reality check.

there is an age old discrepancy at church regarding the youth. any girl who has been born and raised in the church knows what i’m talking about.

when kids turn 12 they join the young men or young women programs. this is a big deal. milestones continue to follow. at 14 you can attend church dances (electric slide cha cha slide anyone?) and at 16 you finally get to date. (let’s face it, when you are 12, 16 seems so far away!) while the youth enjoy activities all together at least once a month, the rest of the mid-week activities are segregated. each group busily going about their own things.

but, if you ask the girls about what the guys are doing – they are very quick to complain and grumble. i don’t blame them. i did the same thing when i was their age. while we met to do crafts, service projects or studiously attend to our personal progress, we heard the basketball game being played in the gym. i won’t even mention the numerous campouts the boys went on. there is a simple explanation. one which i learned to recite to my young women following their grumblings about our lack of exciting outdoor adventures. it is this – the young men’s program is tied to boy scouts of america. a majority of their focus is on helping the young men receive their merit badges – they have over-night camping fun automatically built in.

this did not appease the girls, nor has it for decades. with a few pied pipers demanding a change – we went about trying to throw together a last-minute camping trip. with the help of the most enthusiastic and generous seminary teachers ever, a plan was laid, bags were packed and we were off to camano island for a cozy get away.

in all honesty, despite their clamoring, i don’t think any of them were demanding roughing it at heart. they were perfectly content to play games, consume enormous quantities of candy, go exploring on the beach and take turns straightening each other’s hair.

i knew this was to be my last weekend as their leader and that solitary knowledge changed my interaction with them. i was saving tiny kodak moments with each of them.

in the morning, i tip-toed into the kitchen to start breakfast. it was quiet, and dim. blinds tightly keeping out the morning sun. the girls had insisted on cinching them as tight as possible the night before following the scary bedtime stories. i paused to watch all 10 bodies buried in sleeping bags littering the floor.

later that morning they slipped in a classic movie. i continued cooking hash browns and flipping pancakes and didn’t give their movie selection a second thought. after all, i had hand-picked the “approved” movie choices for the trip.

less than 15 minutes in to goonies, i was seized with fear. it was a fear that you probably only feel when you are responsible for 10 children belonging to other parents. i hadn’t seen goonies in years, and those boys can swear! but the worst part involves a statue mishap. if you forget, the statue breaks in the male anatomy region.

all five of us adults stood paralyzed in the kitchen. do i turn the tv off, making a bigger deal about the scene than i should? do i ignore it and risk a parent being upset? i continued to cook my hash browns and the movie went on. the girls seemed pretty unphased. they were more concerned with the age of the tv at the cabin. it was one of those large boxy tvs encased in wood. heavy and totally hip in its day. the girls weren’t even sure how the tv turned on.

one girl declared, “that tv is like from the 90s!”


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