Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 3 – We Hit the Trail Running!

Scout 1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Well, another week at Camp New Fork 2016!  It is or was Week 3 and we hit the road running.    We had experienced our first week of Scouts and survived it with flying colors. We all felt that the week went pretty well.  We had some great reviews last week on our camp program and the staff spirits were running high.  We knew that we had good things going and we were ready to hit it again with our second week or session of Scouts.  Yes, camp life was good and we were ready to hit the trail  running.  We were enthusiastic and excited to greet our next group of Scouts.  As ever, I recorded the details in my personal journal and I now quote from that record.  This is the 3rd blog in an 8-part blog series about out 2016 Camp New Fork experiences.


I got up and wrote 5 pages of journal notes for yesterday as Lou and Larissa got their showers.  Lou went to the dining hall and got me lunch (breakfast).

Lou, Larissa and I went to the camp chapel for the church services.


Camp New Fork Chapel in the woods

The Bishop from the local Fremont Peak Ward in Pinedale came to the meeting and he had us sustain Bruce Ilum as the “Chaplain” for the summer here at camp.  He will act under the direction of the Bishop and will conduct our LDS services.  He was set apart for this calling after the meeting.  Bruce will also call other folks to serve in callings in our “group”.   Bruce was called a few days ago and has already called Larissa and also Katie as Relief Society instructors as well as Nathan and Andrew as Priesthood group instructors.

In our sacrament meeting I noted with interest the trays that we used for the sacrament.  These were made of sticks and logs and were stained to a high gloss.


Camp New Fork sacrament trays for church services

They are real cool – rustic but in keeping with the camp and the spirit and function of the sacred sacrament..  We sang our songs using old hymn books – that were replaced with the “new hymn books” thirty years ago.  It was fun to sing from these books.  There are many songs in the old books that are not in the new.  It was a bit of a challenge, however, since many folks today sing and study from their electronics – and the “LDS Library” – so the hymn book pages of long ago do not match those of today’s modern world.

Archery Director, Lena, spoke on the subject of gratitude and gave a very good talk.  Then Bruce “talked” for all of about 30 seconds.  I found this humorous – for him being our spiritual leader for the summer.  The ladies then broke off for their own Relief Society meeting.  The Bishop then set apart Andrew and Nathan.  Andrew gave our priesthood lesson on the subject of being a good example.

It was glorious to be able to sit there in the natural chapel in the woods for the services.  It really was a special blessing and opportunity.

After the meeting I went to the cabin to change my clothes.  Lou and I took our basket of clothes to the kitchen to do the laundry there.  We ate lunch while up there.  Again, we dined from the leftovers left for such weekend use.

I took the opportunity to call my father, my mom, and daughters – Jackie and Kaylea.  I got a report from each about yesterday’s memorial services for my sister, Laurie.  It sounds as if all went well.  It all sounded very nice.  Kaylea and Jackie made a copy of the services for me and now we are trying to figure out the best way for us to obtain the proceedings electronically.  I guess the guests filled the chapel of the Lehi Stake Center and they had a luncheon after the services – for nearly all of the guests.

I went to the camp office and changed the document for Monday night’s campfire program.  I tried to send back some indexing documents – to FamilySearch Indexing, but had no luck in doing this.  The WIFI and internet options up here at camp are greatly lacking.  It can be very frustrating at times.

I went back to the cabin and worked on a couple of computer files.  Then at 5:00 PM we had a meeting (with Travis, Lou and I) for the area directors of the camp.  At 6:00 PM we conducted a general meeting for all of the staff.  I conducted most of the meeting.  Travis inserted a few words here and there.  We then had cake – but I forgot to eat mine – getting caught up in the meeting.  Imagine me forgetting to eat cake!

Larissa talked to Travis about the poor attitude of one of her staff members.  He is not behaving to par and it is a challenge when her area is one of those that demands full safety attention and procedures.  I typed data into Lou’s weekly check-in report.  This report shows each incoming troop, the number of youth and adults, and names of leaders.  We use the report in a variety of ways through the camp.


I arose at 6 AM this morning.  We had our breakfast a half hour earlier today in order to be prepared for the early arrival of the incoming troops.  We then hour our flag ceremony after the breakfast.  Larissa led the Tooty Ta song and did it well.  The song went over well. I enjoyed this time with the staff.

After the flag ceremony the staff members all went to their assigned posts for the check-in process.  Lina and Jonathan led most of the staffers to the front gate.  All but the waterfront staff report in there and they sing and otherwise wait patiently – and probably with some impatience and boredom – for the arrival of the incoming troops.  Lou and I, David, the area directors, Dr. Steve Erickson (our medical guy here for two weeks), business manager Lindsay (wife of Travis) all gathered to the porch of the office and trading post.  We set up tables to meet and greet the incoming Scoutmasters as they arrived.  And meanwhile, the assigned staff troop friends led the Scouts to the waterfront for their swim checks.

Scoutmasters first meet with Lindsay to finalize their financial situation for their troops.  They reconcile any fees due, numbers of Scouts and leaders, etc.  They then meet with the health officer (which rotates through different people through the summer).  Lou then meets with them and talks about commissioner service, gets information, etc.  She finds out when the troops want to take overnight canoe trips – if they want to do so.  David then issues the bear spray that is given to each troop for possible use – and hopefully not needed – throughout the camp.  He also talks to troops about Wednesday hike day – and where the troop wants to hike.

I then meet with the leaders and walk them through the packet of about twenty pages that we give to each leader.  I review program plans, bulletin board items, the campsite inspection and more.  I have to repeat my speech fifteen or more times so this makes my voice sore – since we generally don’t get time to get a drink in the rush.  I try to double up multiple troops with me – if possible.  I was really talked out about 12:45 as the last troop arrived to visit with me.  It was exhausting.

I then turn the leaders over to my area directors to reconcile the merit badge sign-up.  Some leaders have not previously signed up their Scouts on-line for the desired merit badges – but many have done this.  But, also many of the troops need to add, drop or change merit badges if new boys come or if some cancel, change their minds, etc.

We all got a quick lunch period after the last of the leaders left.  We all had to hurry off to other assignments.

I went to the dining ramada set up by the dining hall.  Lou, Travis, David and I met with all of the Scoutmasters and senior patrol leaders and gave them orientation information.

After the meeting Lou and David held a training session for interested leaders.  We offer the basic Scoutmaster Essentials training here at camp – just as they would receive it at home in their districts.  They had just two participants for their training course.

I typed up the revision (after new information was received from troop leaders at check-in) relative to troop friends, flag ceremony volunteer assignments, hike dates, etc.  I then distributed this to various folks who need the information and figures.

It was fun talking to many folks as I was on the porch of the office.  I pointed Scouts and leaders to the areas where various merit badges were to be taught.

I reported to the “Takota Campground” prepared to teach youth leaders the Junior Leader Training Course.  I had no participants arrive to take the course.  I went to the climbing tower to view the area – and particularly the behavior of one staffer.  They put eleven kids down the zip line – with Larissa, Scott and Jason (who replaced Matt on Climbing staff) acting as staff to get the kids down.  The kids all loved the zip line action.


Camp New Fork Zip Line launch from Climbing tower

At 5:45 PM I conducted the campwide opening flag ceremony.  Rachae and Zach M. led the group in the “Austrian Yodeler” song and it went over well.  I love this song.

We received 240 Scouts and leaders this week so we had a good group arrive today.  They filled up dining hall as we pumped the folks into there to eat – following the ceremony.

I went to the cabin only briefly to get a few things for the campfire program – including “Jake the Peg”.  I was pleased that many staff were willing to assist with kitchen patrol duties.  We often need extra helpers in there to accomplish the yeoman tasks that always build up there – like dish washing, etc.


I had asked troops to report to the flag pole by 8:15 PM so that we could lead them all down together to the campfire bowl.  So, I used silent signals to get them into a column formation – a line with the Senior Patrol Leaders in the head of the line.  I have Jace use his drum to pound out a rhythm as I he and I lead the troops in one long column to the campfire bowl.

The opening campfire program tonight as excellent – but a bit too long.  I really loved Will and Rachae and company as they performed the “Topnotcher” song and also Mason as he did “The Princess Pat”.  They did a great job on their songs and I was proud of them.  I taught the staff the “Father Abraham” song and they have latched on to it like wild fire. That is all that they want to sing sometimes.  It is a great song – but the staffers are really milking it.

Here is the full program that we performed tonight:


PROGRAM ITEM                           WHAT TO DO                            WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                             Drum beats                                Jace, Ushers

Start of Program                            Bugle                                            Scott

Welcome                                                                                                  Kevin

Fire Starter                                      Caveman                             Max, Theo, Jacob, Diego, Alek, Kent

Loud Song #1  (Stand Up)            Father Abraham                       Cameron, Cade

Loud Song #2  (Stand Up)           Waddleachee                              Daghen and others

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Outdoor              Surviving Dwarfs

Run-on                                              1                                                     Jacob and Diego and company

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Waterfront         Ice Fish

Run-on                                              #2                                                  Jacob and Diego and company

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Handicrafts       Mighty Mallets

Song  (Stay Seated)                        Ging Gang Goolee                    Kevin

Skit                                                     Toast                                             Larissa and Kiara

Song                                                   Zulu Warrior                              Jace, Theo, Cameron

Song                                                   Ukelele and singing                Katie and Andrew

Run-on                                             #3                                                  Jonny, Matt, Jacob, Kent

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – High Adventure   The A Team

Run-on                                              Teen Rocket                              Jace, Grace, Kassi

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Nature                Golden Nature

Song – Medium (Stay Seated)    Princess Pat                              Mason

Skit                                                     Invisible Man                           Daghen

Song                                                   Deep and Wide                        Dax and Max

Skit                                                     Jake the Peg                             Kevin

Staff Patrol Intro                           Area Intro – Shooting Sports    SS

Staff Patrol Intro                           Area Intro – Climbing            The Rapellants

Song (Stay Seated)                        Herman                                       Golden Nature

Skit                                                    Sweet Betsy                                Travis and Bruce

Song                                                  I’m Glad that I’m a Staffer    Staff

Skit #1                                               Banana Bandana                      Theo and Will

Song                                                   Topnotcher                                Rachae

Skit #2                                               Movie Machine                         Surviving Dwarfs

Story                                                   None of Your Business          Kassi

Run-on                                              Climbing Cliffside                  The Repellants

Quiet Song (Stay Seated)              Kumbaya                                   Scott on Guitar, Zach 2

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                  Lou

Quiet Song                                        On My Honor                            Matt

Quiet Song                                        Scout Vespers                           Kevin

Back at the cabin, Lou and Larissa (and sleeping Kiara) watched the movie, “You’ve got Mail” – a cute story about two strangers who connect electronically and ultimately realize that they have met each other in person – not knowing that they were the folks whom they were e-mailing.  We enjoy movies sometimes at night – as a way of winding down after our busy days.


Breakfast was at 7:30 AM and all staff were expected to be there.  The kitchen staff was 22 minutes late in serving the meal – so this was a challenge for me.  Following breakfast I went to the Outdoor Skills area to conduct my meeting with the Senior Patrol Leaders.  This is always a fun meeting.  We talked of the campwide games which were tonight.  Since I missed breakfast, Lou brought me a plate down to Outdoor Skills.

I next conducted the morning flag ceremony for all of the Scouts and leaders and staff.    This is always a fun event.  I enjoy leading the troops in songs and other razz-ma-tazz.

Lou and David had two participants in their training course.  I tried to find the campwide games document on the camp computer but with no luck.  So, Lindsay typed up another master for me.

At 10:30 AM I went to visit the Archery program area.  I found the class – taught by Lena and Nathan – to be fabulous.  She was teaching how to make a bow string and he taught how to make arrows.  Then they switched their classes.  I liked how Nathan brought up movies that the Scouts would know – and asked them about the archery bows that were used in the movies.  The kids could relate to this.  I also went to the rifle range and Bruce and Justin were doing well there.


I stopped by the office for a few tasks and then went to the cooking class.  I found this class to be a joke.  I can’t seem to inspire this group to their full potential.  I also found the Trail to First Class instructor  – teaching his class in his beach attire.  It was obvious that he had taken his First Class group down to the waterfront and had spent most of his time there.  I was annoyed about this.  I later had him make me a list of the skills that he is teaching in his First Class program (a two-hour class each day) and he showed me that he is NOT teaching about 15 requirements “because he says he doesn’t know the skills” – but yet he seems to have time to go to the Waterfront to horse around.  And I am sure that he doesn’t not go to the Nature area to have them help him with those requirements.  So, all around, I was not at all pleased with him and also was not pleased with his insubordinate attitude.  I was saddened by this attitude because heretofore I thought him to be an outstanding young man.

Lunch was next on my agenda.  This is always a good time to connect with the staff.  The Scouts cook their own breakfasts and lunches in their campsites – through commissary feeding (food issued by the kitchen operation).

I went to the Takota training “camp” and taught the Outdoor Training – session #1 – to just one guy.  We then proceeded together up to the rifle range for our usual Tuesday meeting for Scoutmasters and leaders.  I covered some program items and then turned the agenda over to Lou and David.  They covered the Wednesday hike day plans and distributed the maps and hike permits (put together ably by David).  Bruce then talked about range safety training options available to the men down the hill.

I went back to Outdoor Skills and then went and found a large metal plate that the cooking guys can put coals onto – for greater ease in cooking – aside from the large cooking fire in the pit.

At the cabin I worked on the camp songbook – my nemesis for this season.  This has turned into a forever project that seems to have no end.

Our clilmbing staffer, Scott had an accident today.  He was on the end of the zip line and a big leader who came down ran into Scotty and threw him off the ladder and onto the ground.  Several staff members came to the assistance of the climbing staff.   Tarren – of the Climbing staff and his brother, Tallon, from Nature – both assisted with first aid – as did Rachae, from the Waterfront.  Scott was injured and really hobbled around the rest of the day – because of his injuries.  The camp doctor said that Scott is okay – meaning no external or internal damages – but Scott is super sore and quite shaken over the incident.

And speaking of the climbing staff …  Jason got strep throat.  Travis took him into town to get medication from the doctor.  And then Jason – and Jonathan, his cabin-mate, both had to be put “in quarantine” for 24 hours.  So, we had to shut down the shotgun shooting range – and Larissa was really stressed for staff – with the strep and Scotty’s accident.

The evening flag ceremony at 5:45 PM was again fun.  This is a great time.  We start – right at 5:45 PM – with a troop doing the flag ceremony.  Then I give announcements, have a staff member lead a song or two, and we then have troops compete with their yells to see who might win the coveted “spirit stick”.

Today we welcomed a new ranger.  He is Ranger Reed.  He was here last summer as the camp Program Director.  And he is a long-time friend to director, Travis.  They were on a camp staff together years ago and have remained buddies ever since.  His father is Ranger Dave – who will be going home tomorrow.  Travis had wanted Reed back for this summer – as Program Director – but they had a new baby and didn’t think that it would be feasible.  Reed’s coming caused a cabin of staff boys to be moved to other cabins.  Reed and family will move in there.  Their trauma is that the place has no water or shower – and they have two sons – age three and three months.  They are good sports – especially the wife/mother.

This evening I directed the campwide games for all of the Scouts.  This is a fun event – composed of nine different events.  The Scouts always love this event and they have great fun doing the events.  Staff seems to also enjoy it.  The favorites are tomahawk throwing, stick pulling, and leg wrestling.  I had Larissa function as the event timekeeper and she had fun “manning” the megaphone siren.  Groups stay at each event for ten minutes and then they have a couple of minutes to move to the next spot.

I went late with Lou to two of her campsites.  We took hike plans and permits to the troops.  Back at the cabin I again worked on the songbook.  Some of the pages are too big and we have to shrink them down some to fit on the pages.   Grrrrr!


I arose at 6:15 AM and after showering, I read my scriptures – as I strive to do each morning – even here at camp.  I went to breakfast with the staff.  The morning flag ceremony was fun, as usual.  I always enjoy this.  There were no Scouts at the flag gathering – since Wednesday is their hike day.  We sent the staff off to their areas – with instructions for them to be there for an hour.

I went to the cabin and changed out of my Class A uniform shirt so that Lou could do our laundry.  I again read for a short while.

At 9:30 AM we met as a staff.  I took ten staff, and Lou and Larissa – with me.  I had Rachae, Will, Tarren, Max, Daghen, Jacob (with the stub arm), Diego, and Sebastian – and one other staff – whom I can’t recall.  We drove in the van and went around the lake – still on US Forest Service land.  (Travis walked with the rest of the staff to do a service project in the campground that is located near our own camp.)  My group went to “The Narrows” campground and found it to be a truly wonderful place.  We did service at the campground.  We picked up trash and cleaned out fire bowls.  There really wasn’t a lot to do but it was a fun activity there with the staff kids.  We found burning coals in campsite #7 and I later reported it so that it could be reported back to the Forest Service.  We had only one small water bottle with us and we had to keep trekking down to the lake – about 50 yards away – to get more water for the fire.  With persistence we finally were able to put the fire dead out.


After we completed our job we all walked to the nearby lake.  We hung out there together for a while and it was a pleasant situation.  The boys had fun skipping rocks on the lake.

Daghen hurt his leg badly a couple of days ago and he was really hobbling around.  A couple of staffers lent him their shoulders to assist him.  He really struggled to walk.

We could have remained at the lake for quite a while but after a while we hiked back to the van and headed back to our own camp.  We had lunch without the services of the kitchen staff.  On Wednesdays they pack us lunches – with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – just as they do for the Scouts.  And on Wednesday evening at the flag ceremony I have Theo come forward and lead the “Peanut Butter and Jelly” song:  “I’m peanut butter and you are jelly … and we are so happy on our little piece of bread.”  I love the song.   And Theo does a great job with it – in spite of his nervousness.

Then I went to the cabin and actually took an hour nap.  This was wonderful.  I then went to the office to print some copies.

I conducted the third and final training session for the two trainees – Richard Ratliff and Shane Cummings.  I taught them about program planning and the annual program planning conference.  I love this subject – so I can teach it with enthusiasm and conviction.  (And I also have written the book on the subject.  I offer it to the guys in the class if they want to share their e-mail addresses with me.)   The Shane guy is from Washington Terrace – which was a part of my Mt. Ogden Scouting district from 35 plus years ago.  So, it has been real talking to him.  He even knows Jimmy and Darlene Allen – parents of my former Bartlett staffer, Terry.  I guess Jimmy is in the Bishopric of Shane’s ward.

Again I enjoyed visiting with folks on the porch in front of the office.  I love this activity.  I just have to be around there – in the office or sitting out on the porch and very soon I have many people to visit with.  I also went and visited the Handicraft area.

The evening flag ceremony went well – with Theo’s song – and other excitement.  From the flag ceremony we all went to dinner.  I usually send off the troop that did the prayer and then they are followed by the troops going that night on the overnight canoe trips.  I then dismiss all of the Troops – in the order that they arrived and lined up at the parade grounds.   We have two chow lines so I send some troops “up” to the commissary door and some troops “down” to enter through the other side of the dining hall.  So, troops always wonder if they will get “up” or “down”.  Then after all of the Scouts have been dismissed, the staff just kind of hangs out at the parade grounds until the lines diminish somewhat.  Then the lady staffers get to be ahead of the guy staffers.

As all of the staff had headed off tonight, I saw Lina (archery director) perched standing atop of a rock.  She was just kind of in her own world.  And then Jonathan (Shotgun director and brother of Theo) stood on a log of equal height.  So, there the two of them were – looking at each other – and reciting stuff that only they could or would do.  It was a great picture.   These two are becoming rather sweet on each other and they are fun to watch together.  They would be so perfect for each other.   I told them that their current scene made for a great photo.  I wish that I had taken their photo – for future reference.

After dinner I heated up the branding torch and was available to brand hats, sticks, wallets, etc.  I went back to the cabin and again worked on the staff songbook project.  I think that all is finally done on this project.  I certainly hope so.  I am really tired of the whole deal.  Now we will have to try to print it off for staff to use.

And this evening Lou and I watched “Ever After” – which is yet another “chick flick” Cinderella take-off.  (Lou chooses the movies from our rather limited supply to choose from.)  Larissa and Kiara also came to watch the movie with us.  But, Kiara fell asleep – as usual.

Travis made an interesting comment today to Lou.  He said that I “have the presence of a camp director”.  I thought this to be a real cool statement.  I have done it a few times!  (And would like to do it again!)


Today was kind of an odd day in a variety of ways.  Rachae – our Waterfront Director – received news that her grandmother is very sick and on the verge of death.  She was quite upset and made the decision to return home for a few days.  So, this puts a damper on our Waterfront activities since she, as a camp school trained director, needs to be there always when any water activity occurs.  I had her staff just teach “land” requirements today.

I had occasion to be at the front gate for a few minutes today.  While at the front gate I found an older couple who had arrived and were trying to figure out where a troop was.  I told them that I would take them to the site.   They didn’t want to walk and so I finally gave them permission to drive in.  Then after we had gone a short while, the lady changed her mind and decided that she could handle a walk.  I took them to the troop campsite.  I guess the lady is a sister to one of the adult leaders.

We got a bit of rain this afternoon and it was great that it settled the dust a bit.  This place is wonderful but there is dust everywhere and it is kind of annoying.


Dust on boots, clothes, everything!

At noon I went to the white dining ramada and had lunch (sub sandwiches and wonderful brownies) with the Scoutmasters of camp.  This is always a fun activity.  The leaders enjoy getting away from their boys even for a short break.  We do cover agenda items but not a great many of them.  Travis, Lou, David and I conducted the meeting.

After the meeting, Scout leader, Jed McDermott, came up to me and volunteered his plumbing expertise if needed in the camp.  I jumped on that one.  I took him to our cabin and showed him the annoying shower drain that will not drain.  (And it is real annoying to have to take a shower in six inches of standing water.)  He tested the system and then played with the drain mechanism itself.  He made a minor adjustment on this and tried again to get the tub to drain.  And wala!  The water drained out of the tub.  This was so exciting.  I guess this tub has had a draining problem for years and here he fixed it in a few seconds.  I was very happy!

I also showed Jed the hokey water hose through which our cabin gets its whole water supply.  He said that if we had the materials he could hard plumb the system.  I went with him to the maintenance shed.  I was amazed that he was able to scrounge up the needed pipe supplies.  The system was all set up already for the hard plumbing so he needed only to put connections at each end of the line.  So, now we have no more need for a hose.  Wow!

As noted, our water line has been this hose.  And staff members have – as a joke – been turning this off so that we have had no water for toilet flushing or showering.  I have become annoyed with the staff antics.  Jonathan confided in Lou that it has been Max who has been leading the charge to turn off our water – and in the last 24 hours it has been turned off three or four times.

I went to the Outdoor Skills area.  I guess K-Kade will team C-Cade with Jonny to do the cooking functions.  I think that this is a good thing.  I would rather have two guys teamed on this merit badge – and the cooking demonstration for the Scout leaders who go for the training.

Today was a payday – but it was a major disappointment to me and to most staff members.  We have been at camp for 18 days and they paid us only for the first six days of camp – so for the staff week.  I had expected to be paid for two full weeks – but I guess there is a week lag in the pay cycle or something.  I was not overly pleased.  So, between the two of us – we barely had enough money to pay our life insurance and just two of our bills.

Travis and Ranger Reed went to town tonight with their wives.  They had a date night out.  Lou and I remained at our camp posts and took care of things.  It was a pretty quiet evening.

At the flag ceremony I presented the staff with the spirit stick.  None of the troops were very energetic.  The troop who returned the stick at the ceremony had put a cool thing into the stick.  They had carved “sweet Betsy” – from the very funny skit that Travis and Bruce perform at opening night campfire programs.

A Scout stopped me on the trail and asked why I wasn’t on the Spirit Stick.  I said, “Do you think I have spirit?”  And he said, “Yes …”  and then with an afterthought, he added, “And I am pretty sure that all of the staff has spirit too!”  I loved this comment.

Another Scout saw my “Award of Merit” patch on my shirt and asked me, “How can I get that pretzel merit badge?”  Kids say some funny things at times.

For dinner tonight, Lou and I and Larissa ate at the outside tables.  This was quiet and nice.  It was also pleasant to visit with the troop leaders out there.

A troop did really fabulous at the evening dining hall clean-up.  They did the best job of any troop that we have had this season.  We recognized them [at the next morning flag ceremony] and sent them to Mable for ice cream.

Aaron Cain (Troop 205) and Steve Greenhalgh of Troop 267 (Washington Terrace and my old Mt. Ogden District) have been here together this week.   They were friends ten or fifteen years ago as staff here at Camp New Fork.   It has been fun to watch them together.  They took both troops tonight to the COPE course.  Larissa has not really used the COPE course this summer – mostly because of lack of staff.  I went down to watch these guys. The scouts had a grand time on the course.  They were the first troops to use the course. this summer.

I went back to the cabin at 9 PM.  Lou was real surprised as she took her shower to find that the tub actually drained.  I hadn’t told her about it being fixed until she saw it for herself.  We watched “Anne of Green Gables”.  That is a movie that one can see over and over again.


This morning I took a long garden hose to breakfast.  I plopped the hose down on the floor and told everyone to just leave it alone.  I told the staff that I was tired of our water system being turned off – and just asked Max or whoever to just leave it alone.  I think that the message got across as needed.  We did not have any more trouble with the water being turned off.  (Even with the hard plumbing someone has turned the handle and the system off.)

I met with the senior patrol leaders this morning.  We finalized plans for the campfire program and I extracted skits and songs from most of the leaders.

At the flag ceremony this morning the staff had great energy.  I let them keep the flag – since with “Sweet Betsy”, we want to give the stick to Travis.  A set of brothers – who act as their own troop – came forward and did the Tongan Haka and they were great.

Travis went to the folks doing high adventure on the river and was gone this morning.  I sat at the office porch.  I had my computer laptop with me and sat there and created today’s campfire and also a patriotic program for Monday the 4th of July.

Lou went out visiting her commissioner sites.  David hung out in the office.  He is really excellent at various tasks but I sometimes have to kick him out to go visit his troops and campsites.

Jeremy Bell, the council camping director, came today for a little while.  He and Travis talked of camp stuff.  He also reset the camp WIFI system.  We hope that the results will be positive.  One can at least hope …!

I tried to have a staff meeting at lunch time but most of the staff members were real hyper.  They did not listen well.  I reviewed the campfire program schedule, talked of the Honor Trail assignments and the bull run.

Waterfront Director, Rachae, was still gone this afternoon.  So, luckily, Nathan – the High Adventure Director – was able to fill in for her.  He also has the BSA Waterfront certification as required.   He managed the full facility.  I went down to assist as needed.  I was the lookout – and land supervisor – while he was out in the water with the Scouts and staff.  He assisted many of the Scouts who needed to do their boat swamping requirement.  He was attentive to the needs of the Scouts and worked to help them complete that final requirement needed to complete their badges.  I tried to personally talk to each Scout who was at the waterfront – to make sure that they didn’t need one or two requirements – and that they weren’t just giving up on getting them done.  Nathan and I got a lot of boys through requirements – who otherwise might not have completed the badges.  I was at the Waterfront from 1 to 3:15 PM.

I then went to the parade grounds to get the Bull Run relay event started.   David started the Scouts at the campfire bowl and sent them off and running.  These boys had to run to the archery range – pass the baton and then shoot and hit the target with two arrows.  Other runners ran around the camp perimeter and then ended at the Waterfront.  We were able to do the Waterfront events of the relay but closed it right after the event ended.  We heard thunder and lightning so we had to close both events when the noise was first heard.  This is a BSA rule – and once thunder or lightning hits, we have to close the area for 30 minutes from the last thunder or lightening sounding.


Our flag ceremony was fun tonight.  At dinner time we had long lines waiting to eat.  I visited with the father of Sam.

We staged “merit badge madness” with the Scoutmasters.  This is the time when they all come to pick up and go through their merit badge cards.  The process seems to work pretty well most of the time.

I went to the cabin for just a few minutes.  I needed to get my coat.  There was a threat of rain and from 7:30 to 8:10 PM we wondered if we should go forward or if we should cancel the campfire program.  Travis left the decision to me.    At 8:15 PM the troops began to gather at the parade grounds.  I polled a few leaders and they said that they had come “in faith” with the belief that the program would go on.   So, I made the decision to move forward.  The weather held off and we had a great show.  It was a good program.  We had a bunch of troop skits.   Steve and Aaron did their rendition of the King, Queen and the Gate.  We held a flag retirement ceremony and burned the old flags.  Jonathan does a good job with this ceremony – since he was also in the military service.


New Fork Campfire preparations

The Honor Trail went well.  It was fun to again gather with the staff for our song of “Friends we Are …”.  We have had a good week.


We held our closing flag ceremony for the week at 7:10 this morning.  We then all went to breakfast together.   We moved the time forward since many troops expressed the desire to leave early.  But then the troops kind of trickled in over the next hour.  David’s troops got out early and Lou were later.

Travis had told all of the staff to refresh their areas to get them ready for the next week.  Most of the staff did this but many of them just kind of slinked away and hid.  Many of the parents of staff members came today to take their staffer – or to remain with them through the weekend.

I helped with a bit of dining hall clean-up.  I sat at the office a while and talked with David and Travis – as we awaited the return of Lou from checking her sites.  She returned with an armful of bear spray and evaluation sheets.

Lou decided that she did not want to go to town today.  And Travis’ wife and daughter are out of town- and so he had no desire to leave camp alone.  I chose to drive  – in the camp’s silver van – to take junior staff in to town.  Larissa went down to town with me.  Will and I worked to get the boat trailer off of the van hitch.  It was on there good and didn’t want to raise up.

The following staff members rode in to town with Larissa and me:  Daghen, Sam (new this week to the staff), Max, Will, Daxton, Brayden and Tannon.  We drove to Pinedale.  We went all together to the strange 2nd hand store.  I found this thrift store to be an old dump of a place and was not impressed.  It was definitely not my style.

Most of the staff split to the wind in Pinedale.  I took Larissa and a couple of staff members to the Aquatic Center.  Larissa swam and played tennis.

I went to the town library and found that many staffers had ended up there.  I checked my e-mail messages on my laptop and then read Utah and Phoenix obituaries.  I noted in the Utah obituaries the death of Joyce Hunt Hughes – my father’s first cousin.  Her father was Max and he is a brother to my grandfather.  It was interesting that she was a fifty year Scouting veteran – and a silver beaver award recipient.  She and my father are the same age.

While at the library I also began typing my journal entries of our first week (staff week) in camp.  I have decided to blog each week – if I can find enough free time in which to do it.

Larissa got a ride from the Pinedale Aquatics Center – to the library – so she caught up with me there.  She rode with Jonathan and Lena.  Larissa and I then went to Ridley’s market.  We got food for the camp.  Lou and I have decided to cook tomorrow night for the staff – in celebration of the 4th of July.   Mabel bought some food for us to use – but there were a great many more items that Lou and I had to purchase – out of our rather limited funds.  I found corn on the cob on sale for $1.87 a dozen and thought that it would be great to serve to the staff.  The only problem was that a single customer could only buy a dozen ears at this price.  (And after the sale to one customer, the price went to 3 ears for a dollar.)  I had noted that the staff had all gathered to the van in the parking lot – since it was our pre-arranged departure time.  So, I went out and had two other staffers – besides Larissa and I – come in to buy a dozen ears each.  I gave each boy my debit card and password to complete their transactions.  I spent about $85 of my own money – but I wanted this once to do something real nice for the staff.  (This is to be in lieu of the leftover help-yourself plan that is generally the standard for weekends.)

Back at camp, the staff members helped me take the food into the dining hall.  I then went to get Lou.  She did our laundry all afternoon.  The clothes get so dusty that they need washing real frequently.

I went to the dining hall for the self-serve dinner.  Grrrr!  I was glad that I had already eaten tamales – at Ridley’s – with Larissa.    Lou and I made 8 boxes of raspberry Jello for the staff for tomorrow.  I also called my father, mother, and Jackie.  We have very limited phone service here – and so it is often that the service does not work.  And with my busy schedule, it is hard to connect with the folks.

Each week a staff patrol is in charge of an activity for the staff.   The patrol in charge this week (Shooting Sports) planned a hang-out campfire activity.   We had no program – but just had an informal gathering.  We roasted marshmallows (and had S’mores) and just visited together.  This was a fun evening.  I enjoyed visiting the parents of Golden O. from the kitchen staff.  He is one of our very greatest kids – and he works every moment of the day.  I told the folks what a great young man he is.

I finished typing a 6-page journal entry of just our first day of staff week.  I typed much on the journal of our first week of Scouts.  I labored to 12:30 AM on the project – during and after a movie I watched with Larissa.

Well, it really has been a great week!  We had a great group of Scouts here and the staff was on a high as we staged our second week of Scouts.  We had a lot of fun together as a staff and the Scouts all seemed to have a “blast”.  So, there you have it … our Camp New Fork 2016 – Session 2 –  and we really did hit the trail running.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin


Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and 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 ScoutThe Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!

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