opponents of any age and ability level, including Carma Junie.
There was a cool volleyball area that the youth especially loved, although they welcomed players young and old to join them.

We also made use of the swingset and 'porch' area outside the lodge!
Carma loved the whole experience; she abandoned her shoes pretty much right upon arrival and played and played and played. 

These pictures of Carma and Andy killlll me. Could they be any cuter?
Seriously, Carma is the happiest little girl in the wild. Even with Brother Sanderson photobombing ;). 

Aaaaand more pictures of her, mostly playing in the dirt... feeding her pet worm some dirt... guzzlin' some gatorade... 
And showering herself with tiny pebbles. WEIRDO. Seriously, the whole time she was way happy as long as she was outside and also filthy haha.

Although, there was such a thing as being 'too' outside - such as when Brother Rolfson and Brother Corn spotted a snake in this brush! I'd heard through the grapevine that Brother Corn is scared of snakes so I sneaked up behind him and threw Carma's little stuffed animal worm over his shoulder to scare him - and then I found out they'd just seen the real deal! I promptly  jumped on a high rock NOT BECAUSE I WAS SCARED but to get a better vantage point to spot the snake. Brother Corn tells the story a little different but I think we all know which one of us is a known exaggerator ;).
The snake made another more daring appearance later that afternoon and we learned from camp house Elder Blakeley that this was an Idaho Mountain garter snake, harmless to humans but very helpful in keeping down the mouse population at the campground! Brother Rolfson was thrilled to make a closer acquaintance and share it with some other ward members. Brother Corn and I were thrilled to keep our distance.

There were lots of indoor and shaded activities to keep everyone busy - leather stamping up under the pavilion and puzzles, jewelry making, and rock painting inside the lodge.
One highlight of the campout was the Trading Post! Sister Marsh is quite possibly The Sweetest and put her heart and soul into creating this magical store with something for everyone. As they showed kindness and service throughout the camp, primary children were awarded buttons from watchful adults and then redeemed the buttons at the trading post for all sorts of treasures.

Our primary leaders orchestrated some fun activities for the kids, including obstacle courses, three legged races, and steer-roping:

 and a water fight! This was a perfect way for everyone to cool off a bit in the July afternoon sun. Alliances were made and broken, although the general 'kids vs. adults' mentality stayed consistent. I considered myself an embedded reporter but was still subjected to unfriendly fire - mostly from my own kids ;).

Our youngest campers found plenty of ways to stay busy, including playing in the rocks, dirt, grass, sunshine, and topping it all off with plenty of water and popsicles to stay hydrated!
The Izatt children also kept busy finding sticks that look like weaponry, reading joke/riddle books, getting decent scrapes in the river, and wandering around with the young women.

The Young Men and Young Women experienced their own Super Activity within the ward campout - they camped and ate separately and had their own activities during the day.
 Chuck spent most of the day over with the youth and Clyde spent as much time as a stowaway over with the youth as he could before getting repeatedly busted and sent back with me haha.
Clyde showed me some of the cool team building activities AND a little trail he liked to hike up and explore.

The hike was .... not a favorite of many.
But we feel like it conveyed the mixture of feelings including desperation and frustration and exhaustion that the original pioneers felt at times, so we'll call it a success!

As a ward, we met together every morning and evening to raise and lower the flag and have prayer and both sides of the camp held regular devotionals.
Everyone came together for some handcart races - my kiddos were thrilled to hop a ride as the youth pulled/pushed. Brother Murphy put an incredible amount of time and work into creating these masterpieces!! 
 Many ward members came for the whole campout and many more came and went as they were able to. We gathered for a picture on Friday evening but were bummed out not to capture everyone who came!

 This was our attempt at a somber, old fashioned picture. Can you tell that our ward isn't used to holding back our joy and laughter?

  Bishop Merritt and the rest of our ward leadership did an incredible job carrying out this lofty goal: a ward campout that involved everyone, welcomed everyone, taught valuable lessons about church history and church present, and kept everyone safe and well fed and healthy and happy for three days. So many wonderful memories were made and friendships were strengthened and testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ were nourished. 

And we were thrilled to be part of it all. Especially the day that Carma and I wore our matching shirts:
Saturday morning = time to head back home. We cleaned out the cabins and lodge and tried to finish off the Otter Pops so they wouldn't melt on the drive home ;). Chuck and I also invited ourselves into the various motorhomes and campers and trailers for personal tours because we're nosy like that haha. 

On a final note, are Chuck and I more good looking out in nature? I feel like we are...

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