The new Young Women Camp Manual may contain lasting, basic principles of the gospel, but it is a manual "for this time," said the Young Women general presidency.
"It is exactly what we need for young people today," said Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president. "And we see it working into the future because it is principle-based and scripture-based."The new manual includes several changes in the Young Women camp program, which has been simplified to make camp possible in any circumstance worldwide, the presidency noted.
The book, which was sent Feb. 15 to all priesthood leaders, is available for purchase through Church distribution, beginning Feb. 22.
The focus of the camp program outlined in the new manual is to help young women draw closer to God and appreciate and feel reverence for nature, the presidency added. Camp, an integral part of the Young Women program, supports the Young Women values, motto and purposes.
"Camp has many purposes, but having young women draw closer to Heavenly Father and love Him more is the most important," Pres. Hales said. "Camp is a wonderful place for youth to gain a greater appreciation for Heavenly Father's creations."
The following is a list of changes in the new manual:
The manual now has an international flavor, geared toward meeting the needs of a worldwide Church membership. The logo, which features the Young Women torch, for example, includes palm trees, evergreen trees and cactus, and shows different types of land and sea. And foliage on the side of the cover is representative of five continents.
Certification requirements have also been written to apply in every setting, regardless of climate or terrain. Building an emergency shelter, for example, talks about making a snow cave, a shelter from the outcropping of a rock, or one from foliage available in the area.
Throughout the book are shaded bars that accent the side of many pages, giving nature insights from around the world. One such bar talks of fireflies or glowworms, which are common in South America and southeast Asia. It states: "In South America and the West Indies, where the insects grow up to 1 inch in length, natives gather them and put them in perforated gourds hung from the ceiling to give light to their huts!" The bars also include a drawing of an insect, animal or other item found in nature to highlight the page or correspond with the information.
"We hope that this will enlarge young women's viewpoints of the world, and will also help those young women who are far away from us to feel a part of the whole," said Virginia H. Pearce, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
Certification is still in place, but it reflects the goals and values of the current Young Women program more than it has in the past, the presidency remarked.
Names for each year of certification, such as Yearling and Mountaineer, have been eliminated because they have no meaning in other languages. Instead, each year is a level.
Certification also includes environmental concerns. One requirement, for example, is to help preserve and protect the environment in the area. Another includes recycling glass, plastic and aluminum used at camp.
"We would like the young women to have their certification experiences at camp, if possible," Pres. Hales counseled. "There used to be an enormous list of things to do, but now there are fewer requirements that are more realistic and provide for options. It will be of greatest benefit if the certification experience happens at camp."
Adult leaders are encouraged to complete the new certification requirements, but it is not necessary for adult leaders to complete certification before conducting a Young Women camp or certifying other campers.
All young women may work on the same certification level as their peers. Those who want to certify for past levels may do so and may work on more than one past level of certification at a time.
The Summiteer program has been replaced by the Youth Camp Leader program. Young Women who are 16 and 17 years old are encouraged to participate.
"Not a lot of direction was written for these youth leaders and many times young women felt camp was over for them when they reached 16 and 17," explained Patricia P. Pinegar, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. "This will help involve them as leaders in their older years as they share their talents and abilities with younger campers."
A young woman can serve as a youth camp leader without having had camp experience, Sister Pearce continued. "The idea is that they can take part in the same way as their age group."
Awards have also been modified slightly. Campers will receive a certificate as they complete each level. A camper badge and leader badge features the new camp logo.
At the end of four years, campers can receive the camper award, which is optional. The camper award is a wooden oval jewelry-type box with the camp logo cut in the top.
Other things that add new flavor to the manual are sections on problem-solving activities, nature awareness activities, a food and nutrition section, friendship activities and games, Sister Pearce said. The manual also includes guidelines for involving campers with disabilities.
"The manual is very current in terms of the environment, but it contains all fundamentals of the vision of life that our Heavenly Father would want us to have in being prepared to meet the challenges of this time," Sister Pinegar commented. "I think Heavenly Father expects us to be current and be prepared to move into the future.
"The manual itself is beautifully done," she continued. "Young women will enjoy reading the excerpts and writing their own feelings in the book. It will be a manual they will enjoy keeping for the rest of their lives.
"We feel like this will be a wonderful resource to families in addition to young women because of its ability to enhance their appreciation of nature," Sister Pinegar added.
Done in earthy tones and printed on recycled paper, the manual is a complete handbook for planning and carrying out camp for young women. The upbeat, rustic motif is one the Young Women general presidency expects will appeal to youth for years to come.
It replaces the Camp Manual and the Young Women Campcrafter Certification Manual, putting all the materials into one book, the presidency explained.
"It contains clear statements concerning the spiritual foundations of camp, certification requirements, journal pages, activities and skills, camp songs and camp policies," Sister Pearce remarked.
Young Women leaders began looking at the existing camp program and manual in 1986, aware that it was not meeting the international needs of the Church, Pres. Hales explained.
A committee has been working on it for about four years, and many experienced camp leaders from many different areas were consulted in putting it together, she added.
"We really are excited to see this manual completed because of the great potential we see it having on young women. All the materials of the Young Women program are now in place."
Sister Pinegar reflected: "When we visit with youth at the end of their experience in Young Women, we ask them what has been the most meaningful to them. It is surprising how many identify their time at camp. This is a tremendous program."