NEW TWIST ON THE TRADITIONAL BLUE AND GOLD

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By Kevin V. Hunt  – Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger , Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director

Hey, Cub Scouters …  Are you tired doing the same old Blue and Gold Banquet year after year.  Are you getting tired of the spaghetti and all the work for the cutesy place mats and other decorations?  Do you think that “do one blue and gold … done them all?”  If so, here is an idea you might want to try.

Like many of you, I have been to my share of blue and gold banquets over the years.  In fact, because of my previous Scouting roles, I have probably been to a lot more of them than the “normal Joe Scouter or Parent”.   Well, this year, I attended a blue and gold event that got my attention – and a big WOW from me.

It was another windy but very beautiful Saturday morning in our sunny Mesa, Arizona.  And that same LDS Stake (that had the innovative pinewood derby races) staged another fabulous event for all of the packs within the stake boundaries.  There were eight or nine packs there.  The leaders from each of the packs worked together to plan and stage the big event.  It was a Blue and Gold circus or fair held out in the parking lot of one of the churches.  And it boasted of FUN from the moment one entered the area.  It was fun for the Cub Scouts, fun for their siblings, parents and the leaders – for EVERYONE!

Now I admit it wasn’t your usual banquet.  It was actually kind of non-traditional … but that sometimes makes for great events.  It was a great thing that day – even in the wind.

 

Each pack had selected one theme or activity for their own booth.  And each participant was given a full color “Circus Bingo Chips” card to make sure that he or she got to experience each booth.

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So, one pack staged bowling and yet another let kids create a simple rocket.  Then with a fancy (but simple) machine, a few of the rockets (at a time) were launched off into outer space.  Of course the Scouts had fun watching it climb to the clouds and then excitedly raced toward it when it began to come down.  The “Whirliegig swing” was fun for all.  I’ll leave that one to your imagination – but you probably know a grandpa or someone who might create such a thing!  Yet another booth lured kids and families in under the guise of “face painting” but then they hit you upon entering about recruiting neighborhood friends to come join the Cub Scout fun.

Another booth featured what must be now “trending” for Cub Scouts (families and others).  I had seen it recently at another Cub Scout event with a new Cub Scout grandson.  It is called “Hungry Hippos”.  For this event, you lay down on your chest on a small platform built with wheels (can be home-made – or even now bought on-line).  And then with legs sticking out – to help the hands propel around – one moves about trying to gather up as many blown-up balloons as possible – and to get them back to the starting point.  (This can be an individual event or can be a relay with groups of people.  And it is great fun as a “cartwheel” with one guy chested on the deal and the other holding his legs in the air as they quickly swirl around the floor for balloons.).  And do the kids ever love it!

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Happy Hippo Game

 

The Cup Cake Walk was a great hit.  They had a wide variety of cupcakes – in decoration and flavor.  And at the end, they had a problem …  too many cupcakes left.  Wow!  I did my part to assist them with this one!  And the fish pond was a definite hit.   The stake leaders made sure that there were real special “fish” for each Cub Scout.

As noted previously, my daughter is the Cubmaster in her pack and her husband is her assistant.  She is a photographer so naturally, she thought of something along that line.  So, Kaylea and JD came to our house – and raided “Momma Lou’s costume closet” for costume parts for folks to dress and pose in as their photo was taken against a fun background.  JD and Kaylea dressed as clowns and fit in with their roles.

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Cubmaster Kaylea and Assistant J.D. Stoddard at Blue and Gold Carnival

Now these were not just ordinary photos.  The photos came out of a super mini Poloroid-type camera – that came with its own printer.  And once printed, there were materials with which to create or craft a small frame to “house” the picture.  Kids thought this was cool and fun – and of course all moms were ecstatic with yet another – and even an instant – photo of their handsome Cub Scout (and siblings or family).   Lou and I donned Mexican outfits and we got our own photo taken.  Cool!  (Or we thought so!)

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Kevin and Lou Hunt at Blue and Gold Carnival Photo Booth

Well, now, … you ask, “So, where does the banquet part come in?”  Glad that you asked.  Of course it was there!  No such event is complete without FOOD.  “Food, glorious food …”  (You have probably heard that song from “Oliver”.)  And yes, one of the squares on the Bingo card (to make sure you went there) was for food.  Here at this booth there were hot dogs and a couple of kinds of soups.  (White chili … yummy!)  And after you got your food, you could make your way to one of several tables – all gaily decorated in the traditional blue and gold – but maybe not in the traditional way.  IMG_4891And the wind played havoc a bit with the decorations and tablecloths.  And that is probably why I found and photographed one decoration holding down a chair – or vice versa.  Wow!  That’s when it hit me …  There it is!  This is their blue and gold “banquet”.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Such a great novel idea!

It truly was a wonderful event.  Novel and different, but so much fun for everyone!  I’ll bet with a bit of imagination and creativity – and teamwork – your pack families – or a group of packs working together as these did – could come up with your own new twist on the old traditional.  Blue and Gold … have fun with it and celebrate it … in a new and fun way!

Best wishes along your Scouting trails!

See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger.  Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”,  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!  Find Kevin on Facebook at:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.

To explore or buy Kevin’s books on Amazon, go to: amazon.com/author/kevinhunt

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

@ 2017 Kevin V. Hunt

 

 

Pinewood Derby Cars Race Down Tracks Again

 

About this same time each year – and all over the country, an interesting phenomenon occurs as pinewood derby cars race down tracks again.  It’s something that Cub Scouts live for and dream of for months before it happens.  And for most dads (and a few moms), the big races come around all too soon.

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So, “When” – you ask – “did the pinewood derby come into Vogue?”   Well, that is an interesting question.  You probably all know that I was around when dirt was organized and I have known the pinewood derby races to be around at least as long as I have.    And since you can find the answer to almost anything on Google, I decided to see what it could come up with.  And was I surprised.  According to Pinewood Derby in Wikipedia the first pinewood derby race was held on May 15, 1953.  “Within the year, the Boy Scouts of America adopted the pinewood derby for use in all Cub Scout packs.”  And, it continues, “In its October 1954 issue, Boy’s Life publicized the event and offered plans for the track and a car which featured ‘four wheels, four nails, and three blocks of wood.’”   Well, I told you that the pinewood derby had been around as long as I could remember … and no wonder …  that October was the exact month that I began my sojourn here upon the earth!  Thanks, Wikipedia!

And so, yes, 63 years later, the pinewood cars are still going strong as each year they race down the tracks again!  It might be the one of the few times that father (or mother) and son truly do something together.  So for that reason, it truly is a grand tradition as it brings fathers and boys together to create their dream cars.

This year I have a unique vantage point as five grandsons are all Cub Scouts and have their engines revved for their own races.  And with that situation, I took the opportunity to talk to each of the five grandsons about their cars, races, and their excitement that goes with it all.

Just this past Sunday night, the Pinewood Derby became a dinner discussion item.  My wife and I and my 88-year old father, Russel, were having dinner with our daughter, Kaylea, her man, JD and their six children (five of which – all the boys –  are current or former Cub Scouts).  JD is an engineer so naturally, he HAS to design the best and fastest cars.  And with five sons, that is and has been a challenge.  And my father, father also to five sons, has probably made fifteen of the pinewood cars in his day.  As the topic came up, Dad and JD swapped war stories about their own cars.  It was a great conversation.  And hearing them talk, I guess it is all in the wheels.  My dad hasn’t built a pinewood car in over forty years but the tricks seem to be the same – but maybe they’ve gotten better with age.  JD blew me away as he talked of sanding the wheels with 2,000 grit paper – and then progressing to 5,000 grit.  Talk about fine … I can’t even comprehend that degree of fineness.

Then JD went to the other room and produced a bag that was full of the family cars of the past.  When lined up together, they looked like the Indy 500.  And as each car came out of the bag, each of the sons shared their stories about their cars and their losses and glories.  Each car had its own story.image1-2

One year JD had to construct three different cars for sons.  Wow!  He ought to get a medal for that one!  He notes – and the boys did too – that in that year, one son took first place, another took second and the third son took third place in the pack race.  Impressive.

This year Lou and I got to attend the pinewood race for Brodey and Jett.  Our daughter was actually the Cubmaster and JD is her assistant.  They had an interesting scenario.  All of the seven or so Cub Scout packs in their local church stake – or group of congregations – held their races on the same day.  Each pack had its assigned block of time for their own races.  This meant that they rented the fancy electronic track but the guy and the poor owner of the track (Steven Peterson – a member of my old Troop 155) had to remain there directing races all day on a Saturday.

And they pooled resources and talents to create a beautiful racing room as well as an awards presentation room – both gaily decorated in race track décor.  So, after their race, a new pack would gather in the awards room – getting off the track and out of the room just in time for the next pack to come in.   It was a grand scheme!

JD’s engineering skills didn’t do so well this year, however.  Instead of getting first place, Brodey and Jett were in last place.  This was a shock to poor JD.  Of course he had excuses …  Anyway, poor Brodey took dead last.  His car was the absolute slowest.  I asked Brodey how he felt about having the slowest car.  His answer surprised me:  “It was delicious!”  I said, “How do you mean?”  He said, “They had a cake (from a bundt pan) decorated as a flat tire and I got the “flat tire award” and the cake was all mine!”  Brodey also received the “Sportsmanship” certificate for taking it like a man.  Jett was excited about his “Superman” car that he and his dad had created – and which got the certificate for “the best paint job”.  And Jett said “I got to sand and paint the car!”  “They may not have won, but they looked nice,” said father, JD.  Jett said, “I still have my car and Brodey and I race them sometimes.”

Craig and his father – our son – live in St. George, Utah.  Craig had his first car last year.

When I called him to talk of his coming race – less than ten days away, he said that they haven’t yet started on their car.  I asked him when the race will be.  He said, “I think it is just after Valentine’s Day”.  His mother, hearing the conversation said, “The race is actually on Valentine’s Day!”  (How’s that for a sweetheart deal?”)  Craig – always quick on the draw – said, “Oh, good!  Then I can make it a heart and can paint it pink.”  I said, “Or red …”  He said, “No, it will be pink!”

I asked him about last year’s car and he said, “It was basically the shape of a wave – and the front was tipped like a wave.”  (That is so Craig!)  He noted that he got 3rd, 4th, or even 5th in every heat of the race.  His pack invited any family members who wanted to do so, to create their own car.  So, his sister, Savannah, said that her car was a musical car – made in the shape of a piano – and little Jason had a “school bus car” (a man after the heart of his school bus driving grandfather!)”

Also talking of last year’s car, Craig said, “I came up with the design but mostly Grandpa Farr did most of the work.  But, I got to paint it!”

Tanner, and his father, Paul, live in Ohio – where Paul is stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB – as a trainer of flight nurses.  I call their car the “miracle car”.  His race was on a Thursday night in Ohio.  And they were visiting us in Arizona – and flew home late in the afternoon on Wednesday.  He showed me his car before they headed home – and it was just a plain pine board – cut to shape.  But somehow in the ensuing 24-hours, they miraculously created a fabulous scorpion car.  (You can read about Arizona scorpions in my recent blog “Our Arizona Fauna is Unique and Different” at https://thescoutingtrail.org/2016/05/19/arizona-our-fauna-is-unique-and-different/)

 

Tanner said that his car had won first place last year. Then he added, “So, I don’t have to win this year.  I’m going more for style!”  And boy, did he ever go for style with the scorpion car!  Wow!  I had never seen anything like it.  Amazing, Tanner and Paul!  Of his car, Tanner said, “We designed it together.  We spray painted it and as it dried, we worked on the wheels.  We made the scorpion out of aluminum foil.”  He noted too, that he got to sand and paint the car.  And he said, “I won five out of six races”.  So, he had a FAST stylish car!

Blake lives near our home so we were able to attend his race just a couple of weeks ago.  This was his first one.   Blake was all decked out in his crisp, clean and complete Cub Scout Uniform.  He was definitely a proud Cub Scout.

And I was proud to stand with him at his side.  Blake said, “Dad and I designed the car.  Then we went to uncle JD’s house and he helped us cut it out.  Then we sanded it.  Dad and I painted it and put the stripes on it.”  And again, “Uncle JD” is credited for his engineering expertise as he told Blake and his father how to do the wheels.

As I entered the race hall, I noted several Spanish-American families.  That was a first for me to see them at such a race – but why not?  Those boys and their dads had a grand time – and just as much fun as anyone putting their cars together.    I talked to Fernando – and he and his son, Saul, loved the opportunity to be a part of the race.  Fernando said that Saul had a really fun time.  And I think that dad did too!

Blake was bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm over his car.   To say that he was excited was a major understatement.  I took several photos of Blake but one still shot captured some of that excitement in his face as he saw his car coming down the track.  img_4844He was animated and so very happy.  And what made him even happier was that he noted that his car won every race – but tied the last one.  As with many packs, this pack had unique certificates which they presented to each boy.  So, Blake did not get any more recognition than did any of the other boys.  No one said that his car was the fastest – but his certificate said it all: “Speed Demon”.img_4854

So, it has been a fun adventure this year being a grandpa and sharing the Pinewood excitement with my five Cub Scout grandsons – and their fathers.  So glad that the grand tradition is still alive and well – as pinewood derby cars race down tracks again!  And it is really fun now to enjoy the activity with the grandsons – without having to help produce the cars.  This is a pretty good arrangement!  I kind of like it!

The Annual Planning Conference Makes for a Great Program

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author and Speaker, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

For years, I’d been telling leaders how to make the annual planning conference so that it was fun, rewarding and beneficial for all.  I knew that the annual Planning Conference makes for a great program.   Now I was a Varsity Scout Coach and it was time to again put the planning conference to the test.  It was fun to actually test with my own guys the calendaring process that I’d been teaching all along.

Before I get going, I want to say that the program planning principles that I am about to introduce will work for Cub Packs, Scout Troops, Varsity Teams, Venturing Crews, and any other youth, civic, or church group.  I invite you to give them a try.  Your program will be wonderful and great things will happen in the lives of others in groups you are a part of.

I wanted our planning conference to be in a retreat type setting where the boys would not be distracted by paper routes, home, and other activities.  Having an “in” with the Scouting Council, I arranged to use the Camp Director’s cabin at Camp Bartlett. Bartlett was about two hours away and it provided some excitement and adventure not found in our normal camping areas closer to town.

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The “Dream” Cabin for your planning retreat

The cabin provided a comfortable setting for our training sessions.  It was also secluded enough that we could meet without being disturbed by others.  It also provided a variety of program resources for our added enjoyment.

One of my bosses wanted several things taken up to the camp after he learned that I was going up there.  He asked that we drive the council’s van up with the supplies.

We had a terrible time just getting out of town.  As usual the … van wasn’t quite up to par.  It seemed it always worked great until you needed to use it.  After a flat tire and other trauma en route, we finally arrived up at camp about ten o’clock that night.

We got into the cabin and there was plenty of room for all of us.  The warm heater made it nice and cozy even though I discovered, to my dismay, that in the rush of everything, I had forgotten my sleeping bag and would be spending my night on the couch without it.

Even though we arrived kind of late, my friend George, who was my assistant for that couple of months only, and I met with the guys in an orientation session.  We reviewed our plan for the conference; our purpose in being up there and what we hoped to accomplish through our retreat.  The guys were mellow and real teachable.

I’ve since been on several planning retreats of this kind and find the Friday evening of the experience to be a good time to train the guys in the basics of the program and to review with them their individual responsibilities within the team organization.troop-organization-chart

After the short training session we had some fun.  We had a brief campfire program (without the fire) and sang a few songs together.  We topped the evening off with a feast of “S’mores”.

We culminated the evening by kneeling in a circle for prayer together.  This, in itself, was a beautiful experience.

I was glad to learn after the evening’s activities that George had brought along an extra blanket which he said he didn’t need.  Even with just the one blanket, I was almost too warm there by the heater.

Normally on a hike it is best to let the guys do all of the cooking and clean-up after meals.  With this retreat experience, however, we wanted the boys to relax and kick back a little.  We really wanted the experience to be something they’d remember.

planning-conference-foodConsequently, George and I were up early cooking bacon, hot bisquits and eggs with all the other trimmings for breakfast.  The boys soon awoke to that wonderful smell of sizzling bacon.  They were dressed and ready to devour the food the second that we had it ready for them.

From our orientation the night before the kids knew we were there to work and that if we got the work done in a timely manner we’d have some time for hiking and fun later on.

We impressed the boys with the fact that by taking the necessary time that morning to plan the calendar for the coming year we’d have a super year packed with fun activities.

We started our first group session right after breakfast.  George did the dishes as I met with the guys.  We had a real brief overview of the Varsity Scouting program and it’s five areas of program emphasis.  We organized the team around those five areas – just as we had earlier with the adults.

Each boy on the team was given a leadership position of some kind.  One boy became the Team Captain, and since our group was so small, he was also the Squad Leader.  All of the other boys were Program Managers over one or more of the five Varsity programs.

Prior to the planning retreat I’d polled each of the kids with a survey to see what kind of activities they’d enjoy doing.  On the list I’d put anything and everything I could think of in the way of activities  They then simply made a check mark by any of the activities they personally would sometime like to do with the team at some time.

I had even obtained this list from the couple of kids from our church organization who were not currently actively involved with us.  I used their interest sheets that morning as we started the calendaring process.

I had also made a composite tally of all of the survey sheets so that I knew the activities which a majority of the boys wanted to do and also those in which no one had expressed interest.  I didn’t make these results public but I knew what they were and could thus interject them at appropriate times in the calendaring process (but done in such a way that the kids thought they were their own ideas).

Prior to the start of our morning session I mounted five large sheets on the walls throughout the cabin.  On each sheet was the name of one of the five program areas for Varsity Scouting.  There were sheets for Advancement, High Adventure Activities, Personal Development, Service, and Special Events.

I then had the guys start telling us activities they’d like to do.  I said, “Just start throwing ideas at us as fast as you can.”  Since they had done my interest survey just a couple of days earlier, they brought up many activities from that list plus many others.

By this time, George was done with the dishes.  He and I started writing activities as fast as the boys could come up with them.  As they mentioned something, we added it to the appropriate chart in whichever of the five program areas it fit best.  We did not censure any of the activities suggested by the boys but let them put anything they wanted on the list.

One more thing that we did prior to the conference was the completion of the resource survey sheet which I alluded to in the chapter on Resources.  We had taken time in one of our church meetings and had all of the men and women present complete the survey.  On the survey, people checked or listed their professions, hobbies, or special interests, contacts and other information that could be helpful to us.

After a perusal of the resource sheets it was quickly evident that the sky was the limit.  With all of that “program capability” we could have great activities for two or three years or more and still not do them all.  Again, with these sheets I could interject some program ideas into the brain- storming conversation as desired.

We let the guys name all of the activities they could come up with.  When we had exhausted their imaginations we halted that part of the program.

By this time the guys were ready for a break.  George taught them how to make sling shots and they had fun pitching rocks with them outside for a few minutes.  After running around and getting some fresh air, they were ready to plow into it again.

When George got the guys rounded up and back in the cabin they were greeted with large calendars I had posted everywhere.  While they were out I had posted a two foot square calendar for each month of the coming year.

Back at home I had previously listed other activities on the calendars in various ink colors.  Shown there were key dates of activities for our church, their school, holidays, hunting seasons, community parades, Etc.

I always have to get a song in there somewhere, so after a rousing song or two we were ready for action.  I pointed out the calendars and said that we now needed to determine specific dates for some of the activities we had listed on the other charts earlier.  We reviewed again the five program areas and stressed the need to build a program with activities from each of the five areas.

When calendared with the other church, school and civic activities it worked out that we could do one activity from each of the five areas within a three month period.  The Personal Development area did get a little more space than the other areas since it really is made up of the five additional sub-areas of Spirituality, Leadership, Citizenship, Social Attributes, and Physical Fitness.

As the guys decided upon an activity, we wrote it in big letters into the calendar.  Here again, I was able to get the kids to add a couple of the activities in which some of the inactive had expressed an interest.  I had suggested a couple of their ideas in the earlier discussion.

The boys very quickly realized that they had to be fairly selective in choosing the activities we would do.  There was no way there would be time to do everything on the lists.  They had some good discussion about which activities would be the most fun.

By this time I was in kind of a back-seat role.  The Team Captain was guiding the team and moderated the discussion.  I was just the secretary recording their decisions.

Within a short period of time we were done with the calendar.  We’d planned some great activities and the boys were excited about what they had done.  “Hey! This is going to be a great year!” one of them said.

The boys were also a little frustrated.  There were so many things that they wanted to do that were still on the original lists and with no time do them all. “Oh, well! There is always next year,” I told them. In fact, I had to restrain them a bit so that they wouldn’t over-calendar with more than we could all handle.

With the calendar complete, we sent the guys out under the Captain’s leadership to do a short service project for the camp.  They also took a short hike down into “Mosquito Valley” to try out their slings again.  George and I had a hearty lunch ready as they returned.

We had now accomplished our task and were ready to return home.  Our conference had been a grand success.  We had pulled together as a team, we’d had an activity from all of the five program areas, and we had planned some exciting programs for the coming year.

In addition, the guys knew their team organization and where they fit into making it all happen.  They knew that now they’d go back home and would work on the specific activities that fell within their program manager responsibilities of the five program areas.

After the heavy lunch the guys soon fell asleep as we trekked home.  We’d worn them out!  George had the job of talking to keep me awake as I drove.

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,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”,  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!

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

To explore or buy Kevin’s books on Amazon, go to: amazon.com/author/kevinhunt

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

The Romance of Scouting – An Intriguing Subject!

 

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

THE ROMANCE OF SCOUTING:  An intriguing subject …?  Sounds  interesting, huh? Well, maybe now I’ve got your attention.  But, it may not be what you think it is.

We have been talking recently of the “fun, adventure and romance of Scouting”.  We’ve talked about the first two and introduced a little bit about “Romance”.  I am sure that this is a subject of general interest, so let’s explore this one a bit more!

The “Romance of Scouting” is the Spirit of Scouting that motivates and inspires us to keep doing it. The romance of Scouting is the special experiences, whether one-of-a-kind or a repeat of fun experiences, that stand out in the mind as being truly rewarding, enjoyable, memorable.

I have had some of those romantic moments in the many camps where I have worked.  An incident at Bartlett was a romantic moment for me:  Our weather at Camp Bartlett was generally somewhat predictable to those of us who had served for several years on staff.  We all knew that we would have rain on our opening day each week and that it would be followed by many beautiful sunny days through the rest of the week.

BARTLETT LAKE

This one week, as I conducted the orientation program for Scoutmasters, I was confronted by an obviously obstinate, or know-it-all, Scoutmaster.  Trying to give me a hard time, he raised his hand and said in a snide voice, “How often does it RAIN around here, anyway?”

I calmly said, “Well, sir!  It’s going to start raining at precisely 4:30 this afternoon.  It will then continue raining until exactly 8:15 p.m. at which time it will stop long enough for our campfire program.  I of course, had no “pull” with the weatherman, but decided to play the man’s game with him.

The funny thing was that the rain started at exactly 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.  Then it rained until just prior to our campfire program.  It stopped raining just in time for the show.  I sure had a lot of fun over that rainstorm.

The next day at our leader’s meeting, A Scoutmaster stood and commended me for my weather predictions of the day before.  Another man raised his hand and said, “What else do you do?”  We all had a good laugh over it.

Varsity-Scout-Planning-e1423765787750The “Varsity Scout Games” also became a source of “romance” for me.  The first year that we had them in the old Lake Bonneville Council, BSA, there were only about forty boys present.  Four years later, we’d built to a participation level of nearly 700 Varsity Scouts.  The Scouting Spirit was high and everyone present felt that Spirit through the games.  It was great to see some of my work take root and blossom as it did with the Games.

Another Varsity activity was packed with Scouting “romance”.  For one of our council Varsity committee meetings, for which I was the advisor,  we all met at Ft. Buenaventura, a newly restored facsimile of the mountain man fort that had been famous in our area more than a hundred years previously.  The event was held to get us all enthused about the upcoming Mountain Man Rendezvous.

As we gathered for that meeting, we were met by a couple of real authentic-MOUNTAIN MAN RENDEZVOUSlooking “mountain men” and we dined on a fabulous mountain man stew.

I brought a few large venison roasts as my contribution for the stew.  We all decided that this had been one of our best meetings yet.

Another moment of romance was the night we had 120 people present at our district Cub Scout leader’s roundtable.  We had all worked hard to improve our attendance (through group participation) but were still not quite prepared for the crowd we had that night.  The Scouting Spirit was also at a record high throughout that evening.

I recall with pleasure, the extravagant staff Christmas parties sponsored by our council commissioner.  His house was magnificent on it’s own but he had nearly every inch of the place decorated for Christmas.  It was indeed, a “fairy land” and we all enjoyed being a part of such an elite party.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Each year as we had our Christmas party at Jack Felt’s house, he would put on a food spread that was unequalled in any of the world’s finest restaurants.  It was also a special thrill to take a December swim in his huge indoor pool. The swim was all the more enjoyable as we remembered that there were several inches of snow outside.

Another romantic moment came after I’d been gone from my Santa Barbara Scouting district for over two years.  My advancement chairman, Ihsan, and wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.  Only a few select Scouters were a part of that elite group at the beautiful but also extremely expensive “Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel”.

Santa Barbara biltmore Hotel

It was a neat experience to once again be with those special red-coat Scouters.  We laughed as we reminisced of many of our special times together in the district. We were all caught off guard a little with the “belly dancer” entertainment.  My own personal preference would have been a well-done campfire program.

I remember some occasional good turns that have been particularly meaningful to me as I have tried “to do my good turn daily”.  One of these occasions came in Ogden, Utah as a few of us professional Scouters talked in the parking lot at Weber State University after a council dinner.

Larry seemed to be a bit uneasy over something. Finally, he said, “Okay, which one of you guys is going to loan me $5.00 for gas to get back home? (He lived north of Ogden about 30 miles – in Brigham City, Utah.)  I was quick to come forth with the $5.00 he needed. (That was back in the day when $5.00 would actually buy some gas!)

I said, “Larry, I think you are “supposed” to have this money.”  The interesting thing was that I almost NEVER carry cash with me so it was very unusual that I even had $5.00.  Earlier that day as I had put gas in my car, I had felt inspired to get $5.00 back in cash from the credit card which I had used to make my gas purchase.

I thought, “Well, that’s a strange thing to do. I don’t know why I am doing this but I guess I’ll listen to the promptings and follow them.”  I had never previously asked for a cash advance and I have not since had reason to do so.  I was happy that I’d listened to the promptings of the Spirit and had the means to help a friend in need.

SILVER BEAVER AWARD

The 1993 night that I received the “Silver Beaver Award” was one of those nights full of Scouting Romance for me.  And when I celebrated and staged my own “Scouting Jubilee” event – that was jam-packed with Scouting Romance.  Every campfire program is a Scouting romance moment for me.  Reciting the Scout Oath with a bunch of fellow Scouters or sitting in the Eagle’s Nest are also romance moments.  Every time that I return to camp (as Director or otherwise) I am overcome with Scouting romance.

I’ve told you about my Wood Badge experiences.  Much of Scouting’s romance has come to me because of my Wood Badge activities.  The courses themselves were packed with nostalgic moments, the romance of Scouting.  One of these romantic experiences came after the course concluded (actually I’ve relived it several times).

It was my privilege on numerous occasions to present Wood Badge beads to members of my assigned patrols.  It was a special thing for me to be asked to recognize some of the wonderful Scouters with whom I’d rubbed shoulders for a week in the ultimate of Scouting’s adventures.

It was always fun on such occasions to relive some of the special times we had shared at the course, and to sing once again, the “Wood Badge Song”: ANTELOPE PATROL PATCH (I used to be an Antelope . . . , Etc. … and that would be me!)  Just singing that song brought new tears as we recalled the spiritual and emotional experience we had shared in the best of “Scouting Brotherhood”.

Wood Badge reunions were almost as much fun as the bead presentation ceremonies.  The wives of Wood Badgers were funny to watch on such occasions.  They couldn’t believe that their “reserved, quiet husbands” could ever have done the things their Wood Badge patrol members were saying that they did.  You kind of had to have been at the course to believe some of the stories we told.  And the singing by the first patrol of Wood Badge really catches the ladies off guard.

Ah, it just keeps getting better … the “romance of Scouting”!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

Excerpt taken from his “Scouting Trails” Book: “MR. SCOUTMASTER!” AT Scoutingtrails Connect with Kevin and read his article: “A Hundred Years of Scouting and What it Has Made Me” and others.

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Facebook Page

 

Songs and Being Crazy add to the Fun!

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Another Scouting adventure I recall is my acceptance of my first Cubmaster job.  I had been in Cub Scouting for a number of years but there was something special about being installed as a Cubmaster.  Since I accepted that first Cubmaster position, I’ve since served in that position for over seven years.  Now it is no longer at the “adventure” stage.  It has now reached the “fun” stage.  It’s great fun to go to the monthly pack meetings.  I feel comfortable with who and what I am, so I can go to those meetings to have a fun time.  And singing has always been a part of that pack meeting fun.

CUBMASTER FUN

It’s been fun over the years, as I have served as Cubmaster, getting up in front of the Cub Scouts and families and making a complete fool of myself through the crazy games, songs, and cheers.  It’s even more fun, however, to observe the shocked look on the faces of some of the parents as I get them involved in some of those crazy things also.  When first exposed to my uninhibited nature, some folks immediately go into a state of shock.

I’ve always told parents at my Cub Scout pack meetings, that if they don’t sit in the audience and PARTICIPATE in songs, claps and such things, then they’ll soon be up front leading them (and making a fool of themselves right along with me).

Parents quickly learn that I’m very serious about their participation and after the first couple of pack meetings, they loosen up a bit.  From then on, they all love our craziness as much as the rest of us who have been at it for a while.

I would class songs and campfire programs as part of the “fun” of Scouting and perhaps they also fit with “romance”.  Though I’ve heard the same songs and have seen the same lousy skits more than I’d care to say, they’re still fun each time I experience them again.  It may be that these programs are so traditional that much of our Scouting Spirit is derived from them.  For some unexplainable reason, the programs are still fun and they probably always will be.

I remember the special thrill of some other programs that were particularly fun.  Our “Gong Show” while in New Jersey at NEI (BSA’s National Executive Institute training for new professionals) is one of those special memories.  We were all rolling in the aisles laughing over that one.  Jack did his “Radio Act” and Charlie did “Jaberwocky”.  I started to lead a song but got “gonged”.  Our cottage had a goofy band and sang “Camp Town Races”.  I played the belt, someone else the spoons, jug, metal sign, etc.  Rob did his “Donald Duck routine” of the song “Hello, Dolly!”

GONG SHOW REGECT

I recall with pleasure, Paul and John doing the “Snake Catcher” skit at Bartlett, and a couple of crazy Del Webb staffers doing “The King, the Queen, and the Gate”.  I remember well, Wayne’s rendition of dumb “Ernie”.  I can still see him in those out-of-focus glasses and ear muffs.  He held us all spellbound. And how could one ever forget “Mahonri” doing his infamous “Yellow Bandana”?  Those were all great times.

I had a couple of favorites that I liked to do at campfire programs.  One was a song about a peg-legged man (with three legs).  This song was “Jake the Peg”.  I had heard my aunt and uncle sing this song on numerous occasions and had them send me a copy of it.  I wore a top coat and an old hat that was flatter than a pancake as I performed.

I also made an extra “leg” of wood and foam rubber.  It was the same size as my own leg, so it really looked authentic when I covered it with some old Scout pants.  One pocket of my coat was cut out completely so I could stick my hand down through it to manipulate “Jake”.  Some people said they could not even tell which leg was the peg leg as I danced around with it.

JAKE THE PEG KEVIN PHOTO

KEVIN WITH “JAKE THE PEG”

It has been great fun through the years to take “Jake” with me to Scouting events and program.  And he has gone with me to many a Halloween costume party.  I still chuckle every time that I think back to a comment made by a lady at one of these parties as she looked down and saw my third leg.  She said, “That is more man than I can handle!”

Another of my old favorites was a carry-over from my own days as a Gnubie at Camp Geronimo.  I can still see one of the staffers of twenty years ago putting us through the simpleton motions of “Little house in the middle of the woods …  Little old man by the window stood. … Saw a rabbit hopping by, … a knocking at his door.  ‘Help me! Help me! Help me!’, he cried …  ‘Before the hunter shoots me dead.’  … ‘Come little rabbit, come with me …  Oh! How happy we will be.'”

As we did this at our campfire programs, we changed it slightly.  I’d come out on “stage” and would start singing and going through the juvenile motions at the same time.  I’d act like it was the greatest song ever to hit the campfire program circuit.

The staff would let me get only about half way through the song before several of them would come and run me off stage. “Get out of here, old-timer!  You’re too old fashioned.  Things have changed…!”

After they got me off, they’d do their own “modern” version of the song.  They would sing: “In a pad in a forest green, …bubbbup …  Crazy Herman was surveying the scene. … bubbbupp … Saw a hare-man hopping by, … a rappin’ at his door …  ‘Like help! Like help!’ Came the plea … Before the hunter exterminates me. …bubbbup ….  ‘Crazy hare-man, jump and shout … Come in and we’ll hang out!'”

It was always fun to see the boys’ reactions as we did the little episode.  They especially liked it when staff would “rock out” on their version.

Another of my old camp favorites was one that I think was made famous by Gunner Berg, A Scouting enigma known throughout the entire Boy Scouts of America.  This was “Three Wood Pigeons”.  Again, however, our camp had its own uninspired version.  We changed the song to read, “Three … Turkey … Buzzards …!”   We had three “buzzards” on staff that really played their part to the ultimate.

WOOD PIGEONS PHOTO'

Songs were always my favorite part of campfire programs.  I enjoyed leading the songs whenever I had a chance.  And as I think of singing around a campfire, I think of another of my heroes.  I don’t know that he was ever a Scout, but his words aptly describe our efforts at music making.

Ralph Moody, a noted American writer (and one of my favorites), once wrote of his days growing up in the old West.  He was the boss of a job and from the way he describes his job and that of the workers, it sounds like his job was about like being a Scoutmaster or a Camp Director.  Often he and his guys would do a little singing, and as he described it …, “We didn’t sing either the words or the tunes the way they were supposed to be sung, but we were loud enough to make up for whatever we lacked in pitch or pronunciation.” (The Dry Divide, by Ralph Moody).

ADRY DIVIDE BY RALPH MOODYnd just a side note:  My wife and I raised our nine children without a television.  I spent hours reading to the group of kids every night.  One of the great book series we read together was Ralph Moody’s “Little Britches”.  I first learned about Ralph’s books when I was the age of a Scout.  And my clan of children enjoyed the eight books as much as I did.  I highly recommend them as a great read-aloud book for you to enjoy together.

Ralph Moody hit the nail on the head with me.  I always note that “they asked me not sing in the church choir” … but now that I am comfortable with my own singing attempts and desires to sing, I am afraid that I do make up for it in volume.  That’s about the way we were at Scout camps – and in singing too. We as a staff may not have been really great singers  but we had a lot of fun, and enjoyed doing it also.

I have fond memories of singing around the campfires with Scouts and Staffers.  I remember too, that some of my favorite songs at camp were our staff songs.  It was fun whenever we sang them at Camp Bartlett and other camps where I have worked through the years.  Even now, I can still hear the words of a couple of those. They were all “catchy little tunes” that kind of stuck with you for a while after hearing them.  I guess that is why I keep teaching those same songs in all of the camps where I work.  And I recently had fun leading songs at our “Scouting Commemoration Event” which I staged in my backyard cabin for the Scouts of my own troop.  Scout singing – at whatever level of quality – is one of the really fun elements of Scouting.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

Excerpt taken from his “Scouting Trails” Book: “MR. SCOUTMASTER!” AT Scoutingtrails Connect with Kevin and read his article: “A Hundred Years of Scouting and What it Has Made Me” and other of his blog articles in The Scouting Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fun, Adventure and Romance of Scouting

 

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian and Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Introductory Note:  I have noted before that I have been in Scouting forever.  And I have been keeping a detailed personal journal for most of that time.  So, “Mr. SCOUTMASTER!” brings together both of those elements.  Many of the experiences enlarged upon come as inspiration or even direct quotes from my journals and through a lifetime of Scouting experience.

ROCKWELL AND SCOUTS HAVING FUN

Norman Rockwel and Scouting Adventures

“FUN, ADVENTURE, AND ROMANCE …”  One of the Youth Leadership professors at Brigham Young University – the college I attended, talked extensively to us about the “Fun, Adventure, and Romance” of Scouting.  “Adventure,” he said, “Is when you do something for the first time.  “Fun” is when you repeat the adventure and still enjoy it.  And “Romance” is the Spirit of Scouting, the classy experiences that tie you to the program. Romance keeps you coming back for more fun and adventure.”

Scouting is full of opportunities for fun, adventure and romance.  As I recall my Scouting days, I have a flood of special memories of the fun, adventure and romance I have experienced through the years. I’d like to share many of those special memories with you and hope they may generate some memories of your own.  I hope that mine are of interest to you.  They come from my personal journals of true Scouting adventures over 50 years or so in Scouting.

Scouting, for me, is a way of life.  It is new activities and opportunities.  It is an attitude which allows me to be my true self.  Scouting is brotherhood at its best.  Scouting is a feeling, a special pride, a motivation for success.  It is opportunities for service to others, a desire to reach out.  Scouting embodies all that is good and desirable in citizenship, character and fitness.

KEVIN SCOUTING SILHOUETTE

Kevin enjoying a quiet Scouting Mountaintop Experience

Scouting is more than camping trips and a life of fun.  It is true “mountain-top” experiences that bring one closer to our God.  Scouting is personal growth and achievement and becoming all that is in us.  It is also motivating and inspiring young men to realize their own divine potential. Scouting meshes well with my personal priorities of church and family.  Scouting is a spirit, a commitment to excellence, now and in the future.

THE ADVENTURE OF NEW THINGS:

As I think about new things I think back to my days as a GNUBIE [A “FIRST-YEAR CAMPER].  I was really green then. I remember that first hike and wandering around in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains.  It wasn’t that we were lost, it’s just that it took us longer than planned to get there.  We did get to see the star of the old “Death Valley Days” television series when we ended up at the movie set out in the middle of nowhere.

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS IN ARIZONA

Arizona Superstition Mountains

I remember my first merit badge, Personal Finances.  They don’t even have that one any more.  I had to go ten miles away just to find a merit badge counselor.

I remember the first time that I went to Camp Geronimo.  I was sure scared with the story of the Mongollon Monster.

I remember when I was first made a Webelos Den Leader.  I was under age but we sure had some fun times.  I can still see (and hear) those four Webelos cubs as we went on a field trip to a bird farm.  They were hanging from the windows yell – singing, “Be Kind to Your Webbed Footed Friends”.  I was a Webelos Leader for two years and loved every minute of it.  It was great fun to build catapults and all of those other projects and activities which we did as a den.

It was a momentous day when I joined the ranks of Scouting professionals.  Another of my life-long dreams had come true.  It is funny, but I can still recall exactly what I did on my first day on the new job with the then Lake Bonneville Council in Ogden, Utah.  We did the inventory of the council office.  I can still count all those little Bobcat pins when I can’t get to sleep at night.

I remember too, my transfer from Ogden, Utah to Santa Barbara, California.  I had known for a few months that it was time for a transfer.  I had an interview with the Area Director, and he told me my chances for transfer were not real good at that time.  He said that professional moves had slowed a bit.

But for some reason, I knew that I was making a move.  As I closed camp that year, I prepared everything for a smooth transition for my successor.  I left my files and records in perfect order.

Right after camp, my wife and I headed for Santa Barbara for a regional conference for all professionals of the Boy Scouts of America.  On the way down there, we visited Yosemite for our first time.  Also, while stopped for the night in metropolitan Winnemucca, Nevada, one of my other dreams came true.

I had always wanted a tandem bike and we happened onto one that was a great deal.  We bought it, tied it to the top of our 3/4-ton Plymouth Horizon (just kidding about the ¾ tonpart) and it went with us to Santa Barbara.  We had a few breaks at the conference and enjoyed riding our bike down to the scenic Goleta Beach near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus where our conference was held.  Seeing the beach was another adventure for me.

While in Santa Barbara, I talked to the Area Director once again.  Within a few minutes, he had me in an interview.  From then on, things happened quickly.  Just a few hours later, we had agreed to accept a job in Beautiful Santa Barbara.  It was all so unbelievable but so exciting.  We had fallen in love with Santa Barbara on our brief visit there.

MISSION COUNCIL.jpg

 

We dashed home to wrap things up in Ogden. Back at the office, I made detailed records of the volunteers in my district, my units, the SME train plaque delivery, and coming activities.  I tried to leave detailed records that would be helpful for my replacement.  My Fieldbook was complete and in perfect order two weeks before my final day.  I’d also made agendas for all of my meetings for the next three months.

A fellow professional really laughed at me.  “That must be the ultimate, all packed and ready to move to Santa Barbara,” he said. I’ll have to admit that it was all very exciting.

We had many friends we wanted to see before our departure but not enough time to make the rounds to all of them.  We decided, instead, to have an open house for all of them at our home. We had a steady flow of friends come through for a two-hour period. It was especially hard to bid adieu to all of my Camp Loll and Bartlett staff friends who came.  We had shared some special times together.

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Mt. Ogden Peak Above Ogden, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went on a hike one Saturday with my good friend, Scott. Together we hiked to the top of Mt. Ogden Peak, the 10,000′ peak for which my district was named.  It was a neat experience to have that final activity together.  From the peak we could see nearly a hundred miles in every direction.

The Scouters of my district staged a going-away party for Lou Dene and me at one of my favorite places, the Lion’s Lodge in Morgan Canyon. Actually, we already had the evening scheduled for our district’s Top Team Conference but the agenda was altered a bit for the occasion.  It was a challenge to say goodbye to our many Scouting friends.  After five years with them, it was difficult to leave.

The trip to Santa Barbara, California went smoothly for us.  Our three girls enjoyed taking their turns with me in the moving van.  My first day at the Mission Council was somewhat of a shock.  My predecessor had left no records for me.  There was nothing to work with: no fieldbook, no agendas, no documentation.  It was like making a cake from scratch with no recipe.

I remember another first at Santa Barbara.  The first or second day I was there, my new Advancement Chairman, Ihsan, took me to lunch.  That was the beginning of a Scouting friendship that has out- lasted my professional service in Santa Barbara. Ihsan, who was from the Middle East, kind of adopted my family and me.  That was the beginning of a long and enjoyable association with Ihsan.  Our families have remained friends forever.

More later …

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin

Excerpt taken from his “Mr. Scoutmaster!” Book Scouting Trails. Connect with Kevin and read his article: “A Hundred Years of Scouting and What it Has Made Me” in The Scouting Trail

© Kevin V. Hunt 2016

 

January Webcasts on the New Cub Scouting Program

As you know, a new Cub Scouting program is launching June 1, 2015 that will be more fun and exciting for boys, and easier to implement for unit leaders.  To ensure units are ready to make the transition, a series of webcasts will be hosted in January.  The webcasts will outline the coming changes, how to prepare, and when resources will be available. 

Help spread the word about the webcasts.

Cubmaster Webcasts –             

Saturday, January 17 at 8:00am (Central)

Saturday, January 17 at 3:00pm (Central)

Den Leader Webcasts –             

Saturday, January 17 at 9:30am (Central)

Saturday, January 17 at 4:30pm (Central)

LDS-Specific Considerations * –

Saturday, January 17 at 11:00am (Central)

Saturday, January 17 at 6:00pm (Central)

* It is recommended that those interested in the LDS session view one of the role-specific sessions first.

Although the content will be geared to the roles listed, anyone with an interest in learning about the new Cub Scouting program is welcome to attend. 

The sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

It’s easy to attend!  Just navigate your Internet browser to: http://www.livestream.com/bsanationalcouncil and you are ready to view the webcast!  

Help spread the word about the Webcasts to ensure units are ready for the new Cub Scouting program! 

As always, for more information on the new Cub Scouting Program, please log on to www.scouting.org/programupdates.