Monday, July 18, 2011

Beehive Boot Camp

Wow. Camp was a booty kicker. I can't remember the last time I worked that hard physically. Even my summer as a cook in that fish cannery in Kodiak, Alaska was nothing like this. I think it had something to do with the fact that we were cooking for about 5 times as many people as there were in Alaska. (And maybe the fact that I'm 19 years older . . .)

First off, our luxurious accommodations. That's no exaggeration since everyone else was in tents on the cold, hard ground. There were some perks to being on the cooking crew, like sleeping on an air mattress in the lodge off the kitchen. (And easy access to the fridge . . .)
Setting up shop. The kitchen was kind of a disaster the first day. Okay, most of the time, like most kitchens being used around the clock. It was nice when the massive amounts of food started disappearing meal by meal:
Dear Michelle and I spent a good chunk of the first day cooking pasta for Italian night the next night. We were constantly working ahead: 

Italian night in the making:
When I wasn't boiling pasta that first day, I was cracking 35 dozen eggs for the breakfast burritos the next morning. It took me about two hours. This is just one third of the eggs:

After surviving dinner the first night (pre-made BBQ pulled pork on pre-made rolls, broccoli and pasta salad, and watermelon spears on a popsicle sticks--so cute!) we were up at 5:30am to get ready for our big breakfast. The kind ladies organizing the whole camp (but not officially on the cooking crew) came to help. It was a good thing, because the eggs and hash browns took FOREVER. I brought my ipod and player, so we were dancing to The Lower Lights at this point in the morning, but most of the time it was Brandon's vasectomy playlist - the same one that got me through my drive to Iowa:
Once breakfast was over, I laid out 30 pans of Rhodes rolls to get ready for Italian night. This is one of three tables: 
Halfway through rising, we rolled all 300+ in melted butter, and a mix of parmesan, asiago and Salad Supreme. (Supposedly like Magleby's rolls, for those who know . . .) They were divine, but getting those pans in and out of the oven was a hot job:
We were drowning in rolls:

Diana - Wonder Woman (see the apron?) and mastermind behind the menu planning and recipes. On top of everything else, she also made and froze ahead the BEST chocolate chip cookies I may have ever eaten, and BYU mint brownies for us to munch on behind the scenes. We also had some left over lemon poppy seed and pumpkin breads she made for the welcome baskets the first morning. She's a serious whiz in the kitchen, and I'm sorry I don't have all the recipes to post, because they were scrumptious:
Setting up the food for serving took a ton of time too:
Sure, we could have just put out a big ugly bin of plasticware for every meal, but we're women, so we lined cute little tin cups with nice napkins and sorted it out so we were sure everyone had a knife, fork and spoon:
Can't have Italian night without meatballs:
The logistic nightmare that actually turned out well (though a pain in the neck) was transporting and warming all the food up at a pavilion about 100 yards from the kitchen. Luckily, those nice ladies organizing the whole camp did that while we cooked and cooked. Here we are getting a little glory, and rights to first in line on the last night:  
That's a lot of food! It goes all the way down:

We had to be first in line so we could race back down to the kitchen and get our ice cream bar ready for dessert. Diana rented a soft serve ice cream machine and it was awesome--when it was working:

I was sorry we cut up York Peppermint Patties for the ice cream bar, because I think all 300 people asked me what they were when they came through the line. Try saying "York Peppermint Patties" 300 times in a row:
Just when we thought our backs would break and our feet would swell out of our shoes, it was time to do the dishes! Yippee . . . 
The best part of this job was working with and getting to know all these super fun, hard working ladies that care about the development of our young women. And the nice thing about kitchen work is that it requires very little brain, so we spent hours and hours talking and laughing about all kinds of stuff while our hands were busy. And when our hands weren't busy at the end of the day:
One last kitchen staff pic. You know I had to wear my APS (Alaska Pacific Seafood) sweatshirt at some point:
We did see daylight. A little bit. Like when we were going back and forth to the pavilion carrying stuff, and when it was time to go home. The mountains here are the perfect place for camping:
But we can't forget about the girls! Brandon took most of these pictures since he was up there for about 24 hours of the camp too. He was helping with the zip-line before I could get him a camera, so most of these pictures are just of the girls doing crafts and first-aid certification, but they also did archery and other "campy" stuff along with daily spiritual study time. They're a really sweet group of girls, all "Beehives," the name for the 12 and 13-year-old girls in our church's youth organization, coming from the pioneer days when Utah was first called "Deseret" or the Beehive state. You know, industry and all of that:

Our ward's (congregation) leaders:

Why is Kate the only girl not wearing the camp tee-shirt? Who knows! But it's better than a lip ring if she's trying to be different:


As a counselor in the bishopric (kind of like one of two vice presidents in our congregation), Brandon was in charge of the campfire program and activities one night, and this is one of the games he came up with--something to do with whipped cream and Cheetos. I came right at the end of the game, so I'm still not sure what they were trying to do, but the girls looked like they had a good time: 
It's just so girls camp, right?
The bishop and his other counselor:
Mr. Eagle Scout getting the fire going:

Turns out the bishop and his wife went to high school with our sister-in-law who is from Utah. Mormondom can be such a small world:
Kate has been weaving little bracelets for everyone in our family ever since camp ended 3 days ago:
Hard to believe, but the girls had root beer floats AND smores after our ice cream bar! It was a lovely campfire program and I was so glad I could be there with Kate and Brandon. I've been to many girls camps over the years in various capacities, but this was the first time I went as a cook, and also the first time I got to be there with my own daughter which was extra rewarding:
Harry Potter review to come later. Along with everything else. I'm going to be teaching nine different classes up at BYU-Idaho's Education Week next week and even though it's officially crunch time, I'm not really ready. Blogging (and exercise, and fastidious cleaning, and home cooked meals) is going to have to go by the wayside for a bit. But since I can't put mothering and summer fun aside very easily, we still made a big batch of salt water taffy as a family last night.  More on that later too . . .


  1. Oh I miss Girls' camp! I was in our Stake Young Women presidency for about 8 years so sometimes I think I am still in withdrawal. We loved our cooks! You guys did an amazing job for your Beehives. And yes, I love having the socialization with the other women at camp, too.

  2. WOW! I sure wish my girls camps were as awesome as this was!! Great job Allyson!!

  3. Allyson, How fun! Was that a stake camp? Our ward did Mutual Dell this year too but it was just our ward so we did not have the lodge and kitchen to ourselves. We had to share it with other wards so we did a lot of food moving too. We did some fun stuff because we were a small group and could do a few more things than a larger group could. Check out my blogpost Thanks for sharing what you all did, I love to get ideas...What an amazing place for girls camp, I loved it!!


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