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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The best one yet.

Guess what? I love my calling. A year ago when they asked me to be in Young Women’s I thought someone had lost their mind, mostly me for saying yes. I am a convert and for the last 17 years I have had callings in Relief Society, Scouts and Primary. I have led homemaking, taught the Sunbeams and been to Cub Scout Day Camp more than once. Some I have enjoyed more than others, but I have never felt so out of my league until this calling.

I knew NOTHING about the program, or teenage girls. I mean, I was one once, but not the kind that these girls would know anything about, thank goodness. I was scared to death. I couldn’t imagine having a conversation with them, forget teaching them. I felt overwhelmed, inadequate, unworthy. What could I possibly offer?

I was asked to be an adviser to the Mia Maids, girls who are 14 to 16 years old, the hardest group if anyone would have asked me a year ago. I was jealous of the Beehive leaders, their girls (12-14) are so fresh and excited over everything, and the Laurels (16-18) mature young ladies who speak in whole sentences, and are rarely overcome with giggles.

I heard rumors. The outgoing leaders wanted to give me warnings, these girls were legendary handfuls. Have I mentioned that I was scared? I wanted to say no. I almost did, but I can’t stand admitting that I can’t do something. Then I got a phone call from the new YW president. She's one of those women who has a presence and I was a little intimidated. She was so sweet and she said to me “I don’t really know you, but I have prayed about this and I know for certain that you are supposed to have this calling.” She assured me that we were all in it together. She has kept her word.

For six months I struggled. I completely wrecked lessons. I got names mixed up (one sure way to get the stinkeye is to call a 15 year old girl the wrong name). I wanted to quit every Sunday and every Wednesday. I felt like a fool week after week. Each week I came back borrowing the faith of my YW president. I learned about the program, I cringed over outdated lessons, I worried about the girls. I lost myself.

Then it came time for camp. They say either you love camp or you hate it. There’s no “I can take it or leave it.” You’re either in or you’re out. I figured myself for a camp hater. There’s the cheers, the bunk beds, LONG pants in August, are they kidding? Estrogen, 16 females in a cabin for 4 days, need I say more? No thanks. I really didn’t want to go, but because of the not admitting I can’t do something business, my hands were tied and off to camp I went.

Sounds hokey, but it changed me. I loved camp. I "slept" in the top bunk, I was sleep deprived, I ate camp food, I hiked 6.5 miles in and back out of a canyon, and by the end of the week I was singing and cheering like a woman possessed. No kidding. It could have been starvation and lack of sleep but I don’t think so. I started to see my own potential, I'm not sure I ever really
believed I even had potential before.

It’s still hard, and I still feel overwhelmed quite often. I don’t think the program is perfect, I bite my tongue a lot, and it is a huge commitment of time and energy, but getting to know the girls I work with has been one of the best experiences of my life. I see their strengths and I am in awe of them, I am so glad that I said yes to the calling and I stuck it out. Hopefully someday I will be able to offer them as much as they offer me.

PS-The Mia Maids are the BEST age. Stinkeye and all.

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