Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
A few weeks ago, I blogged about my plans for the summer. I wrote about the dream of returning to Camp Bartlett. I noted in my blog article The Camp Bartlett Lodge New, Old and New Again“ that I looked forward with great anticipation to the Camp Bartlett Lodge Rededication festivities.
In that article, I said, “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 left Camp Bartlett and returned only twice in the ensuing years. One of those times was in 2014 as I had opportunity to return to that great camp for the 50th Anniversary celebration of Camp Bartlett. It was a privilege and an honor to be greeted by then Camp Director, Jake Olson. Jake and I had met at a recent national camp school and when he learned that I had been a former director at Camp Bartlett, he had invited Lou and me to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebrations. My wife, daughter Kaylea, and I made the trip up to Camp Bartlett later that summer for the big event.
Of that reunion event, I wrote in my journal for Saturday, July 26th (2014):
“We were a bit late in arriving (much to my trauma) but we got there as the event was in progress. We stopped to get food and went to eat it in the big building (which was not there when we were there).
“Soon after we arrived, Jake went up front. 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.
l.“After the festivities, we milled around and met people. Many of the guys whom we met at Camp School were there – and work 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 with 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.
“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!”
So, on that 2014 night, it truly was great to be back home again. And after seeing the current condition of the old lodge, it was such exciting news to hear that it would again be restored and made new once again.
And from that day, I have looked forward to the completion of the renovation project and have welcomed any news of the progress of the project.
And it was very exciting for me as the date for the re-dedication was announced – the signal that the building remodel project had been completed and the new lodge was again ready for use by Scouts coming to the great camp. It was exciting too, at the beginning of the summer, to realize that I might be able to leave Camp New Fork – where I would be serving for the summer as camp Program Director – to attend the Bartlett lodge re-dedication festivities. I became more and more excited as the June 25th re-dedication day approached. For now I knew that I would indeed be returning to the camp to be a part of the program and this thought gave me joy and happiness.
And then finally the big day arrived. I looked forward to the day with great anticipation.
On that morning of June 25th (2016) I awoke as the Program Director at Camp New Fork located near Pinedale, Wyoming. We had our breakfast and flag ceremony with the staff and troops. Then there was the usual tasks of resetting program areas so that they would be ready for the next week of Scouts. Later in the day after those New Fork tasks, it was time to head to Camp Bartlett. Of that day, I wrote of my special memories and experiences:
JUNE 25TH – SATURDAY
This afternoon about noon I left camp with Lou, my wife, and staff men Matt Flanagan, Golden Ostergar, Diego Gurr and Will Robinson (handpicked as some of my favorite and most capable staffers). We headed west toward Camp Bartlett to attend the rededication festivities for the newly remodeled and refurbished lodge. I was camp director when the lodge was constructed and also attended the original lodge dedication program. I wondered today if I might have been the only person in attendance who also attended the original dedication back in 1980. (I did not find out that day but later did learn that there were a couple of guys who were present at both dedication programs.)
As we left Camp, we went down Highway 191 and then went west toward Hoback Junction. We there turned south on Highway 89 and went all of the way south to Montpelier, Idaho. As we traveled, we passed through some absolutely gorgeous country. I was in awe of the beauty of the world as created by Jesus and Heavenly Father – and I gave thanks for the wonders around me. I also enjoyed seeing a multitude of wonderful log homes and structures – my favorite architecture style.
As we traveled we listened to music by The Duttons, The Red Mountain country band (of Mesa, Arizona), the [Irish] Celtic Thunder and more. It was fun to visit with the four staff guys. It was a pleasure to have these four great staffers with me. I can think of no greater honor guard than to have the best of camp staffers at my side.
We stopped momentarily in Star Valley, Wyoming and took photos of a new LDS Temple that is nearing construction completion there. We all loved the elk horn arch across the road in Afton, Wyoming – and of course we got our share of photos of this.
It took us right at four hours to make the trip to Camp Bartlett. Lou and I were kind of amazed at Montpelier. We went there a multitude of times when I was the director there many years ago (1979 to 1982) but through the passage of time, we recognized absolutely nothing in the town. This was a surprise to us. We drove west to the little but mostly abandoned village of Ovid and then continued west through Liberty – where we went to church each Sunday.
Then we turned off the highway and headed north on the dirt road toward camp. A lot of memories came back to me all along the route.
As we drove up the dirt road to camp, we again noted the open fields of those pretty yellow flowers. Lou and I both thought of times so long ago when our first child, Jackie, (less than a year old) was with us. We stopped and sat her on the ground and took her photo as she beamed at us from those beautiful flowers.
At long last we could see the Camp Bartlett gate and could see a plethora of meticulously dressed and trained staff members awaiting our arrival and the arrival of many other Bartlett fans who were all gathering to Bartlett for the grand re-dedication of the lodge on this beautiful summer evening. They were a great welcoming committee. They brought tears to my eyes as almost in unison they shouted their welcome to us: “WELCOME HOME!” Yes, welcome home. I truly felt as if I was coming home.
With the staff was a guy about my age – and with a beard showing same. He introduced himself as Fritz Coleman and I quickly learned that he is a brother to Darren Coleman – who served as a teenager on my Bartlett Camp Staff. Fritz said that his brother had wanted to come that night but other things kept him away. But, Fritz called Darren almost immediately and Fritz reported back to me a while later in the lodge. He said that Darren thought that he made about $35 a week as a camp staffer. (And I was unique in those days – and even more so today … because I actually paid my youngest staff.) Darren stated however, that his camp staff days were the greatest preparation – training in every way – for his later adult life. Those words made my heart sing!
Anyway … I loved the cool welcome home! As we pulled into the parking lot, we again saw that the Bartlett Staff was a perfect team, they were immaculately and perfectly dressed in their Venturing uniforms and in all were prepared to welcome their special guests of the evening. I felt again: “Jake Olson is a fabulous camp director”. We saw and visited with Jake for a few minutes and then headed to the registration table. We checked in and paid a dinner fee of just $5.00 each. I was glad that I had somehow come up with $20 of the needed fee and was glad too, that between the four staffers they were somehow able to dig up the additional $10. (We hadn’t had a camp pay day yet.)
We then went into the newly remodeled and refurbished Bartlett Lodge. Wow! It was beautiful – and the memories again flooded into my mind. So many great things happened here. (And if interested, you can check out my recent blog about the original The Bartlett Lodge as found on The Scouting Trail website of the Trapper Trails council. As we went inside, I was again pleased to see friends I have known before – even Allen Endicott (Scout Executive), Josh Haacke, and Jeremy Bell – professionals still working to make great things happen in the Trapper Trails Council. It was evident that they had again put heart and soul into making this event one that would be grand – and to be remembered for many years to come.
As I looked around the “new lodge”, I noted that a few walls had been removed – and the bathrooms had been “pushed back” ten feet or more. The after-built construction of ladies attic dorms had been removed, the kitchen had been expanded and modernized and there were large serving rooms to serve the current and future guests who would come to the now expanded and large main gathering room of the new lodge. The grand fireplace was still a major focal point of the gathering room. It was all very beautiful and wonderful. I was pleased and proud of the job that had been done. It was all so exciting!
I was drawn to a photo board of the original lodge construction. I looked for myself in the photos but realized anew that I was so busy being camp director that I had little time to be a part of the construction team. But as often as I could (and sometimes as a staff reward for questionable behavior) I sent staff over to help. (See my recent blog about Jed Stringham and “Jed Work”to know more of the great man who spearheaded the construction of the new lodge.) My wife thought that she saw me in a photo – wherein she thought I was serving food. That would have fit in my job description as camp director.
And speaking of photos, Josh and Jeremy had put together a slide show which depicted various camp scenes and people through the years. This was a grand production. I asked them for a copy of the slide show – and they said that they sent it via e-mail to me – but with the questionable WIFI capabilities at Camp New Fork, I still haven’t seen the show.
It was funny as I looked around to see if there was anyone whom I might know from those years gone by, I found myself looking at all of the guys with white or gray hair. I couldn’t possibly be as old as some of them looked but I realized that they were the guys who could have been there before.
I was pleased to see a framed photo board depicting events and documents of the original 1980 lodge dedication. And there it was … the original dedication program … even with my name on it as Camp Director.
As I recall, I had many camp director related duties on that occasion. (You can read more of my first-hand account of the original dedication on my recent blog about the original Bartlett Lodge dedication.) And on this placque there was a ledger record of my 1980 Camp Director year – showing all of the troops and the number of Scouts who came that summer. I guess we really did make history!
My New Fork camp staff (My “Honor Guard”) soon left Lou and me and went off to explore on their own. Lou and I took the opportunity to take another walk around the Bartlett Lake – as we had done so many times together so long ago. And it was indeed a glorious and wonderful walk. I think that the camp was even more beautiful than I remembered it. The lush tree growth – and the care of generations of Scouts and leaders – had made the trails and overhanging trees and plant growth almost a paradise! Wow! I loved it!
We saw “Buddy Jr.” the resident camp bull moose bathing himself and splashing across the lake. We tried to get a good photo of him but he was a bit far away. I remember a moose – probably his fourth or fifth great grandfather crossing the lake while we were in camp years ago. But I don’t think that he had actually taken up residence then.
I noted the campsites – some new – and many of the old traditional names that I remembered on the Mountain Man side and then the Redman side of camp. I thought of the two Mountain Man troops one week who were neck and neck in their competition for the coveted Mountain Man Camp/Troop of the Week award. (And we gave it to the Scoutmaster whom we found out in his hammock as the Commissioners and I did a surprise campsite inspection of the two competing troop sites. And incidentally, the other leader was there with his troop and was hammering on them to get their jobs done as we showed up for the inspection. I’ve shared that lesson many times in ensuing years.)
I remembered how Lou and I had walked around the lake our first summer at Camp Bartlett. Lou was pregnant and due just a couple of weeks after camp with Jackie. She and I had been somewhat dedicated joggers before camp (even in 17 degree evening weather in Ogden – after my usual Scouting district meetings) and so Lou’s doctor had told her that she could continue that running habit at camp – since her body was used to that strain. We remembered how Lou used to take one of my belts to hold up her big stomach and to keep it from bouncing too much as she ran.
As we rounded the corner onto the dam of the lake, I remembered a staff activity wherein we had to move some giant logs. We wanted a “sitting bench” up on the dam. I remembered trying to lift those logs – and then ultimately doing it with a bunch of staff guys and three sets of “log lifters”. We worked hard at it, but we finally got the logs into place. I looked at the logs at the current moment and wondered if they were the original logs that we had placed there.
I noted upgraded locations and set-ups for the waterfront areas. We worked out of just one waterfront dock arrangement but I noted that now there were a couple of such docks and swimming and boating areas. They looked amazingly beautiful.
I noted a new climbing tower that was now in place near the campfire bowl. We hadn’t heard of such things when I was the director of the camp. And going to the campfire bowl brought back a flood of great memories. Such wonderful times with such great camp staff actors and showmen. It appeared that the bowl had more than doubled in size – and this was a great thing to see. I was glad that the camp now has that many more scouts that such expansion was necessary.
And so it was a great walk – for Lou and me – going down memory lane. I loved every minute of it. But, alas, all too soon it was time to hurry back to the lodge for the re-dedication festivities. We got there just in time to snag us good seats where we could see well. We saved seats for my New Fork “Honor Guard” who would soon return to join us.
We were invited by Josh to join one of two serving lines. It was great to be in line to experience the new capabilities of the “new” lodge. And the food was fabulous (a very welcome change from the food we had experienced two years before at the 50th Anniversary festivities … but I guess I should not mention that!) Tonight we were served BBQ meat on buns, a variety of great salads (and being an experienced food and party caterer, I knew how they did this – but it was still great!) They had two varieties of macaroni salads, a potato salad, watermelon and grapes and then a green salad bar. It was all amazing. And to top it off later, we were served a luscious peach cobbler – with ice cream. Wow! And all of this was again served by that fabulous, immaculate and well-trained (and groomed) Bartlett camp staff – again under the direction of Camp Director, Jake. Great job, all of you! And thanks so much for your efforts! You were all truly amazing and wonderful! A great team effort.
Council Commissioner, Russell Tanner conducted the program. We soon learned that in addition to the lodge festivities, the council executive board was also having their Executive Board Meeting. So, we were pleased to be a part of that. Of course the “rank and file” did not have access to the full agenda for the meeting so all we heard was a bunch of “yays” and “seconds” but it was all good. Scout Executive, Allen Endicott, was present and took part on the business meeting also.
It was fun to see Jake and his staff as they portrayed the early history of Camp Bartlett – beginning with the early mountain men – like Jim Bridger – and others who roamed around the area. Again the staff did a great job in their dramatic costumes and portrayals of the people involved. They also spoke of the early beginnings of Camp Bartlett – that went back to 1964. And one of the original campers at that camp was actually in the audience – another of those white-haired guys in the audience. They also re-told the legend of the great “Old Eph” grizzly bear that once roamed and ruled the area – until he was brought down by Frank Clark. What a great story. And in the materials handed out for the program, I saw an artist’s rendering of that grand bear and his final majestic moments. I recognized the picture print – for I have one like it – 3’ square – still on my wall at home. (That was a special gift given me by my then Scout Executive, Grant Robinson.)
Josh read a list of all former known Scout Executives, Camping Directors, Council Presidents and Commissioners, and even camp Directors who have served Scouting and specifically Camp Bartlett through the years. I recognized many of the names and had fond memories of them. I was pleased when they recognized me as the first camp director to use the new lodge. They then asked all former camp directors, and then staff members through the years to stand. Lou and I stood proudly for those standing roll calls.
And for general interest, I here include a copy of the full program for the evening.
Many of the men who helped make Bartlett great – and the new lodge a reality were recognized with special edition books that were created for the occasion – and which detailed in photos many of the historic camp events and people of the past. These looked like wonderful books and I wondered how I too, might obtain one of the books.
A highlight of the evening for me was the prayer of re-dedication for the lodge. This was offered by David Wadman – a past council president – and the head of the company that completed the lodge reconstruction. (And I noted that the lodge is no longer the “Stewart Lodge” as I knew it in my day. It now is named the W. Jay Wadman lodge in recognition of the extensive donations of his family to the new lodge.)
The dedicatory prayer – which I did later actually receive via email – in spite of the camp WIFI system – was amazing and wonderful. Wow!
Click here to read the full lext of David Wadman’s dedicatory prayer:
Then all too soon, the grand program of the evening was over and it was time to head out. I was pleased to shake the hands of some of the men who made this evening- and the grand new building a reality. I had not planned such, but I found myself in a photo with the Wadmans and Camp Director, Jake. I wanted to get a copy of this photo but haven’t yet tracked down an electronic copy of it. I hope that I will eventually find a copy of it in my e-mail in-box. That would be a fun piece of history to have and keep.
I was pleased to see in the crowd one Carl Robbins. lou and I both knew Carl and his wife at BYU when we were all students there in the Youth Leadership (Scouting Administration) program. He transferred into the Lake Bonneville Council as a Scouting professional just a ykear or so before I left and it is interesting tht he is still there – and still going for it.
The Bartlett camp staff were at the doors en masse and they distributed a special edition council shoulder patch created especially for the 2016 dedication occasion. Jake made sure that I got one of these (actually three of them) and I was grateful to him. I thanked him for his current work as Camp Director and for the great logistical efforts that made this a truly great evening.
We took our final photos of the Bartlett lodge and the surrounding buildings. The new office and camp director’s living quarters looked amazing. And Allen Endicott announced that with the new office, they also got a new mattress for the Camp Director. He acted as if the former mattress had been there since Lou and I were there. So, they probably needed a new one.
We then all piled back into our vehicle for the projected long late drive back to our camp New Fork. On the way out of camp, I again was intrigued that the gear transporting carts that my Grandpa Ray Hunt and I built are still there and in use. He would be proud and happy. I stopped to take photos of them. One of the carts is now a bit rickety but the other appears to still be in great shape.
Also as we left Bartlett, we stopped to take a photo of their new sign – that is like the New Fork sign just erected. The sign is nice.
On our way through Montpelier we saw a full-size statue of the Old Ephraim bear. So we stopped on our way out this evening to get a photo with him. My staff guys were fascinated with him.
We left camp at 7:30 PM and the staff guys were soon all asleep (typical Scouts). This left Lou and I still awake. We talked of people and events of Bartlett and the memories that we have had of our great times there. This was fun. We noted en route home that the outside temperature (per our car gauge) kept getting lower and lower. It was just 35 degrees when we arrived back at camp at 11:30 PM.
The whole Bartlett trip was a glorious experience. I am so glad that we were able to make the trip and that we were able to be a part of the whole re-dedication event. It really was a great time.
A couple of weeks after the lodge rededication, I was back at work at Camp New Fork. A Scouter named Col. E. Morty Jenkins (an Executive Board Member for Trapper Trails) came to camp bringing his grandson. They camped together at the edge of camp and seemed to have a grand time together. It was interesting to talk to Morty. We talked about the recent Bartlett rededication program. He mentioned that he was also in the audience that night for the event. He also remembered that he was in attendance when the original dedication was held back in 1980 – so at least two of us attended both programs. Morty commented too, on the beautiful “new” lodge. He had noted and was very impressed with the beautiful outside reception area at the southeast corner of the new lodge. I don’t know how I missed that new feature but he made it sound beautiful and inviting. He too, praised the staff and the event generally.
And so it appears that the Bartlett lodge, once new, then old and now new again is up and running – and no doubt prepared for yet another generation of Scouts and Scouters at what Scout Executive, Allen Endicott, called “the flagship of our council camps”. How exciting to now look forward to those grand days ahead – with this grand new lodge structure at Camp Bartlett! And may Camp Bartlett always raise its flags – and staff spirit – high as it continues to say, “Welcome Home!”
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
Excerpts taken from Kevin’s personal journals and 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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