With gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, Stake Young Women leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the globe were challenged to find creative and innovative ways to still keep Young Women Camp an annual summer event. The Washington, D.C. Stake rose to the challenge, through inspiration and technology tools Zoom and WordPress, and hosted a fabulous three-day Virtual Young Women Camp centered on the theme “There’s No Place Like Home.” Each day the Young Women were encouraged to “Seek Knowledge, Have Heart, Be Bold and Come Home” similar to themes in the The Wizard of Oz. 

Older youth camp leaders (YCLs) began each morning with an uplifting spiritual thought, and the last day of camp ended with participants having the opportunity to share spiritual thoughts in a testimony meeting. To stay connected, the Young Women each had a daily Camp sister to text or email to start or strengthen their friendship.

In between Zoom workshops on CPR instruction, yoga, drawing and middle/high school and college prep, the Young Women were provided with the necessary supplies for at home activities like a Ramen Noodle cooking challenge, creative crafts, a 5k run/walk/bike and a scavenger hunt. The camp also featured fantasy, young adult author Charlie Holmberg. Nearly 100 Young Women participated and each received the items in the photo including their own blue and white checkered face mask to promote safe social distancing during the pandemic. 

Virtual Young Women Camp came with many blessings. Here are 10 that stand-out:

1. Family members of Young Women were able to attend this virtual camp. (As a mother of two Young Women, I loved attending.)
2. Adult camp leaders were able to join in all the activities rather than be limited to their specific assignments. 
3. All the Young Women were “together apart” for most of the activities. 
4. The Stake Young Women Camp website provided a wonderful way to archive the workshops, activities and slideshow compilations for enjoyment long after Camp concluded.
5. The virtual format allowed for more inclusivity and flexibility and encouraged Young Women to approach Camp at their own pace.
6. The “traditional” thunderstorm did happen during Camp this year, but no one had their tent flooded. 
7. The camp nurse was out of a job. 
8. Being homesick was a non-issue even more with the first-year campers. 
9. Mosquitos were less “buggy” and bothersome.
10. Gourmet chefs-in-the-making were discovered through the [email protected] Ramen Noodle Challenge. By following directions to add at least two more ingredients to the Ramen Noodles, the Young Women unleashed their inner “top chef” to create amazing entrees, breads and even desserts. Check out these pictures!