This week I got to hold a Camp DeSoto girl’s baby girl. She squirmed and giggled and delighted us all. And as I squeezed her little self to mine I just kept thinking about who she will be one day and all that is ahead of her. I can’t wait to know her as a camper herself. There’s a lot of beauty in this world, little one. I’m so excited that you’re here to see it and bring some beauty of your own!
I also got to sing with Ariel. After a quick costume change she returned as Elsa, only to finish the night as Tinker Bell. Or maybe she was just herself in a pale green leotard and tutu? Either way, it was entirely charming. The whole room was mesmerized by her. She didn’t need our attention, though. She had plans, and she was perfectly confident to carry them out, with or without our attention and approval. You go, tiny princess. Make your mark.
The “big girls” we get to see make me so proud to know them. I love hearing what DeSoto girls are up to at home – playing soccer and volleyball, swimming and rowing, dancing, cheering, writing, and debating. They are running for office in their schools, exploring new ideas for science projects, and making room in their lives for fun times with friends. They’re at Young Life and football games and school dances and in the classroom, shining their light and offering themselves to this big world.
And don’t get me started on their moms! These women. They are creating life every day. Shepherding their flock, driving carpool, organizing get togethers for friends and fundraisers for school, grocery shopping and cooking meals, reading books before bed and having hard conversations and loving full out. Their plates and hearts are full with good, important work.
On top of all of that goodness, when I go home this weekend I get to spend time with two of my favorite camp friends. These women are kind and generous and love deeply. They are thoughtful and smart and witty. They are strong and tender and real. I can’t wait to be with them! We’ll talk about our hearts, our communities, our careers, and where we see God in the world. We will try our best to hold each other’s pain and feel each other’s joy. There will be stories and laughter and abundant grace. What a privilege it will be.
I am overwhelmed by the community of women and girls I get to know and belong to through Camp DeSoto. Creative, warm, generous. Strong, confident, brave. From the littlest of us to the grandmothers that went before us, women who lean in to God’s love. Women who let their hearts expand and swell with love – the kind that lifts us and those we hold in our hearts, like a great big beautiful hot air balloon.
Girls, the world needs us. The world needs our hearts, our humor, our courage, and our gifts. It’s not only true that you can pursue anything you’re passionate about, but also that the world needs you to. Make your art. Be the friend you have it in you to be. Start that organization and support that cause. Study, and read, and explore. Care for other people, especially those that are different. Be an engineer, be a mom, be the President. Disagree and discuss it. Make changes. Walk in love.