Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian and Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
Introductory Note: I have noted before that I have been in Scouting forever. And I have been keeping a detailed personal journal for most of that time. So, “Mr. SCOUTMASTER!” brings together both of those elements. Many of the experiences enlarged upon come as inspiration or even direct quotes from my journals and through a lifetime of Scouting experience.
“FUN, ADVENTURE, AND ROMANCE …” One of the Youth Leadership professors at Brigham Young University – the college I attended, talked extensively to us about the “Fun, Adventure, and Romance” of Scouting. “Adventure,” he said, “Is when you do something for the first time. “Fun” is when you repeat the adventure and still enjoy it. And “Romance” is the Spirit of Scouting, the classy experiences that tie you to the program. Romance keeps you coming back for more fun and adventure.”
Scouting is full of opportunities for fun, adventure and romance. As I recall my Scouting days, I have a flood of special memories of the fun, adventure and romance I have experienced through the years. I’d like to share many of those special memories with you and hope they may generate some memories of your own. I hope that mine are of interest to you. They come from my personal journals of true Scouting adventures over 50 years or so in Scouting.
Scouting, for me, is a way of life. It is new activities and opportunities. It is an attitude which allows me to be my true self. Scouting is brotherhood at its best. Scouting is a feeling, a special pride, a motivation for success. It is opportunities for service to others, a desire to reach out. Scouting embodies all that is good and desirable in citizenship, character and fitness.
Scouting is more than camping trips and a life of fun. It is true “mountain-top” experiences that bring one closer to our God. Scouting is personal growth and achievement and becoming all that is in us. It is also motivating and inspiring young men to realize their own divine potential. Scouting meshes well with my personal priorities of church and family. Scouting is a spirit, a commitment to excellence, now and in the future.
THE ADVENTURE OF NEW THINGS:
As I think about new things I think back to my days as a GNUBIE [A “FIRST-YEAR CAMPER]. I was really green then. I remember that first hike and wandering around in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. It wasn’t that we were lost, it’s just that it took us longer than planned to get there. We did get to see the star of the old “Death Valley Days” television series when we ended up at the movie set out in the middle of nowhere.
I remember my first merit badge, Personal Finances. They don’t even have that one any more. I had to go ten miles away just to find a merit badge counselor.
I remember the first time that I went to Camp Geronimo. I was sure scared with the story of the Mongollon Monster.
I remember when I was first made a Webelos Den Leader. I was under age but we sure had some fun times. I can still see (and hear) those four Webelos cubs as we went on a field trip to a bird farm. They were hanging from the windows yell – singing, “Be Kind to Your Webbed Footed Friends”. I was a Webelos Leader for two years and loved every minute of it. It was great fun to build catapults and all of those other projects and activities which we did as a den.
It was a momentous day when I joined the ranks of Scouting professionals. Another of my life-long dreams had come true. It is funny, but I can still recall exactly what I did on my first day on the new job with the then Lake Bonneville Council in Ogden, Utah. We did the inventory of the council office. I can still count all those little Bobcat pins when I can’t get to sleep at night.
I remember too, my transfer from Ogden, Utah to Santa Barbara, California. I had known for a few months that it was time for a transfer. I had an interview with the Area Director, and he told me my chances for transfer were not real good at that time. He said that professional moves had slowed a bit.
But for some reason, I knew that I was making a move. As I closed camp that year, I prepared everything for a smooth transition for my successor. I left my files and records in perfect order.
Right after camp, my wife and I headed for Santa Barbara for a regional conference for all professionals of the Boy Scouts of America. On the way down there, we visited Yosemite for our first time. Also, while stopped for the night in metropolitan Winnemucca, Nevada, one of my other dreams came true.
I had always wanted a tandem bike and we happened onto one that was a great deal. We bought it, tied it to the top of our 3/4-ton Plymouth Horizon (just kidding about the ¾ tonpart) and it went with us to Santa Barbara. We had a few breaks at the conference and enjoyed riding our bike down to the scenic Goleta Beach near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus where our conference was held. Seeing the beach was another adventure for me.
While in Santa Barbara, I talked to the Area Director once again. Within a few minutes, he had me in an interview. From then on, things happened quickly. Just a few hours later, we had agreed to accept a job in Beautiful Santa Barbara. It was all so unbelievable but so exciting. We had fallen in love with Santa Barbara on our brief visit there.
We dashed home to wrap things up in Ogden. Back at the office, I made detailed records of the volunteers in my district, my units, the SME train plaque delivery, and coming activities. I tried to leave detailed records that would be helpful for my replacement. My Fieldbook was complete and in perfect order two weeks before my final day. I’d also made agendas for all of my meetings for the next three months.
A fellow professional really laughed at me. “That must be the ultimate, all packed and ready to move to Santa Barbara,” he said. I’ll have to admit that it was all very exciting.
We had many friends we wanted to see before our departure but not enough time to make the rounds to all of them. We decided, instead, to have an open house for all of them at our home. We had a steady flow of friends come through for a two-hour period. It was especially hard to bid adieu to all of my Camp Loll and Bartlett staff friends who came. We had shared some special times together.
I went on a hike one Saturday with my good friend, Scott. Together we hiked to the top of Mt. Ogden Peak, the 10,000′ peak for which my district was named. It was a neat experience to have that final activity together. From the peak we could see nearly a hundred miles in every direction.
The Scouters of my district staged a going-away party for Lou Dene and me at one of my favorite places, the Lion’s Lodge in Morgan Canyon. Actually, we already had the evening scheduled for our district’s Top Team Conference but the agenda was altered a bit for the occasion. It was a challenge to say goodbye to our many Scouting friends. After five years with them, it was difficult to leave.
The trip to Santa Barbara, California went smoothly for us. Our three girls enjoyed taking their turns with me in the moving van. My first day at the Mission Council was somewhat of a shock. My predecessor had left no records for me. There was nothing to work with: no fieldbook, no agendas, no documentation. It was like making a cake from scratch with no recipe.
I remember another first at Santa Barbara. The first or second day I was there, my new Advancement Chairman, Ihsan, took me to lunch. That was the beginning of a Scouting friendship that has out- lasted my professional service in Santa Barbara. Ihsan, who was from the Middle East, kind of adopted my family and me. That was the beginning of a long and enjoyable association with Ihsan. Our families have remained friends forever.
More later …
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
Excerpt taken from his “Mr. Scoutmaster!” Book Scouting Trails. Connect with Kevin and read his article: “A Hundred Years of Scouting and What it Has Made Me” in The Scouting Trail
© Kevin V. Hunt 2016