Scouts, Sticks and Knives Just Seem to go Together

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By Kevin V. Hunt

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

Through my years in Scouting and working at Scout camps, I have learned that Scouts, sticks and knives just seem to go together.  They seem inseparable. There is something special about creating something with wood.  And carving seems to be the ultimate.

A few years ago I was the Camp Director of Camp Bartlett.  Those were glorious days!  When I had a rare few minutes to myself, I enjoyed working with wood.  One summer I created a new cradle for the upcoming birth of a new daughter.  I usually had only a couple of free hours each Saturday – after the Scouts had gone home – but I got out a small hand keyhole saw – the only saw I had at camp – and fashioned the beautiful cradle (which we used for several of our children).

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Kevin Hunt the Walking Stick Carver

And I also loved to carve on walking sticks.  That action was therapeutic for me.  It was fun to just get a stick and go sit out in the woods to carve.  It was fun, too, to see the enthusiasm that the Scouts had as they found me carving.  I could be anywhere on a remote log and within a few minutes I would have a couple of Scouts there on the log with me.  We’d talk about my carving and then I would start to ask them about the camp.  “So, what merit badges are you working on this week?”  “How do you like …?”  “Who is your favorite counselor …?”  And it was amazing what I could find out about the camp.  Using this method, I could learn about everything and a lot about my staff.  And the staff was real frustrated.  They wondered how I could know so much about what was going on.  I didn’t let onto my secret.  I carved a stick just for Camp Bartlett and it still brings me joy and memories today.

That carving tradition continues to today.  While I was at the Thunder Ridge Scout Camp this past summer (in all of its wanderings), I enjoyed showing scouts and leaders some of my carved walking sticks.  Everywhere I went, the boys were especially interested in them.  They were all very intrigued with the carving process and the end result.  I noted too, that still today, it appears that all scouts love to carve, carve, and carve sticks.  In fact, they just love to use the knife and go for it – sometimes with nothing in mind.  But, yet, they carve on.  And Scout camp is a great place to do that.  For at camp, Scouts can earn their “Totin’ Chip Award … that special card that opens up the world of knives and carving to every Scout.  And sticks at camp … we all know that there is a plethora of sticks to be carved on while at camp. There is an ample supply for all.

   THUNDER RIDGE STICK CARVED BY KEVIN HUNT  
2017 THUNDER RIDGE WALKING STICK CARVED BY KEVIN HUNT

Since everyone seemed to be really intrigued with my sticks and carving, I thought that you might enjoy reading a recent blog that I posted in the Voice of Scouting on the subject.  Here is what I wrote:  https://voiceofscouting.org/camp-scouts-sticks-knives

In the blog article, I share facts about how I got my carving start (as a Scout in the Woodcarving merit badge), my walking stick hobby and how I acquired my own carving knife.  I’d also like to share of a knife tradition in my own family.  Our son-in-law, J.D., brought this tradition to our family. For a couple of generations in his family, they have had the tradition of giving a knife to each son as he turns twelve.  And it is just not just any old knife.  It is the best of the “Old Timer” brand and in the grand “Old Timer” tradition.  And it is a pretty cool tradition.  (Read more about the Old Timer here: https://www.knife-depot.com/learn/old-timer-knives

 

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Dad giving son his own “Old Timer” pocket knife

I have been a part of the family tradition as I have experienced it with three of the five sons (so far). At the 12th birthday celebration – as each son comes of age, the dad presents the son with his own new “Old Timer” knife with due pomp and ceremony (kind of like a “right of passage” deal).  And I guess JD got the same knife from his dad when he turned twelve.  Anyway, at each of these three presentations, the Stoddard grandpa has been present to assist with the knife presentation.  So, it has been JD, his father, and each son who has already received his knife – all up there together.  At this last ceremony, my own father – then age 88, was present.  Was I ever surprised when he pulled his own “Old Timer” from his own pocket – and joined the presentation tradition.  And knowing that I had a Scout whittling knife, they brought me up to be an “honorary Old Timer” (though I could have had the title based on age alone).

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Stoddard family “Old Timer” Knife Tradition

It was a grand occasion and I was proud to be a part of it.  And I am sure that the other two boys are counting down the days until they get their own knives.  Maybe, too, I’ll have to invest in one of them “Old Timers” myself .  It looks like an elite group!

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Silhouette of Kevin Hunt’s Carved Walking Sticks

Knives, boys (and men), sticks and carving.  It just seems to be a “guy thing” that most of us have born in us.  (But my wife is carving her first stick now … all that time in Scout camp is working on her brain – and her pocketknife!)  Carving … Let’s keep doing it! Carve, carve, carve …

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevinthescoutblogger

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 e-mail: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

Franklin District 2017 Klondike – Thank you Camp Chef for your support!

What a weekend! There was plenty of cold, snow and fun to be had at the Franklin District Klondike the weekend of February 24-25. By the time 9:00 p.m. came, Friday night, you couldn’t find a place to park at the Copenhagen Campground up near Strawberry Summit. Everybody pretty well spent their time digging and preparing their places of sleep for the night.

At 7:30 p.m. we all gathered around a campfire and through the blowing and drifting snow listened to a guest speaker, Jed Nield from Afton (Crow Creek) Wyoming.  He told of an experience he had 10 years ago while drilling holes for dynamite to blast for JR Simplot.  He got wrapped up in the drill and lost his left arm and his right leg as a result of the accident.  It was very faith promoting as he still maintains a great desire to live and can do many things in spite of his loss of limbs.  All the boys and leaders were very attentive to the program.

After the program the boys were just excited to get out of the cold weather and into their new home away from home.  It was 12 degrees at 4:00 p.m. and a breeze blowing which I am sure with the windchill brought the temperature down to below 0 degrees after the keynote speaker.

At 8:30 a.m. the following morning, a flag ceremony began the days events and A Klondike race and Snow ball toss began.

The Klondike race consisted of 4 Troops at a time pulling their sleds with one rider and as many pulling and pushing as they could with the remaining group running along beside the sled. A snowmobile made track to the 1st Station.  Station 1 consisted of a race to see who could pile up snow to the bottom level of a pre-placed marker.  After that it was off to the Station 2.  Station 2 was a snowshoe race.  Each troop took their fastest man and put him in snow shoes.  He then raced to a stations some 50 yards away and grabbed a pre-placed red ribbon which he needed to carry throughout the remainder of the race.  Off to Station 3.  Station 3 involved the placement of a bale of straw on the sled and taking it across a designated finish line.

The 3 fasted teams/troops were awarded one of three Camp Chef Stoves,  which Camp Chef generously donated.  One was a two burner, one a 3 burner with fold out shelves, and one a 3 burner with shelves and a griddle for cooking bacon, pancakes etc.  Thank you Camp Chef!

As each of the Troops finished up the Klondike race they then went to a snow ball toss contest.  They were awarded points for the number of bottles they knocked down, the ability to hit a moving target, and the skill of hitting a stationary target.  The 3 best winners of the Snow Ball Toss received a certificate to receive a pizza from one of the local Pizza Places in town.

It was cold on Saturday, but you would never know it as you watched the youth have fun.

We awarded all of the prizes, had donuts and hot chocolate furnished by the Preston South Stake and began to clean up and head home.

Our thanks goes out to all who made this possible.  We had a great attendance with somewhere between 60 and 70 boys,( we haven’t got an exact count as yet) and another 30 or so leaders.  I would like to really express my thanks to the Preston South Stake Young Men’s Presidency who worked so hard to make it all happen.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

By Robert Child img_0049img_0050img_0051

All in the Name of High Adventure

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

One of my previous blogs introduced the Fun, Adventure and Romance of Scouting.  In that blog I quoted one of my BYU Professors who liked to discourse on this Subject.  “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.”   I decided to write about a recent activity that I participated in with my wife and youngest daughter.  One could say that it was “all in the name of high adventure”.

Our adventure began the day after Christmas.    My wife and I were both off of school for a couple of weeks.  We left our home in sunny Arizona (65 degrees) and headed through Utah and Idaho to take our youngest daughter, Larissa, up to attend college at BYU-Idaho.   I don’t know if taking the daughter to college was an adventure or fun by the above definition.  It was not the first time for such an event.  She was the seventh child that we have sent off to college.  And we have sent off the same number of missionaries.  And I might add that it doesn’t get any easier sending the kids off – even with the numbers.    (As a side note:  one son graduated from Dixie College in St. George, one son graduated from Ferris State University in Michigan – and four daughters maintained a very strong tradition as they all followed their mother to Snow College. Another son also attended college – but he went to Arizona State University close to home.   Four children have B.S. degrees and two daughters have A.S. degrees – so far.)

The adventure came more because of the weather.  It was kind of crazy for an old Arizona desert rat.  In another previous blog, I shared information about the Crazy Arizona Weather.  You might enjoy reading that blog if you haven’t already – so you’ll know where we were coming from.  December weather in Arizona is usually pretty nice and this year was no exception.  And while we were enjoying our winter, we sought out the extended weather report for Utah and Idaho.  My wife was very meticulous in this task – almost to obsession.   She checked all of the possible routes – including Highway 89 which we generally prefer (through Flagstaff and Jacob Lake).

Our trip to Utah and Idaho soon grew into an adventure.  I am not sure that it would be classed as fun – and I am certain that it wasn’t romance.   It wasn’t fun – doing something for the first time – and it was not an adventure that was still fun.  But, we pressed on.  We were able to go up our chosen route and got to see our son and his wife and children in St. George en route for a couple of days.  The trip on to Salt Lake City was pretty pleasant and “normal”.  The snow that hit with a vengeance on Christmas Day had kind of stabilized – though we saw results of it everywhere we went (including in Flagstaff and Jacob Lake) but the roads were still passable and okay.

The true adventure (if that is what you would call it) came as we traveled in the darkness on Interstate 15 toward Idaho Falls (where we would stay with a daughter and her family).  As we pulled into Idaho Falls early that night we saw the snow banks everywhere and rejoiced that the roads were still clear.  And we were in complete shock as the temperature was a chilly seven degrees.   We survived the trip and made it safely to our daughter’s home.  We were glad that they had reserved us a space for our car in their garage – since we wondered if our Arizona car would survive otherwise.

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Snow in Idaho Falls, Idaho January 1, 2017

As we traveled the freeway toward Idaho Falls that night, Lou and I (almost simultaneously) both began to remember back to a former day – and a true winter high adventure – or a couple of them – along the same route.  And both of these were Scouting adventures.  (I don’t know what happens to the “adventure” when “high” is added to it.  Does that talk of altitude or added exhilaration in the adventure?)

Anyway, the first winter high adventure outing happened just three months after Lou and I were married (back in the dark ages).  In those days the Lake Bonneville Council (Now Trapper Trails) sponsored a winter high adventure “super activity” up at West Yellowstone (Montana).  This was for Explorers or Venturers and even Varsity scouts.  Traditionally, this was staged on the days following Christmas and through New Year’s Day.   And with the Scouts, there was often room for some adults to join the party.  So, Lou and I were able to tag along for the ride.

Again, my journal records the details of that high adventure trip:

December 27th,

We continued north through wind and snowy roads to West Yellowstone Park.  We will be snowmobiling from here tomorrow.  Delose Conner – the Camp Loll Director – and his staff were already there – after riding all day today.  We spent the night in the “Three Bears Lodge”.   (I had served with Delose as his Assistant Camp Director that summer – a few months before – so I knew all of these Camp Loll staffers and they were my friends, too.  We had a wedding to attend yesterday or we would have been on the machines with them today.)

 

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Three Bear Lodge – Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

December 28th

We ate breakfast this morning at the “Three Bears Restaurant”.  At 9:00 Am we met in the parking lot and were assigned our snowmobiles.  We were dressed in three or four layers of clothing – including a snow suit.  We wore knitted face masks – plus a sock cap.  We also had our own gloves inside the large mittens which were given to us.  LouDene and I rode together on machine #157 – a Pantera – made by Arctic Cat.

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Arctic Cat – Pantera

We could only take driving for a short time so had to keep switching places.  It was at this time right at 50 degrees below zero – when accounting for the “wind chill factor”.  [I am surprised that we could still be alive in that kind of weather.]  While on the back, our hands could get relatively warm (but that is an interesting statement).

snowmobiling-buffalo-herdWe saw two herds of buffalo, many elk herds and a very large bull elk.  The trees and everything was snow-covered and the sky was overcast.  We stopped at Madison Junction for a few minutes to warm up at the fire and to use the restrooms.  We continued onto Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park.  old-faithful-geyserWe saw the Old Faithful geyser spout off steam and water.  We stayed in the lodge for nearly two hours warming up and eating out box lunch.  A girl from post 97 (in my Mt. Ogden Scouting District) had back problems to this delayed us.  The post advisor and I knelt in the corner and gave her a priesthood blessing.  She improved greatly and rode back on the snow transport.

Lou Dene was driving the machine and hit a bump wrong.  The machine dumped us in the snow and then kept going for about 40 feet.  It ran into a tree and dented the front grill on the machine and broke the front windshield.

We didn’t get back until after dark.  We enjoyed the trip – despite the cold.  We traveled a total of 60 miles by the machines.  It was quite the trip.  It was ONLY 10 degrees below zero when we returned.  We were happy to go to bed at 8:30 PM after eating dinner in the lodge.

December 29th

The temperature this morning was 51 degrees below zero.  Our truck would not start because our battery and gas lines were frozen for a few hours.  [And this was the case for probably every vehicle in town.  So, the mode of the few automotive places in town was to tow vehicles to their garages and where they could sit for a while to warm up.  Such was the case with us.  We had to wait our turn to get towed.]  So, we stayed in the motel room for a few hours.  LouDene watched TV and I read a few chapters from 1 Chronicles.   We just about froze ourselves each time we went outside.  Finally Tim Chamberlain, of the council staff, towed the truck to the service station with the council van.

The men at the station were slower than molasses so they didn’t get the truck going until about 7:00 PM.  They put it in the garage – which warmed up the oil, gas lines, etc. and connected an electric battery charger to it and then it started right up.  [So, then we had a choice to make.  It really was too late to be starting a long trip – in the snow – toward Ogden.  But, if we stayed overnight, then we would likely face the same kind of day tomorrow.  We finally opted to go for it.  So, we ate dinner and then departed south – even though it was late and was still snowing.  We drove to the home of Lou’s sister in Pocatello and spent the night – although they were gone at the time.

As if that trip was not enough high adventure we decided to make the trip two winters later.  (Probably gluttons for punishment – but we did it.)  This time I recruited or invited volunteers from my Mt. Ogden District to join us on the adventure.  And many folks were intrigued and signed up to go with us.  Again the journal details the adventure:

December 30th

LouDene and I and our daughters – Jackie, a 15-month old toddler, and Jenae, a 1-month old new-born – left Ogden at 7:00 AM and met Ron Smith, Bill, Clara and Larry Larsen, Russ Myers – with his wife, Barbara, sister Laura  and LeDeen Bartshchi – at the 31st Street freeway entrance.  We caravanned together to West Yellowstone, Montana.  Tim Chamberlain (formerly on the Ogden Scout staff) rode with us as far as Idaho Falls.  It was fun to talk to Tim again.  He is always an interesting talker.  He drove a lease car to Ogden and needed a ride back to his current home in Idaho.  We ate lunch in Idaho Falls.  We arrived in West Yellowstone about 2:00 PM.  We got checked into the “3 Bear Lodge” motel.  Others of our district met us there and they included Wade and Eulalia Combe and their son, Robert, and daughter, Jana, Rich Ordyna and his wife, Phil and Dionne Halverson, and Wyatt and Karen Pectol.  We all plan to go snowmobiling tomorrow.

We ate a nice meal at the lodge restaurant.  We then had an orientation meeting and then had the rest of the evening free.  Lou and I watched a movie – called “The Mating Season”.  The movie had a couple of bad inferences but was basically pretty good.  All of the time we watched the movie we tried to get the girls to sleep.  Jackie thought that there was too much action for sleeping and Jenae was quite sick and had trouble breathing because of her cold.  I gave her a priesthood blessing in hopes that this would help her to rest better.

There is hardly any snow here and the temperature is warm – not at all like the trip we made just two years ago.  That trip was a real joke – with snow everywhere and 50 degree below zero weather.

December 31st

We ate breakfast at 7:00 this morning.  After an hour or so we were ready to head out on the snowmobiles.  It took a few minutes to warm them up and then we headed out for the day.   LouDene stayed at the motel with the girls since we didn’t have anyone to leave them with.  I rode with a kid named Rob Godfrey.  He just returned from a mission to Japan and is on the trip as an adult with the boys from the Ogden 55th Ward (also from my district).  There was an add number of people in each of our groups so they had us go together.  Ray Chase, of the council staff, was the guide on our trip.

We headed south with Two Top Mountain as our destination.  We traveled all morning making occasional rest stops.  Rob and I traded off driving throughout the day and it worked out quite well.  We visited along the way also.  He was a sharp kid. [I say “kid” but I was only age 26 then myself.]

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Rob Godfrey snowmobiling

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We stopped for a box lunch at Idaho Big Springs Resort.  Several people from Morgan – including Bob Peterson, Jerry Betournay and Larry Newton were there.  We then went to Two Top Mountain.  The trip was beautiful.  They let us go on our own for a half hour or so.   Rob and I went up and down the mountain several times.  He was a good driver so could go quite fast.  We did hit a small tree and were worried that we had damaged the machine.  We were very lucky and didn’t hurt it at all – since any damage that we did we’d have to pay for ourselves.

From Two Top we could see about 200 miles in each direction.  The Teton Peaks were visible to the South were really beautiful.  snowmobiling-3-on-two-top-mountainThe snow had banked and froze around the trees and this was also beautiful.  We could not have had better weather.  It was sunny and very warm.  I didn’t even have to wear gloves most of the day.  (This was markedly different from the last time we were here.)  All in all, the trip was really super.

We got back to the Three Bear Lodge about 6:00 Pm after traveling about 75 miles.  Lou and I and the girls then headed over for dinner at the restaurant.  And since it was New Year’s Eve, we decided to have a little party with everyone who came with us.  We went to the conference room in the Tipi Lodge.  Everyone but the Larsens came for a while.  We played “Aggravation” and “Uno”.  I spent some district funds and bought all kinds of crackers, cookies, candy and pop.  We all ate until we could eat no more.  We managed to stay until about 10:45 PM.  Everyone was too tired to go until the new year.

January 1st,

We ate breakfast at the Three Bear Restaurant and said goodbye to everyone.  We then packed and made preparations to head for home.  We decided to again travel with Russ Myers and his three-woman harem.  The drive south was beautiful.   We saw Two Top Mountain where we went yesterday.  The sky was clear and blue until Malad where we hit dense fog.  We had bad fog until Ogden.  We could hardly see in places.  We arrived home about 4:00 Pm.  We really enjoyed our trip.  It was fun!  I was glad that we went up there.  (But I felt miserable with an aching back – from my snowmobiling, a splitting headache, and a cold – so we went to bed at the unheard of hour of 8:15 PM.

Wow!  Those trips were real “high adventure”.    They truly were!

I close this blog with a high adventure story from my own mother – and which I have often quoted.   Dad always took me and my four brothers (and sometimes the two sisters) up deer hunting.  We went in Utah and in Arizona – often in the same trip.  And our Hunt family hunted in the same grounds – south and a bit west of Enterprise, Utah for 6 generations and 45 years.  (I just went along for the marshmallow roast but those were grand times!)  Anyway, this one year as we headed to Utah, the weather was projected to be really bad – and it kind of was.  We had this neighbor lady who had nothing else to do but worry about what was going on with the Hunt family across the street.  And so, as we were gone, she would come over every few minutes to visit with my mom – and each time would give her an updated and even worse weather report – adding the thought, “What if they …”  Finally my mother needed to silence her.  She called her by name and said, “Mrs. L., if they didn’t think that something like that MIGHT POSSIBLY HAPPEN TO THEM, they wouldn’t have gone at all.”  My mother had vision.  And she was a super Scout mom too!  And she looked good flying those five miniature Eagle pins in flight formation on her shirt!

Oh, and we did make it back from our recent adventure trip (or whatever it was) from Idaho.  We did have to leave a day or two earlier – because my wife learned about the projected snow that was coming.  We had snow in Idaho and clouds in Utah – but the roads were clear.  And we were successful in getting our daughter up to College.  Larissa is used to adventures – even Scouting adventures.  She was on staff with us at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp in Colorado and literally flew out from the camp for her mission to Minnesota (where she had an adventure with the snow, ice and cold).  She spent this past summer with us at Scout Camp New Fork in Wyoming – as our climbing director and It was Quite the Summer at Camp New Fork 2016.  And so now, she begins her own new adventure … and maybe some fun … and who knows … maybe some romance (but she is in bit of a panic about that first kiss)!   And this time we – now just Lou and I – did return home via Las Vegas – since snow really was projected for Flagstaff and Jacob Lake.   It was not surprising but wonderful that we came home to beautiful blue skies.  (Kind of rough … but I guess someone has to do it!)

Ah, the “fun, adventure, and romance of Scouting!”   Yes, … Scouting high adventure!  The opportunities are endless!  Let’s get all that we can!  It can really put the “high” in Scouting for all of us!

Best wishes on your own Scouting [high adventure] trails …

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

 

 

It Was Quite the Summer at Camp New Fork 2016

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

Before the summer of 2016 began, I wrote in a blog about my Hunt family plans for the coming summer.  In that article, I wrote:   “Well, it is summer time and that means it is time to be off on another summer camp adventure and a blogging hiatus for me – the Scout Blogger.”   We went to Camp New Fork in Wyoming, and I would say, “It was Quite the Summer at Camp New Fork 2016”.

“In the non-camp season, I find myself being a school bus driver.  And I say that I do that job “just so that I can work at Scout Camp in the summer time”.  And my wife is a teacher …  So, that means that we both are free in the summer (but with no income). Now, granted, we could go to work at McDonald’s or Taco Bell, but that doesn’t sound real fun.  So, it means that we are free to go off and help at Scout Camps.  Now that really sounds exciting to me!”  And this year we’ll be in Wyoming at Camp New Fork – operated by the Trapper Trails Council located in Ogden, Utah.

After I got up to Camp New Fork, I thought about the adventures that we were experiencing and decided to blog about the whole summer.  And so it was that I decided to blog about my summer at Camp New Fork – operated by the Trapper Trails Council – and located at the base of the Wind River Mountains in western Wyoming.  It was my hope that you might relate to the stories that I would tell, the mundane things, and the great, wonderful and exciting adventures of Scout summer camp.  I was off and running on my summer blogging.  And then along the way, I took a plethora of photographs and have now included them with the blog articles.

And while I was at it, I decided to dedicate the blog series to those thousands of Camp Directors, Program Directors, area directors and camp staff members who make it happen each summer.  I said, “Thanks, guys and gals, for your dedicated efforts and unselfish service.  I know you don’t get paid enough to have that as your main reward.  I know that it goes a lot deeper than that …  it’s something that’s up in our heads, deep in our hearts, down in our feet and all over you – and me – us … to stay!  We could probably sum it up by saying that it’s the Scouting Spirit and knowing from long experience how that spirit can touch the lives of Scouts and leaders everywhere.  I know that’s what keeps me going and why I keep doing it year after year.”

So, that was the beginning of a great summer.  And now the summer is over and the blogging too, has been created as a piece of history.  I invite you to review the summer through my eyes.  There were eight blogs – one for each week – but then there is also my summer introductory blog – and one about a side trip to Camp Bartlett.  So, really there are ten blogs.  So, here it is … a daily account of one wonderful camp and how they (or we) pulled together and made it happen.”   Here are the ten blogs and links to each of them:

Blog #1:  Summer Camp Adventures

NEW FORK

In my summer intro blog, I wrote: “It was 5:15 AM and I couldn’t sleep.  Grrr!  What is the deal …  This was a day off – I told myself.  I was out of school for the summer and I really could have slept in for another two or three hours.  … I lay there musing and my mind began to race about my pending summer camp adventure.  Scout camp!  Wow!  Just the thought of it gets my adrenaline pumping.

I started thinking of the grand times that I have had over the years.  So, in this blog I wrote about the many Scout camps that I have had the privilege to serve at through the years.

 

In that first blog about Camp New Fork,  I wrote about the staff training and camp set-up week.  I wrote:

Blog #2: Preparing the Camp and the Staff

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“It’s summer …  that grand time that all Scouts wait for all year long … the time to go to Scout camp.  All over the country about now, Scouts are heading to camp.  And in those same camps, Camp Directors, Program Directors, Area Directors and a multitude – yes, many thousands of staff members have been working feverishly to prepare for those hundreds of thousands of Scouts who will be coming to their camps.  The story is not new.  And the story is not unique to a particular camp, camp director or staff.  But, I guess the unique thing about me is that I take the time  (make it a priority) to write and blog about those camp experiences.

As my or our story begins, my wife, daughter, Larissa, and one other staff member made our way north from Arizona to work at Camp New Fork in far away Wyoming – a journey of right at a thousand miles one way.  (Crazy … Yeah, I know)  I was to be the camp Program Director, my wife was to be the head Commissioner, and Larissa was fresh out of the National Camp School (held at Camp Tracy in Salt Lake City) and quite nervous and anxious but enthusiastic about being the Climbing and Cope Director.    And so our 2016 camp adventure story begins:

Blog #3: We Roll out the Thunder – Scout Week #1

BEAR CARVING 12 FINISHED

Roll out the Thunder …  that was us as a staff.  We had just survived a big staff week wherein we worked hard to get the camp set up for Scouts – and the staff in gear and ready to hit the parade ground running.  “Roll out the Thunder” is actually the staff song for the camp New Fork staff and we loved to sing it with gusto.  It got us charged up and ready to serve the Scouts who would come to us – or who were already there with us.  So, we sang it with enthusiasm at that first flag ceremony with our first group of Scouts and troops.

Roll out the Thunder, Boys! …  I love that song and it was a thrill each time that we sang it:

Roll out the thunder, boys!  We’ll never go under boys!

We are the Camp New Fork staff, you see.

We are the Camp New Fork staff that’s me.

We can hike the whole day through, row or paddle a canoe.

We can shoot or swim or track a bear o’er the mountains and we’ll

Roll out the thunder boys!  We’ll never go under boys!

Yes, I think we were ready for our first Scouts.  My journal tells all of the details … Our first week of Scouts – Camp New Fork 2016 Session 1 …

Right after our first week of Scouts, I took my wife, Lou, and four New Fork Staffers (the best) and we made a Saturday trip to Camp Bartlett – where I had served thirty plus years ago as the Camp Director.  Here is my record of that adventure:

Blog #4: Camp Bartlett Lodge Re-dedication

BARTLETT LODGE 2

 

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my plans for the summer.  I wrote about the dream of returning to Camp Bartlett.  I noted in my blog article The Camp Bartlett Lodge New, Old and New Again“ that I looked forward with great anticipation to the Camp Bartlett Lodge Rededication festivities.

In that article, I said, “It hardly seems possible now – looking back from 2016 – that I was the Camp Director at Camp Bartlett in 1980 when the “new” lodge was first created.  So, I got to use the lodge in its true glory day as a brand new structure built for the use of the staff and Scouts and leaders who would come to camp through the coming years.”

And, in fact, I had the privilege of seeing the planted structure rise from the ground (I was going to say “dry ground” – but it was far from dry) up to the grand lodge that it became.   And I got to use it as Camp Director for two summers after its completion. What a great blessing and opportunity!

Blog #5: We Hit the Trail Running Scout Week #2

New Fork Staff at campfire program

New Fork Staff at Campfire program

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.

Blog #6: A Small Scout Group with the 4th of July Scout Week #3

FLAG CEREMONY FULL GROUP GREAT

 

Well, we made it through our first two weeks of camp – and did it in grand style.  And just when we were geared up for big things, with the staff all enthused and energetic – and kind of knowing what they were doing, … along came the 4th of July week.  This proved to be kind of a “bummer” because we had only about 30 Scouts in camp – and a lot of staff to keep entertained even with a trimmed-down schedule.  But the week – or at least Monday the 4th of July, we were able to stage a few events to help us remember and celebrate our great country of The United States of America.

Blog #7: Accreditation and Great Days for Up Scout Week #4

climbing-jeremy-bell-with-frank-browning

Our fourth session of Scouts at Camp New Fork – but with the Staff week, really our sixth week of camp was a lot of fun.  There were positive things going on everywhere.  A big event of the week was the visit by the Camp Accreditation team – wherein a group of red-coat Scouters come to “inspect” the camp and to make sure that everything is safe and that the camp has a good program.  Another theme for the week came from one of my all-time favorite authors – Dr. Seuss.  I think the guy was fabulous.  I love to read his stories to my grandchildren and I have a collection of most of his books.  Often during morning flag ceremonies at Camp New Fork – or at least once in each week – I would quote Dr. Seuss as I released the Scouts to head off for their camp day.  I would say, “As Dr. Seuss says, “It’s a great day for UP!”  Make it an UP day!”  So, this 4th Session of Camp – our 5th Week can be summed up with “Accreditation and Great Days for UP!”

Blog #8: Crosses to Bear and Scoutmasters Flip and Flop in Style Scout Week #5

SERVICE PROJECT ALL BEARING CROSSES 3

We had a lot of fun activities at Camp New Fork over the 2016 summer, but the Scoutmaster belly flop event – part of the Bull Run – has to have been one of the truly momentous adventures – for them and us.  It began with a lot of flops in our fifth week of Scouts and our sixth week of the summer adventure (so this is Part 6 of an 8-part blog series).  And actually, we had planned to do it earlier in the season but thunder and lightening cancelled the planned event.  It came off in the fifth session, and yes, the Scoutmasters really did flip and flop with style!  (And I’m glad that it was them that did it.  I didn’t want anything to do with that cold water at the lake – which I lovingly referred to as “The Ice Rink”.)  You can read of this event and others as I now make record of our 6th Week of the summer camp season – as seen through my personal journals of that week.

And yes, we had a few challenges this week.  So, you can say that we “had our crosses to bear”.

Blog #9: Fire in the Sky and All Around Us Scout Week #6

fire-and-smoke-in-sky

I have been blogging about our 2016 summer at Camp New Fork.  And so this blog tells of Week 7 – or session 6 with Scouts – in the series of eight blogs of the summer.  We had a great week with the Scouts but it was traumatic around us.  There was literally fire in the sky and it seemed to grab hold of all of us.

Blog #10 We Get Invaded by Pirates Scout Week #7 (Last Week at Camp)

pirates-surrouind-kevin

All too soon, our 2016 camp season at Camp New Fork came to a screeching halt.  It ended kind of abruptly.  Of course we had known for weeks that the final week was coming but suddenly it was done.  Our summer was over.  It had been a really great summer and Lou and I and our Larissa had a grand time at Camp New Fork.  Week 8 (our seventh and final session of Scouts) was very fun and exciting.  A major source of energy and enthusiasm for everyone – Staff, Scouts and leaders – was that we got invaded by Pirates!  Yes, that’s right …  Pirates hit us with all of their gusto and energy and they were everywhere!  Ahoy, mates! You can read of our adventures with the Pirates in these journal entries made of that final camp week.

At the end of that blog, I reflected back on the grand events of the summer:

“I was truly grateful for the opportunity of working this summer with this great group of staff members.  I have realized individually their great talents and abilities and am thankful for all that they have each given to the camp program.  I recognize too, what we have accomplished together.  It has been truly amazing and wonderful.  I hope that in the process and through the many great times that we have perhaps touched the lives of a few of the Scouts and leaders who have come to us through the summer.  I hope that we have together helped to instill the Aims of Scouting as we have worked to implement many of the methods of Scouting through the summer camp experience.  And if we have, then it will have all been worth it.  I have lived and felt the Scouting Spirit and know that the summer has made an impact on me.  I can only hope that I have also been a positive influence on some of the Scouts, staff and leaders who have passed through this great Camp New Fork in this wonderful summer of 2016.  I hope too, that the memories of this 2016 camp – whether as Gnubie Scouts or seasoned veterans will remain in the minds and hearts of all even with the passage of time.  I know that I still have many fond and wonderful memories of my own Scout camp experiences of my youth – and ongoing through continuing new adult experiences such as I was a part of here at Camp New Fork in 2016!

“Wow!  Is that possible?  Could it really be over?  We couldn’t believe it, but our eight weeks together had passed as if a dream.  It really was all over.  But the memories will linger on of this very beautiful place and the great people and programs … Camp New Fork 2016!”

Well, there you have it … the Program Director’s journal record of the New Fork Summer.

I ended the final blog with these notes:

One more note …  I mentioned our final exit interviews with Travis, Camp Director.  In the interview, Travis noted that for next summer – 2017, Ranger Reed will be his Program Director.  Ranger Reed was the camp program director in 2015.  Travis tried hard to recruit Reed for this summer (2016) and twice was turned down by Reed – since he and his wife had a new baby – and new babies and camp are not a real good mix.  Another pleading call from Travis brought Reed and family to the camp.

Travis and Reed have been the best of friends for fifteen or more years since they served together as camp staff members as teenagers in Idaho.   And now Travis has Reed committed once again for next summer.   The news really was not a surprise to Lou and me.  The writing was “on the wall” to be seen clearly – ever since Reed showed back on the scene this summer.  So, Lou and I could see what was happening and were not upset by it when Travis confirmed it.  If I were the camp director and could have my forever best friend as my number two guy, I would want to do all that I could to make that happen.  They will be a great team … again!

So, with this news, there really was not a place left for Lou and I to be on the New Fork staff for 2017.  And this leaves us as “free agents” and available.  Free agents … that is not a bad thing.  It leaves a bit of uncertainty but leaves the door open for a new and potentially wonderful experience for us in yet another Scout summer camp.  And since I have been in camp administration (Camp Director, Program Director and Commissioner) in eight camps and six states (twelve summers – plus twelve more summers as a week-long volunteer commissioner at Camp Geronimo), I look forward to a new adventure and Scout camp experience in some other camp and in another new and exotic mountain location.

So, the outlook is positive.  Free agents!  Anyone need a veteran Camp Director or Program Director and a Commissioner for their camp?  Lou and I are willing and able …  A summer at a Scout camp in 2017.  What could be more exciting?  We look forward to the prospects of it all.  And ideally, it would be fun to join a team early on – long before camp – so that we can help develop the program, help hire the staff, and all of those fun things done in anticipation of the whole camp experience.  Yes, camp … And as I tell people, “I drive a school bus in the winter SO THAT I can be a Scout camp leader in the summer.”  Summer camp, 2017 … we are excited about the possibilities and as ever, look forward to again going up to camp!  What a great life!

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!

 Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 7 Fire in the Sky and All Around Us

 

Scout 1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

I have been blogging about our 2016 summer at Camp New Fork.  And so this blog tells of Week 7 – or session 6 with Scouts – in the series of eight blogs of the summer.  We had a great week with the Scouts but it was traumatic around us.  There was literally fire in the sky and it seemed to grab hold of all of us.  My journal of the week tells more of the details.  Read on …

JULY 24th – SUNDAY

Today again found me at Camp New Fork in Wyoming.  And with it being July 24th, it is a day to remember my many pioneer ancestors.  I arose at 7 AM and got ready for the day.  I wore my new white shirt and tie.  (As you may recall, I forgot to bring a white shirt to camp – and last week, I went to the BYU-I graduation of my daughter.  I had not known until a day or two before the graduation that I was to wear “Sunday best” clothes.  Hence, I stopped en route to Rexburg and bought a white shirt and tie.)  I read from my scriptures.  I then went to the dining hall to get Lou’s skirt that she left there to dry – and got some milk for breakfast.  We ate breakfast in our cabin.

On Friday as I talked to a Scoutmaster about how he might prepare to get the most out of a summer camp experience, I realized that this subject might be one of general interest to Scoutmasters everywhere.  I had several ideas come to me for such a blog and so today acted upon those urges and began to write on the subject.

We went at 9:45 AM to the camp chapel for church services.  chapel-light-2

The meetings were great.  We opened with that grand old hymn, “The Spirit of God”.  We sang from “new” green hymnbooks that a troop brought up and donated to us.  Marina led us in singing.  We have heretofore been using the old brown and red books that went out of true circulation 35 years ago.  Now these new green books will jive with the electronics where many people sing from these days. Matt and Nathan were at the sacrament table.

The church attendees today included the Hunt, Emery, and Ranger Reed families.  Also there were Matt, Andrew, Nathan, Kiara!, David, Diego and Jake, Gordon, Jack, Kameron, K-Kade, Jacob, Tyler, Golden, Kent, and Marina.  We also had some visitors who are camped on the other side of the lake.

We had only one speaker – and that was a youth speaker.  Golden talked to us for a few minutes and did a good job.  After the meeting staff members took home copies of the old hymn books – that I guess we no longer need.  They should be good keepsakes for former times.  Nathan presented the Priesthood lesson.  Matt and David gave prayers.

Back home at the cabin, I went out on the front porch and sat in a camping chair.  This experience was now possible since the multitudes of mosquitoes are now gone.  It was a really gorgeous day and I loved being outside in the beautiful world around me. campfire-great-shot I again typed on the “Camp Preparation” blog.

We went to the dining hall and we did the “get your own stuff” thing for lunch.  I chose gravy on rolls, ham, and of course, cake.  Did I say cake!  You bet!

Every time that we have gone in to Pinedale, Lou has literally “drooled” each time that she has seen a lovely creek that runs under a bridge on the dirt road.  And almost every time too, she has said, “That creek reminds me of home!”  (She grew up in a rather secluded area down a country lane in Sandy, Utah.  There were trees and greenery everywhere and her home was surrounded on three sides by a creek.)  She has also said a few times that she would like to stop at this creek – just to relax and enjoy the scene.  So, today was the day to make good on my promise to take her there.

kevin-and-lou-at-stream

Kevin and Lou at stream near Camp New Fork

I drove to the area that has caught Lou’s eye.  Larissa was with us.  But, we were quite disappointed upon arrival.  We found a fence around the creek – on both sides.  And the fences extended along the road and also alongside the creek banks.  And there were “No Trespassing” signs.   Caught up in the beauty of the place, we had not before noticed the fences or the signs.

Back in the car, we headed back up toward camp – with my plan to go to where the Pinedale Creek begins – as it comes out of the New Fork Lake – on the road toward the “New Fork Narrows” campground.  I hoped that we might be able to get into this area.  This proved to be a positive move.  I parked the car and then the three of us – still in Sunday clothes – including my white shirt and tie – walked from the bridge down to the creek below.  We were overcome with the beauty of the place.  It was truly amazing and wonderful!stream-beauty-4

I found a nice place under a large shade tree and until my computer ran out of battery juice, I again took up typing on my “Camp Preparation” project of the day.   Sitting under a large shade tree and writing has long been my ultimate dream and so this activity was truly a dream come true.  (I love this activity so much … and I really ought to do this more often!)

Lou and Larissa were quick to take off their shoes and waded their feet in the water.  This was a dream come true for Lou and she basked in the wonder and joy of the moment.  And before long, they had me down there with them.  I rolled up my pant legs and together the three of us felt the invigoration and thrill of the freezing cold water.  Wow!  What could be better?  The place was truly fabulous and we all loved every second of this grand adventure.

After we had sat there for a while, we decided to head back home.  Instead of going the mile or so back to camp, we instead continued up the road toward the Forest Service Narrows campground.  The aspen trees were beautiful and the views of the lake – with the mountains in the background – were stupendous, amazing and wonderful.  We gladly took it all in.

trees-aspens-great-photo

Aspen trees in and around Camp New Fork

All too soon it was time to return to camp – but it had been a glorious afternoon.  Back at the cabin I plugged in the computer and again worked on my project.

We held our usual 5:00 PM meeting for the camp’s area directors.  We then held a general staff meeting.  I conducted (still in my white shirt and tie – per my usual every-Sunday plan at home – after the Church meetings) and read just parts of the evaluation forms from the troops.  Travis told of his recent trip to Philmont and of course exuberated the spirit and training of this great Scouting place.

sunday-afternoon-in-camp-kevin

Kevin in his Sunday attire

David and Lou brought forward staff members who have served faithfully as troop friends.  They wanted to try to inspire some of the not-so-friendly friends – with the hope that they might repent and do a better job.  They had the staff (whom they brought up) share ways that they have been able to be friends.  The good friends (named by Scoutmasters in evaluations) included Traeden, Jason, Brayden, Jacob and Daghen.  We had a good discussion of why good friends are needed and wanted by the troops.  We also announced a new policy that will allow all troop friends to go eat lunch with their troops.  And at dinner meals they will now get to leave the parade grounds with their troops as they go to dinner.  (Formerly, we have had the staff guys stay behind the troops – with the challenge that they find and eat with their troops in the dining hall.  In theory, this sounds like a good plan, but in reality, most of the troops are done eating by the time that the staff gets through the long chow lines to get their food – and are outta there.  It was me who suggested this change – with support of Lou and David.)  We have high hopes for this new plan.  We should have made the change weeks ago.

Golden was the staffer of the week last week and he requested lemon squares as his special treat from the cook.  And so we all got to enjoy these.   Wonderful!

After the meetings I went to “the office” (the milk crates located behind the dining hall) and used Lou’s cell phone to call our three sons.  I found Rusty on his way from Arizona to California for a construction job he has to manage there this week.  He said that little Lucas fell and broke his leg.  Keith and family were driving from their home in Ohio to Arizona to attend the wedding of his wife’s sister.  K.C. moved this week to a new home in St. George.

Back at the cabin I again worked on my camp preparation project.  I finished the project and ended up with 14 pages in the document.   This is a bit longer than desired, but I hope that the finished product will be found very helpful by Scouting leaders everywhere.  I’ll have to blog this in a future day – when I again have working internet capabilities.

Lou and Larissa and I watched a movie entitled, “One Fine Day”.  I poked around in my fingers again – still trying to get out all of yesterday’s splinters.

A ground squirrel or whatever – was in our extra bedroom.  We created an exit path and finally got him to go out.  I had heard some knocking in the room and discovered the creature in there.  And we have had the door closed since Jackie and Michael left on Saturday.  So, maybe the critter had been in there since then.  Ironically, Lou did not get scared with the ground squirrel – though she does with mice.  Figure that one out!

The staff was actually quiet at the 10:30 PM “lights out and quiet” time tonight.  Wow!

I also created my usual journal note cards tonight.  That is usually the last thing that I do each night.

JULY 25th -MONDAY

I got up at 6:00 Am and was at breakfast at 7:00 Am.  As I do each morning, I tried to personally greet each person there.  I think that this is a good thing and they seem to like and appreciate this gesture.

We had our flag ceremony with just the staff.  David made the weekly report and distributed it to those who use it.  The staff headed off to their posts.  So, the admin team (of which I am a part) greeted incoming troop leaders on the porch.  We have a new medical guy this week.  His name is Cannon Parry.  He brought his wife and four children.  They seem like a great family.

The troop friends seemed to have a bit more interest this week in connecting with their troops. They all met their troops today.  They escorted the troops down to the Waterfront for their swim checks.  Some of the Scouts come having already taken their swim tests.  But, with the freezing water – and weird things that the cold does to the body, we still give what we call a “chill test” – where the Scouts swim about a third as far as the regular test.  I went down and watched these “chill tests” later in the afternoon.

I gave my “speech” several times during the check-in process.  Again I had to do a “fast lunch” – sloppy joes – in order to be ready to conduct the orientation meeting for Scoutmasters and Senior Patrol Leaders.  We held this in the Takota training campground.  I did not know until a few days ago that this “Takota” name is in honor of Ron Blair – who worked in various roles here at New Fork – for twenty five years or more.     Last year was his last year here and he was the commissioner.  It is interesting that even not being a “local” guy, I know this Ron.  He was my coach counselor when I first went to Wood Badge “a hundred years ago” down at Snow Canyon near St. George.  The meeting attendees had some good questions for us.

I went to the cabin – finally about 2:00 PM – to ditch the coat.  I needed it this morning but it got warmer fast.  Lou and David conducted their training session for Scouting leaders.  I typed the program for the campfire program.  The program was almost exactly the same as last week.  I worked at my laptop computer – connected in a rare moment to WIFI – and added some photos to the blog about the staff week.  Actually the blog got published prematurely.  Instead of hitting “save” I hit “publish” – so now I have to go back and edit and update as I can.

I went to the Nature area and hung out with them for a while.  I then went to Climbing to be with Larissa and her staff.  Kiara was conducting a class and was teaching her students Climbing knots.  climbing-kiara-teaching-knotsI have never even seen many of the specialty knots that they use in Climbing.  I watched the staff putting Scouts down the zip line.  I was curious about how long it takes to get each Scout or leader buckled up and down the zip line.  I timed it and determined that with two pieces of equipment – and the current rider bringing it back after his ride – they can send someone down every three and a half minutes.  This was much faster that I had imagined that it might be.

Next I went to the Waterfront and watched Will conduct his class.  He did well.  My next stop was the Handicraft area.   Katie mixed up her staff – just to keep them interested – and assigned new classes to each staff member.  Many other camp program areas also did this – at my suggestion.  Jace is back in camp this week so was down there.

Back at the office I worked on my laptop computer.  And somehow in the rush of life, I bumped the cord where it connects to the computer.  So, I may have jarred the connection so that it came unsoldered – and likely will stop working now.  Thrills!  This happened one other time and I had to send the computer in to the company for repair.  I am not having good luck with the whole computer thing here at camp.

We have twenty troops here in camp this week – and about 175 Scouts.  But, we had only five troops who were on time for the evening flag ceremony.  This was a bit frustrating.  And those who came had absolutely zero troop spirit.  In fact, they were pretty dead.  I tried multiple things to lift them to a higher plane – but all to no avail.  So the staff ended up getting the Spirit stick.

For dinner tonight we had BBQ chicken and salad.  I like this every Monday food.

Two troops were a “no-show” today.  Both showed as Troop #253 – so two different people probably registered the same troop – and then didn’t come through to get here.

Lou and I – with the help of Gordon, Jacob, and Tyler – cleaned the dining hall tonight.  I made it back to the cabin – and got to sit down – for just 20 minutes.

By 8:15 Pm I was again at the parade grounds.  I met the troops prior to leading them down to the campfire program.  Jace was back tonight – so was able to beat his drum once again.  I followed with the troops marching behind me – all in silence.  This works pretty well most of the time.

We had a great campfire program.  It really was a lot of fun.  And it lasted only an hour!

Back at the cabin I checked out the laptop computer again and it appears as if it now has no renewable battery life.  This is really sad news.  I use the computer to create blogs and to create my campfire programs, and much more on behalf of the camp.

 JULY 26TH – TUESDAY

Lou has always showered at night here at camp but suddenly she decided to change her plan mid-stream.  So, this threw me off a bit.  I got up and read my scriptures first and then showered – reversing my normal order of things.

Breakfast today was pancakes.  I ate them and then headed off to my meeting with the Senior Patrol Leaders.  At the flag ceremony we all sang the real bad “camp” version of “Happy Birthday”.  We sang to staffer Jack who turned age 17 today.  His mother brought up a cake a couple of days ago and Jack shared it with all of us.

Jeremy Bell, the Council Camping Director, was here from the Scout office today.jeremy-bell-visiting-campHe said that he loved the Staff week blog that I had published – by mistake, I told him.  He said that he put it on the Trapper Trails Facebook page and said that it has had about 200 “hits” there.  So, this was exciting and encouraging to me as a writer and blogger.

I went to visit the Shooting Sports area this morning.  I went to two of the three ranges – the rifle and archery ranges.  I did not make it to the shotgun range before lunch time.  The staff at each of these knows what they are doing and they do a great job with all that they do – open shooting and merit badge work.

At lunch I visited with Cannon – the new medic.   On the radio he calls himself “Cannon Ball”.   He is a real nice guy – as is his family.

I went again to Takota to do the orientation for the outdoor training.  Not even one leader showed up for this training – even after I waited for a while to see if anyone would come.  So, having a few minutes to spare, I made a necessary trip to the cabin.  Then as I got there, I got a radio call saying that there were guys waiting for the training.   I went back to Takota and then found five guys there.  I guess they got mixed up on the training location and had all gone to Outdoor Skills.  I had to give the “Reader’s Digest” (condensed version) of the training since we were now cramped for time.

I walked with all five guys up to the Rifle Range.  We held our weekly meeting there.  I first talked and covered the program schedule for the rest of the week.  Lou and David talked about hikes, safety and procedures.  David handed out the maps to all of the troops – for their Wednesday hikes.  Bruce then gave an introduction to the shooting sports training that the Trapper Trails council stages.

News of the cooking class came to me.  It appears that a staffer there has been doing some strange things – that should not be happening.  I went to Outdoor Skills to try to get this situation straightened out.  The cooking class has been my nemesis this whole summer.  I have suggested various things to try to get the program working – but it never seems to get any better.  So, this has been a major frustration.

I took a boy named Parker to the Nature area to get help on his fishing merit badge.  This proved a good experience for the Scout.

I went to a campsite and ended up talking to a Norman Christensen.  It was interesting that we both went to the same LDS Church mission – to Florida-Tallahassee.  He came there when I had about three months left.  I could have been in the mission – and probably would have been in the mission office – but a few months previously I had been sent on special assignment to Nauvoo to work in the visitor’s center and restored homes.  We knew a lot of the same missionaries.

Again there were only five troops on-time at the flag ceremony.  Wow!  I don’t know what is going on with these troops.  They don’t want to show up on time for anything.  One troop came up and did a run-on.  They said, “How come there are two seats in the KYBOS?”  Then after folks had had a moment to ponder this question, they said, “It’s the buddy system!”  Now you know!

At dinner I ate with a family – parents and two Scouts – who came all of the way to Camp New Fork from Iowa.  They are functioning as their own troop but have become soulmates with another small group that is in their same campsite.  They seem to be having a fun time together.

Later in the evening I met the interested troops for the camp wide games.  I assigned starting positions for everyone and then gave them schedules that showed the nine different events and their locations.  After I got the groups going I went around following several troops and took a plethora of photographs of them doing the various events.

 

The Scouts – and their leaders – seemed to have a grand time doing the events.  The events included knife and tomahawk throwing, the “Gumby” stick – where participants try to wrap themselves around the stick, leg wrestling, stick wrestling, standing sticks, log throwing (throwing large full logs about 2’ long), match lighting, stretcher building, and finger swords.

We had two boys hurt tonight.  One was on the stretcher race.  The other was when a boy and his leader were doing finger swords against each other.  This Scout got his arm hurt pretty bad and the leader felt bad that the boy got hurt.  I called for “Cannon Ball” to come to help him.  He ended up with a BIG bandage on his hurt arm.

campwide-games-finger-swords-injured-franco-and-leader-who-did-it

JULY 27TH – WEDNESDAY

I arose at 6 AM and read my scriptures before breakfast.  I had no SPL meeting because the scouts were all off on their hikes.  And we also had our flag ceremony just for our staff.   Many of the staff were also gone – as friends on the troop hikes.

After the flag ceremony I sent all of the staff to their areas with the injunction to work on their area inventories.  We figure that if we can get this task done this week, the camp closing will go more smoothly next week.  We also told the staff that if it is no good, they should throw it out.  Each area was also asked to make a “wish list” for next year.

Lou, David and I all worked to clean out the office.  We threw out a bunch of old forms.  I did a complete inventory of the office and everything in it.  It was nice to get these things done today.

At lunch time we heard that a boy out on the high adventure trip had smashed his hand badly.   He had to come in from the river to go to the Pinedale emergency room.  The boy was hurt such that his family determined that he should go home for additional treatment.  So, his whole group left today to return back home.

I had Diego inspect our knives and hatchets that we have used in our throwing events through the summer.  They have been kind of thrashed through their normal use.

fire-in-sky

Fire in the Sky and all around us at Camp New Fork

I mentioned before, the fire that has been growing near Bondurant.  It has continued to burn and is growing more each day.  The sky above is eerie and almost frightening.    And the feeling just kind of envelopes us all – since it appears to be all around us.  The sun has been darkened and is clouded by the smoke and is a strange orange color.  The fire is about 25 miles from the camp.  We have been watching the computer reports to check the fire its spread and the challenges of getting it contained.

I then made a master inventory spreadsheet for use by all of the areas.  I got it set up on the computer so that there is a sheet for each area – and we can enter all of the inventories into this one master file.

Since it is Wednesday, I staged my usual “Program Planning” training session.  I had five Scout leaders come to the training.  They all really loved the training – the presentation and the material – so it was quite fun teaching them.    One guy said, “That was THE BOMB!”  He suggested that I record the training for distribution to others.  Also in the training session, I covered the subject of the Troop and district and council resources – for Lou.  They ran out of time in the session that she and David staged.

After the training I went down to check on things at the waterfront and found the same five leaders there.  They were there for Safe Swim and Safety Afloat training.  I put this on the program schedule but had forgotten even when it was held – since Rachae always stages it and does a great job with it.

At the flag ceremony I was very impressed with two troops that were there in complete Class A uniforms – for everyone.  I called them up so that everyone else could see the example that they have set.  In today’s world, many Scouts and leaders wear just the uniform shirt and then jeans under the shirt.  So, it was refreshing and wonderful indeed to see two full troops with Scout pants.   They sure looked sharp.  I was very proud of them.

It was a pleasant surprise to me at dinner time when I troop came to me and invited me to eat with them.  I conducted a branding session. I was pleased to have the help of Diego with the fire.  And like most boys, he was fascinated with the fire aspect.  So, he really got into the action.  Travis and Reed and their families were in town tonight on “date nights”.

After the branding session I went with Lou to her Tatanka campsite – where Troop 447 resides this week.  There were several of us staffers who were all invited to be there.  They had their troop friends – and the friend of another troop that they invited to join them.  The staff included Kameron, Max, Tyler and his cousin, Gordon, Lou and me.  It was a rather solemn occasion but a special ceremony as they retired an American flag.  This troops has this function as their mission for the week.  They have staged a flag retirement ceremony almost every night.  As a part of tonight’s ceremony, they invited any of us to share experiences with the flag.

Lou shared how she went on a church mission to Australia.  And as she got home, she and her lady companion were able to go to Disneyland.  (They don’t allow such things nowadays!)  And that was the time that Disneyland – in all of its pomp and grandeur – was celebrating America’s Bicentennial with the rest of the country.  She said that there were flags and red, white and blue everywhere.  She said that this has made a lasting impression upon her and she still remembers the feelings that she felt as she saw the flag after being out of the country for a year and a half.

We walked back to the cabin.    At the cabin we watched the classic “Where the Red Fern Grows”.  This is truly a wonderful movie – starring the famous child actor, Stewart Peterson.

Well, it is official!  My computer is officially dead.  I did, in fact, break off the connection where the cord attaches to the computer.  And so now it cannot be recharged.  This is really sad news.  It will be hard to live without my computer as I try to write and to create camp documents.  And that also means that I can’t access my files on the computer.  Luckily I have many files on my jump drive.  But, with so many people wanting to use the computer – especially for inventories, I won’t have much opportunity to use the camp computer.

JULY 28TH – THURSDAY

Again, I was up at 6:15 AM and got ready for the day and read my scriptures.  Breakfast was on time – so this was good.

Most of my Senior Patrol Leaders were late to our meeting.  They are pretty much an unenthused group.  Only two SPL’s said that their troops want to do skits tomorrow night at the campfire program.

At the flag ceremony I loved Troop 390.  They are mostly all Spanish or Hispanic youth and they are wonderful.   They also have full uniforms – so this makes them even more special.  They are a very classy group.  I also took a photo of them in their uniforms. flag-ceremony-by-uniformed-troop

A couple of Scouts in camp were celebrating their birthdays so I called them forward and we sang the “Bad Scout Way” of “Happy Birthday.

Staffer Daghen has hurt his arm somehow and has it in a large wrapped bandage – such that it really is not usable.  Yet he still wanted to help lead his song of Waddleachee.  And helping him accomplish this was “stump” Jacob.  The whole scene struck me as quite funny and I commented on it to the Scouts (knowing that Jacob is not offended in any way by the stump) and said, “That was excellent … Waddleachee led by two one-armed guys!”  This brought a laugh.

I had to laugh at one Scout.  I had with me my giraffe walking stick – which I carved.  The giraffe spots are kind of different shapes but are all kind of a reddish brown color.  The Scout said to me, “Are those spots pepperoni pizza?”  So funny … maybe he was hungry.

I went to the Waterfront and found Rachae busy staining rowing oars.  She made them look nice.  I also observed several Scouts and a couple of adults at the lake working on their Fishing merit badge.  One leader took it upon himself to teach the boys his skills and this was fabulous!  Also, while at the Waterfront, I noted once more the sky – still full of smoke.  This smoke has kind of enveloping feeling.  It make it feel as if it is all around us – and ready to smother us.  Not good!

My next visit was to the Outdoor Skills area.  I found good action going on there.  I observed several classes including C-Bas doing Wilderness Survival, Jacob doing his version of 1 ½ armed pioneering in a great way.  And Jacob taught a Scout how mmake rope – along with his diagonal, and square lashings.  Amazing kid!   Johnny was taching Orienteering.  K-Kade was doing a great job with Emergency Preparedness and Kent did a great job with the Scouts who are in the “Road to First Class” program.  Traeden – who said a few weeks ago that he couldn’t teach First Aid as a part of First Class – ironically is now the First Aid instructor – and was doing good.

Then at the Nature area, I observed Marina as she gave a great Nature hike.  Zach had the full attention of some boys whom he was teaching to create beautiful fishing flies.

nature-taught-by-zach

Nature Zach with some of his Scouts

I went to the Climbing Tower and it was great fun to again talk to Franco – the Scout who was injured during the “finger sword” activity with his leader.  He and I have had some good conversations since his injury and he seems to be a really great Scout.  I saw him go down the zip line – hurt hand and all.  He made some funny comments afterwards – about what riding did to his manhood.  It was funny that he said this instead of “That was awesome … Super fun …” etc.

By this time it was time to go to the Thursday Scoutmaster luncheon.  I always enjoy these gatherings with the Scoutmasters of the camp.  And of course the hot brownies from the kitchen are the absolute ultimate.  We had a great – and short – meeting.  I went over the upcoming Bull-Run relay race procedures and then Lou covered the check-out procedures for getting out of camp on Saturday.

One leader – Guy, from Troop 738 – came to me and asked me an interesting question:  “What camp are you going to be at next summer … ‘cause that’s where we’re going!  This is the best organized camp.”  Of course I loved this comment and it made me (and later Lou) feel great.  (We’ll have to keep you informed about that … since at the moment, we are “free agents” and are available for the summer of 2017.  More on that later …)

I went to my own cabin for just a few minutes.  Stops there during the day are always kind of short and usually on some specific mission.

All summer long I have heard the zing of the zip-line – and this can be heard all over camp as Scouts and leaders go down it.  And I have said frequently to myself that “I really need and want to go down that.”  But, then I never made the time to do it.  I decided on the spur-of-the-moment that today was to be the day.  So, I went to Larissa at the Climbing Tower and announced to her that I was there to go down the Zip Line.  And boy was she ever surprised.  I guess she had thought that I didn’t want to do it, was scared, too old, etc.

On my way there, I had also stopped to pull a couple of staffers there with me.  One was Nature Tallin – who has said that he is afraid of heights – and Daxton.  Neither of these guys had been down the Zip this summer.  I told them that if I was going to do it, then they could also.  They reluctantly agreed and followed me there.

And seeing the pending excitement, someone ran and got my wife – sure that she wouldn’t want to miss this grand event.  So, as I was getting ready to get into the required harness, I saw her coming – brought by Ranger Reed.  Larissa used her most persuasive skills to convince her mother to give it a try.  She ignored, “I’m too scared …” and other artificial pleas to get out of it.  Soon Larissa had both Lou and I into the harnesses (and we took a group photo of the three of us).

climbing-larissa-lou-kevin-great-photo

Larissa, Lou and Kevin Hunt in harness for the New Fork Zip Line

Larissa was beside herself with glee.  She said, “I can’t believe both of my parents are going to do this!”  (It was kind of unbelievable!)

I made my way up the multitude of stairs (and thought of the Washington Monument or the St. Louis Arch as I climbed all of those stairs).  I went straight to the Zip Line launch area and got all hooked up.   Larissa made sure that I was all connected properly – not wanting “to lose her father”.  And at the bottom of the line were Tarrin and Kassi.  I then noted that quite a crowd of on-lookers had gathered on the road under the line that stretches across it – to watch my grand event.  I saw too that a couple of folks were set to film my adventure.

climbing-zip-line-end-great

So, when all was ready and safe, I just sat down in the rope.  And then with feet extended up a bit, I was set for take-off.  I didn’t have to think about a specific launch from the platform.  Sitting in that position, I just naturally started to move down the wire.  And then after the initial trauma, I sat back to enjoy the ride.  And it truly was amazing and fabulous.  (I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a try.)   As I neared the bottom of the 500’ line, I looked around me.  I had a clear view down to the Waterfront area.  I guess the word spread fast because I saw about twenty Scouts, staff and leaders standing alongside of the fence to watch me go down.  And they made a great cheering section for me.climbing-tower-zip-line-kevin

I was supposed to grab hold of a rope at the bottom – to help me to stop – and to keep my in place near the ladder.  But, I missed the rope and so I “hit” the spring stuff at the end and back-slid quite a ways.  This action meant more work for Tarrin and Kassi – but they took care of me.  I got off of the ladder and then headed back up the hill to return my hardware for my other staff guys behind me to use.  (And they did go down – and seemed to enjoy the ride!)

And yes, it was truly a miracle that Larissa convinced Lou to brave the trip down the line.  I still can’t believe that she pulled off this one.  And as Lou got to the launch platform she was hilarious.  She put all of her “hug-a-tree” training (that she has given each Tuesday in our meeting to Scoutmasters) to good use.  She was sure hugging the pole at the launch pad – still saying that she could not do it, etc.  And also by this time she had garnered quite a cheering entourage – including me – on the road below.  And many of the guys got it all on video using their devices.  (And I later posted this on Facebook for all of our kids – and others – to see.  And they found it hilarious.)  On this video one can hear my dialog with the other leaders.

Check out Lou’s Zip Line video on my Facebook Page (under August 13th)

It took a while to get Lou to actually launch.  And Larissa quietly admitted later that she actually had to pull her mother a bit and then gave her a nudge to get her off of the platform.  And of course, the screams were worth it all to all of the gathered cheerleaders.  It was all great!

So, I guess our Zip-Line experience created a lot of entertainment for a great many Scouts and leaders this afternoon.  Fun times!

With this excitement history, I made my way to the Rifle Range.  I noted the expertise with which Bruce worked with a few Scouts who were challenged trying to meet the stiff scoring requirements for their merit badges.  shooting-range-2-great-with-bruceHe was very patient and kind with them.  I got a kick out of him with his binoculars looking to see where they hit the target and then he helped them to improve on the next shot.  It was great.  There was a “special needs” Scout there and Bruce even got him to achieve his needed 5 targets.

I found the same scenario going on at the nearby Shotgun Range.  Jonathan was again very patient and helpful to the couple of Scouts that he had there with him.  All good stuff …

shot-gun-range-johny-and-scouts

At the Archery range, I saw our two or three staffers busy with a long line of Scouts who had varying skill levels in their shooting.  The Scouter from Iowa had adopted one of the Scouts from his campsite – not his own boys – and was giving him personal help and coaching to make his target scores.  And ultimately, Parker was able to make his scores – and achieved the merit badge.archery-range-shooting

And once again while at the Shooting Sports area, many of us looked to the sky and noted the very orange hue that seemed to hang all around us.  That fire stuff was really unnerving and unsettling.  (And the smoke was not good for the breathing of some folks.)  I had to laugh at the comments of staffer K-Kade as he sang that old Christmas song – but with his own variation:  “Oh, The weather outside is frightful … and the fire is not delightful!”  I think that expressed the feelings of all of us.

Again at the Outdoor Skills area, I found K-Kade and our David teaching Emergency Preparedness.  And they were fabulous!  Good job, guys.  Kade is the area director so it was unusual for him to actually teach a class – but he did well.  At the Handicraft area I watched Jace – after our discussion of a couple of weeks ago – and he was greatly improved.  That made me real happy!

Also I again went to the Waterfront.  I had hopes of seeing the guys doing the mile swim.  But, I was disappointed.  They were swimming in an area way out of sight of the Waterfront area.   I later learned that staffer Theo had completed the mile swim.  This was very exciting.  Also at the Waterfront, I talked to Scout Jay of Troop 183.  I congratulated him on his high score that I had noted at the Rifle Range.  He has been all other Scouts and staff this week.    This Jay seems to be a very impressive young man – in many respects.

At the flag ceremony tonight I led “Aardvarks are our Friends”.  As I lead this song, I tell the Scouts how easy it is – because it has only four words and five syllables and that you just keep singing the same words over to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”.  I also tell the guys to sing this in the car all of the way home and then to sing it several times to their mothers at home.  “They’ll love it!” I promise them.

Lou put out the beads for the Scouts who have earned the first and second year bear claw awards this week.  It is self-serve – so leaders can get whatever beads their boys need for their necklaces.  And speaking of these beads, one leader talked to me and shared some of their inspiration for their troop.  In addition to the bear claw beads, they also give out clear beads.  And boys in their troop can receive one of these each time that he takes a shower!  Ha, Ha!  Clear for squeaky clean.  Good idea!

Lou, Larissa and I then went in to Pinedale.  A night out … in town … yeah!  This was a much-needed break.  We went first to the library.  Larissa needed to apply for a job back at home.  I had planned to call my mother from there but she beat me to it.  It was nice to finally connect with her and to wish her greetings and best wishes on her 84th birthday – which is tomorrow.  Of course, we will be miles away from her on her big day.

We ate dinner at a small Mexican grill place.  Unlike the previous Mexican restaurant, I loved the food at this little place tonight.  I had my favorite – a chimichanga with rice and beans and chips in bean dip.  It was great food and I liked the atmosphere of the place.  We made a stop at Ridley’s to get a gallon of orange juice.  I am on a real craze lately for pure orange juice.  It is so delicious!

JULY 29TH – FRIDAY

I followed my usual morning pattern this morning.  The SPL meeting was kind of ho-hum.  I can’t seem to light any spark of enthusiasm in these guys this week.  None of them want to do skits with their troops.   And the spirit this week – among the troops – has been so bad that I noted to the gathered flag ceremony group, “I’ve been to cemeteries that have had more spirit than you guys have!”  In fact, I was in rare form at the flag ceremony.  The funny stuff just kept rolling out.  I was talking of the Scoutmaster belly flop and told the group … “And it is rather obvious that many of you have a lot to flop!”  (Bad to say … but it was definitely true.)

The flag ceremony was fun for me – in spite of the lack of Troop Scout spirit.  The staff had a good time in spite of them.  And since it was Friday, the staff again performed “The Funky Chicken” – the song about all of the staff areas.

At the office I used the camp computer and my own “jump drive” to create the campfire program.  I printed copies of this to distribute to Staff members and to the few participating troops.  And with so few troops wanting to do skits, I had some space on the program for staff to do some things that they have been wanting to do.  I showed David the program for the campfire program and he saw my note about Will’s “Agga Flagga” song.  So, David then took over the keyboard and added his own description of the song.  This later got a few laughs as others saw his description.  Will saw it and said, “You spelled it wrong!”

I suggested to Travis that we do exit interviews with all of the staff members – and said that this practice has worked well for me with past staffs and camps.  He liked the idea so I created (or revised) a form for all staff to complete prior to their interviews.  Then Travis and I conducted exit interviews first with Katie and then with all members of her Handicraft staff.  These went mostly well.  It was then time for lunch!  Lunch … glorious lunch! We had two more interviews after lunch.

Again at the waterfront, I talked to the leaders of the Spanish troop.  They are great guys.  At 3:15 Pm I met the troops at the parade grounds.  I sent off the 1 to 6 groups of the race.  I led the # 1’s down to the campfire bowl.  David was there and sent them off in four heats.     We also had two guys who ran the “Iron Bull” – meaning that they ran the entire relay themselves.  And once again, per our tradition, he told them that they had to “have one cheek on the ground” as they took off.  Some did the facial cheek and some did the other ones.

bull-run-6th-week-starters

6th Session Bull Run Racers – including Guy Andreason of Troop 738

And still another time for the day, I went to the Waterfront to watch the end of the relay.  The runners came from the previous leg of the race and ran furiously into the Waterfront.  There they had to get paddles and life vests and then two guys for each team took off in canoes.  They went around two buoys that were out in the water and then while out there in the lake, they had to exchange places with each other.  This is always a fun race to watch.

After the Bull Run was finished, we then staged the always fun Scoutmaster Splash – where all the he-men and the big-bellied guys got to show off for the Scouts.  As ever, it was a really great show.

I love this event – and it appears that everyone else does also.  And once again, we judged the floppers on “redness of belly, style, and the size of the splash.”

So, we had some great contenders.  Camp Director, Travis, even stripped down somewhat and made his own big splash.  He was a big hit.  (But he didn’t have quite the belly that many of the other guys have.)

Travis doing the flop reminded me of a funny incident that happened to me years ago as I was the Camp Director for camp Rancho Allegre in Santa Barbara California.   We had a small leather circle – that we called “Susie” and which we circulated around camp.  It could end up in anyone’s pocket at any time – usually without them knowing that they had acquired it.  Then at the next flag ceremony, we would sing, “Where oh where oh where is Susie … Where oh where oh where is Susie, way down yonder in the paw paw patch.”  And we would keep singing as everyone checked their pockets to see if they might be housing Susie in their pockets.   Eventually, someone would discover hiding in their pocket and would bring her forth.  Then the person who “got stuck” with Susie – got to draw from a large kitchen #10 can that had good or bad prizes.

And on this occasion, it was Saturday morning – the very final day of camp for the summer season.  And at the flag ceremony, he had Susie and got to draw from the can.  His “prize” slip that he drew out said, “The staff member of your choice has to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool in complete uniform.”  So, you have probably guessed who that might be that got to take the early morning jump.  That’s right!  It was the Camp Director.  The only problem was that my wife and daughter had left camp yesterday and had gone home.  And with them they took all of my clothing except my uniform and my pajamas needed for the last night.

kevin-jumping-into-pool-at-rancho-allegre

Camp Director Kevin Hunt taking a swim at Rancho Allegre Camp in Santa Barbara

But, in spite of the clothing situation, I reported to the pool at the appointed hour for my little jump. And of course, the entire camp showed up to witness the grand event.  So, I went to the diving board, did a few bows and then ran and jumped off of the diving board – in my full uniform.  (I was able to get the wallet out of my pants before the jump, thankfully.)  And then I had only my pajamas to change into.  So, I did all of my camp closing duties – including staff exit interviews – in my pajamas!  (But the activity was a great hit with all of the Scouts – so it was probably worth it!)

After the big splash event today I went to the office and hung out there on the porch for an hour or so before time for the flag ceremony.  I quizzed one Scout about what he thought of the Bull Run.  I liked his answer:  “Yeah, it was AWESOME!”

An interesting development at the office:  David connected with one of his troops of a couple of weeks ago.  Then a few days later, the troop sent him a big bar of soap – shaped in the form of a Buddha.  He has been pretty proud of this gift from the troop.  Now Lindsay, wife of the camp director, has kidnapped his Buddha – and told him that it is being held ransom and that he has to perform in an angel costume at a meal in order to get the deal back.  He’s trying to find a way to retrieve it without doing that.  (Though he would look angelic!)

At the flag ceremony, I was talking to the troop who arrived first.  They had attended Camp Loll last summer – so we talked about Delose Conner – the Camp Director – whom I have known for years.  We talked of Delose’s story of “The Ugly Little Green Man.”  There was one Scout who was kind of standing behind me.  Someone, who hadn’t heard the story, asked if it was scary.  I said, “No, it isn’t scary …” and I kind of grabbed the Scout behind me suddenly on the arm.  And as I did so, I continued, “It just startles you.”  The poor Scout nearly jumped out of his skin as I touched him.  And the rest of the troop broke into a fit of laughter.  It was all pretty funny.

The trading post held a big sale today.   All candy bars were on sale for 2/$1.00. I don’t think that we can even purchase them (any more) for that price.  Anyway, the sale brought on major sales from the Scouts.  Some of them really stocked up on the bars.  A few staff members made big purchases to create a candy stash to get them through next week.  In order to enhance sales, the trading post has held regular sales and they post signs about what is on for each day.  One day the sign said, “Craft like Grandma Sale” – and everything craft related was 10% off.trading-post-grandma-craft-sale

Three Scouts came to me after dinner with a dilemma.  They said, “We can’t quite get the Aardvarks song right … can you help us?”  Then two other Scouts – hearing what was going on, came and joined us.  Iowa Rod standing nearby said, “Don’t you dare teach that to our sons again!”  Ha, Ha …  come on guys, where is your spirit?   So again, the words … they are a challenge: “Aardvarks are our friends” – to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”.  Pretty simple, huh?

And another interesting scene at the dining hall.  On the dining hall there are two or three boxes.  I asked about these once and learned that these are “bat boxes”.   We noticed that something was happening to the bats – because we found several of them dead on the ground.bats-dead-from-bat-box

Our “Merit Badge Madness” event went quite well.  We had only minor problems with merit badge cards but the staff was there to assist as needed – and they soon got everything straightened out.  Of the event, one Scoutmaster said, “Whoever thought of this …  it’s great.   Keep it going!”  The system really does work pretty well.

I talked to many leaders and all seemed very pleased with the program and activities – well, everything – about the camp.

The High Adventure staffers again managed the branding session.  They had a real long line of Scouts and leaders wanting their goods branded.

branding-by-andrew-and-andy

Andrew and Andrew of High Adventure team doing branding

I had just a few minutes to spare before I again needed to be back to the parade grounds.  The Troops met there at 8:15 PM for the campfire program.   Drummer Jace, was there in place with me and he took the lead.  I had already gathered the group and had the Scouts lined up (using silent signals) facing 90 degrees from where they usually line up.  I followed him and we led the group down to the campfire bowl.  Again, the staff was there lined up and they looked really sharp.  A real class act!

As we arrived at the bowl, several pre-appointed staffers were in the seating area and they ushered the Scouts into the bowl and their seats.  Again, we tried to keep the troops together – for ease in leading them out of the bowl later for the Honor Trail.campfire-program-with-scouts

We had an excellent program but in spite of my efforts, it ended up too long.  Staff kept coming and begging to be on the program.  And because we are nearing the end of the camp season, I was a softie and let them perform as they desired.  So, here is our program for the evening (without the add-ons – and as saved on my jump drive):

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – FRIDAY JULY 29th

PROGRAM ITEM                                            WHAT TO DO                                                  WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                                              Drum beats and Welcome                            Jace and Kevin

Fire Starter                                                                                                                                  Staff

Chant                                                                One Fat Hen                                                     Nathan

Troop Skit                                                         Passing Gas                                                      Troop 447

Troop Song                                                      Pink Pajamas                                                   Troop 81

Troop Skit                                                         Echo                                                                  Troop 564

Song/Skit                                                          Jake the Peg                                                    Kevin

Song/Skit                                                          Bear Hunt                                                        Reed

Bull Run Winner                                            Award                                                                David

Song                                                                  AagaflagafleegaflagaishkanishkanogginoggaAagaflagafleegabirdiebirdie           Will

Troop Skit                                                         Climbing Light                                              Troop 78

Run-on                                                              Attention                                                        Troop 447

Troop Skit                                                         Firing Squad                                                  Troop 17

Song                                                                  Teacup                                                               Troop 81

Skit                                                                     Fastest Mugging                                           Jacob and Troupe

Handicraft Awards                                         Awards                                                           Katie

Song                                                                  The Bear Song                                               Jace

Shooting Sports Awards                                Awards                                                         Bruce and Lina

SM Training Awards                                       Outdoor, SM Specific                                Kevin

Alice the Camel                                               Scouters                                                        Kevin

Song                                                                  Ukulele                                                            Katie

Commissioner Awards                           Jim Bridger, Honor Troop                       Lou and David

Quiet Song                                                       Scout Vesper                                                 Matt

Quiet Song                                                       Song                                                                Andrew and David

Quiet Song                                                       America Round                                            Rachae

Flag Retirement Ceremony                         Flag Retirement                                  Jonathan & Team

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                                                     Kevin

Quiet Song                                                       On My Honor, Vesper                                Matt

Honor Trail                                                       Honor Trail                                                  Staff

 

After I presented the training awards, I kept the newly trained Scout leaders up front there with me.  I had to laugh as one Scouter said to the guy next to him, “Oh great!  Now we probably have to dance!”  And he was right.  With the gathered group – and with the eyes of everyone upon them, I led them, as I always do – in my old favorite – even “Alice the Camel”. …  And Alice the camel has no humps, because Alice is a horse,” I yelled with glee as I ran off of the stage to my seat.  Such fun!  Everyone seemed to enjoy the moment!

I again gave the Scouter’s Minute this evening –  and Travis had his moment with the troops as they came to his “rock” after the Honor trail.  And speaking of the Honor Trail, … it came off magnificently tonight.  Everything fell into place as we had planned it and it was really great.  The troops really felt the Spirit of the trail and many were visibly touched by it.  I again got to lead out the first troop and as ever, I really enjoyed doing this.

It was sad as the staff again gathered in our traditional circle for our rendition of “Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be.”  This hit us a bit harder tonight as we all realize that we have only one more week of this grand 2016 New Fork adventure.  That is truly sad.  Where has the summer gone?

It was nice to finally get back to the cabin – after a rather long – but quite enjoyable day.  It has been a great day.  And it was nice to have some brownies – left from yesterday’s Scoutmaster luncheon – there waiting for us.  Yum!

One other kind of happy/sad note …  My friends of the Spanish troop left tonight right after dinner.  I guess we had really worked them over.  (And Lou and I got a photo out by the outdoor dining tables – of us and one leader, Amando – with whom we became rather close as friends.)   I guess that the boys told their leaders, “We are really tired from our week here at camp.  Can we just go home tonight?”  And that is just what they did.  They participated in everything with gusto through the week – and really had a grand time.  And they even had an unplanned adventure of their own.  They went out on the canoe trip as a troop.  And they got out on the lake and somehow got turned around and mixed up.  So, they were truly lost – per their admission – and they never did arrive at the overnight camping destination.  One boat and the canoers of the group finally made it back to the Waterfront and then and knocked on the door of the Camp Director – around midnight and told him of their plight.  He summoned the Waterfront staff – even at that hour – and they went to the rescue.  And the funny thing is that the boys truly thought that this was to be their last night on earth.  And so much did they believe this, that they got a guy’s cell phone and used it to record their final death messages to their families at home.  So funny!  I would have enjoyed hearing those somber messages.   They probably made for good entertainment at their camp court of honor, however.

JULY 30TH – SATURDAY

Our last real Saturday of the summer season.   Bummer!   It really is sad to see the great summer come to its close.  Wow!  It seems that we just got here.

I got up at 6:00 AM and found Lou already gone to check out some early bird troops who wanted to leave real early this morning.  As ever, she and David go – or went – to each site to inspect it and to make sure that it was/is all in perfect order and ready for the next incoming troop.  Larissa came to our cabin to get her own shower for the day.

At the 7:30 AM flag ceremony we had only 5 troops present.  The rest had either left camp already or they were back at their campsites doing major clean-up.  We had a few more show up for the campwide breakfast in the kitchen.  At the flag ceremony, Richae and Daghen wanted to lead the group (for the first time this summer) in the “Susie” song.  That one brought back a few memories again for me!

We have had someone – a troop – staffer – or whoever – who has been cutting Waterfront dock ropes through the past week.   They hit us twice and then got us again last night – even though we had Jonathan spend the night there.  I was awake until midnight and then when he got up this morning, the deed had already been done.  This is been a frustration to Rachae.

After the Scouts left this morning, we got photo of the entire staff.  It was the wrong time of day and so my I-pad would not take a good photo with the sun shining directly onto it.   I hope that Lindsay got a good shot with her camera that was shaded by the sun.  Only Bruce was not there for the photo.  He had left for the day.  But, the staff looked really sharp in their full Venturing dark shirt uniform shirts, the gray pants, etc.

staff-photo-day

Lou with New Fork Camp Staff Members

Travis wanted everyone to wear the staff hats but I noted that with hats on, you can’t tell who anyone is.

I gave staffer, Gordon (age 15), an orange knife left a couple of weeks ago by some Scout.  At the time, I announced a few times about at the flag ceremony but no one ever came forth to claim it.  Gordon was pretty happy about me giving him the knife.

As we let the staff go this morning from the flag ceremony, I instructed them all about things that they could do today in advance of but in preparation for our camp closing next week.  They put in a good hour before we had the staff photos.

At 11:30 AM, I left in the silver council van – with a load of staff.  The group included Lou, Larissa, Will, Jacob, Traeden, Diego and Jake, Jack C., Tallin (without a car since his accident), Theo, and Daxton.  Upon arrival in Pinedale, we first stopped at the dollar store.  Lou and I each got $5.00 gifts for the staff white elephant Christmas gift exchange that is to be tomorrow night.

Some of the staff walked away from the dollar store to do their own thing.  We took some other staff to the library.    Lou and I and Larissa went to Ridleys.  We bought some supplies for Lou to make scones for the staff tonight.  We got deli food and were not real impressed with it.  (Again they had no tamales – that Larissa could eat.)

I went to a computer place to try to get a new cord and battery for my computer but the place was not open.  So, I still don’t have a working computer.  Grrr!  We went to the thrift store and looked for a still for a computer cord – but had no luck there either. Lou bought a few more movies.

We took Larissa to hang out at the Pinedale Aquatics Center.  Kiara was there with her visiting parents also.  Lou had a good visit with the folks.    Lou and I returned to the library and I found a nice over-stuffed chair.  I worked on camp photos again.  I named a bunch of photos and then deleted a bunch that were duplicates.

We went back to the PAC for Larissa.  Then with her, we went for ice cream.  We went to a place that serves ice cream and pizza.  Several staff members were also there.  I got a milk shake and it was fabulous.  We then gathered up our staff (minus Jake and Diego – whose dad had met us in Pinedale.  He came in advance of his troop who will arrive on Monday.  We got back to camp at 6:15 PM.  Larissa was anxious to watch the Annie movie that she got in town.  Kiara was there to watch it with Lou and Larissa.

A bit later Lou and I went to the dining hall.   Lou has been wanting to make some of her home made scones (fried bread dough) for the staff and decided that these would be good tonight.  The high adventure team had planned a Waterfront beach party and so we decided that we would take the 2-burner camp stove – and the scone dough – down there for the event.  Lou made the dough at the dining hall where she could use the giant mixing machine.  We recruited staff to help take the materials down to the beach.  And the High Adventure team got the stove set up and ready for us.

So, we got to the waterfront and saw that many staff members were already there.  A bunch of them were having fun playing beach volleyball.  It appeared to be a great activity.  Lou and I put oil into the Dutch ovens – on the stoves – and got it hot enough to begin deep frying the scones.  We got scones served to just a couple of staff members – while the rest were drooling as they waited for more to get cooked.

Then at moment, the wind became very strong and within seconds, it began to read quite heavily.  And suddenly the great event was over.  And this was sad.  It could have been great.  So, we scooped up all of the cooking stuff – and loaded it into a car that happened to be down there.  We transferred our whole cooking operation – stove and all – down to the dining hall.  And again we got the oil hot and were “were soon cooking with oil” (as they would say down South).

scones

Momma Lou Hunt’s famous scones

The staff was all hungry for the scones and each staffer there took four or five of the hot delicacies.  We also had a variety of toppings to put on them.  And they turned out excellent.  Lou made a large pan of rolls with her left over dough and we will eat them tomorrow – Sunday.

When it was time to head back to our cabin, it was extremely dark – more so that we have ever seen it here at Camp New Fork.  We couldn’t even see a couple of feet in front of our noses.  We were glad that K-Kade was ready at that moment – to head down to the cabins – so we were able to borrow his light.  We appreciated his help and service to get us down the trail safely.

And so we had another really great week in the camp.  The staff, the Scouts and the leaders all seemed to have a grand time.  But the challenge was that we all knew that the summer was ending all too fast.  Week seven of eight.  Only one more to go.  That is a real sad thought.  Fire in the sky … and all around us!  It kind of freaked us all out but we lived to tell about it – though at the time we wondered for a while.

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!

 Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

 

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!

 Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 5 – Accreditation and Great Days for UP!

Scout 1

 

 

 

 

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Our fourth session of Scouts at Camp New Fork – but with the Staff week, really our sixth week of camp was a lot of fun.  There were positive things going on everywhere.  A big event of the week was the visit by the Camp Accreditation team – wherein a group of red-coat Scouters come to “inspect” the camp and to make sure that everything is safe and that the camp has a good program.  Another theme for the week came from one of my all-time favorite authors – Dr. Seuss.  I think the guy was fabulous.  I love to read his stories to my grandchildren and I have a collection of most of his books.  Often during morning flag ceremonies at Camp New Fork – or at least once in each week – I would quote Dr. Seuss as I released the Scouts to head off for their camp day.  I would say, “As Dr. Seuss says, “It’s a great day for UP!”  Make it an UP day!”  So, this 4th Session of Camp – our 5th Week can be summed up with “Accreditation and Great Days for UP!”

DR SEUSS GREAT DAY FOR UP

JULY 10th – SUNDAY

A Sunday in camp … a day of rest with no real duties and no Scouts!  I love the Scouts but it is also very nice to have a break one day of the week – to get recuperated and ready for the next week.  I slept in to 7:00 AM and it was glorious!  I got up and read some chapters from my scriptures.  Lou and I ate a quiet breakfast there in our own cabin.

I worked to organize photographs of the camp – and put them into some directories – and with photo names that will make them easier to find later when I do blog articles about the camp.  I copied photos from Lou’s phone and my I-pad (which I use as a camera).  This proved to be a very difficult set of tasks.

CHURCH CROWD

A big crowd at church services at Camp New Fork

We went to church in the chapel and loved this.  Eight troops came in early so joined us for the meetings.  Chaplain Bruce actually got to go home this weekend to see his family – so Andrew A. conducted the meetings.  He is young and not fully acquainted with the order for such gatherings so things were a bit interesting – but good.

After the meetings we went back to our cabin.  We ate some stuff that we had on hand there – rather than subject ourselves to the “weekend shelf” in the kitchen fridge.  I separated out photos from that staff week – that I want to include in the blog article that I am working on.  I typed twelve pages of the journal package for our first week with Scouts.  This also included material about our trip for the Camp Bartlett lodge rededication.  After I wrote this material, I copied it to become a separate blog article.  I edited out a few personal items that I won’t publish.  I accomplished a great deal through the day so I felt real good about it all.

At 5:00 PM Lou and I went to the white dining flies adjacent to the dining hall.  We there met with the many area directors of the camp.  We again reviewed the evaluations that leaders wrote about last week in camp.

We gathered all of the full camp staff for our usual Sunday night meeting.  There is always a lot to cover at these meetings and tonight was no exception.  Jacob was presented as the Camp Staffer of the Week.  He well deserved it.  That boy is certainly a worker!  David handed out Troop Friend assignments for next week.  He has been creating this list – and has done well.  We talked of the national camp inspection – now called “Accreditation” that will happen this week.  We announced that a few staffers will have new service area assignments and a few merit badge teaching changes.  Max will now go to work at Shooting Sports and Jace and Kameron will teach first aid.  Last week’s Staffer of the Week got to choose his favorite dessert – per the cook – and she cooked it for him.  So, we all got to dine on scrumptious peach cobbler.

Back at the cabin, I finished writing a journal and blog article package.  I also found Camp Bartlett photos (of the rededication) and put them in their own directory for easy future reference on my laptop computer.

Also this evening Lou and I and Larissa finally had the time and electronic files and resources to listen to the memorial services for my sister, Laurie, who recently passed away.  This proved excellent.  I wish that I could have been there but am grateful to the family who were there – and for my daughter, Jackie, for her reading the tribute and memories that I wrote of Laurie.

Still later I again worked to sort more photos into directories.  I hate this task – but it is a necessary and good one for blogging and other purposes of the future.  I went down to the dining hall and called my son Rusty and daughter, Jackie.  Marinda did not answer.  The back of the dining hall is about the only place where we can get service on Lou’s cell phone.

We got a little bit of rain this afternoon.  And then the weather turned quite cold – even with the clouds.

I note that my “brain is fried” tonight – after all of the photo and computer work.  So, I needed a break … but did type the weekly check-in sheet for use tomorrow.  It was great that twins, Jacob and Diego, returned today after being gone last week.  They were on staff at a recent NYLT course at Camp Bartlett.  They were great before but with this new training they should really be fabulous.

JULY 11th –  MONDAY

So, week #4 with Scouts began today.  And the day began super cold.  It was only 33 degrees per the weather report.  But, that was actually for the little village of Cora, Wyoming – located down the hill a few miles.  And we are at a much higher elevation that is Cora.  Lou and I both about slipped on ice that had formed on our cabin steps.  The staff was all frozen at breakfast time and the fire in the dining hall fireplace sure felt good.

DINING HALL FIREPLACE

Fireplace at Camp New Fork

And obviously it was freezing for all of us at the flag ceremony – held just for the staff after breakfast.  After the ceremony I printed and distributed the check-in sheet with the troops and leaders listed.  I have noted that eight troops were already here this weekend – so we instructed them to come to check-in with us at the porch of the office/trading post after 8:00 AM this morning.  They – and others did come – and I felt really sorry for them.  In spite of the biting cold weather, we still conducted swim checks at “The Ice Rink” since so many Scouts have to have this completed in order to take the waterfront merit badges.

All of us “senior staff” (I hate that term) all sat together out on the porch as we awaited the arrival of the troops.  (And of course most of the staff were at the front gate of the camp – to greet the incoming troops.)  I really had to laugh at Nathan, our High Adventure program director.  He is kind of a big macho guy but on this chilly morning, he was obviously freezing.  And being in great need, he used his resources.  He asked the camp director’s wife if she had a blanket that he could use.  She went in and got him several juvenile blankets belonging to his daughter.  So, I took a photo of him wrapped up in the froggy blanket and another with him under the princess blanket.  I showed the photo to many folks – and especially his staff and the high adventure program participants for the week.  I said, “Here … you ought to see the macho guy who will be leading you this week.”  The whole scenario brought a lot of laughs.  Hilarious!  Sorry, Nathan, but you were just too funny!

With a projected full camp this week – and twenty or more troops and leaders to talk to, I was anxious to save my voice.  I knew that as Program Director, my voice was my greatest need and asset.  So, David and Lou helped to group Scout and troop leaders together so that I could talk to groups of four or five at a time.  This was a major help.  Nonetheless, I still gave my speech a dozen times or more.

We worked at the check-in process through our lunch period.  Someone brought us food but I had only time to take a few bites.  At 1:00 PM I rushed off to conduct the orientation meeting for Scoutmasters and senior patrol leaders.  Lou, David and Ranger Reed were also in attendance and took a few moments after my weekly program introduction.

Lou and David taught Scoutmasters and other leaders the Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training and they were pleased with the group and the conversation between the leaders.  I entered the new data to the check-in sheet – after getting the right information at the check-in process.  I then created the campfire program for the evening.  I handed this out later to all staff members who were on the program.  And, as predicted, the staff got really inspired and charged up after being shown up Friday night by the Varsity team who performed, “I Wish I Were a Boy Scout”.  The staffers worked all day on this song to make sure that they had the very best performers, words, actions and props (most of which was a new experience for them) for the new version of this song.  I looked forward to seeing the new production.  I was just sad that my “Bessie” got lost in the changes.  Actually, she went out to pasture!

I worked on the internet – on a very rare moment when it was actually working for a few minutes.  I posted the Camp Bartlett lodge rededication blog.  Camp Director, Travis, had me – and David – review a bunch of material in the two giant camp accreditation books – in preparation for our scheduled visits on Wednesday.  And speaking of the accreditation – we almost got a scare.  Travis has had the accreditation visit on his schedule for a few months – and has known that it was Wednesday.  But then today he got some e-mail notifications from his superiors at the Scout office in Ogden – saying that they would see him “tomorrow” – meaning Tuesday.  How funny!  It took him quite a while and a plethora of phone calls to convince everyone that the review truly was on Wednesday.  We both got a big laugh out of the whole scenario.

I showed up at the Takota training campground to teach Junior Leader Training to youth leaders.  And for the fourth week in a row we had absolutely no youth show up for the training. At least we tried – and were prepared and ready to teach it.  I went to the office porch and oriented a leader who had not arrived until after we had closed up our orientation and check-in process.

At the flag ceremony, we had our usual “fire drill” (emergency drill) for the Scouts and staff.  We have taken a bit of an unusual twist in our implementation of this required weekly training.  At the time to do our training, I have radio in hand and make a quick call to the kitchen – telling cook, Mabel, that we are ready for the siren.  And then, at the sound of the siren, the staff goes absolutely crazy – running around and screaming.  After they have put on this act for a short time, I put the Scout Sign (silent signal) up to calm things down.  Then I say, “Had this been an actual emergency …” this is what should happen.  This whole thing kind of unnerves the Scouts but after things settle down, they realize that it was a fun way to introduce an otherwise boring subject.

Each week at the opening flag ceremony I also introduce the “Spirit Stick” (which at that point is a bald and boring broom stick with nothing on it) and invite troops to compete to obtain the spirit stick.  This is also the time that that I let each of the staff area patrols introduce their patrol names, their flag, yells, and such as they have.  (Some are pretty bad and some are excellent in their Spirit!).

FLAG CEREMONY STAFF SINGING

Staff spirit at Camp New Fork

This is also the time that I say, “Roll it out, Staff …”.  This is their signal to break out in energetic singing of our “Roll Out the Thunder, Boys” staff song.  We had five troops come forward to compete tonight for the Spirit Stick.

Our song for the evening was “Father Abraham”.  The staff is really into this song – but after extended use, it is losing a bit of its charm.  I still love the song, however, and love the energy that it creates with the Scouts.  This has long been one of my favorite camp songs.  And speaking of “Father Abraham” – that was one of our regular staff songs when I was at Camp Loll – back before the turn of the [last] century.  And I got married about a month after the Camp Loll camp experience (as Assistant Camp Director to the legendary Delose Conner – in his first year as Camp Director … yeah, it really was a hundred years ago).  Anyway, many of my camp staff made the trek down from Ogden to Salt Lake City to attend our wedding reception.  And though in my wedding tuxedo, I joined the staff in singing this great song.  Most of the folks went into absolute shock – but after the shock, enjoyed the brash display of camp energy.  My mother-in-law (Lou’s mother) was not impressed, however.  So, you can see that Father Abraham really is in my blood and it still comes gushing out fairly often.  But these days, I have trained staffers to lead the song – and it is fun to watch the action as they and the Scouts get into it.

With a large crowd of Scouts and leaders in camp – a total of about 300 people with staff – we experienced some really long lines as we waited in the dual chow lines (one going into each side of the hall).

KITCHEN CHOW LINE

Camp New Fork Chow Line

I went to the back of the dining hall and was able to make a call to my daughter, Jenae, in Ohio.  With a few minutes after dinner, I again worked on the creation of my blog.

At 8:15 PM I greeted the troops in preparation for the campfire program procession.  Jace again was on the drum and I appreciated his service.  He and I led 250 people to the campfire bowl.   I always enjoy this gathering.

The campfire program was excellent – though a bit too long.  I will have to cut out some of the program.  I am also very pleased about how the staff has “caught on” to lead out in the songs, present the skits, etc.  At the beginning of the summer most of the staffers were pretty shy about such things.  Very few staffers acted as if they knew or could lead songs and over time, they have come forward and have come through for me.  I have now created a note card list that tells me staff names and their specialty song that they can lead with gusto.  I have tried to teach and request each staffer to come up with just a single song that they can do anytime – with or without notice.  And many – but not all – have risen to the occasion.

Here is what I show on my cards (relative to who can lead what):

Grace – “Princess Pat”

Waterfront – “5 Little Ducks”

Will – Almost anything!  (Including “My Brother Bill”)

Nathan – “One Fat Hen” (more of a chant)

Larissa – “The Moose”, “A Tootie Ta”, “Bill Grogan”

C-Cade  and Scott – “Father Abraham”

Daxton and Max – “Deep and Wide”

Zach 2 – “Kumbaya” (and Scott on the guitar)

Rachae – “The Birdie Song”, “The Austrian Yodeler” (with the help of Matt and others)

Daghen – “Waddaleeachee”

Mason and Braeden – “Sunnyside”

Jacob (Stump) – “”You Can’t Get to Heaven”, “Funky Chicken”

Theo – “Zulu Warrior” and “Peanut Butter”

And of course I had my own repertoire.  I could do almost any song – but I especially enjoyed leading “Aardvarks are our Friends”, “The Morning Limbering”, “Ging Gang Goulee”, “Pine Trees”, “Alice the Camel”, “My Bonnie” and many others.

I also made a list of my favorite songs to be included when possible into our programs and events.  My list included:

“The Muffin Man”

“Fleas, Flies, Mosquitoes”

“The Grand old Duke of York”

“I Met a Bear”

“Cippin’ Cider”

“Pink Pajamas”

“Threw it out the Window” (with nursery rhymes)

“Web Footed Friends”

FLAG CEREMONY GROUP GREAT

Flag Ceremony at Camp New Fork

I developed a standard format which I followed as I led each flag ceremony:

Jacob or some other staff would lead a song as the troops gathered to the parade grounds

I would officially welcome the troops

I would call on the troop who had volunteered to present the flag raising or retreat – by Troop # (and if they were in complete Scout uniform, I would specifically mention how great they looked after their presentation)

After the flag presentation, I called on staff who arranged with me ahead of time to give announcements

We would then have a song that I would pre-select and assign to a staff member

I then went over the coming program schedule that would take us up through the next flag ceremony

We then talked of the Spirit Stick.  The troop that who took it away at the last flag ceremony would come forward with the stick and would tell what they added to it for their troop.

I would invite any and all troops to come forward to give a troop yell, song or whatever they wanted to do

I would have Lena or some other staffer near me to take notes about what troop gave their yells, etc.

After all of the troops who wished to do so had participated, I had Lena read “the contestants” and staff and Scouts would yell and holler according to what troop they liked best

The Spirit Stick would be awarded to the selected group

The troop who did the flag presentation would be invited to send someone up to offer a prayer on the food or the day.  This troop would then be dismissed first to go to the chow line

I would ask what troops were going on the overnight canoe trip across the lake.  These troops would be dismissed next to the chow line

We had two chow lines so I would dismiss a troop at a time – either going “up” or “down and around” to one of the two chow lines

Other troops would be dismissed in the order that they arrived at the flag ceremony – known by how they lined up – from right to left toward the flag poles

Staff or troop friends would be dismissed with their troops.  (We didn’t start doing this until the last week or two of camp – but should have done so earlier.)

All remaining staff would hang around outside for a while – until the two lines were diminished somewhat.  Typically we would invite the lady staffers to be at the head of the staff line – to be followed by the guy staffers.  (And I made a habit – of many years – to be the last in the line – after everyone else.)

This plan seemed to work pretty well and it was good to follow the same routine each time.

FLAG CEREMONY BY STAFF 2

Staff doing flag ceremony at a Monday opening day program

On Monday nights, the format for flag ceremonies was a bit more involved:

Line up troops and explain the “priority system” for lining up (and I would tell them that the earliest troops to arrive would get to the chow lines ahead of others)

Explain the flag ceremony protocol

Introduction of silent signals and how I would use them – and what they mean

Ask, “Who has spirit?” – let the troops holler and yell a bit – and then silence them with the Scout sign

Introduce the Camp Director and other administrative staff

Flag ceremony by the staff – as an example to troops for future flag ceremonies

Stage the “emergency drill” as described above

Song – By Kevin or assigned staff member (usually “Bubble Gum”)

Announcements

Spirit Stick as described above

Dismissal to chow lines

This system all seemed to work well.  The staff knew the plan and it worked for all of us.  And the staff was good to have enthusiasm and energy that we generally were able to pass on to the troops.  It became a fun time.  I hope that the troops enjoyed these camp traditions with us.

I was on the subject of the campfire program and got sidetracked a bit with the organization of things.  Anyway, the staff staged their “I’m Glad That I’m a Staffer song …” and it came off wonderfully.  It was a bit long – 12 minutes – but they had energy, synchronization – with one guy playing upon what the guys next to him sang – ducking at the right time, putting hands out, etc.  Jacob said that he was a logger and in his song he somehow cut off his arm – and then he sang, “And now I have a stump”.  (This was hilarious!)  And the guy who stole the show was David as he sang, “Curl it – spray it, Oh, You’re so sexy”.  Actually though, all of the guys were super funny.  The song went over as a big hit.  Staff and Scouts all enjoyed it.

One other note about the campfire program.  Staff patrols rotate with the duty to build the fires – with a different patrol doing it each week.  We have had some kind of lame fires (two fires) with staff who didn’t really know how to build them (and that was my fault … I explained it but didn’t follow through with the other EDGE methods).  Anyway, tonight the High Adventure team had the fire building task.  They built fires that were big enough to roast all of the hot dogs in the county – and then some.  I knew as I walked out to start the program with “Who’s the best troop here in camp?” that we would have problems.  The fires exceeded the bounds of the rock circles.   I even expressed my doubts – or concerns – about the fires to the troops.  But, with some quick water and re-arrangement of the wood, everything was okay.  There was enough fire and light to get us through the whole program.

Often we get little feedback for many of our camp programs, but this night as the troops departed – row by row as troops from the campfire bowl, one Scoutmaster walked by me and quietly said, “Thank you!  That was awesome”.  That comment really made my day.  Thanks!

I finally made it back to the cabin – after the program of the day and the campfire program – at 10:00 PM.  It had been a long day – and I was really tired.  I had also been cold all day.  I didn’t seem to be able to get warm.  But, we survived it all.  Another great day here at Camp New Fork!

Ron Smith and his wife Glenda were here today – and they have been here a few times.  Ron is the volunteer chairman for Camp New Fork and he comes often personally to work on camp projects and priorities.  And he has the task of bringing together other volunteers as needed to meet the needs of the camp.  It is always great to have him here and his work is much appreciated.  And when he comes, his wife, Glenda, serves as our health officer – to treat whatever cases come up – and plenty of them do.

Normally each week in camp we have a different medical professional – an EMT, a doctor, an RN – or others – rotate in.  Typically they come up with their families and they get to enjoy the camp and all of the programs and opportunities together when the medical person is not doing his/her multitude of first aid cases – cut fingers, burns, heat exhaustion, home sickness, etc.   The camp also provides a cabin for the person and family to stay in – and provides food for them through the week.  This system worked very well all summer long.  It really was a great plan.  It was a winner for everyone!

JULY 12TH – TUESDAY

I arose this morning at 6:15 AM and got a hot shower.  It was wonderful!  The weather was still quite cold but the sun came out and made the day pleasant.

FLAG CEREMONY SCOUTS DOING SONGS GREAT PHOTO

Scouts at Camp New Fork participating in songs at flag ceremony

At the flag ceremony I was pleased to lead “The Morning Limbering”.  This song is almost like “Father Abraham” with its hand, leg and head motions, but the words to the song are: “Fighting the battle of the morning limbering … It was a sight to see the Scouts in action.  …  Scouts to the action …” and then the “right arm” is the first action, then we added “left arm” on the next round – still starting with right, etc.).  I enjoy leading this song.  As I am about to lead the song, I dramatically go up front and lay down my walking stick of the day – whether it be my zebra, giraffe, bears, wood pecker, or eagle – and then get into it with the Scouts.

Troop 319 did the flag ceremony today and they really did an outstanding job.

Lou and David were surprised and pleased when they had ten men come to their training course – yesterday – and today.  Wow!  What a great group.  Taking this training is a major sacrifice to Scout leaders at camp – when they have so much to do as they keep the Scouts organized – and have fun with them – so we are so grateful when men are willing to make the time sacrifices.

SCOUTMASTER TRAINING BY LOU AND DAVID

After the flag ceremony I went to the porch of the office trading post – with the hope of getting internet.  I was able to insert most of the needed photos into the blog.  I was missing a couple of photos that I needed from Lou’s phone – or e-mailed from others upon my request.

I helped Scoutmaster James with some of his internet needs.  I was pleased to help him.  The challenge came after he left.  He did not realize that he was resetting my computer when he checked his Google e-mail.    It would have worked okay with a normal computer “geek” but I can’t seem to keep millions of passwords all straight.  And I leave this task to my out-of-town son or daughter to help me.  So, after this change in the system (I normally have had Google and e-mail open automatically), I did not know the required password.  So, this shut me out of the internet and from my e-mail that day – and actually through all of the rest of the summer.  So, this became a major challenge to me – and also a frustration.  The internet was “iffy” already – but now with these added challenges, I really became handicapped.  [And that is why I had to wait until I got home to get back into the writing and blogging more religiously.]

I had promised some leaders electronic copies of some of my books (LDS Scouting history and Planning) so I had a brief window today – before the above difficulties – wherein the system allowed me to send these out.  I hope that they will be beneficial to the recipients.

After lunch I went to the Takota Training Campsite to teach the introductory session of the Outdoor Skills training.  Three men came to my program – and will attend the nine or so other outdoor skills classes later in the week.

Lou, David and I went up to the rifle range at 2:00 PM.  We held our usual Tuesday meeting with the Scoutmasters.  I covered program schedules and instructions.  David and Lou talked about hikes and distributed maps for tomorrow.  I then turned the time over to Bruce Ilum – the Shooting Sports Director who talked about shooting opportunities back home for troops.

After the flag ceremony a Scout leader described the program.  He said, “It was a fun time!”  I love comments like this.

Dinner was on time – so this was wonderful.

In past weeks I have started the Tuesday camp wide games at 7:30 PM – but this made for a late evening.  So, tonight, I changed the starting time to 7:00 PM.  This worked much better.  Brad was the timekeeper tonight and he did a good job.

CAMPWIDE GAMES STICK PULLING WITH ADULTS

Adults participating with Scouts in the Campwide Games stick pull

I had a great time watching the stick pulling activity.  The Scouts really love this competitive game.  They also like to challenge the staff for a go at it.  Jace and other run the event – so often Jace gets challenged by the bigger Scouts and even leaders.   Tonight a church Bishop challenged me to the event.  I had beaten most of the staff – including Jace – earlier in the season but tonight this guy really pulled me over.  My wrist was a bit strained in the activity.

I made a late call to my son asking for his computer help.  But, Google insisted that a call be made to my phone number of record in order to change the password.  This could work – in theory – except that I was 1,000 miles away from my home computer in Arizona.  So, the challenge continued – and I finally resigned myself to my fate and lack of computer technology.  Of course there was always hope – but that hope faded as the season progresses with no changes.  Grrrrr!

Lou and Larissa worked late to make sure that the Climbing area – ropes, etc., were properly inventoried – since these use logs will likely be reviewed tomorrow as the Accreditation team comes to visit us.  I ended up in a camp office gathering – unplanned – with Travis, David, Mabel, Lindsay, Bruce and I.

JULY 13TH– WEDNESDAY

Today all of the staff was asked to be in full Class A uniforms (dark shirt, gray pants, belt, red staff hat, etc.) all day.  Normally we have required Class A’s for breakfast and flag ceremonies – and then the Class B T-shirt can be worn until time for the evening flag ceremony.  But the Class A’s were needed today since it was our scheduled camp Accreditation visit day.  We had just the staff at the flag ceremony – since today is Wednesday and that means a hike day for the troops in camp.

STAFF PHOTO DAY 2

New Fork Staff in uniforms

After the ceremony, Travis and I and David all went out to the front gate to meet and greet with the arriving Accreditation team.  The group began to arrive moments after we got there.  I was surprised with the number of folks who came.  BSA Camp inspections of the past – that I have been involved with – involved just two or three red-coat Scouters.  Today, however, there were ten or more members of the team.

Council President Frank Browning came with his wife.  Josh Haacke – of the council staff – came with his wife and children.  Jeremy Bell, council Camping Director came.  Allen Endicott – the Council Executive came with his wife.  We were pleased to welcome all of the team.

A guy named Andrew Christensen came and I was assigned to take him first to the first aid cabin.  We went there and I introduced him to Glenda, the nurse.  She had everything in good order.  He then wanted me to take him to the Climbing tower.  Larissa had her logs in good order.  Andrew spent quite a bit of time with Larissa and she was well prepared for all of the questions or requests.

Within a few moments, it seemed that the whole Accreditation team all happened to converge on the Climbing Tower.  It was great fun when Council President Frank Browning accepted my invitation to take a ride down the zip line.

ZIP LINE COUNCIL PRES FRANK BROWNING

Soon all other members of the group likewise agreed to the big adventure.  The Climbing staff all worked together to get our special guests into their climbing harnesses.  All of the action made for great photo material for Photographer, Kevin (that’s me!).  And getting photos of Frank as he went down the zip line was great.  I promised Josh and Jeremy that I would somehow get copies of the photos and videos to them for possible inclusion in future marketing ventures for the council.  And the funny thing is that the Climbing action seemed to divert the Accreditation team somewhat from the rest of the camp – though we were prepared for them in every way.

ACCREDITATION TEAM GETTING IN HARNESSES

Accreditation team and families getting into harnesses for zip line

After everyone had had their ride, most of the team split to the wind to look at a few other camp facilities and programs.  We had primed all of the staff to be ready for such visits.  They had their uniforms on to perfection, their areas were clean – to the same level of excellence, and they were all at their best.  I knew of K-Kade and his efforts in the Outdoor Skills area – and knew too, that this is not always the most popular place for visitors – including Scouts who would rather be at the “more high adventure programs” (like the waterfront, climbing tower, shooting sports, etc.)  So, I asked Frank if he would be willing to go with me to make a visit to the Outdoor Skills area – so that the staff would not be disappointed for their work and efforts.  We went over there and he patiently visited each merit badge area and listened as each staff man gave a brief introduction about his badge and program.  It was a great thing for the staff to have the visit by Frank.

All of the above brought us to the noon hour – and the opportunity for lunch together – with the staff and the Accreditation team.  I got some photos of the team.

ACCREDITATION WITH TRAVIS AND ALLEN

Accreditation Team at New Fork

I talked to Scout Executive Allen’s wife and also to Frank Browning and asked if they knew if Allen might have a favorite song that we might do for him.  They both divulged that his favorite song is “Princess Pat”.  This was kind of exciting since I knew that I had staff who could stage this song in a good way.  I called forward Katie.  She came forth and led this song with extreme energy and finesse.  It was great.  And we even got Allen up and moving to the Princess Pat actions with us.

I then had all of the staff stand and told them to “Roll it Out, staff!”  They got the cue and stood and sang the song with true gusto – in keeping with their staff spirit – and the belief that they are the best camp staff around.  I then had the Accreditation team members stand and introduce themselves.  The staff was all psyched up with energy and it was fun to see them “on show” for our guests.

ACCREDATION KEVIN ALLEN TRAVIS

Kevin, Allen and Travis at Accreditation Luncheon

Scout Executive Allen stood for a few moments and thanked Travis, he staff – and all of us for our work in making such a great camp.  I enjoyed his comment about me.  He said, “And of course, Kevin here, was a camp leader before Baden-Powell.”  I loved this!

The kitchen staff fed us lasagna and green salad.  This was a new menu item that we had not yet experienced in the same week-after-week menu.  The new food was a nice diversion from the norm.  We all appreciated and enjoyed it.

After lunch I invited the staff to perform their new rendition of “I’m Glad that I’m a Staffer”.  All of the guys did a great job.  Jacob was a real hit with his stump part of the song and David again did his line.

ACCREDITATION STAFF DOING IM GLAD IM A STAFFER

New Fork Staff performing “I’m Glad that I’m a Staffer” Song

(And as a side note, we received a call a couple of days later saying that this line – done by a male – was no longer appropriate in a Scout camp.  So, we complied with the direction from our leaders.  But, when I got home, my grandson had been to Camp Geronimo and he was most impressed with the same line of the song – which had become so traditional at Geronimo – by one of the long-time staff men who had been there forever.  And even after his departure, I guess the tradition still lives on.)

We had great fun with the Accreditation team and I think that they had a fun time with us.  And the good news is that we “passed” with flying colors.  They all had a lot of great comments about our program.  Whew!  Now we can all relax!

ADMIN TEAM TRAVIS DAVID LOU KEVIN LARISSA

Camp New Fork 2016 Admin Team: Travis Emery – Camp Director, David Shill – Admin. Assistant, Lou Hunt – Commissioner, Kevin Hunt – Program Director (& Larissa of Climbing)

After all of the morning excitement I went to my cabin and relaxed for a bit.  I returned to the office to try to e-mail Climbing photos – of everyone on the zip line – to Jeremy.  But, it was no surprise that it was a failed effort with the camp WIFI limitations.

I have noted in previous blog about my “Annual Planning” presentations to leaders.  I have been talking up the training to the men in the training classes of Lou and David.  One leader came to me today and said that he had to leave camp at 3:00 PM – before my presentation.  I offered to visit with him one-on-one so that he would not miss the session – and would thus be able to complete his training goal and certificate.  So, we sat on the porch and I gave it to him. I made the presentation later to six men.

David hurt his foot today so he hobbled around with a hurt ankle – and a big bandage.  He still managed to complete his campsite visits and other tasks.

Travis and family went to town tonight.  Their daughter is in a local swim class – on Mondays and Wednesdays.  And after the class, they went out to dinner.

I was on the porch and had occasion to have an injured Scout come to me for help.  He had a very major bloody nose.  The blood was coming down all over.  The medical person was not immediately available so I helped him get the blood stopped and he was soon on his way.  I continued to hang out on the porch and talked to many folks.  I asked each of them how things were going and how I might help them.  It was a good time.

We had five troops compete for the Spirit Stick at the flag ceremony.  We then all went to eat at the dining hall, as per our usual pattern.  I made a quick trip down to our cabin to get our own electric fry pan that we brought to camp with us.  I then managed the branding function.  I was pleased to have the fire help of Daxton and Jace.  They had fun with the fire as I did branding for the few folks who came for the service.  I think that somehow people have got the idea that there was a cost for the branding – so hearing this, I made sure later that no one else got this idea.  I did branding for about 30 people.  It was a fun activity.

This evening Lou made a special treat for the staff members.  (Though many were out with troops for the “intertroop activities” and missed it.)  She made a great big quadruple batch of doughnut dough.  She took care of the dough – and cut the doughnuts – with the hole in the center.  I took over the cooking function.  We had a multitude of options for decorating the doughnuts – frostings of various kinds, nuts, sprinkles, sugars, etc.  The staff really loved these luscious doughnuts.  They were a major hit with everyone.  Most of the staffers ate about six doughnuts or more each.  Larissa was still at the Climbing tower as they took care of a troop who wanted a troop climbing experience.  We sent a big plate of doughnuts down to them at the tower.  We had about fifty doughnuts left after the staff had all gorged down all that they could.  We had a team decorate each of these – in many creative ways – and we’ll save these for the staff to eat at breakfast tomorrow morning.

It was 11 Pm when I finally got back to my cabin.  I was worn out after a rather long day.

One other note of the day:  I was finally successful in getting the Nature and Waterfront staff up the tower and down the zip line.  It took a while, but I finally got it to happen.  The guys were pleased with my efforts.

My wrist was real sore tonight – after stick pulling the other night – and my extensive writing efforts.

And a funny note about Jacob – with his stump arm.  One staffer tried to ask him if he ever thought of getting a prosthesis for his arm.  But, the person asking the question got a bit mixed up and said the wrong word.  So, we all laughed as he said, “Have you ever considered getting a prostitute?”  So funny!

JULY 14TH– THURSDAY

It was cold again this morning – so you can be sure that all of the staff had their black staff jackets on.

All of the staff – including those not there last night – loved the doughnuts again today.  They were wonderful for breakfast.

I conducted my Senior Patrol Leader meeting at the nature area.  We talked of tomorrow’s Bull Run event and I also asked which troops were planning to do troop skits and songs at tomorrow’s campfire program.

I would describe my day today as a “day of service”.  I was able to be of service to many people – and it felt good – and productive.

I met a great man today.  This was Brooks Blackmer – a “Canuck” – from Canada.  I found him highly impressive – and a great man to serve with Scouts.  He came to me after the flag ceremony and had a couple of questions about some program areas.  So, I took the opportunity to take Brooks around the camp.  So, he got his tour and I got to check on all of my program areas.  And we had a good visit together.  Later Lou met with him individually – sitting out under the shade of a tree near the office – and she gave him the training courses that he missed since he just arrived in camp.

LOU TRAINING SM BROOKS

Commissioner Lou Hunt training Brooks Blackmer

I happened to go to Troop 885 – in a campsite in Lou’s commissioner area.  He has a troop of just four boys – and they are all brand new in Scouting.  And this is their first camping experience.  They arrived in camp late on Monday and the leader found that most of the classes were already full.  So, his boys were all in the campsite and were really bored with camp life.  I told them that I could get them into some classes – and suggested handicraft badges.  The leader was fully supportive and pulled out money sufficient for each of the boys to buy the basket kits in the trading post.  I took the boys to the handicraft area while the leader went to the upstairs trading post.

I turned the boys over to staffer Daghen and found him to be a good teacher.  Kameron was also doing a great job nearby teaching leatherwork.

I talked with long-time camp staffer (a Scout leader this week in camp) about our program.  He is on crutches – so available to talk.  He had rave things to say about everything in our camp – so this was good.  And he also served as a program director to Delose Conner at Camp Loll.

I visited with a Morty Jenkins – from the Trapper Trails Council Executive Board.  He came to camp with just two grandsons – and they camped out near the front entry of the camp.  I learned that he was at the original Camp Bartlett lodge dedication – as I was – back in 1980 – and also attended the recent rededication program this summer – as I also did.  So, we had good conversation about Camp Bartlett and other common interests.  I let him read the recent blog that I wrote about Bartlett and he seemed to like it a lot.  I also added a Morty quote to the Bartlett article.

At lunch time I met with the scoutmasters in our weekly luncheon.  This is always a fun – and a short – meeting.  And the brownies are worth going for.

I later taught a redo of my Planning session to Brooks (mentioned above) and Ricky Hatch of Troop 63, Nathan Ador of Troop 641 and Eduardo Aruna of Troop 193 – all great men!  This was time well spent.  It was interesting to talk to Eduardo.  He did not then belong to our now common church – but he grew up in Santa Paula, California – where my wife, children and I lived for five years.   We knew several of the same people – including my friend, Steve Lazenby.

I talked on the porch with James Hansen – another of the noble and great ones.  We talked of many subjects – including books that I have written.

A Scoutmaster came and was rather upset with happenings in the Outdoor Skills area.   He had sent two boys – who needed 5 requirements between them to complete their First Class badges.  They were turned away by the staff there.  So, I accompanied him and the two Scouts there.  I asked C-Cade personally to help the boys to get their requirements.  He rose to the occasion.  He got a Scout Handbook – new version – and determined which requirements were missing and what needed to be done for them.  He immediately went to work using his resources.  He found that some requirements needed to be completed in the Nature area.  So, C-Cade, the Scouts and I went over there – with C-Cade calling the shots.  He went to Tallin, the Nature Director who pointed us to a Nature staffer who willingly assisted the boys.  Then he went to another Nature staffer whom he knew taught the skills needed.  This requirement was quickly accomplished.  We then went back to the Outdoor Skills area.  He utilized the resources of Jacob to complete a knot requirement.  Wow!  With just a bit of personal help and interest, we were able to help these boys complete all of their requirements for First Class – success!

Then, as a follow-up, at our next Sunday night staff meeting, I brought forward C-Cade and then the two Nature staff, Jacob, and the troop friend.  Oh, and I forgot to mention his role.  As we were leaving the Nature area, the troop friend to the Scouts happened to there on staff also.  He acknowledged the two Scouts by saying, “I’ll see you in a little while in your campsite!”  Fabulous!  I told the whole staff what a great thing happened on behalf of these Scouts – and how little effort it took from any of us who got involved with them.  It was a great teaching moment about customer service and really doing our jobs as Scout leaders.

Again tonight I set up a display table and showed my bolo ties and walking stick collections.  Many Scouts and leaders came and took an interest in them.

At the flag ceremony, I was shocked when some of my staff members were late and ran into the flag ceremony – right in front of the Scouts – that was then in progress.  I called them out at that moment and sent them back to the porch.  The staffers were a bit shocked at me – and didn’t see that they had done anything wrong.

This brings up more conversation on this same subject.  Although we had a regular starting time for flag ceremonies – and we did the actual flag part at the exact scheduled starting time, we always had a plethora of Scouts and troops who arrived at the flag ceremonies late.  They would come into the parade grounds – even if the flag ceremony was then in process.  This always bothered me a great deal – but I figured the troops were under the direction of the Senior Patrol Leaders and Scoutmasters.  Then in on an evaluation form, a leader commented on this whole scenario and suggested that I write a blog about this subject – and the Scout way to be on time and not to walk in.  So, at his suggestion, here it is.  It is a serious subject – about Duty to God, Duty to Country, Reverence, Loyalty, and more.  It is something on which we should each train our Scouts.  Let’s all make a commitment to teach them the proper flag etiquette and respect.

Last week Camp Director, Travis, had promised us that tonight could be a date night for Lou and me.  And we got permission for Larissa also to accompany us to town – since she has been real stressed at the Climbing tower.  But, true to duty, Lou first had to hand out beads to those who had earned the “Jim Bridger Bear Claw Awards” (with different requirements for First Year, Second Year, Third Year, and Fourth Year awards).  So, she had them spread out on the back table in the dining hall.  So, she took care of folks before we could leave for town.

Lou and I really did need a break night.  The stress can kind of build up when one goes for it with diligence through many busy days.  At the suggestion of Travis and Reed we went to the Mexican Las Cabos restaurant.  Both guys raved about how authentic the food is there.  So, we went there but we did not share their same opinion.  I guess Pinedale is a bit too far “from the border”.   Being from Arizona – where we can get “real” Mexican food – plus some that isn’t – I guess we are spoiled.  I was surprised that there was not a bit of spice or green chili in any of the food that I ordered.   We made a trip to the library and the ladies did some computer stuff.  I used Lou’s cell phone (I don’t have one) and called a daughter and my mother – and with whom I left messages at both numbers.  Making any phone connections with any family while at camp is only fair at best and usually is non-existent.  It is just a real challenge.  (And that is not just a Camp New Fork issue!)  It seems to come with the territory at 8,000 feet and being out in the tullies.  We also went to Ridley’s and bought some root beer float ice cream bars to satisfy my sweet tooth.

We got back to camp at 10:15 PM.  The car temperature outside – in the car – was 43 degrees.  The temperature went down 25 degrees in less than one hour.

JULY 15TH – FRIDAY

Our granddaughter, Abby, turned age 11 today.  We were sorry that we could not be with her for her day.  But, we look forward to seeing her here at camp with us next week! Should be fun!

Several staff members – including David – were late for breakfast.  So, they all got assigned to KYBO cleaning duty.

The flag ceremony was great, as usual.  C-Cade led a new song that I hadn’t heard before.  It always surprises me that Camp Director Travis never has anything to say at the flag ceremonies.  Not that I care, but I’m surprised.

And speaking of Travis … he left this afternoon and actually won’t be back until late next Saturday night (a week from now).  He went to a professional Scouting training session at the Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico.  So, this means that I will be wearing two hats from now until he returns – Camp Director and Program Director.

Today was a BSA payday and it was great!  We got paid for a full two weeks.  Nice.

I met with a staffer, Jace, and we had a good talk about life and how to deal with it.  I hope that the conversation was helpful to him.

Lou taught Brooks Blackmer again.  He is determined to get through his training.

At lunch time I called a staff meeting.  I talked of weekend plan options (including a staff trip to Jackson Hole) and asked staff to let me know what they plan to do.  I typed a sign-out sheet to have them log on.  I went to the office and created a campfire program with a multitude of troops doing skits.  We do/did have a bunch of performing troops this week.

After the merit badge times ended, the troops gathered to the parade grounds for the Bull Run activity.  I always love these events.  As ever, I gave out the instructions and then sent the various runners off with the staff lead for each leg of the race.  I then went with David to get the first runners started from the campfire bowl.  We had 4 heats of runners.  Runners were to run from the campfire bowl, to the archery range – where they would pass the baton to runner #2 and this runner is to hit the archery target with two arrows.  The second runner runs up the east side of camp to Jacob at station #3.  There the 3rd runner ties whatever knot Jacob shouts out.  This runner then runs over the hill to station #4.  There the final runner takes off headed for the waterfront.  And at the waterfront, two runners get into canoes and race around two buoys – and also have to change positions in the canoe before returning to shore.

Today featured a new but quite exciting and fun event.  The weather cooperated and so we staged a Scoutmaster belly flop event.  We told the leaders that for each leader who flops his belly, their troop will get 5 seconds taken off of their Bull Run race time.  And we said that the top winners would do it again – and would be judged on redness of belly, style and splash.  Some of the men were sure had the bellies to flop.  I kidded them that they had obviously been working at the bellies for some time.  And their antics were hilarious!  I loved the event – as did all of the onlookers who watched the floppers.  A fun time for all!

After the Belly Flopping exhibition I went and hung out on the office/trading post porch for a while.  At the flag ceremony the staff showed their spirit – and by design – got to keep the Spirit Stick.  A troop really did an excellent presentation of the flag lowering.  Dinner was great.  Everyone in camp looks forward to dinner time – and the kitchen staff comes through with pretty decent food.

The big event of the evening was our big “Merit Badge Madness” event where Scoutmasters come to collect their medical forms, patches and merit badge cards.  This is always a zoo in the dining hall as this event goes forward.  And there is plenty of noise.  And with all of the merit badge card activity, a troop or two is also always there trying to figure out how to mop the large floor.  The waterfront did not have their cards done before the Madness started so a few people had to wait on them.

Troops returned to the Parade Grounds at 8:15 PM and Jace and I led them down to the campfire bowl.  I loved the Staff lined up in two columns to greet us as we came through them.  They looked real sharp in their full uniforms and each had their arms raised in the Scout sign.  Very impressive.

As noted, we had a plethora of troops who signed up to do their thing with skits at the campfire program.  They all came through and did a great job.

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – FRIDAY JULY 1Sth

PROGRAM ITEM                             WHAT TO DO                                   WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                               Drum beats and Welcome             Jace and Kevin

Fire Starter                                        Lady of the Forest                           Jason et al

Loud Song                                         The Window                                     Nathan

Troop Skit                                          Deer Call                                            Troop 350

Troop Skit                                          Hot News                                          Troop 6

Bull Run Winner                Award                                                David

Song                                                   Aaga Flaga                                        Will

Troop Skit                                          Houdini                                              Troop 641

Troop Skit                                          Christmas Tree                                 Troop 954

Run-on                                                                                                           Katie

Song                                                   Bear Song                                          Tannon

Troop Skit                                          The Lawnmower                              Troop 35

Troop Skit                                          Rough Riders                                    Troop 319

Song                                                   Bill Grogan’s Goat                           Larissa

Troop Skit                                          Caveman                                           Troop 563

Handicraft Awards                          Awards                                               Katie

Troop Song                                       5 Days of Camp                                Troop 563

Troop Skit/Song                               Hocus Pocus                                     Troop 49

Troop Skit                                          World’s Fastest Mugging               Troop 389

Shooting Sports Awards                 Awards                                               Bruce

Troop Skit                                          Mother, Mother               Troop 63

Troop Skit                                          Invisible Bench                                 Troops 465/605/469

Troop Skit                                          The Viper                                           Troop 443

SM Training Awards                        Outdoor, SM Specific                      Kevin

Alice the Camel                                Scouters                                            Kevin

Troop Skit                                          The Bear Attack                               Troop 373

Troop Skit                                          Candy Shop                                       Troop 644

Troop Skit                                          Airplane                                             Troop 49

Commissioner Awards                    Jim Bridger, Honor Troop              Lou and David

Quiet Song                                        America                                             Andrew and David

Song                                                   America Round                                Rachae

Flag Retirement Ceremony          Flag Retirement                               Jonathan, Scotty & Team

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                         Kevin

Quiet Song                                        On My Honor, Vesper                     Matt

The campfire program proved to be really excellent.   I was very pleased.  Again I enjoyed leading my “Alice the Camel” song.  I also gave the Scouter’s minute at the end.  (Travis was gone but typically Lou and I have done the campfire minute and then he has given his own moment at the end of the Honor Trail.)  So, I actually had both times tonight in his absence.  As we lead Scouts and troops from the campfire bowl we keep troops together and we lead them one troop at time into the trail.  And each troop is joined by one staff escort who leads them through the trail.  So, tonight, I led the first troop out of the campfire bowl after my Scouter’s minute and then led them right to my end-of-trail minute at the end.

In the campfire bowl I told two stories from my youth.  One was when I was at Camp Geronimo in Arizona.  I was twelve years old and was attending a JLCT (Junior Leader Camp Training ) course.  This was a fore-runner of today’s NYLT.  In the course, we went to camp a week before our troop would arrive at camp.  We received leadership training as well as specific training and orientation about the camp.  I went up to the course with a couple of guys from my own troop but we got put into different patrols and so hardly saw each other all week.  I was thus thrown in with a patrol made up of total strangers.  And I was the only boy of my religion and standards in the group.  Actually though, they were all great guys.  Anyway, I immediately noticed that all of these other guys used the name of our Lord in vain and cussed and swore very frequently in their conversation.  I did talk in that way.

After a short time, I knew that the language needed to change.  I suggested that perhaps as Scouts that we should not use such language.  And amazingly, they all agreed.  And then together, we camp up with a plan that anyone caught using such language would be assigned to a pot or other dish to wash after the next meal.  So, these other guys soon each had a great number of dishes lined up with their names on them.  And the cool thing was that I soon found myself not washing any dishes with the group.  About Wednesday they realized that I was not doing any dish washing with them.  They said, “Hey, Hunt!  How come you’re not helping us with the dishes?”  I said, “Well, wait a minute, guys …  remember at the first of the week when together we decided that we would not cuss, swear or take the name of the Lord in vain … and that whoever did so would have to wash an extra dish at the next meal?”  They thought of that a moment and then I added, “I don’t believe in talking that way so that’s why I have not been doing any dishes.”  Wow!  That was quite a revelation to them.  They could not believe that anyone could go that long without using those words.  I talked of the influence of one person upon others.

I then told the story of when I was age 18 and attended a National Scout Jamboree.  In the opening (or was it the closing) ceremony, all 35,000 Scouts and leaders were given a small candle as they entered the campfire bowl.  And then at a given signal, as all lights were out, all Scoutmasters in the crowd were invited to light their candles.  They then lit the candles of the senior patrol leaders.  And together, they spread the light on to all other members of their troops.  And within a few seconds all of the 35,000 candles were lit and the campfire bowl was as bright as if it were noon.  Again I talked of the influence of a couple of people and how their lights can spread to the world.

As I led my troop into the Honor Trail – and as I proceeded with them through it, I felt that the trail was perfect.  Each staff member did his/her part in an excellent manner.  They said from memory two or three sentences about their assigned Scout Law point and then as they were done, they said, “A Scout is … (and said their assigned point).

As already noted, I finished the trail with my group.  I then went to stand on the rock which had two or three candle buckets around it.  Then, on this rock, I told the group how important the Scout Law is and what it can do in our lives – and in service to others – throughout our lives.  Then as I concluded, I said, “Good night, Scouts” and motioned for them to move on to their campsites.  Then another troop – led by another staffer was ready to come up to me.  And with them gathered around – as a single troop – I again repeated my message.  So, this whole thing was a really great experience for me – and I hope for the troops.  This process repeated until all 20 or so troops had been through the trail.

It was heart rending to me as one Scout at the rock with me said to me, “Thank you for a wonderful experience!”

Then after the Scouts were all gone, I was able to talk to the staff and to tell them how great they have been and the great progress that they have made through this summer camp experience together.  It was again a special moment as we crossed arms and connected with the two people on either side of us.  And then, in this giant staff circle, we sang again those emotional words, “Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be …”

And after all of these words, I announced to the staff that Katie (newly engaged) and her fiancé (visiting here at camp for the weekend) had made banana bread for all of us.  We all went to the dining hall and the banana bread was fabulous (that’s one of my favorite words).  It had been a very special evening and we had all felt the Spirit as we were serving together.

Though now rather late, the Waterfront area/patrol offered to assist the Climbing patrol do the mountain of dishes in the kitchen.  The staff went crazy as they sang every song that we had learned and practiced together.  I hoped that they did not awaken all of the troops out in the campsites.

It was 11:30 PM when Lou and I finally got to see our own cabin again.  And it was refreshing to know that had had no Friday disaster today.  I was very sleepy as I forced myself to write my journal notes for the day.

JULY 16TH– SATURDAY

My son, Rusty, turned age 30 today.  How could that be possible?  We wished that for this moment we could have been home to celebrate with him on this milestone birthday.  We called him a while later and sang “Happy Birthday” with a van-load of staff all joining us in the song for him.  This was fun for all of us.

Travis and Lindsay were both out of camp today.  As noted, he will be gone for a week and she will return tomorrow night.

We held our closing flag ceremony this morning at 7:30 AM for the troops.  We then served the whole group breakfast.  They seemed to appreciate this since they were all busy in the midst of preparations to leave camp and to return home.  Lou and David then worked to get all of the troops checked out of their sites.

Again the Waterfront staff helped with the kitchen and dining hall clean-up.   All of the staffers worked hard at these tasks.  Jace and Kameron cleaned the trading post and then sprayed the front porch.  I cleaned the office and emptied all of the trash.  I sent all of the staff off to clean their areas but once this command is given, all of the staff pretty much disappear into oblivion – thinking that the work week is over and that they are free to do their own thing.  That is not the way the morning is designed but it is hard to corral them after the troops leave.  I went to help clean the dining hall.  Theo helped me with the sweeping.  I also swept the outside steps going out from the dining hall.  Then I joined the kitchen cleaning crew and helped diminish the big stack of dirty dishes.  Jack and Jacob and Will all helped me on the dishes.  The problem came, however, when we ran out of hot water and the cook said that the clean-up process would have to commence again later.  The cook was also rather anxious to spray the whole kitchen floor with the hoses.

I could see that there was more work than available workers so I sent for more recruits.  Then the cook told me that “I can’t have all these bodies in here”.  I said, “Well, in that case, we will all leave.”  This silenced her and she was content to let us finish the tasks.

Travis and I talked early in the camp season and he said that typically camp staffs make a trip over to the famous Jackson, Wyoming – located about 90 miles – almost straight west of the camp.  We determined – that even though he would be gone this weekend, that this would probably be the best weekend for such a trip.  So, I announced yesterday that the vans would be available and anyone who wanted to go on the Jackson trip would be welcome.

I was surprised that more of the staff did not want to make the Jackson trip.  Ultimately I drove the silver van and had with me Lou, Larissa, Kameron, Diego and his twin brother, Jake, Sebastian, Johnny, Daghen, Brayden and the other Jacob.  We headed out of camp about 11:30 AM.  Most of the others staffers wanted just to go hang out in Pinedale – as we have done most Saturdays.

As we were pulling out of the camp parking lot, Tommy came up to my window of the van.  He brought news that Tallin and crew – including Tommy, Tarren, and Daxton were on their way to Pinedale.  I guess they went a bit faster than was recommended for the curve in the road.  And in the process of trying to negotiate the turn, he lost control, started to slide – and then over-corrected, and then they went off of the dirt road.   Tommy had found a ride back to camp with another traveler on the road.  So, we drove him there with our group in the van.

We arrived at the accident scene and found it all rather interesting.  We were grateful that none of the passengers were hurt and that all – except the car – were all doing well.  As we observed the area – and heard from the four guys in the car, we saw that they hand spun around in a 180 degree turn – to the left off of the road.  They spun THROUGH the four wires of the 4-wire wire fence surrounding the Forest Service property.  It was truly amazing to try to contemplate how in the world the car made it through this fence.  And the wires – though quite loose – were still all attached.   One fence post had been broken off as the car slammed into it with its passenger side.

We found some minor damage to the passenger side of the car – but nothing compared to what it could and probably should have been.  All of the doors still opened.  The main damage was that two tires had been popped off of their wheels or rims through the moving and stopping action.    Tallin called his folks and later their insurance company and a tow company who came to the scene and got the vehicle pulled back out – this time under the wire of the fence – and then on to the back of the tow truck.

Our van – under the direction of Momma Lou – went back to the dining hall to get some lunch for these guys – whom it appeared would be there for a while.  Daghen decided to go with us on the Jackson trip.  Tommy and Tarrin returned to camp and Tallin alone remained to await the tow truck.

So, after this excitement I headed for Jackson with my passengers noted.  We drove South to Highway 191 and then west to Jackson.  The trip took us just under two hours. We passed through some absolutely Wyoming country.  Again, I loved the many log cabin houses and structures along the way.  At the Hoback/Alpine Junction we then went north on Wyoming Highway 89 and on to Jackson, Wyoming.

Upon arrival in Jackson we drove around a bit to see what the town had to offer its visitors.  We saw in a couple of places some small groups of Camp Loll staffers – but we were on the busy highway and there really was not opportunity to stop to talk to them – though I would have liked to – since years ago I worked with Delose – who is their current camp director.  I left Lou and Larissa and five boys to explore the downtown area.

Then at their request, I took three boys – who all hoped to see a movie – and we back-tracked three or four miles to the theater.  Our timing at the theater, however, was not good.  All of the movies were then about half way through and the next movies would not start until about 4:30 PM.  And we did not plan to stay that long.  We went back to re-connect with the rest of the group.

As I found Lou and Larissa we were all in the mood for ice cream.  I had found a place called “Moo’s” so we waited in the very long line to place our orders.    We each got two scoops of exotic ice cream flavors – two scoops in a waffle cone – at $7 for each of us.  I guess these folks make the most of their tourist trade.

JACKSON ICE CREAM

Lou and Larissa with Moo’s ice cream.  Yum!

With ice cream still in hand, we made our way across the street and posed with pictures under the very unique elk horn arches that were at each corner of the small city park.  And everyone else in the world seemed to be there at the same time – so we all had to take turns to get our photos taken – and each group recruited a volunteer from the crowd to be their photographer.  We were no different.

JACKSON HORNS LARISSA LOU KEVIN

The Hunt family under one of the famous Jackson Hole elk horn arches

We then made a trip across the street west to visit the Legacy Art Gallery.  This place was packed with gorgeous – and very expensive – paintings.  These were fabulous.

I have long heard that my father’s first cousin, Jim Wilcox, has a beautiful  art gallery in Jackson, Wyoming.  My brother, Darcy, and wife got acquainted with Jim and his wife, Narda, several years ago when Darcy and Laura worked as river guides down the nearby Snake River.  I was pleased to find a Wilcox Gallery located right next door to Moo’s.  I went inside and picked out the “artist on duty”.  I asked him if he is a Wilcox and he said that indeed he is.   I asked him who he was and he introduced himself as Eric Wilcox. JACKSON ERIC WILCOX I asked him who his father is and he replied that it is Jim.  I then put out my hand to shake his – and introduced myself saying that we are second cousins.  He was surprised but seemed pleased to meet a cousin.  It was fun to visit with him and especially about his grandfather, Glen Wilcox – who is the youngest brother to my Grandma Augusta Wilcox Hunt.  He told me about the recent 100th birthday of his grandfather.  Wow!  Those Wilcox folks certainly live a long time.  My Grandma lived to be 93 and all her siblings were at least that old – and some well over 100.  (Update note:  As I was preparing this blog article for publication, I learned of the death of Uncle Glen at age 100 on September 2, 2016.)  Eric’s mother soon came in and it was a pleasure also to meet and converse with her.  She asked about my brother and wife.

By this time it was the time that we had pre-arranged as the time that we would meet to return to the vehicle.  All of the staff seemed to be around us at that moment anyway.  So, they all found us.  On the way out of town I stopped at the request of some at the dollar store.  I went to Staples and got myself a new computer mouse – since mine died and could not be resuscitated.  (Going through the washing machine in my pants pocket was not a positive thing for it.)

I then wanted to get pizza for the group – with my funds – and the trick was finding the place.  We drove around and around and finally concluded that it was inside of an old (but still open) K-Mart store.  I bought five pizzas and we all ate these as we drove out of town.  Sebastian had been walking out of camp as we departed earlier – saying that his mother was coming up to see him and he would walk on the dirt road until he connected with her.  We convinced him that this might not be the best of plans.  So, he had made the trip to Jackson with us.  And meanwhile, his mother was close to camp and ended up trailing us clear to Jackson – another 90 more miles than she had planned.  Anyway, they did connect finally in Jackson.  And he left for camp with her – so that she would at least have a bit of time to visit with him.  Teenagers!  Sometimes they don’t have their thinking caps on tight enough!

We got back to camp about 8:30 PM.  It really was a fun trip. I think that we all enjoyed the Saturday diversion.  I know that I did! I decided to follow the words of the song, “Funky Chicken” and took an “Admin nap” for all of about 45 minutes.  Wow!  Lou went to the kitchen to wash our uniforms to be worn tomorrow to church.  After the nap I revived and typed five pages of my journal – this package of camp experiences.  At 11:00 PM I went out to check on staff members.  I went to their cabins and found them all quiet.  I saw a couple of staffers light an aerosol can on fire.  Not a good thing, guys!  I took the can from them (after the fire was out) and kept safely out of their reach.  They didn’t know that I was around as they did their deed, and then after I came to investigate, they had made a quick retreat inside of their cabin and made a good ploy as if nothing at all had happened.

And still later, Lou and I began to watch the old classic movie of “Meet me in St. Louis”.  This was one of those movies that we got for 3/$  .37.  This was the famous old movie which starred Judy Garland.

I was pleased that my daughter got a new Google password set up for me – after not having use of Google and E-mail for a while.  [But, later when I tried what she told me, I found that this too, was still a dream!]

So, another rather busy but wonderful week has come and gone.  It has been a great time with our Scouts.  We passed our Accreditation “test” with flying colors and a lot of good comments about the camp and our great staff.  And again, to quote Dr. Seuss, we had some great “UP” days.    Thanks to all of you whom I met on the trail and when I asked about your camp experience, you almost all replied, “We are having a blast!”

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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Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 4 – A Small Scout Group with the 4th of July

Scout 1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Well, we made it through our first two weeks of camp – and did it in grand style.  And just when we were geared up for big things, with the staff all enthused and energetic – and kind of knowing what they were doing, … along came the 4th of July week.  This proved to be kind of a “bummer” because we had only about 30 Scouts in camp – and a lot of staff to keep entertained even with a trimmed-down schedule.  But the week – or at least Monday the 4th of July, we were able to stage a few events to help us remember and celebrate our great country of The United States of America.

 

JULY 3RD – SUNDAY

After a very busy and engaging week, it was really nice to sleep in this morning to 7:45 AM.  I forgot that it was Fast Sunday – so I ate some food.  I typed on my journal of the staff week experience.

We went to our church services and participated in a testimony meeting.  I went up and bore testimony of Scouting in the Church.

A troop came to the meeting and said that they have been coming to Camp New Fork for 29 years.  (Camp New Fork was created in 1924!)  One of their leaders said that he has been coming to the camp for all of the 29 years.  The troop also said that it was they who constructed the sacrament trays years ago.  Pretty cool!

Nathan taught the Priesthood lesson – on the subject of our pioneer heritage.

After the meetings, we went back to the cabin.  Lou and Larissa took naps.  I typed on my staff week journal package and finished it.  It came out to be 19 pages.  Wow!

At 2:00 PM, Lou and I went to the dining hall kitchen to cook a July 4th meal for the staff.  Braeden and Jonathan were dedicated helpers and we greatly appreciated their help.  We cooked baked potatoes for Cowboy Potatoes – where one puts a variety of toppings (beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, BBQ sauce) on them.  We cooked the corn on the cob.  Lou made some of her famous rolls (from scratch).  I made the raspberry Jello salad last night and put whipped topping on it today.  I also created an apple/pear cake – in a giant pan.

5:00 PM found us all at the Area Director meeting.  We reviewed the evaluations turned in from the Scout leaders from last week.  There were a lot of positive comments – for which we were happy and grateful.  Lou actually missed the meeting.  She remained in the kitchen to finish the meal details.  We got three staffers to volunteer to help serve.  Larissa and Keira plated the Jello salads.  Everyone loved the food.  It was a nice break from the usual leftover mode.  We were pleased that we could create this special meal for the staff.

After the meal, Lou put away the leftovers.  Daxton and Golden helped me wash the dishes.

I went to Headquarters and was actually able to get enough WIFI strength to send out the 19-page journal package to my family members.  Back at the cabin, Lou and Larissa and I watched a movie about Olympic Jamaican bobsled racers.  This was a great movie.   Lou and I both walked Larissa back through the woods to her cabin at the climbing tower.  We got her back right at the 10:320 Pm staff curfew time.

JULY 4TH – MONDAY

Today was the 4th of July and a special day to celebrate the US independence from England in 1776.  I wore my Uncle Sam bolo tie for the occasion.

Many of the staff members were late to breakfast – and this did not go over well with the camp administration.  Jack did not make it to the flag ceremony so we let him do KYBO duty as a result.

The area directors gathered with the Administrative team for the check-in procedures.  The whole process went slowly this morning.  The troops just trickled in.  Most of them do have four or five hours to drive to get to the camp so it is a challenge for them to get here at an early hour.  And then when they arrive late, it is a challenge for them to get all of their tasks done before noon – especially their swim checks in the lake.  We have to stop letting troops begin the test at 11:30 AM – to be finished by noon.  Actually, though, the check-in process was slow because there were not many folks to arrive today.  With the 4th of July holiday this week, we had a real small group of Scouts arrive.  We had only 4 troops – with a total of 28 Scouts come to us.  So, this will mean a lot of boredom for the staff – since the classes will be super small.

I typed up a revised check-in spreadsheet reflecting the check-ins of today.  This report is helpful to many of the Area directors.  I got David onto my computer to make sure that we could use the John Wayne and Red Skelton patriotic words for use in our campfire program tonight.  We used these items in our flag ceremonies at our Camp Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp last summer and I really liked the messages.  John Wayne talks of “America … Why I love Her” and Red Skelton talks of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The High Adventure group went to the kitchen and brought back food for all of us still at our posts on the porch of the headquarters building.  This was nice for all of us.

Waterfront director, Rachae, came back today.  She was gone for the  weekend as her grandmother was ill.

After a quick lunch, I went to conduct the orientation meeting we staged for the scoutmasters and the senior patrol leaders.  Lou and David conducted their Scoutmaster Specific Essentials training.  Three leaders attended their training.  I went to visit many of the program areas – including the waterfront, nature and climbing areas.  I found the programs and the teaching going well at each place and was pleased.  I made two visits to my own cabin.  One trip was to get a coat – to be used at the campfire program this evening.

I reported to the Takota training campground prepared to teach young men the Junior Leader Training course.  No young men came to be trained.  So, I sat on the headquarter porch and visited for an hour.  This is actually a pretty productive activity since a plethora of Scouts and leaders come there – mainly to the trading post – and so it is a good opportunity to talk to them to see how things are going and to offer assistance as needed.

The opening flag ceremony came off well.  This is always a rather fun activity and I enjoy conducting the affair each morning and evening.  At the flag ceremony we played the recording of Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance.  Our Blue Tooth amplifier seemed to work pretty well.  Everyone was able to hear the program.  It seemed a scant group there with only the four troops (plus some additional high adventure trip boys) present.

We had BBQ chicken for our dinner and the cooks did a good job on this.  They served a beautiful cake decorated to resemble a US flag – in the red, white and blue colors.  This was a fun dessert for our 4th of July celebration.4TH OF JULY CAKE

Normally our campfire programs start at 8:30 PM but for tonight we decided to stage the event at 7:30 PM.  We had told the troops about 4th of July fireworks and celebrations in Pinedale and thought that some of the troops might want to attend these.  We also planned to take the staff in for the events – which were not to begin until about 9:30 PM.

I changed our campfire program plan to be more in keeping with the 4th of July holiday.  So, most of our songs and program features were different than our usual Monday opening campfire plan.   They were mostly patriotic and as such, were quite inspiring and wonderful. 4TH OF JULYThe program was also much shorter than our usual Monday night plan.  Here is what we came up with:

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – MONDAY JULY 4TH

PROGRAM ITEM                                            WHAT TO DO                             Jace

Start of Program                                             Bugle                                             Scott

Welcome                                                                                                                   Kevin

Fire Starter                                                       Patriotic                                       Staff

Active Song                                                      Waddleachee                             Daghen and others

Patriotic Song                                                  My Country Tis of Thee

Patriotic Song with Uke                                God Bless America                Katie

Patriotic Song                                                  Star Spangled Banner           Andrew

Flag Folding Ceremony                                                                                      Jonathan

Patriotic Song                                                  America the Beautiful           David

Flag Retirement Ceremony                                                                               Jonathan

Bugle Taps                                 Scott

Patriotic Song                                                  America Round

Scouter’s Minute                                            John Wayne – America Why I love Her                                                                                                      Kevin and David

Quiet Song                                                       On My Honor                              Matt

Quiet Song                                                       Scout Vesper                               Kevin, Staff

We held the special patriotic program as planned and it came off well.  It proved to be very inspirational and helped to get us all in the mood of gratitude for the great country that we live in.  We had a lot of good comments about the program.  We were done with the campfire program by 8:00 Pm.

At 9 Pm, Lou and I left in the camp’s silver van.  We had 10 staffers in the van with us – including, Daghen, David, marina, Theo, Kent, Jack, Brayden, Kameron, Jonny and Daxton.    Larissa rode with Travis and his family in the camp truck.  Twenty staff members opted not to go down for the festivities and remained in camp.  We also formed a convoy with other people and vehicles.  We went down to Pinedale – located about a half hour away – down the mountain.  We all converged on the Pinedale Middle School playground to watch the Pinedale fireworks.  4TH OF JULY FIREWORKSThe town put on a pretty good show.  We got to see some great displays.  We left after just a half hour (10:30 PM) and returned back to the camp – since we have to get an early start tomorrow morning.  We got back to camp at 11:15 PM.  We had a fun July 4th program together.

 

JULY 5TH – TUESDAY

I arose at 6:00 Am – as I do most mornings in camp.  We had watched a late movie last night – entitled, “A Walk to Remember”.   We had our staff breakfast as usual.  The High Adventure group were assigned as the clean-up crew – but they had to leave right away for their high adventure outing on the nearby Green River.  Right after eating I hurried off to conduct my meeting for the senior patrol leaders of the camp.  We got done in time for the morning flag ceremony.

Lou and David presented the second session of their Scoutmaster training.  With only 28 Scouts in camp, we didn’t have all of our usual merit badge classes.  We cancelled many of them.  This meant that many of the staff were free a lot of the time today.  This was good and bad.  It is nice to have a relaxed day but with too much free time, the staff gets in trouble.

So, I was determined to keep the staff busy – after last week when we didn’t have enough for them to do.  I took a bunch of the staff members down by the front gate to do a camp service project.  One comment from a leader last week was that our “front gate looks like the back gate”.  So, we were anxious to clean things up a bit.  With my crew – including Jace, Jacob and more.  Jacob has a stump arm and is pretty amazing with it.  He can do more with his one good arm and that stump than most guys can do with two full limbs.   (And he jokes about it – so that everyone can be comfortable with it.)   We worked hard to clear junk logs and limbs from the entry way up to where the high adventure groups stay.  We filled a full trailer full of the junk wood and took it out to a large “slash wood” stack – as directed by the Forest Service.  (They will burn the wood piles later.)  We also filled the camp truck bed with a bunch of logs suitable for burning at campfire fires.  Some of the wood had to be knocked off of large wood pieces.FRONT GATE HA CANOES

We worked until lunch time.  The high adventure patrol was assigned to clean-up but they were gone.  So, I assigned myself to help clean up the dining hall.  I had the task pretty much to myself.

After the KP duty, I went to Takota and conducted an orientation and the first session for the three guys taking the Outdoor Skills Training.  I then went to the rifle range for a meeting with the Scouting leaders.  At this meeting I reviewed upcoming camp programs and activities.  Lou and David were there to talk about hikes and maps.  David handed out maps for each troop going on hiking trips tomorrow.

I returned to the service project – this time with ten staff members.  I got a lot of work out of David, brad, Daxton, Max, Marina, Jacob, Tannon and Kameron.  All of the staffers worked really hard.  We took several trailers of the wood junk over to the slash pile located outside of the front gate.

By the end of the afternoon we were racing the clock to get to the evening flag ceremony.  I drove the camp truck with five staffers right up to the parade grounds (and Travis said later that we really made a dramatic entry there for the program).  But, we made it just in time for me to conduct the ceremony.  In Mason’s absence, I invited Daghen to lead the group in the Bazooka Bubble Gum song.  This is always a great song and the scouts love to jump and down as they sing:

“Bazooka, zooka bubble gum …!

Our cook, Mabel, had to take a quick trip (15 hours each way) back for some business in Missouri.  So, this meant that the younger staff had the task of staging dinner on their own.  They did a pretty decent job of it and even had it come off on time – at 6 PM.

Later this evening I conducted the campwide games for the troops of the camp.   But, we had only two troops come to participate.  So, the staff – all at their assigned posts for the event – had a lot of sitting around time.  I was grateful to them for their patience.  We ran through all nine of the events – so were there until 9:30 PM.  It got a bit chilly by the time that the event was over.

One of our staffers did not drink enough water today and passed out.  So, this added a bit of excitement to things.  This 8,000 altitude and the physical demands of such – really does weird things to the body system of some.

Lou and I had some added excitement of our own in our cabin.  Lou saw a mouse skirt around the living room.  She went into a major panic – since she can’t stand mice.  She says that they are “too sneaky”.  In her panic, she put up a bunch of boxes and other stuff in front of the doors to the two bedrooms – in an effort to keep the mouse out of the bedroom.  She was afraid that the little mousy would come to attack her in the night.  I really had to laugh at the whole scenario.  It was pretty funny.

 JULY 6TH – WEDNESDAY

I had my usual camp routine this morning – except that I had no hot water for a shower.  I had played with the thermostat and thought that I was turning the temperature up – but actually turned it down.  And so, I suffered for it.

I conducted the flag ceremony this morning but it was just for the staff.  The troops (all four of them) were off on their Wednesday hike outings.  After the ceremony, I sent the staff off to work in their areas for just 45 minutes.  We received mail and it was nice that Lou and I both received small checks from our home school system jobs.  This was from a recent Prop 123 that passed to the benefit of all employees.  So, I was able to pay some bills.  Yeah!

Six staff members went to work with the Forest Service.  I took all of the rest of the staff to work on a log and trail clean-up project  We got a great deal accomplished and the front gate trails and roads now look a great deal better.  I was proud of the whole staff group for their efforts.  We also had a fun time together.  I think that the staff sang – quite loudly, I should add – as we worked.  This added to the fun time together.  We took three big loads of wood to the pile outside of camp.  It was good to be able to keep the staff busy.  And I think that the time was enjoyed by all – and beneficial to their general attitude.  Work is good!

I let the staff go to eat lunch in their work clothes – and not their usual uniforms.  We did not have time to get showered and changed.  I helped with the breakfast and then also the lunch clean-up today – since the high adventure group is still gone.  (They have their participants come on Mondays and then they stay overnight in the camp.  They just use the camp as a base camp.   They then leave on Tuesday mornings and remain on the river until Fridays about noon.

Lou and David conduct Scoutmaster training in two sessions.  I signed up myself to present the third session of the training.  I am excited to do this – since it is on one of my favorite Scouting subjects – that of planning the annual calendar and program.  I love teaching this session.  In the session I taught from my own book on the subject (and sorry about the goofy formatting when the material is imported):

THE PROGRAM PLANNING PROCESS (Summary)

PLANNING THE ANNUAL SCOUTING OR YOUTH PROGRAM

STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE THE ANNUAL PROGRAM PLANNING CONFERENCE:

  1. REVIEW LEADERSHIP NEEDS OF THE UNIT

Determine what additional leadership roles need to be filled in the unit.  Recruit other team members as needed and begin training for them.

  1. SET A DATE FOR THE PLANNING CONFERENCE

Arrange for a facility in which to hold the planning conference.  Make other physical arrangements for meals, sleeping, recreation and planning sessions.  Arrange for a secluded retreat setting that has comfortable facilities.  Recruit parents or committee members to prepare scrumptious meals for conference participants.

  1. COLLECT ALL APPLICABLE CALENDARS

Collect calendars for the church, school, the Scout council and district, and the community to which your members belong.  Make large calendar sheets (one for each month) and preprint these with applicable key dates from the various calendars.

  1. SURVEY YOUR AVAILABLE RESOURCES

Take a survey to determine contacts, skills, clubs, equipment, memberships and facilities that may be available to you.  Invite all members of the chartered organization to complete a survey form to show resources they have and are willing to share to make your program a success.  Then tally the results together onto one form.  There are forms specific to packs, troops, teams, and crews.  Use the form best suited for your needs.

  1. REVIEW BOY INTERESTS AND NEEDS

Determine boy interests and needs for each member of your group.  For Varsity and Venture age youth, distribute an “Interest Survey” with a list of many potential activities.  Tally the sheets to determine program features which have the greatest overall interest from the majority of the team or crew members.

  1. MAKE LARGE POSTER SHEETS

Make large poster sheets to be used for brain-storming during the conference.  Make charts for basic Scout skills (Scouts) or for each of the FIVE Varsity Scouting “Program Areas” (Personal Development, Special Events, Advancement, Service, High Adventure) or the SIX experience areas of Venturing (which are: Outdoor Programs, Citizenship, Leadership, Fitness, Social and Service).

FUNCTIONS OF THE ANNUAL PLANNING CONFERENCE:

  1. CONDUCT LEADERSHIP TRAINING SESSIONS FOR YOUTH AND ADULTS

Leadership Training should be a part of the annual Program Planning Conference.  Training should be conducted for both youth and adults.  For youth leaders, focus on the duties of all boy’s leadership positions and a job description for each (to include SPL, PL, Captain, President, etc.)  Adult training should focus upon all members of the unit (Pack, Troop, Team or Crew) committee and a review of the jobs for each committee member.

  1. EVALUATE PAST PROGRAMS AND SET GOALS FOR FUTURE

Evaluate past programs, activities and methods of the past year.  Evaluate outings, advancement and effectiveness of programs.  Set new goals to be accomplished during the coming year.  Use the list of “10 Keys to Successful Scouting – Keys to Scouting Leadership” as a discussion guide.

  1. BUILD YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Plan activities at the conference that will unite your leadership team (both youth and adult) to accomplish the mission of your unit and your chartered organization.

      4.  INCLUDE ACTIVITIES THAT WILL PROMOTE FUN AND FELLOWSHIP

Although this will be a working session, you will want to include some FUN activities throughout your conference.

  1.   COMPLETE THE ANNUAL CALENDARING PROCESS  
  2.   Have a brainstorming session. List a multitude of potential activities – that the boys want/need to do – using the large poster charts (monthly themes, program areas, etc.), prepared before the conference.
  3. Calendar programs or activities that occur regularly (i.e.: the day and time of troop and patrol meetings, combined activities with girls or the chartered organization, committee meetings, monthly hikes, courts of honor, etc). Post these dates to the calendar.
  4. Determine monthly themes to be followed for the coming year.
  5. Calendar the major program for the coming year – the annual summer camp experience or the high adventure activity. Then plan the steps, training and programs necessary to achieve the major program goal.  Put dates to these steps on the large calendar posters.
  6. Calendar specific dates for the events listed earlier during the brainstorming session. Calendar only the BEST OF THE BEST activities.  Select activities from each of the posted charts to ensure a varied program.  DO NOT plan specific event times, places or other details of activities.  This will be done later in the 3-month and 1-month planning processes.
  7. Be sure to plan the date for next year’s Annual Program Planning Conference
  8. DEVELOP A PLAN OF ATTACK FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CALENDAR AFTER THE CONFERENCE.
  9. Make plans to automate details of the planned calendar. Determine who will enter the dates and activities into a master computer calendar.  Set the goal to have all of the calendar sheets and the data thereon condensed down to just one or two pages for the complete annual calendar.
  10. Plan a date and agenda for an upcoming parents meeting where the full annual calendar will be presented and distributed to parents.
  11. Make implementation plans for the unit committee and youth leadership councils.
  12. Establish 3-month and 1-month planning cycles and processes to plan, delegate and implement details of the planned annual program.  Plan to utilize a “rolling” 3-Month calendar.  As one month ends, drop it from the calendar and add a new month to maintain a 3-month planning cycle.
  13. Distribution of the calendars to all youth, adults, committee members, leaders of the chartered organization, and other applicable parties.
  14. Recruit parents and youth to chair specific events and programs. Use a combination of youth and parent/committee member teams where possible.  Give these program specialists the charge to move forward and to begin planning events and programs that they are responsible for.  Recruit additional help as needed.  Delegate to, train, and utilize the program planning youth, parents and committee members.
  15. Plan a mid-year review of the calendar.
  16. WORK THE PLAN AND HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIVES AS BOYS AND ADULTS WORK TOGETHER TO PLAN GREAT PROGRAMS, AND TO HAVE FUN WHILE MEETING THE AIMS OF THE SCOUTING PROGRAM AND THE CHARTERED ORGANIZATION.

[@ Kevin V. Hunt – Scouting Trails 1994, 2007 – Quoted from the book: “Scouting Program Planning”

Available on Website: www.ScoutingTrails.com or via E-mail: kevin@scoutingtrails.com]

I had a good time teaching this to the three leaders.  After the training I visited the waterfront and climbing program areas.  All was good in both areas.

In other excitement of the day, Kendra – in the kitchen – sliced off part of the end of a finger.  She cut her finger while using the meat slicer to slice ham for dinner. I heard the news on the radio and rushed over there with Lou, Katie, Bruce and others.  This team cleaned the kitchen and the slicer after Kendra went off for assistance from the medical professional, Steve.  We sanitized all of the tables.  Kendra is okay but took a bit off of her finger.

At the flag ceremony I took an extra ten minutes with the program – since dinner was to be a bit late after the kitchen excitement.  We sang some additional songs.  I helped with clean-up after the meal.  A lot of other staffers came to assist with kitchen clean-up and once again, they loudly sand their repertoire of camp songs as they worked.  I love it when they do this.  It is fun to see them enjoying the songs together.

I also went over to conduct the branding session.  Only the “orange troop” 166 showed up.  I got back to my cabin early – at 8:15 PM.  I there typed on my journal as Lou watched another movie.  Also, Travis asked me to make the rounds of the staff cabins to make sure that all were in the cabins – where they should be – and quiet at 10:30 PM – the time established for all to be in bed.  This was the first time that Travis has asked me to assist in this effort.  He usually makes the rounds himself each night.  I enjoyed the activity.

JULY 7TH – THURSDAY

Our youngest staffer, K-Kade, had a birthday today.  He is only 14.  Normally only young people age 14 and over can come up on staff but we allowed him to come since he has been so close to his birthday.  And he has done a really great job this summer.  He is a real asset to the staff.  We sang “Happy Birthday” (“Scout style” – which is real loud and ugly) at the flag ceremony.

FLAG CEREMONY HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOUT STYLE

Happy Birthday sung “Scout Style” for C-Cade and Others

Also at the flag ceremony a Scout leader announced that it was just 33 degrees this morning.  Wow!  Thirty three degrees in July.  (I have heard that in many camps – including Camp New Fork, there are only two seasons – winter and July.  That truly seems to be the case here.)

Breakfast – before the flag ceremony – came off on time today – so this was good.  It gave me time to eat quickly and then to get to my meeting with the senior patrol leaders.  Travis headed off on a service project for the Forest Service and took six staffers with him.

Lou went with me this morning to visit the program areas.  We went to the nature area and found it nice and clean.  At the waterfront we enjoyed visiting with Troop 166 – “The Men in Orange”.  They have orange neckerchiefs, hats, etc.  They look good.

We also went to the Climbing area.  With so many classes cancelled and so much free time for the staff, I “assigned” many of them to go to Climbing to participate in Cope games and activities.  Larissa willingly staged these games.

COPE DIRECTOR LARISSA

Cope Director, Larissa

She was trained in Cope games while at her National BSA camp school but has not really had time and staff resources to stage the games.  So, she was pleased to get the chance to teach some of the games to the staff.

Larissa blindfolded staff and had them go through various tasks while in the dark.  We all enjoyed watching the staff work together to climb the 12’ wall.  It was real fun to watch 6’5” David trying to get his big body up over the wall – with the rest of the staff above – and down below – trying to assist as needed to get him over.

COPE STAFF WORKING TOGETHER

Camp New Fork Staff on Cope Course – Helping to get David and all over the wall!

I went to the handicraft area and noted that they have a lot going on there.  I was impressed with the staff and their craft and merit badge activities.  Next I went to Archery and found no Scouts there.  I went on to the Rifle Range and found only one Scout there.  He got some personal one-on-one time and help on his merit badge.

This afternoon at noon we staged a luncheon for the Scoutmasters in camp.  And with only a handful of leaders present, I was pleased to have all of the warm and wonderful brownies that I could eat.  Thanks, Mabel, and staff!   The group included only the four Scoutmasters, Lou, David and I.  It was a nice cozy gathering.

I did not get enough of my scripture reading in this morning so returned to the cabin to read for a few minutes this afternoon.  I returned to the camp office and created a program for tomorrow’s campfire program.  I combined elements of our usual Friday night program with some from the Monday schedule – since with our July 4th program, we didn’t get to do our usual skits and songs.  I went to the climbing area and watched Larissa go down the zip line.

I have a couple of “trademarks” that are just me while in camp.  One is that I wear a different carved bolo tie each day.  I also have a different walking stick for each day.  I have about fifteen of the carved sticks but with space restraints in our car – coming up from Arizona – I brought only about five sticks up to camp with me.

WALKING STICKS BY KEVIN

Kevin Hunt and Scouting friends with some of his carved walking sticks

 

The bolo ties and the sticks create a lot of conversation opportunities with Scouts and leaders and it is fun to talk to them about the items.  Tonight I decided to make a display table with all of the bolo ties and sticks so that the Scouts and leaders could see the whole collection.

I showed Scouts and staffers that I have many bolo ties (six or seven) carved by the late Bill Burch – the granddaddy of Scout bolo ties.

BOLO TIES BY BURCH AND REED

Some of the Bill Burch and Jason Reed bolo ties owned by Kevin Hunt

I enjoy telling Scouts about Bill and how he carved some 50,000 ties in his lifetime before his recent death.   Bill Burch taught Gary Dollar how to carve the bolos and I am sad that I have only one of his ties.   This is a Jamboree Scout.  I then show the Scouts that I have five or six bolos carved by Jason Reed (who was taught to carve by Bill and Gary).  I tell them that Bill and Gary live in Utah but that Jason lives about three blocks from me in Mesa, Arizona.  And whenever I have a special need for a bolo tie, I write Jason an e-mail message describing my need.  And then in two or three weeks, he sends me an e-mail telling me that the new bolo is carved and complete.  I note too, that I have a bolo carved by Fred Jepsen and two or three carved by Guy Nelson.  I absolutely love these bolo ties and they truly are my “trademark”.  I wear them each day at Scout camp – as well as almost every other day of the year at home – even when not on Scouting business.  The Scouts today enjoyed checking out the bolos and sticks.  (i have about 15 each of my carved sticks and the bolo ties.  I love the bolo ties so will have to try to find some more!)

Travis had told us that tonight could be a date night in town for Lou and me.  But, the plan had to change.  Travis and wife instead went to town to eat with Doctor Steve and a staff member who has been helping him with his painting of the dining hall as he has been here this week.  We were sad that we had to miss our planned “date”.  I guess we can go for it next week.

Since I was “in charge” of the camp tonight, I opted to remain on the porch of the office and trading post to be present if needed by anyone.  I am a bit hard to find when away at the “Hill Cabin”.  I talked side by side with a Scoutmaster, Sheldon Laird – a red-head like my son Keith – for an hour or more.  We talked of Camp New Fork, the many summers and places that Lou and I have served at Scout camps (eight camps in six states) through the years, LDS Scouting and other subjects.

Sheldon said to me, “I can tell you’ve done a great amount of work to teach and train these staff boys.  I can feel the energy and enthusiasm you’ve given them”.  I loved this special comment.  Such comments make all the work and effort worth it all.   Sheldon and I had a good conversation.  This Sheldon seems like a really great guy and I enjoyed the visit with him.

Travis got back to camp about 8:30 PM so I went back to my cabin.  Lou had us watch another “chick flick” entitled, “It Takes Two”.  This is a fun movie.  I also spent much of the evening typing on my journal entries.

I thought that the excitement of the day was done – but not so.  One staff member from a cabin next to ours came and said that guys from a nearby cabin were throwing glass at them and their cabin.  Tallin and Rachae came to our cabin also upset about what they had heard.  So, I went in my pajamas outside to deal with the issues.  I talked to staffers from both cabins.  Travis soon arrived and he and I and Tallin talked to the guys in Cabin #1.  I think that we got the issues resolved.   The one staffer got a “strike” and will have to call his folks tomorrow to tell them of the incident and his actions.

I had been back at my cabin for only a few minutes when I heard some screaming in the cabin below us – not the first one referenced above.  A staff guy was having some nightmares and did some sleep walking and stuff.  I went down there and found another staff guy consoling him.  I continued the task.  I put my arm around the boy and told him that he was okay and that everything would be okay too.  This all seemed to have a calming influence upon him.  The boy who had the sleep problem did not even know that he was doing what he was doing.  Travis came over again and we put the sleep-walker in a tent alone for the evening.   After Daghen was off to his tent, I gathered the other boys in the cabin and we prayed together.  And by my first instinct, I used the power of my Priesthood and invoked a calm and peaceful spirit to be over the cabin.  (David later said that this action was exactly what was needed and ask me what made me think to do this.  I told him that I honor and respect the Priesthood and that I look for opportunities to use it in service to others.)

What a night!  Wow!

JULY 8TH – FRIDAY

The staff was all kind of shaken over the events of last night.  I said a prayer at breakfast and asked the Lord’s Spirit to assist and calm each of us.

The flag ceremony went well.   After the flag ceremony several staff members had little to do – since so many classes have been cancelled this week.  One staffer, Marina, is a real go-getter.  She always wants to be busy and she comes every few minutes for more tasks.  Lou took her this morning and was able to provide tasks sufficient to keep her entertained.  It is great to have staff members so willing to go the “extra mile” as this Marina does.  David was kind of all over the place.  He seems to put forth his influence all over the place.  I appreciate his efforts.

I went and visited the Nature Area for a few minutes.

NATURE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE BY  BRAYDEN

Brayden teaching in the Nature Area

They always have good things going on there.  I found one Nature staffer kind of depressed.  I guess he has seen many staffers who somehow get the privilege to go down the zip line – but the Nature area never seems to get this opportunity.   I went immediately to the Climbing Tower and Larissa agreed to let the Nature folks come at 3:00 PM for a zip line ride.  I went back and told the Nature guys and they were surprised and pleased.  (But then 3:00 PM came and it rained for a few minutes so the Nature guys had to be put off.  I felt bad about this.)  I’ll have to work to get them down there another time.

Travis again left camp with a few staffers.  They did another project for the Forest Service – from whom we lease the camp property.

Lynn Gunter came from the Ogden Scout office today to the camp.  He is the boss of district executive, Travis.  He brought us many new bows for the archery range.  I called Lina the Archery range staffers and told them that Christmas had come early for them.  They were real excited when they came to the office and were given the new boys.

I knew this Lynn.  When I was involved with the production of the “Century of Honor” book (about the 100-year history of Scouting in the LDS Church) I had opportunity to meet him at a special dinner held for the book contributors (and with many Scout executives of which Lynn was a part).  See more about the book at this blog article:  Century of Honor bookCentury of Honor book.    So, it was fun to visit with him once again.  I found it interesting that he brought his stuffed dummy – whom he called “Rufus” with him.  He sat this Rufus in various places in the camp and took his photo for future use in marketing publications.

I retyped the program for the campfire program and made some changes.  I decided to make a series of blog articles about our 8-week camp season.  I think that the events and activities that we do here might be of general interest to others.  So, I prepared the first blog today – and will post it soon.  This will be about our staff week.  Read the post about the New Fork Staff week here

In spite of some staff challenges of the day, our Bull Run relay race did happen as planned.  At 3:00 PM all of our merit badge classes ended for the week.  Then at 3:15 PM, most of the Scouts in camp gathered with me at the flagpole at the parade grounds.  Staffer, Braeden, did the “Iron Bull” – meaning that he ran the entire 1-mile race by himself – and then also did the water and canoeing portion.  We had three troops participate with teams for the Bull Run.

I talked to the Scouts and then directed them to staff members representing each leg of the run.  Then each staffer led their groups off to their areas on the course.  I then led the “#1’s” down to the campfire bowl.  David was there and got the boys into different “heats”.  We – and the Scouts – were all disappointed when we got thunder right as the race began.  So, with the thunder, we had to cancel all of the water parts of the Bull Run.   We did add an extra running leg at the end in lieu of the water event.  It still proved to be a fun event and was enjoyed by all.

After the run I returned to my own cabin for a few minutes.  I there worked on my blog about the staff week of camp.

Our 5:45 PM flag ceremony went well as usual.  I was sad, however, with some of the events of the day – but put on a good front.  Dinner was good, as usual.

After dinner I again did branding for a while – until the High Adventure staff guys came to take over the function.  I then went to the dining hall to assist and serve the unit leaders as they participated in our “merit badge madness” event.  At this event, leaders of each troop are given a packet prepared by David and Lou – containing medical forms, camp patches, merit badge completion and partial cards, etc.  Then each leader takes the time to go through his own packet to make sure that everything matches – our records of what was actually completed – and what the Scouts said that they should be getting.  The whole gathering was quite calm with only four troops there to participate.  It was a real “walk in the park” as compared to most other weeks when twenty or more troops are all in there trying to get help from our Area Directors for whatever problems might come up.

At 8:15 PM I again greeted the troops at the parade grounds.  Jace and I led them down to the campfire bowl for our closing program.  I again used silent signals to calm and direct the Scouts.  Each of the four troops performed their own skits but with only four present, this left extra time for staff to add and perform in the program.

While on the High Adventure river trek, one of the Scouting units performed their own version of “If I were Not a Scouter … A … I would be”.  Nathan and Andrew asked if this group could perform tonight at the campfire program – raving about how fabulous they were.  We had not performed this song at the Monday night program (because of our special 4th of July program) so I was willing to add them to the agenda.  From what I heard from Nathan and Andrew and the other High Adventure staff, I knew that they would out-perform the staff.

This is a song that I grew up with at Camp Geronimo in Arizona and it was very traditional and perfect in its performance by staff members.  It was the best part of camp – in my opinion.  And a few years I even went the 100 miles – one way – from home to camp – just to see it performed on opening night.  And with that tradition burned deep into me, I was anxious to stage the same song and show at Camp New Fork.  I assigned our staff various parts – or let them volunteer.    I have also participated with my own “A farmer I would be … give Bessie give, the baby’s got to live” while going through the motions of milking a cow.  But, sadly, as we have performed, we have done so without the energy and enthusiasm that I have come to expect from the song.  Nothing that I could do has been catalyst enough to get it going the way that it should be.  So, admittedly, it has actually come off pretty boring.

And so,  tonight, I had high hopes from this outside performing Varsity team.  I hoped that they would really outshine the staff – and by so doing, would energize the staff to make it a great deal better in their own performance next week.  These guys had the desired effect.  The Varsity Scouts were fabulous.  And the staff really got the message – about how bad they were – and how good that they could be with added energy and focus.  I was elated and looked forward to see what the staff might come up with for next week.

Also, our staff at New Fork this summer has traditionally performed the “Raisins” skit.  We were all surprised this week when a troop – through their senior patrol leader at my morning planning meetings – said that they wanted to perform this act.  So, I let them go for it too. …

RAISINS SKIT

Required:

5 or more scouts.
big dark-colored garbage bag for each.

Preparation:

all but one scout puts a garbage bag on like a coat – with a hole cut out for his head.

Script:

All scouts but one are Raisins and they come on stage and line up. They sing the Raisin Bran song.
“We are the raisins that make the Raisin Bran so great.” over and over and over …

Last scout walks onto stage with his fingertips together over his head so his arms make a big circle – he is the spoon.

Raisins: Spoon! Aaaaaah! (and they all run around in a panic, but not too fast)

The ‘spoon’ catches one raisin and takes him offstage.

Raisins line up, settle down, and start their song again.

Spoon reappears and takes another raisin.

Repeat until only one raisin is left. He stands there sadly and sings:
“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner …”
For added fun, have the ‘spoon’ enter the stage the 2nd or 3rd time with only one arm pointing straight up – he’s a knife. 🙂
One Raisin yells – “Spoon!!!”
Another yells – “Hey, its just a knife! I think he’s after the jelly.” and they all settle down while the knife walks across.

Can do the same thing with both arms pointing up with elbows bent to the side slightly – a fork. 🙂
One Raisin yells – “Spoon!!!”
Another yells – “Relax, that’s a fork! The eggs are in trouble now!” and they all settle down while the fork walks across.

See this and other fun skits and campfire stuff at this website:

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/skit/great_raisins-1399.asp

Actually, tonight was the first time that I had seen the “Oscar Meyer Weiner” ending and I loved it.  And we never used the part about the eggs.  I just found that on-line.  We’ll have to try this another time!  It was fun to see a troop perform the skit that the staff has had so much fun with.

Also on the program I called forward the three guys who completed their Scoutmaster Essentials and also the Outdoor Skills training this week while at camp.  I presented them their course completion certificates.  I then called up other troop leaders – telling the Scouts that I wanted them to see “what great leaders they have had here at camp”.  Then after ten or twelve other adults come forward, I lead the group in the “Alice the Camel” song.

ALICE THE CAMEL

Alice the Camel has … humps!

This is another one of my long-time favorite songs for closing campfire programs (training courses, etc). I love the song and I especially love leading at each campfire program (or other event) where I have the opportunity to do so. And I especially love the ending of the song.  There locked arms with many adult Scouters, we sing, “Alice the Camel has no humps … and then I leave the guys hanging as I run off stage saying loudly, “BECAUSE ALICE IS A HORSE”

Though sung by a group other than mine, you can experience the words and the tune of “Alice” at this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86w_7VODRxo

I also presented the “Scouter’s Minute” after tonight’s campfire program.  I used a quote on the subject of “personal worth” from my own history book of “Scouting in the LDS Church”.

From the campfire bowl and program, we led the four troops – individually – through the Honor Trail.  This went well and the Scouts and leaders seemed impacted positively from their walk through the Scout Law trail.

After all of the Scouts had departed to their campsites, we had our usual post-campfire-program staff time together.  This is always a wonderful experience as together we sing, “Friends We are …”  Travis talked only briefly of the departure of three staff members today.  This became an emotional moment for the remaining faithful staff.

Lou and I went back to our cabin.  I looked from the cabin deck to the campfire area below.  I could tell that the dual fires were still burning down there.  So, I went down and hauled water from the nearby spigot to put out the fires.

CAMPFIRE AND LAKE VIEW FROM CABIN

Camp New Fork campfire bowl as seen from the “Hill Cabin” porch

Back at the cabin, I got out my trusty 3×5” note cards and made journal notes (for this journal writing and blog article) about the events of the day.  It took three cards to handle all of the notes of the day.  It has been a day of joy and trauma – one of those days that it is good to have as history.

As a note, our staff is really dwindling.  We did not have enough staff members when we began camp but now we are really down.   But, we will go forward!

JUY 9TH – SATURDAY

I arose as usual at 6 Am.  I conducted a morning flag ceremony – with staff and outgoing troops – at 7:30 AM.  The troops were not happy campers.  They did not want to be up at that hour – and had probably been up and cleaning and packing in their campsites for two hours before the gathering.  Hence, the spirit was dead at the event.  After the program I directed all of the gathered group to the dining hall for a group breakfast.

After breakfast Lou and David went to check out their troops and to make sure that their campsites were clean.

COMMISSIONER LOU

Camp New Fork Commissioner Lou Hunt

I directed the rest of the staff to their program areas for clean-up and a refreshing of the areas for another week of Scouts.  I later made the rounds to check on progress in each area.  All were looking real great.

My real reason for wanting to see the camp areas was to take camp photos to be used later in my blogs of the camp and the summer.  I did get a lot of good shots.

KEVIN THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Kevin in one of his unofficial camp roles – that of Camp New Fork photographer

After the work of the morning was complete, I returned to my cabin and typed for a while on my journal.

Travis promised a town trip for all who might be interested.  I was planning to drive one of the two camp vans.  We mostly filled the other van –  (driven by Rachae) but there were not enough other staffers who wanted to go – so I opted to just drive my own mini-van with Lou.

We have been looking forward to this weekend in Pinedale for a long time.  We have known that the town was hosting the “Green River Rendezvous” event – to celebrate the American mountain men.  Lou and I were so late in leaving camp (behind the other van) that we missed the Mountain Man parade.  I was a bit disappointed in this.  I did enjoy seeing the Native Americans dressed royally in their traditional attire.  They were fabulous.  I got a few good photos of them.

NATIVE AMERICANS IN PINEDALE MNT MAN RENDEZVOUS

Native Americans in traditional costume at Pinedale, Wyoming Green River Rendezvous

We parked the vehicle and for a few hours just wandered around town.  We saw other staffers there who just kind of did the same thing.  We saw one or two staffers everywhere we went.  We went to the Ridley’s market for a needed “drink and drain” break.  We then went to the junky thrift store.  (One can tell that I am not a fan generally of such places, but this one takes the cake in being “underwhelming”.)  Lou bought three “new” (actually OLD VHS) movies – for a total of 37 cents between the three of them.  Such a deal!

We walked down the main drag – Pine Street – and visited many of the booths set up by various vendors.  There were some rather interesting displays – and a bunch of food booths.  We were enticed by many places but price was a deterrent.  We finally settled on a booth where a small Mexican family was selling their home made items.  We bought some tamales from them and really enjoyed them.  We went across the street and ate them under the shade of some giant trees near the library.  We and many other staffers ended up at the library.

Travis and Lindsay suggested that we visit another field – that we did not know was there. In this field the true blue Mountain Men had set up their authentic tents and wares.

I loved this place and gathering.  A while ago I mentioned the charge from the chain saw bear carver to find some black marbles for eyes for his carved bear.  I have looked at the limited places around us for such marbles but to no avail.  But today, I saw some marbles in some of the Mountain Men booths and so began a search in each of the tent booths.  And wala!  There they were.  I found just the black marbles that I was seeking.  I bought a pair in two or three different sizes – to make sure that I got the right fit.  And so, for a quarter or so per pair, I was all set.  I was very pleased.  [And back at camp I was anxious to get the eyes set in place on our carved bear.  The smaller marbles fit – and the completed bear looked great.  Thanks, Ty!]

BEAR CARVED FINAL 2

We returned to Ridley’s for a few items.  That place sure has the corner on the market for all things food in Pinedale.  We left town about 5:00 PM – with Larissa and roommate, Kiara, with us this time – and returned to camp.

Back at camp, we learned that 8 troops had already arrived early for next week.  Wow!  We talked to the folks that we saw but kind of left each troop to do their own thing – whatever that was – under the direction of their own troop leadership team.

Early in the camp season I made up a staff duty roster with various assignments to be done – rotating each week.  One of the assigned tasks was for the area patrol to plan a staff activity night for the staff.  And most of the groups decided to stage their events about 6:00 PM on Saturday nights – after the troops were gone – and the streets totally explored in Pinedale.  Such was the case tonight.

The Waterfront staff planned a staff event at their place.  They staged canoe races – with five people in each canoe.  Larissa and David took their swim checks at the “ice rink” as I call the lake.  David passed his test but Larissa did not.  She could not do the back stroke as required.  But she did better than I did at it.  The next event was a kayaking event.   Lou and I did attend the event but did not participate.  Instead, we tended the two little boys of Ranger Reed as their parents participated in some of the events.  The mom had a bit of a hard time giving up her baby into the hands of someone else.  She looked at us as if she was not sure if she should do this.  But, being the parents of nine children ourselves – and having 31 grandchildren, it was an easy task for us.  We were happy to do it for them.  Lou left after the parents returned – to work on her never-ending laundry project.  It is a real challenge to keep the dust washed off of our uniform parts.

We again tried out the do-it-yourself dinner deal with leftovers of the week as Lou finished our laundry using the washer and dryer at the kitchen.  Back at the cabin Larissa wanted to watch “Annie” but was disappointed when one of the expensive videos did not work.  I typed again on my journal.  Lou and I walked Larissa back to her cabin at 10:15 PM.

Also today I began writing a blog about our recent trip to Camp Bartlett for the rededication of the lodge there.  I made progress on this article Camp Bartlett Lodge Rededication.

Wow!  Another rather busy week.  There was plenty to do – and plenty of excitement to keep us entertained.  And with the end of this week, we noted that we were half way through the summer.  The time is going all too quickly.  We have had some really great times here at Camp New Fork.  We have enjoyed the association with the Scouts, the leaders and the staff members.  Stay tuned … the Week 5 Blog will be posted soon!

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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