The Romance of Scouting – An Intriguing Subject!



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.


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.


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.


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.

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Thoughts on Scouting Safely

Featured in the LDS Relations November 2014 Newsletter –

Am I insured for that? Safety Button for Website

Unfortunately this is a question often asked only after there has been an accident or injury. We live in litigious society. As a Scout leader, you may want to ask yourself before an accident occurs: “Am I insured for that?” Any time a leader is involved in an activity with others; there is a possibility of personal injury or property damage. To provide yourself the best protection possible, you need to pre-plan, organize and carry out safe activities. In order to understand whether you are “insured for that” there are generally three potential sources of compensation to leaders involving claims arising out of a Scouting activity, (1) BSA insurance, (2) personal insurance and (3) Church funds. Let us examine the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) website to see what protection is offered (see;

Comprehensive General Liability Insurance9315061447_33ccca520a_m

The Boy Scouts of America provides primary general liability coverage for registered volunteer Scouters with respect to claims arising out of an official Scouting activity. This coverage responds to allegations of negligent actions by third parties that results in personal injury or property damage claim that is made and provides protection for Scouting units, volunteer Scouts and chartering organizations.

Registered volunteers are provided primary coverage through the BSA general liability program, but not for vehicle or maritime (watercraft) liability, which is only on an excess basis; the owner’s vehicle or maritime (watercraft) liability is primary. This insurance is available only while the vehicle or watercraft is in the actual use of a Scouting unit and being used for a Scouting purpose.

The insurance provided to unregistered Scouting volunteers through the general liability insurance program is excess over any other insurance the volunteer might have to his or her benefit, usually a homeowners, personal liability, or auto liability policy..

An “Official Scouting Activity” means “an activity that is consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.” However, the general liability policy does not provide indemnification or defense coverage to those individuals who commit intentional and/or criminal acts. 9319301782_9ef36f7078_m

“Primary coverage” means BSA pays first without regard to any other insurance whereas “excess coverage” means after all other insurance has been utilized.

The term “Official Scouting Activity” is central because the BSA takes the position Scout leaders must reasonably follow the Guide to Safe Scouting (see ). By following these guidelines you have the best opportunity to prevent injury or loss to you and the Scouts in your care. The BSA has determined that failure by a leader to abide by the Guide to Safe Scouting sub-section on “Unauthorized and Restricted Activities” will result in the denial of liability insurance coverage from the BSA for all leaders connected with the activity, the chartering (sponsoring) unit, the Church as the sponsoring organization, and the local BSA Council. Please do not jeopardize coverage for yourself, others, and the Church by engaging in unauthorized and restricted activities.

In regards to liability protection for Church activities…some leaders are under the mistaken belief that when you are engaged in your calling, the Church will automatically provide some form of insurance. Such is not the case. For most incidents the Church does not have insurance and uses its own resources to pay a claim. For liability guidance from the Church, see Handbook 2, Insurance – Personal Liability Insurance (13.6.9) which states: “Where possible, those who oversee activities should protect themselves by carrying reasonable amounts of liability insurance? Such insurance may be available through homeowners insurance or other policies.”

When a Church or activity leader is responsible for, or participating in a Church-sponsored activity, the guidelines found in the Handbook are in effect. Since the Church is self- pay, the Church typically reviews each claim carefully and individually before making a decision about committing tithing funds towards a specific claim. As members, we have the responsibility to follow the counsel given to us in the recent First Presidency letter emphasizing safety and loss prevention – “Safety in Church Activities” which can be found at

So when I am serving as a BSA leader, how do I make sure “I am insured for that?”

  • Make certain you are properly registered and
  • Use the tour plan process and ensure that you have appropriately planned, prepared, and can carry out a safe activity. Tour plans also ensure that the appropriate parties are notified of your
  • Always follow the Guide to Safe
  • Carry reasonable amounts of auto, watercraft, and homeowner’s liability

One final point, if you are ever involved in an incident where someone is injured or property is damaged, report the incident immediately to your local BSA Council, your Bishop, and your insurance agent. Contact LDS Church Risk Management if you have questions regarding incidents or claims.

If you have further questions regarding BSA insurance, visit the Scouting Safely website or contact them online; you can also contact the Church’s Risk Management Division for information regarding Church guidelines at 866-LDS-RISK.