Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
A lot of my “fun of Scouting” has come through the brotherhood with many Scouting friends I’ve had over the years and I’ve mentioned many of these friendships already. And there have been many fun times through the years. It has been a great life.
Keith was a special friend at NEI where I went to learn how to be a professional Scouter. We really didn’t even know each other very well but for some reason there was a special bond there between us. We really shared some fun times together in New Jersey. I was pleased when he wanted to exchange candles after our final “fire- side” program. I still have that candle as a symbol of our Scouting brotherhood.
While at Camp Loll, I met a Scoutmaster named Bruce. He brought the Hill Air Force Base troop to camp. We became friends while he was there and kept track of each other after camp. We were both married soon after camp ended and we discovered that we lived within a few blocks of each other.
Our wives hit it off just as Bruce and I had done. We started doing things together. We often had Bruce and Gloria over for dinner at our place and they frequently had us over to theirs. We also took up jogging with them. The four of us jogged together each night after I returned home from my Scouting meetings. Most of the time this wasn’t until 10:00 at night.
I have never been real athletic but did take up jogging while at college. Then after college, I’d lost interest in it somewhat since I had no one to go with me. Now with the motivation of a friend, I took it up again with a renewed dedication.
Bruce and I ran ahead at a matched pace. Lou Dene and Gloria followed at their slower pace. We sometimes started running from our place and at other times we started from their house. In this way we had a variety of scenery along our route.
I remember specifically how cold it was when we ran. One night we ran by the bank and it was 17 degrees. Looking back, we must have been crazy but we were warmed from the running and as long as we kept moving, we didn’t even notice the cold. We had some fun times with Bruce and Gloria and were sad when they moved back home to Wisconsin.
I’ve also had some great times through my Dutch oven cooking demonstrations. One time I was in the height of my glory as I did a demonstration for a bunch of women. That was really a fun experience. Most of the gals had no idea that so many things could be cooked in “an old metal pot”. I decided to show off by making a cake. On that occasion, I made the cake using no utensils other than the oven.
I cut the cake mix box like one would a small individual box of “cold” cereal. I folded the flaps up and made a “well” in the center of the mix. I poured the eggs and part of the liquid into the well. I then said with a tone of faked disappointment, “Oh, dear!” I forgot my stirring spoon.”
Looking around, I found a small stick on the ground. I picked up the stick, wiped it “clean” on my pants and said, “Oh, well! I’ll just use this.” Of course all that was planned but the ladies didn’t know that. I got a kick out of the look of horror on the faces of some of the ladies. That cake turned out perfect and the ladies were all impressed. They all ate it up even though it had been stirred with a dirty old stick.
For years I had done my demonstration each week for Scoutmasters at camp. Then one year I decided that I needed a break from cooking. By that time, not having to do the demonstration was almost as much fun as doing it.
I also gave the demonstration at camporees. This was excellent entertainment for the Scoutmasters. One of my main reasons for doing the demonstration at such activities was to get the Scoutmasters away from their boys for a while. We found that if the Scoutmaster wasn’t with his boys, the boy leaders were free to develop leadership skills that they normally would not get with the Scoutmasters there doing it for them.
We found too, that in the absence of the adult leader, the boys were less competitive. They could relax and enjoy the activities as never before.
Once I asked a veteran Scouter if he ever got bored with my cooking demonstrations. He said, “No, the food tastes good each time!” In addition to the Dutch oven cooking, it was always fun to demonstrate and experiment with odd utensils: Like a cake or a hamburger in an orange peel, a bisquit on a stick, a hamburger on a rock or bacon and eggs on a tin can. Corn roasted in its shuck and banana boats were equally fun.
Another fun cooking experience was the time that I had occasion to cook the staff banquet for the Wood Badge staff. I went all out and we had some great food.
In recalling the fun times of Scouting, I think of all the Scout-O-Rama’s that I have attended. One year as a Scout, we built a signal tower. The only problem with the tower was that I split my pants trying to climb the thing. That was when I was a little fat kid! (I really wasn’t fat … but that was my self-perception back then.)
Another year we made sleeping bags out of foam rubber and parachute nylon. Those bags were super lightweight and very comfortable but I didn’t like my bag. Unlike blankets that form around your body, that foam stood straight up in the air. It was a strange experience to sleep in it. It felt like I was sleeping in a vacuum or something.
For some reason, it seemed that Scout-O-Rama weekend was always the windiest weekend of the year. Our booths always blew down a couple of times as we set them up the night before the shows. The Scout-O-Rama’s were always fun, even with the wind.
As a Cubmaster, I have always enjoyed the annual Blue and Gold Banquets. Though I’ve been to many of them, there is still a special charm about them. The banquets have all been a bit different from each other, but yet in many ways they’ve all been the same. I guess the tradition of the “Blue and Gold Banquet” is another element of the Program that helps everyone to have fun, year after year.
Well, Mr. Scoutmaster, the opportunity is there for you to have many great times in Scouting. I could share more fun activities and programs with you, but I’ll save some for you to experience for yourself. Scouting is great fun if you’ll only relax and let yourself enjoy it.
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
Excerpt taken from his “Scouting Trails” Book: “MR. SCOUTMASTER!” AT Scoutingtrails Connect with Kevin and read his article: “A Hundred Years of Scouting and What it Has Made Me” and others in The Scouting Trail.