News Story

Young Women Serve Others at Historic Encampment

Hundreds gather together in British Columbia

The first province-wide encampment for young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recently held near Sooke, British Columbia.

Nearly 450 young women, some of whom travelled over 1,400 kilometres to attend the event, arrived by car, charter bus, plane or ferry at Camp Barnard, a 250-acre Scouts Canada camp located on Vancouver Island.

As part of the camp, the young women participated in a service initiative in support of Days for Girls, a humanitarian organization that provides sustainable feminine hygiene kits for women and girls in 75 countries. The young women traced and cut out over 1,400 fabric pieces (shields, liners and bags), which will be sewn together to make hygiene kits.

The purpose of the Church’s Young Women program is to help teenage girls build their testimonies of Jesus Christ and learn skills to prepare for their future roles as women in the Church and as contributing members of society. Girls also learn valuable skills and achieve awards through the Young Women camping program.

Lynn Sloan, programs chair of the event, said, “There are more opportunities available today than ever before for young women to be positive influences and role models within their families, schools and communities. The camp activities were designed to allow each girl to stretch herself and discover her strengths and capabilities. Our desire was that each young woman would leave the encampment feeling empowered, recognizing that her time to shine is now.”

With the support of 175 adult volunteers, the young women enjoyed physically challenging activities including high ropes and rappelling, as well as a mini-triathlon, biking and archery. A water relay and “colour run” were popular group activities. Various creative workshops provided opportunities for the young women to learn other skills such as yoga, leather crafting and glass etching.

“Throughout the camp I really felt that support and strength from the other young women who had similar goals and standards as [mine],” said 18-year-old Jayme Felhauer from Cranbrook, who drove over 12 hours to attend the event. “It really felt like you were a part of something bigger. … There is really nothing like it.”

Guest speakers Elaine Dalton, former general Young Women president of the Church, and Elder Paul Christensen, area seventy, addressed topics including social, emotional and spiritual well-being. They were joined by popular recording artists Kenneth Cope and Calee Reed, who provided live inspirational entertainment.

Encampment director Brenda Molnar said, “It was exciting to be part of something so big and encompassing, yet at the same time so individual and personal for each young woman.”

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