Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
This article is dedicated to all past Camp Directors and the great staff members who have served at Camp Bartlett through the past 50-plus years. A great thanks to all of you and your great efforts! – Kevin Hunt
As I look at the coming 2016 summer calendar, it appears as if it will be another great summer for camp experiences. My wife and daughter, Larissa, will have the opportunity to serve on the Camp New Fork staff in Wyoming. (And that will be the subject of another soon upcoming blog). It will be great to work with camp director, Travis Emery. But, the really grand event will be the rededication of the Stewart Lodge (if it is still called that) at Camp Bartlett. The Bartlett Lodge – once new, then old and now new again … has been recently remodeled and has received again is “paradisiacal glory”. Such exciting news! The rededication is set for 5:00 PM on Saturday, June 25th.
That will be such a glorious day! And my camp New Fork duties and schedule will allow me to make the journey from Camp New Fork to Camp Bartlett to be a part of the great festivities. And I can’t wait!
You have probably realized that I – the “Scout blogger” am a bit of a relic in camp circles. It hardly seems possible now – looking back from 2016 – that I was the Camp Director at Camp Bartlett in 1980 when the “new” lodge was first created. So, I got to use the lodge in its true glory day as a brand new structure built for the use of the staff and Scouts and leaders who would come to camp through the coming years.
And, in fact, I had the privilege of seeing the planted structure rise from the ground (I was going to say “dry ground” – but it was far from dry) up to the grand lodge that it became. And I got to use it as Camp Director for two summers after its completion. What a great blessing and opportunity!
I think that I have told you, my blogging Scout friends, that I am an avid journal keeper. In fact, I began keeping a daily journal on May 25th, 1973 and have now have a daily journal record for all of those many years in between. That equates now to about 150 journal volumes and some 30,000 pages. Wow! I can’t believe that myself.
And now, with the forthcoming rededication of the Bartlett Lodge, it has caused me some reflection as I think of those days back so long ago as the “new” lodge was a building. And as I have reflected on the coming rededication, I was naturally drawn in curiosity back to my journals of the day. And I spent a couple of fun days reading the back journals and reliving those glorious days. And with the coming dedication and positive thoughts of Camp Bartlett, I would like to take you – and anyone who may be interested … back through the annals of my personal journals to share with each of you a bit of the history of Camp Bartlett. I hope that my journal entries might be of “general interest” (quoting Frank Galbraith – of “Cheaper by the Dozen” – and one of my greatest heroes) to you and that they will bring back some great memories – and maybe some unknown history of the Camp and the great Stewart Lodge. This material may appear long, but it is historical – and fascinating – as history always is. So, buckle your seat belts, and here we go …! Let’s begin with an entry made
Monday, June 2nd – 1980
“We woke up this morning at Camp Bartlett to snow. … Grant Robinson (Scout Executive), Wes Barton (a Construction guy with a backhoe – and whom I recruited from my own Mt. Ogden District, Elmer Ward, Jed Stringham (the council camps know-all maintenance guy and camp builder), John Reeve, and Doug Fife came in this morning and marked out the site for the new lodge which we’ll build here this summer. It was exciting to see “the big guns” decide where to put the new building. It should be up by the end of the summer.”
Tuesday, June 3rd
“We woke up again to more snow. We had a total of about fifteen inches in the last two days. There was snow on all of the tree branches and with the clouds and mist (mist over the lake) we had the appearance of a real fairy land. It was quite pretty but presented a few problems. Wes Barton had his backhoe up here and pushed the snow off the road. We were lucky to have him or we would have really been “socked in” here. … [and later in the day:] We still can’t believe all of the snow – and particularly for the first of June. This was a real mind blower. The sun came out for the afternoon and melted a lot of the snow. We hope that things will dry out soon.”
Wednesday, June 4th
“The snow really started to melt today. We now have a muddy mess everywhere. I took a walk through camp and there were big trees down all over everywhere. …
Thursday, June 5th
“… I went to Montpelier and took three kids with me – Brian ____, Wendell Whitely, and Terry Allen. We worked on the road all of the way down. Water was running down the road in many places so we diverted it as much as possible.”
Tuesday, June 10th,
“Jed arrived back in camp today so he and I did a little work on the new trading post under the A-frame. … He and I and Ron Blair went in to Montpelier for some lumber and assorted supplies. The Bartons arrived soon after noon. They were real anxious to get started on the digging for the new lodge. They brought their families – Wes and his brother and families and mobile homes to stay in. They started up their big machinery and went to work. They moved the caterpillar to the lodge site and promptly got it stuck in the mud. Its back-end was down a couple of feet. Then then got the backhoe and planned to pull the cat out. The backhoe then sunk three feet in the ground. We had to put all kinds of logs under the vehicles to keep them “afloat”. The ground was really soupy under the surface and we couldn’t do anything. We finally went to the town of Ovid and bought (I mean borrowed) some cable from the county and were able to get the vehicles unstuck. It was evident that the new lodge couldn’t be built in that location. It would take months for it to dry out. We called Grant and gave him the news. … My wife, Lou, is cooking for all of the Bartons, Jed and Charlotte Stringham, my brother Ray, Richard Stuart (staff member) and us – a total of 22 people.”
Wednesday, June 11th,
”We selected another site for the new lodge this morning. We chose a place on higher and dryer ground. It is still a pretty site for the building. Wes and Floyd dug the hole for the foundation footings. We all got involved in digging, laying 2”x8” boards for the footings. Ray, Richard and I shoveled for several hours and we were all sore. Ray and Richard enjoyed helping with the surveying. We opened the new trading post for the TLT course (currently in progress). … Rick, from the Caribu Trout farm and stocked our lake for the season.”
Saturday, June 14th,
“The TLT group left today. They have had a good course here. Many of the camp staff came in today. …”
Tuesday, June 17th,
“… Several times today Jed Stringham came for a bunch of staff members to do “Jed-Work” – this time to work on the new lodge. [Read my recent blog on Jed Work – The Greatest of Camp Work]
We covered the sewer line with straw and then did some work on the foundation so that all of the cement can be poured tomorrow. … This evening Jed kept us busy on the lodge so we had to postpone our evening staff session on “Counseling” – which John Perry was to give. We did later have a training session on campfire programs. It has been a long day.”
Wednesday, June 18th,
“… My assistant Camp Director, Ken Holford, and his wife are still living with us in our cabin. We are getting a little tired of people being here constantly. We will be glad when everyone moves out. The Bartons are all living in the other cabin so Ken is here until they leave. They poured the foundation for the new lodge today.”
Thursday, June 19th,
“My daughter, Jackie, was in the hospital in Montpelier overnight and I went to the hospital and brought her and my wife home. She was almost her old self. We were very grateful for this. We spent a couple of hours in town picking up stuff for camp. We needed a lot of paint and other things for the program areas. We got back to camp about 3:00 PM. … Ken took the Bartons fishing and they caught several nice big ones. They were delighted. They have tried fishing several times but haven’t caught any. I’m glad that they caught a few. They plan to go home tomorrow. They have sure been good to donate all of their time, money and machinery for the last two weeks. …” [Wes Barton and his brother should go down in the annals of Camp Bartlett history as one of its greatest friends and financial contributors. These guys accepted my invitation to come to camp with their families – with the promise of wonderful mountain air, use of a cabin, and plenty of fish in the lake – for two weeks. And they brought with them their construction company backhoe and caterpillar and used these on the new lodge and elsewhere for the entire two weeks – and all completely as a donation – and at no charge to the council. Wow! These guys were the greatest of heroes!]
Saturday, June 21st,
“The Bartons left for home today so Ken and wife Lorelea Holford moved into their own cabin. We were glad to see them leave – just because it is taxing to us when people are here with us in our cabin …”
Monday, June 23rd,
“Our first group of Scouts arrived this morning. We were all nervous and wondered how things would go and what to expect. Our first kids came about 7:45 AM. The check-in went real smoothly – almost too smooth. … We had a record group of troops and boys – 31 troops and 267 boys. …”
Thursday, June 26th,
“… A truck arrived this morning from Bob Wade at Precision Built Homes (our Council President) and contained several pre-fabricated panels for the new lodge. …”
Friday, June 27th,
“Bob Wade arrived with the second load of lodge panels today. We gave him a Bartlett jacket and made him an official Bartlett staff member. We had to do something fast – because he had arrived with a Camp Loll jacket. He looked much better in the Bartlett jacket! …”
[It was my pleasure to stage the first activity at the “new lodge” and I went all out. Again, my journal memorializes that truly wonderful occasion … enjoy!]
Wednesday, July 2nd,
“… We had the long awaited staff activity tonight. LouDene and I have been planning this for some time. We arranged with John and Gwen Stevens (the square dance callers of the “Dudes and Dolls” square dance club that we belong to in Ogden – to come up to call a dance. John is also the bishop of their ward so they brought all of their girls (and they recruited others from the stake to make a total of 27 girls). The girls arrived in camp a complete surprise to the staff – and in a bus that I had chartered for the activity! None of them knew that the girls were coming. We’ve really kept them in suspense throughout the last week. Each day John Perry (waterfront director) has posted how many days remained before the big event. [We gave out a myriad of assignments to staff to stage this event – but they all had only a small bit of the package so none of them – except Lou and I and John and Colleen Perry – saw the whole picture! And this was great!] This afternoon I delivered a secret sealed envelope of instructions to each of the staff. Lou Dene spent all morning writing them up. We instructed staff not to pen the envelopes until precisely 5:00 Pm. This of course, really psyched up the guys as they pondered what could be in the envelopes. In the instructions we told them to “report to the shower” and then to report at the rifle range. (And this was totally out of character for me – as I NEVER allowed staff showers at that hour – and not until after all programs of the day – usually about 10:00 PM. So, this really made them wonder. And it was hilarious that Scott Price – the camp “Romeo” just “reported to the shower” – and did not take one. Ha, Ha! So, funny!)
“Then at a given time, we had one or two boys synchronized to lead the boys back down from the rifle range (where they had a staff shoot. [And this added to the bafflement of the occasion … why would they have to shower just to go to the rifle range!]
We put all of the girls into the “old dining hall or lodge”
to await the arrival of the boys. We synchronized their departure from the building to coincide with the boys coming down the mountain.
“As the boys came down to the old dining hall, some of them just about went into shock at the sight of the girls. And it was kind of funny. We had one of the staffers lead the rest of the guys in the old camp favorite song of “Sippin’ Cider”. And at that moment, we had the girls stashed out of sight and as the boys sang the song, the girls sang back with the “echo” of the “repeat after me song”. The boys had no idea of what we had up our sleeves.
“We gave all of the guys and guys a color-coded nametag which told them how old they were. We ate a nice dinner of sloppy joes and then gathered on the new lodge foundation for the square dance. (And Romeo Scott – at the sight of girls – took off running at top speed to more than “report at” the shower. I never heard of a staffer showering as fast as that boy did that night!)
“Some of the staffer guys tried to sneak out of dancing but I caught them and brought them back. One girl who had come up was seen by a Scout passing by (a non-staffer). He saw his girl at camp and dancing with some other guy … and boy was he mad!
“All of the staffers – and girls too – seemed to enjoy the dance very much after they got into it. After the dance we had a campfire program together up on the hill. The staff activities patrol (of which my brother, Ray was a member) had put up a huge Army tent so we slept all of the girls there. [And this whole tent scenario blew the minds of the staffers who were given the instructions to erect it. I had also instructed some other guys to take straw from the archery range and to set it up around the perimeter of the lodge foundation – for people to sit on – and this combined with the tent in the middle of the field, made the staff believe that we were having some kind of a circus event. Little did they know!]
“Some of the staff were a little bothered over me insisting that they be in their own tents at 10:30 PM. All of the kids had a great time – guys and gals. LouDene and I were happy that it all went over as well as it did. It was sure fun to pull the wool over the staff.
Thursday, July 3rd,
“We had a night of rain and thunder but everyone survived. Lou Dene said this morning how loud that the thunder had been. I hadn’t heard anything during the night – since I was so tired.
“… We had an early morning fireside this morning under the A-Frame for all of the staff and the young ladies. Brad Cottrell’s Dad – who is a Bishop of the Ogden 80th Ward, was here for the day so we asked him to be the speaker. He talked about circumstantial evidence that the Gospel has been restored. The ladies ate breakfast with us and then they headed back to Ogden. We enjoyed having them here with us. Ron Robinson (son of the Scout Executive) said that he felt like he had gone to the Celestial Kingdom for a few hours.
“I had to laugh at Scott Price. He shook my hands several times through the day and each time, said, “I have to thank you again for that activity. I can’t believe that you pulled it off for us …” [And I’ll have to admit that this was the absolute greatest activity that I ever pulled off for the staff. It was truly awesome. Several staffers would often ask me when we would do it again. I told them that this was a one-time thing – since I could never pull off such a surprise again.”]
Thursday, July 10th,
“… The craftsmen arrived today to start the erection of the building of the new lodge. The thing is all “pre-fabbed” from Precision Built Homes. The crew today got the walls up completely. It is really looking great. A big group will come up on Saturday to finish getting it up. The whole thing is real exciting! …”
Saturday, July 12th,
“The troops were a little slow in leaving camp today. They weren’t all gone until about 11:30 Am. About 50 people – including about 10 of our staff, some Camp Kiesel staff, and other professional Scouters and volunteers – converged about 8:30 AM and started the erection of the new lodge. They got the walls (inside and out), the rafters and the roof plywood up. The crew worked on it all day. I kept wanting to go help on the lodge but a new troop would come as I was heading over there. LouDene and I cooked lunch for the whole crew. We made spaghetti for the group. … The new lodge is really exciting. I hope that I am the Camp Director next summer so that I can use the new lodge.”
Tuesday, July 15th,
“… All of the program areas went super today. I found Kee Brandow – staffer – not at his area as I casually toured all of the areas so I assigned him to “Jed Work” for the afternoon. Jed kept him busy until suppertime. Jed took a crew after dinner and got all of tar paper put on the new lodge roof. They got this all done.”
Thursday, July 17th,
“… This evening Lou and I went in to town with twelve of the staff. I treated them to a night out on me (Bartlett). The twelve (including Ray) were the ones who stayed here last Saturday to help on the new lodge construction. This was their “bonus”. We first went bowling. We all played three games. We then went to the drive-in theater and watched “The Prize Fighter” starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Everyone enjoyed the evening.”
[I can also say that I was able to stage the first actual event in the new lodge.]
Friday, July 18th,
“… This evening at campfire time it was really windy and threatened rain. We made the decision to not hold the program at the campfire bowl. We elected to hold it in the big room of the new lodge. All of the Scouts were excited when I told them that they could always remember that they were a part of the first gathering in the new lodge. We had a fun program – even without a fire.”
Monday, July 28th,
“… Our camp is finished for the summer … After they got their paychecks the whole staff took off for home. We have had a great staff and a great summer.”
Wednesday, July 30th,
“The Wood Badge staff arrived today with their “we own everything and can do whatever we want” attitude. … LouDene, Jackie, Ray and I headed for Ogden about 1:00 Pm. … It felt good to be back home again. We just about died because of the heat difference. We have had weather about 70-75 degrees at camp. It has been about 105 degrees in Ogden but was only 87 degrees today.”
[Lou and I later returned – at the end of the week – back to camp and staged a camp outing for LDS girls from Kaysville. This girls event was for a good friend of ours – who served in the Young Women of her ward and we staged the camp experience as a favor to her and to her girls. This event gave me the vision that we could expand Camp Bartlett to include LDS girls – to give them a great experience – and to help beef up the camp budget. And after the final close of camp, Lou and I and Jackie headed off on a much needed vacation – to Nauvoo – where Lou’s folks were then serving on a Church mission.]
Tuesday, September 2nd,
”Today was my first day back on the job in Ogden. The party is over and it was time to go back to work. We got the new year started with a staff meeting. Delose Conner was in charge of this one. He had it at the trout farm in North Ogden. It was good to see all of the guys again. … The highlight of the day was receiving our staff assignments for the next year. I was delighted to learn that I will again be the director at Bartlett next summer. Terry Ripplinger will be my assistant. He should be fun to work with. Delose has decided to stick around here for another year and they will make him the director at Camp Loll again – with Paul as his assistant.” …
Over the next couple of months, life was very busy as I was back into the functions and myriad of activities and meetings in my Mt. Ogden Scouting District. Camp was still very much on my mind and I worked on it whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes to do so. And of course, it was exciting to hear of progress on the new Bartlett Lodge – though since I was not up there, I made no journal entries about the progress on the lodge construction. My next entry about the camp came on Friday, October 10th. I had just been in Dallas, Texas – at the national BSA headquarters and training center for a full week. And my first act upon returning home from the week of training was Camp Bartlett.
From the journal of Kevin Hunt
Friday – October 10th
“… Just got back at noon from a week in Texas for NEI III.
“We (Lou, Jackie and I) went together and bought the food for tomorrow’s lodge dedication.“
BARTLETT DEDICATION DAY – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1980
Saturday – October 11th
“LouDene, Jackie, Matt McCain, and Rich Stuart and I headed to Camp Bartlett early this morning. We went up for the dedication of the new lodge. The lodge isn’t finished but we decided that we needed to go ahead anyway. We wanted the dedication two weeks from now but the Donnell Stewarts – who donated $70,000 toward the lodge were going to be gone that day. The lodge is really looking super. I can’t wait until next summer when we get to use it. The new mall in Ogden has held us up considerably. All of the electricians in town were working on the mall, I guess, so we couldn’t get any up there at camp. About 100 people (just a few over) were there today to witness the dedication. Bob Wade provided meat for everyone. A couple of ladies provided the dessert. LouDene and I were in charge of the rest of the meal. We had rolls, punch, celery, olives and salad. We made the salad up there and then just bought the rest ready to use. Matt McCain led the group in the song “America” and Rich led the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. George Lowe gave a history of Camp Bartlett. Jim Whetten presented a plaque to the Stewarts. They announced that the Stewart Lodge will be the lodge name. We ate and then I took a few interested people on a tour of the camp. The place really looked different – almost ugly – in the fall.
I kept a copy of the dedication program and now share it with you:
Later that day, Lou attended a baptism program (as Primary President) and Jackie and I delivered district dinner tickets to Pres. Walker up in Morgan. (So, it was a whirlwind day – after a busy week of being gone).
Throughout the following winter and spring, I labored feverishly in preparation for camp and the summer of 1981. I greatly anticipated use of the grand new lodge for my staff, and the many campers – Scouts and leaders – who would come to camp in our next season. It was a very busy time as I made those preparations. But, at long last, the day did come to head back up to my beloved Camp Bartlett.
I continue with journal entries from the summer of 1981 as they pertain to the new lodge.
Friday, May 29th, 1981
“Again, I was on the go all day. This was the last day which I had to prepare for camp. Everything finally seemed to come together today and all fell into place. At 2:00 PM about 15 members of the staff gathered at the Scout office in Ogden to help load vehicles. Phil Halverson loaned us his large yellow flatbed truck and we loaded it heavily with food which Norton Fruit delivered right to the office (about $4,000 worth between Bartlett and TLT). We then loaded the council’s large trailer full of program equipment, trading post supplies and plywood. The whole thing went very smoothly. … We were done with everything by 4:00 PM. …”
Saturday, May 30th,
“LouDene was quite sick this morning and last evening. She just worked too hard and got thoroughly exhausted from her week’s work. … She managed to drive up to camp in our car. I had to drive the council van. I took Scott Foley with me. Steve and Shannon Janson (commissioner and cook) followed in their vehicle. … We arrived at camp about 2:00 PM. It was sure great to be in camp again. I look forward to camp all year long. Camp is what makes the rest of the year bearable. The camp looked great and we could see no damage from the winter.”
Sunday, May 31st,
“We all got up and attended church at the Liberty Ward this morning. … Back at camp we felt as if we needed to get “our ox out of the mire”. The Order of the Arrow is due tomorrow and we needed to be in the new kitchen in the new Stewart Lodge. All of us donned work clothes and went to work scrubbing, setting up tables and shelves and other preparations for operation. The four OA boys really worked overtime buffing the cement floors. They are good kids. (It’s to’ bad that most of them are on the Camp Loll staff – and not Bartlett.)”
Monday, June 1st,
“Delose Conner – with the OA – and the Camp Loll director, suddenly came in and asked what time lunch was to be served. We had not planned to serve the Order of the Arrow lunch. (The four boys had already told us that Monday supper was the first meal. We didn’t even have the food to feed them. I rushed to town with Steve, Scott, Kevin, Bruce and Larry. We bought food for the group and picked up a trailer load of the government surplus food. We really had a load. We didn’t even get back to camp until 2:30 PM. Delose was fit to be tied. His attitude bugged me even more when I read in all of the literature that Tipi week would begin with Monday supper and not Monday lunch. The rest of the day was hectic also as we tried to get the kitchen in the new lodge operational. About ten kids helped us was the dishes (after they had sat all winter). …”
Tuesday, June 2nd,
“Just as Shannon was going to begin cooking breakfast this morning, all of the electricity in camp went off. This meant that we had no way to cook the food. We had to feed them (the Order of the Arrow members) cold cereal and fruit cocktail. We fed the candidates the traditional plain slice of bread, cup of hot chocolate and a few raisins. Dave Shupe was the OA member in charge of work details. He and I got together to decide what we would need the OA ordeal candidates to do for their ordeal. We came up with several major projects. We really needed a lot of potential work since we had 87 young kids going through the ordeal. … We really got a lot accomplished with the 87 candidates plus members all working together. Shannon and LouDene had an exciting time trying to prepare dinner (since the electricity was off still). We were an hour late with dinner because of the problems. … It rained all afternoon and evening. We all hope that things will run much more smoothly tomorrow.”
Wednesday, June 3rd,
“… The OA candidates (19 of them today) spent quite a bit of time in clean-up around the new lodge. … The place is really beginning to look nice. Shannon was glad to hear that the electricity was running. Things went much smoother in the kitchen than they have all week. The TLT (Troop Leader Training) course staff arrived this afternoon to prepare for the course which begins on Saturday. They have already begun their little fights with the OA. Both groups think that they are the best and want to prove it to the other. … It rained part of the day again and [at my direction] several if not all of the OA candidates and several of the staff slept in the lodge. …”
Friday, June 5th,
“… This evening the Troop Leader Training Course staff had a special banquet in the new lodge. This was their last time together before the candidates arrive tomorrow. They invited LouDene and I and our two daughters to attend.”
Saturday, June 6th,
“I was happy to see Delose and the Order of the Arrow leave this morning. They have been kind of a pain in the neck. On the other hand, however, they have done a great deal for the camp while they were here. The Grizzly Bear troop leader training course began today and the 114 candidates arrived today. They have an excellent staff so the course should be read good. Glen Walker is the course director and all of my work has been through him (me being the council TLT advisor). He has three good Scoutmasters under him. This is the first time that we’ve had three troops in the course. It is getting bigger each year. Kary Birke is the course Senior Patrol Leader and Ron Eastman is the adult quartermaster. … I went into town for more supplies for the course. … Back at camp, Scott and I scrubbed the floors good in the staff dining hall (in the lodge), kitchen, and one restroom. We then put a coat of sealer on the cement floor surfaces.”
Tuesday, June 9th,
“… Scott and I stocked the five new cupboards which Greg (an Australian exchange camp staff member who arrived yesterday), Jed and I put up on the new kitchen. Jed and Greg made shelves in the pantry off of the kitchen. We also stocked these. We’ll have so much storage space in the new lodge that we won’t know how to handle it. The kitchen is really super. Scott and I moved in the stainless steel table from the old dining hall so there is a lot of counter space. Greg and Jed also began hanging the paneling in the large room of the lodge. As soon as they finish this job the electricians can come to finish up. I hope that we can get the building finished soon.”
Wednesday, June 10th,
“Greg and Jed continued to hang the paneling in the large room of the lodge today. Scott and I added another eight boxes to the cabinet with squares for storage for each staff member. [I was able to get a huge number of beautiful new cabinets donated for the staff boxes before coming to camp.] We then painted the boxes white to match the new lodge. This now makes 40 boxes in this apparatus. … I spent quite a bit of time cleaning the new kitchen. The place is really looking great. …”
Saturday, June 13th,
“We were surprised this morning to wake up to a couple of inches of snow. The weather is crazy here. The local natives say that they have two seasons here – winter and July. The TLT course finished their course today and headed home. They did a good job of clean-up today. I let them serve their continental breakfast in the new Stewart Lodge – since it was snowing outdoors.” [And a special note: in those days, Scout troops brought their own food for their week in camp. And we cooked only for the staff in the new lodge. We did, however, provide refrigeration and some storage in the lodge for the food brought by the incoming troops.]
Monday, June 15th,
“All of the rest of the camp staff arrived today. We had our first general session for everyone [in the new lodge] at 10:00 AM. It was good to see the entire staff together for the first time. I am real impressed with this staff and think that they will be the best that I’ve ever worked with. … We had training sessions and work details all day. … We closed the day with a kneeling prayer and a “cracker barrel”. We hope that today set the stage for a successful and enjoyable camp season. We should have a fun summer!”
And so, the new 1981 camp season began. And it was so very exciting to have use of the fabulous and wonderful new Stewart Lodge. It proved to be a truly great place. It was a pleasure to experience the grand new lodge through that summer. It was one of the greatest – the best of times. We worked hard to maintain the new lodge and to keep it wonderful. It was a special treasure and blessing to be there at that time.
I jump to the end of the ’81 camp season …
Monday, July 27th,
“All of the staff – those I personally hand selected to remain (after sending most of the staff home) was in a state of ecstasy today as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the LDS girls. I told them at breakfast that I had never seen them so vibrant before. Laurie (my sister) and Mindy Froerer – the only girls who have been a part of my staff, were in a state of depression as they realized they would soon be forgotten with 400 girls here for the staff to play up to. We really got a chuckle out of the whole affair.”
One really funny incident happened with the girls. They had previously been told that they would have no use of electricity in camp – so there was no need to bring their curling irons and such that are common to all women and girls.
But, with our construction of the new lodge, we had still a box of unused electrical plugs and some wires. Some of my staff had a brilliant idea. The got these boxes and nailed them to the walls of the gross KYBO’s of the camp. (Camp KYBO’s are all the same … but that is a story for another day and blog!) And they strung wires down from the boxes and into the ground. (Grounded … ha, ha!) They looked real official and “legit”.
As the girls arrived at camp, they went (very reluctantly) to the KYBO’s. And upon seeing the electrical boxes, they were mad at their leaders who had told them not to bring their curlers to camp. They also expressed their sentiments to our staff – about how there really was electricity for them to use. (And my staff laughed hilariously at the gag they had created. What a laugh! It was pretty funny!
A journal entry from later in the winter may also be of “general interest” … This came long after the summer camp season – and as I was working in my district and dreaming constantly of the “The Good old Summer Time” (song) and when it would be time again to be at Camp Bartlett.
Saturday, February 20th – 1982
“The Forest Service called a while back and said that we need to get the snow off of the roof of the new Camp Bartlett lodge – and all of the other roofs, as well. Several of us wanted to go up but our Field Director, Ray Chase (bless him!) said that we couldn’t go – that we were needed in our districts. Then this week he put out the “edict” that we would go and had no choice about the matter. He’s in this big power and ego trip. I thought that I had three camp staffers to go but it ended up with only Scott Foley who was able to go. He is sure good about helping on all of these extra-curricular activities. I appreciate his friendship and willingness to serve.
“I picked up Scott about 7:00 AM. We stopped for doughnuts in Preston, Idaho and then went to the dirt road turn-off that goes up to camp. There was three feet of snow on this road. The others had not yet arrived so we went and visited Steve and Shaunna Flammer (my waterfront director and cook who live in the nearby metropolis of Ovid). They’re so excited about camp. Steve loaned me some gloves. The rest of the gang finally arrived with six snowmobiles. The group included Jed Stringham, tom Bird, Carl Robbins, Terry Ripplinger, Larry Behling and Ray Chase. Bill Taylor, one of my former Cubmasters from Riverdale – and now in the newly created district – after they chopped up my district) furnished most of the machines which we used.
“The ride into camp was quite pleasant. I couldn’t believe all of the snow. Tom and Jed said that they had never seen so much up there. The nine of us worked for about five hours. The snow was packed down and real heavy. We were able to do only half of the roof of the lodge but took an awful lot of weight from it. Scott thought that I had about rattled his brains off as we snowmobiled out to the cars. It was such warm weather that the snowmobiles didn’t want to go. We had to really gun and rev them. I had to go much faster than I would really prefer. The day was very beautiful. The temperature was in the low 40’s – I think – at camp – and the sun was shining. We stayed warm all day.
“It was such fun to be there on the roof looking up at the clear blue sky (contrasted to the white expanse of snow). When we took the gloves back to Steve, Shauna had made some of her famous cinnamon rolls for us. They were excellent. We told her that she ought to be a big hit at camp. Terry Ripplinger rode back with Scott and me – and we talked camp and next summer – most of the way. We stopped in Logan and bought dinner at Burger King.”
I returned again to Camp Bartlett in 1982 and was again privileged to be the Camp Director. And once again, we basked in the beauty of the lodge. It was so functional and wonderful for the staff and the many Scouts who came to us. Then after the 1982 season – and after four glorious summers spent at Camp Bartlett, I accepted a job transfer (as a Professional Scouter) to Santa Barbara, California. And then life went on as I pursued a variety of things and experiences over the coming years. I continued to work in many different Scout camps – in many states and with many great staff teams through the years – and loved all of the camp experiences – as opportunities came up. I then had many years in a camp dearth where I had jobs that did not allow me to be in Scout summer camps. And oh, how I longed again for the opportunity to be in camps once again. Once it gets in your blood, it is there to stay!
Now jump forward 32 years … to 2014. Wow! Where did all of those years go? Unbelievable!
In 2014, my wife and had the opportunity to direct the Jack Nicol [resident] Cub Scout Camp located northwest of Ft. Collins, Colorado (the city of my birth) – near the village of Red Feather Lakes – located in the far northwest corner of Colorado.
In preparation for the camp, we attended a National Camp School at Camp Tracy – located in a canyon east of Salt Lake City, Utah. Allen Endicott, Scout Executive of the Trapper Trails Council (and what used to be the Lake Bonneville Council that I worked for years before as a Scouting professional years ago) and many of his staff were the host council and trainers for the Camp School course.
I had previously met Allen and also Lynn Gunter as I was a member of the writing committee for the “Century of Honor” book. (See my recent blog about my experience as a member of the writing committee: ______________________).
It was my privilege there at Camp Tracy to meet Jeremy Bell, the Trapper Trails Camping Director and also Jake Olsen. I was pleased and excited to learn that Jake was the current director at my beloved Camp Bartlett. We had many good conversations as he shared with me “the good new days” and I shared with him “the good old days”. It was great to bridge that gap and to catch up on everything going on with the camp. It all sounded so wonderful and exciting.
Jake told me that Camp Bartlett would be celebrating the camp’s 50th Anniversary that coming summer. He invited me to be a part of the grand celebration. I was excited to learn that my busy summer schedule would allow for that opportunity. Our Colorado Camp would end about the 22nd of July. We would be able to attend my wife’s Belcher family reunion over the 24th of July at the grand family cabin near Heber, Utah, and then we would head up to Camp Bartlett. Just the thought of going back to Bartlett kept me energized all summer long.
I refer again to my journal entries:
JULY 26TH – SATURDAY – 2014
After the reunion … We bid adieu to many folks – and especially to our son, K.C. and Celeste and family. They returned to Hurricane, Utah later in the afternoon. It was fun having them at the reunion.
Our daughter, Kaylea, and Lou were kind of slow getting their things together but we did get out of camp. We rushed off headed for Idaho.
We drove again to Evanston, Wyoming and then went northwest of there and headed for Camp Bartlett – where I served as camp director for four years from 1979 to 1982 (one of those I was actually Assistant Camp Director to the notorious Ray Chase). We drove up the west side of the giant Bear Lake – which borders in Utah and Idaho. We drove to the little village of Ovid, of which we always joke. Dad loves to find Idaho people and ask them if they are from Ovid. Thirty years ago, this was just a post office and a service station and today it is even less.
It looks as if the latest business there was a craft place and it looked as if it was closed.
When at Camp School a couple of months ago, we met Jake Olson, the current camp director at Camp Bartlett. He told me about the camp’s 50th Anniversary celebration that was [to be held] tonight. So, we went to the camp to be a part of this gathering. We drove through the village of Liberty, Idaho – where we attended the church and began to reminisce all along the road, at the turn-off, and up the dirt road into the camp.
…Soon after we arrived, Jake went up front – in a new building that had been built since we were there. He mentioned a couple of finance campaigns going on for the camp. I took a paper to become a “friend of Camp Bartlett” for $30. And he unveiled the grand plan for the “renovation of the old lodge”. This was funny terminology to me since the “grand new lodge” was constructed during the time that I was Camp Director and I was the first director to use it.
After the festivities, we milled around and met people. Many of the guys whom we met at Camp School were there – and work now for the “Trapper Trails” Council (which is the combined name after three or four councils merged. When I worked there, I served in the Lake Bonneville Council). Lou took my photo of a case which housed camp patches for most of the camp’s 50 years – and I was pleased to see our four in the collection.
We had a good visit with Jake. And we checked out the architect’s drawings of the “renovation of the old lodge”.
We went outside and walked around the central area. I would have liked to have gone clear around the lake but the ladies didn’t want to do that. We explored the lodge and we were appalled at how the place has been thrashed with the passing of time and extreme use by the Scouts of almost two generations. We took many photos.
I was really jazzed to find some of the giant handcarts still in use. I got a bunch of fire carts donated for the camp when I was there and I took a week and went to St. George and my Grandpa and I constructed about 25 of the carts. So, it was exciting to see them (at least some) still in use. We got a few photos of these.
We next went to check out what I knew as “the old lodge – or dining hall” (which we had before the new one was built.) We noted the other buildings or cabins and saw fifty or more staff tents crammed together in this area. We went to the cabin where we always stayed when we were up there at Camp Bartlett. We could hardly find the place. It was covered with an extreme growth of trees and the only break in the bushes was the space for the door.
I also found it interesting that the old A-frame – where we had handicraft and created the new trading post – has been completely filled in and is now used for adult staff housing. And the roof – up in the rafters – of the “new lodge” has also been filled in and it is now home to about 18 of the lady staffers. When we were at Bartlett, I think that we had a staff of about 40 and now they have close to 100!
When we left Bartlett in 1982, our Kaylea was just four months old. So, she had spent half of her life up to that point at the camp. And of course, we had Jackie and Jenae. Jackie was born just after we returned from our first year up there so she spent three summers there. Jenae would have been there in 1981 and 1982 – and would have been there for the grand Hunt reunion that we staged at Bartlett in 1981. …
As we went around I thought of many of the staff greats whom I worked with at Bartlett – Wayne Moyle, the Flammers, Rodger Thomas, Scott Foley, Paul Kearl, John and Colleen Perry, and many others. It would be such fun to have a reunion with those folks!SLIDE 41 CAMP BARTLETT
It was great fun to be back “home” again at the camp. Being there brought back a real flood of memories of our grand days there. Those were the best of times!
And now that brings us back to the here and now. It has been a long journey, but here we are!
And so, it is with great excitement that we anticipate the rededication of the Camp Bartlett lodge on Saturday, June 25th. It should be a grand and glorious day! Wahoo!
I have noted that I plan to be in attendance for the grand rededication festivities. I wouldn’t want to miss it! I’ll look forward to it through the coming month of June.
It will be especially interesting and exciting for me to be present – since I was the original Camp Director of the “New” Bartlett Lodge. It will be fun to see if at the rededication services I am the only person who was in attendance at the original 1980 dedication – or if there will be other “old-timers” there. I guess time will tell!
And so, the Bartlett Lodge … The Bartlett Lodge – once new, then old and now new again!
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … [And you might want to check out Camp Bartlett trails … ] Kevin
Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at his Scoutingtrails website. 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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