Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
We’ve been talking about some of the joy and trauma of Scouting – and I mentioned some of my Camp Director experience among those thoughts. There were some traumatic times, but there were also some really great times. Such was the case at Camp Bartlett. It was my privilege and honor to work with a few guys who were committed to me and were always willing to go the extra mile for me and the camp. I placed great value on “The Man Who Goes the Extra Mile” and was always deeply grateful for their strength, service and our brotherhood shared.
It is not my usual leadership style with youth to simply assign work to be done (though I do it on occasion, as needed). My preferred method has been to motivate the guys to volunteer as the call for help is made. The extra-miler was generally rewarded or praised in some special way.
This leadership style allows the young man to provide initiative for his own personal growth. As “my boys” (staff guys) experienced the thrill of doing something that was not required, they found a growth potential previously untapped within themselves. If properly recognized or thanked for a job well done, the staffer was anxious to volunteer again at other times.
I had a staffer named Jeff Leavitt with me for a couple of years. He had had a chance to see that I operated a little differently than other camp leaders under whom he had worked previously. It was a real compliment to hear Jeff say that he liked the way I worked along side of staff members rather than just telling them to do something and leaving them to it.
Paul Kearl was one of the most impressive young men with whom I ever had occasion to work. He was one of those special young men who wanted to do all that was required or expected of him – and a lot more. He was also one who was always willing to go the extra mile, and even when he was the only one traveling on that extended path.
My wife and I were particularly proud of Paul and pleased to be able to associate with him. One night near the end of camp, Paul came over and shared with us some of his feelings for us and this was a special experience for us.
Paul was a staffer who got an unusual bonus from being on camp staff. He had such a high level of integrity that he was one we trusted to serve on staff even when we were serving 400 girls instead of our usual collection of Scouts. (Girls from several of the local LDS church units came for a week of camp after the Boy Scouting sessions had ended for the summer.) And speaking of his extra bonus: While on camp staff, Paul met a young lady whom he ended up marrying about four years later.
Paul was even the subject of a poem that I penned and dedicated to him:
THE MAN WHO GOES THE EXTRA MILE
The man who goes the extra mile,
Is one who’s learned to give of self.
He does more than duty with a smile,
And looks for ways to be of help.
The man who does more than is required,
Is valued far ‘bove all the other.
He’ll work and work e’en though he’s tired,
When tasks are done, he’ll do another.
When there’s a call for volunteers,
The extra-miler steps forth first.
And of the job, he has no fears,
No worries if the job’s the worst.
When trav’ling through their lives each day,
Most folks do only what they must.
They do only that which brings them pay,
Then this dissolves with moth and rust.
This man’s different, you see,
He always does more than his share.
He’s willing to work, not for a fee,
But to show of his love and care.
The extra-miler gets no praise,
Except for joy of a job well done.
He’s the man who deserves the raise,
Though he’d never ask for one.
The man in demand goes the extra mile,
Without being told what to do.
The man who does more with a smile …
The likes of this man are too few.
Service, the noblest of desire,
For which we all each day can work.
To help brothers, we can aspire,
And chances to serve never shirk.
Thanks to you for your extra mile,
For service above and beyond.
Your joyful spirit makes life worthwhile,
While building a brotherhood bond.
As I have observed the “extra-miler guys” over the years, it seems that they have a few characteristics in common. I find that they are generally self-directed, self-assured, confident, go-getters, they have a vision of the “bigger picture”, and are service-oriented. They care more about others than they do for themselves. They embody all that is good about the Scout Oath and Law. These characteristics seem to radiate from them. In all, they are just really great guys to have around. They make a real difference in the world. They are the kind of folks who are just good to be with. And you can be assured that they will be the ones who will be there to help and serve in any kind of situation.
[Note: I could just name guys by their first name – to protect the innocent, but in some cases, (when it is positive) it is worthwhile to really recognize guys as who they truly are.]
Rodger Thomas, brothers John and Scott Foley, and Lynn Porter were more of those special young men who were outstanding in every way and who volunteered for everything. Whatever the task, they were there to assist. I could always count on them. They were all true extra-milers. And in recent time, I could also add David Shill to that list of extra-milers. That guy has been truly amazing in all of his willing service.
It seems that a special bond developed between me and those who consistently volunteered to help. For one thing, I naturally spent more time with them and thus I got to know them better than those who didn’t volunteer. There was more interaction because of the process of showing them what was to be done, reviewing progress and working at their side to complete the task.
It seems too, that there was another element to the closeness I felt towards those who consistently volunteered. These boys were those who felt positively toward me as their leader and thus allowed me the added opportunity to be an influence in their lives. They were the ones (who by their choice, and hence by mine also) who were on my “team”, as opposed to just putting in their time for a badge or paycheck.
I have long been an avid journal keeper and have seen the many benefits of journal writing throughout my life. And in fact, the material from these blog articles have drawn heavily from my own journal volumes as recorded when the events happened. My journal has helped me recognize when personal progress has been made. It has helped me understand myself better and has helped me document needed improvements in my life. And in the journals, I have documented associations with family and friends.
For those staff members with whom I was particularly close, I made presentations of blank journal books for their future use. At the front of the books, I’d write a special challenge to the young man getting the book. I would also thank him for his assistance and express my pleasure in being a part of his life.
A couple of the guys have since told me that they started keeping a journal after receiving the one from me. Some of them are still keeping one to this day. That makes me so proud of those guys!
It was a special thing for me as these same boys responded with appreciation for me and the influence I’d been in their lives. Scott made me a beautiful hand made wooden box with a glass top. Inside the box were items representing common interests we had shared.
Terry Allen came to me at the end of what I knew to be my final year of directing Camp Bartlett. He expressed his feelings of appreciation for all that I had done for him. That kid had really made progress in the three summers that we had served together. He was still a diamond with a few rough edges but making great progress. Boy, I was proud of that kid! And that pride kept getting better as watched him later become a high school principal. I like to think that I had a bit to do with his future greatness.
It was rare to actually hear some feedback from Scouts or staffers but the few times I heard such a response it made a lasting memory to be cherished. These moments came seldom so I relish the memory of each.
One comment I heard by accident as I passed an Order of the Arrow youth. The boy said of me to his friend, “He’s the best dude here.”
On my final day with Scouts at Camp Bartlett, I was walking near the new camp trading post that we had built under the old A-frame. I saw Lynn and Allen just wrapping up their work in the trading post. I stopped to visit with them for a few moments and thanked them for their dedicated efforts on the trading post inventory and also for making the hundreds of “Old Ephraim Honor Camper” awards for the many Scouts we’d served over the summer. I said, “You guys are SUPER!”
With that comment, Allen choked up and managed to say, “Well Kevin, you’ve been a really super boss too.” Then we were all choked up.
It was at that moment that it hit me that I probably would not be back to Camp Bartlett another year and that this chapter of my life really was drawing to a close. My professional papers had already been sent in for transfer and I knew that one was eminent.
I got all choked up and could hardly say anything else to Lynn and Allen. I went over to my cabin and there broke down and bawled my eyes out. I was glad that my family had already left for the dining hall and did not see me in that condition.
The feelings generated by such occasions are indescribable. It’s times like these that make me proud to be a part of this grand mission of Scouting. The Pauls, the Rodgers, the Scotts, the Lynns, the Terrys and other special ones through the years make it all worth our effort.
That’s the true joy of service in Scouting …
[Note: I have maintained at least some contact through the years with Paul, Scott, and Terry. I would really like to reconnect with Rodger Thomas, Jeff Leavitt and Lynn Porter … if anyone has a clue where they are and could could connect us!]
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at Scoutingtrails. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read!
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