Farewell to one of the Greatest of Men – My Scoutmaster

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

It was a Saturday afternoon – just last week – and I had just come home after a busy day.  I was greeted with sad news.  “Jim Johnson has died”, my mother (age 84 and now living with us) told me.  Jim Johnson … now gone.   Wow!  (He had died the day before.)  I was sad and not ready to bid farewell to one the greatest of men – my Scoutmaster – Jim Johnson.

The news was not really a surprise – since Scoutmaster Jim had been in an assisted living center for three or four years.  And his wife, Margie Luniel Morris Johnson,  had died two years ago – almost exactly to the day – and at the identical age.  But yet, the news was hard and came with mixed emotions.  It was happy/sad that Jim and his “tweety” (that’s what she called him) were together again.  And it was sad to think that a legend and hero in my own life had passed on to the Eternal World and that we would no longer be able to enjoy earthly association together.

All Scoutmasters are believed to be immortal by their Scouts!  And they certainly do have forever hero status!  So, the immortal Jim lives on – but just in another place!

Jim’s Obituary reads like any other – not really doing full justice to the full measure of the real man.

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James Vernon “Jim” Johnson

“James Vernon Johnson passed away peacefully on October 14th, 2016. James celebrated his 80th birthday on July 2nd of this year.  He was born in Elbow Lake, Minnesota in 1936 to Emil Johnson and Celia Thomason and was the 2nd of 4 children and the only son (and it goes on …)

I am sure that all current and former Scouts from great Scouting troops could say that their Scoutmaster was the best Scoutmaster ever.  I am sure that they are – and were.  But, I can truly say that in my eyes, Scoutmaster Jim was one of the all-time greats – a true giant of a man!  And one of the greatest Scout men ever to be a part of the program.

Actually, I was blessed to have two fabulous Scoutmasters.  My Gnubie Scoutmaster (when I was a Gnubie Scout) was “Mister Nelson”

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G.K. Nelson

(as we called him – or officially George Kimball “G.K.” Nelson.  I have blogged about Mr. Nelson frequently on my blogs found on The Boy Scout.  He was a colorful and interesting person with a lot of personality.  He died in 2009 at the age of 91.  Mr. Nelson – also our science teacher – and a great photographer – was our Scoutmaster through much of my initial Scouting experience.  He truly made Troop 155 The Best Alive!  He later became the adviser for my younger brother – Dean’s Exploring Post – but that was after I was gone from that program.

After I turned 14, I “graduated up” to the older boy program and had a variety of leaders. We made a lot of grandiose plans for big events and outings but nothing ever came of any of those plans.  I soon became disenchanted with the constant drill of the basketball on Scout nights.  And being “the fat kid” and not at all good at sports, I wanted nothing to do with this routine.  So, I opted to go back to the troop – kind of unheard of then and now – and remained with the troop until I went on a Church mission at age 19.  I became a “Junior Assistant Scoutmaster” (aka: “The JASM”) which proved to be a great job – still kind of a kid – but very much in an adult leader mode too.

I don’t know exactly when Scoutmaster Jim Johnson came on the scene but I believe it was when I was about 16.  And as the Troop JASM, I took on the task of “training him” in his Scoutmaster duties.  Jim and I hit it off immediately and we soon developed a pattern for great things in the troop.  I can still remember those wonderful “Patrol Leader Council Meetings”(or were they “Green Bar meetings”?) – held in his living room – wherein we planned and created the troop meetings and outings.  I worked very closely with Scoutmaster Jim and in many ways he treated me as if I was an adult Assistant Scoutmaster.  I helped plan activities, hikes and other programs.

We worked together very closely for three years.   Those were great days and they bring back such great memories.

With Scoutmaster Jim, we had some grand adventures together.  We hiked and camped together.  We attended Camp Geronimo and participated in a variety of other great activities and programs – like Scout-O-Rama, camporees, and more together.

One outing really stands out in my memory.  It was a snow trip was especially noteworthy.  This trip occurred when I was a bit older and after Scoutmaster Jim had become the Scoutmaster.  We took a trip up around Payson (about 75 miles from our town of Mesa, Arizona).  Somehow we survived the freezing temperatures of the night but the next day was different.

Some of us (including me) were playing Rook in the tent and trying to get warmed up while the main group was out playing ice hockey with inner tubes.  Jim was with the “outside group”.  Jim was in the middle of the game and with one dramatic kick of the inner tube, he had found himself on the ground.  I guess he got a minor concussion. The buys brought him back to me at the tent since I was the JASM (Junior Assistant Scoutmaster) and the oldest leader under Jim.  (That was in the days before it was required to have two adult leaders on a trip – and this scenario was one reason why that rule was implemented.  And this trip made a believer of me relative to “two deep leadership”.)

Jim was really saying some humorous things and for a few minutes we all thought that he was just trying to be funny.  Finally, however, we realized that he really did have a problem.  We were out in the middle of nowhere and had no form of outside communication.  (No cell phones in those days.)  None of us knew what to do.

I got Jim to lie down for a while. He was all “muddled” and kept laughing and saying, “Well, what I can’t figure out is what in the heck we’re doing up here in all of this snow!”  We tried to reason with him, but to no avail.  His own son was crying and in a state of panic.  Finally though after prayers by all of us, he suddenly snapped back to normal reality. We were relieved and packed up for home while he was doing okay.  (And by another miracle, he was able to drive home safely – even in that condition!)

Soon after Jim became our Scoutmaster, I read in the Scouting magazine – that the upcoming 1973 National Scout Jamboree would offer a great new opportunity.  Always in the past, Scouts attended national Jamborees only with council contingencies – as they still do today.  And a trip to a National Jamboree included a full itinerary of exciting and wonderful activities across the country while traveling to and from the Jamboree.  But, this all came at a very high cost – so much so that I knew that my dream to attend a National Jamboree would never fit within my or my family’s very limited budget.  But now, suddenly, troops were invited to attend the upcoming Jamboree (to be held two years hence) with their own home-town troop – and for just $135 per person as the Jamboree fee.

I was elated!  I could not believe it.  I had always wanted to attend a National Jamboree – and now suddenly out of the blue – here was my chance.  I rode my bike over to see the new Scoutmaster Jim Johnson.  I said, “Hey, Jim (that is what I always called him) … look where we are going in two years!” (as I showed him the magazine).  He said, “We are????”  But, he was willing to talk about it.  I was ecstatic as I worked to persuade him and he soon bought off on the plan.  And this would be a very major sacrifice for him since the Jamboree was about a ten or twelve day affair and with travel to and from, it would be about nineteen days.   And Jim was a self-employed painting contractor.  So, if he didn’t work, he didn’t get paid.  Jim was soon as excited about the plan as I was.

We went to our Bishop – Max Killian – and presented the plan to him.  And he bought into it immediately.  He gave us the charge to earn as much of the money as we could over the next two years – and then gave us the promise that “whatever else you need, you will have”.

So we were then off and running.  The next two years were hectic and busy but glorious and wonderful.  Jim and I met often to talk about our plans and to put them into place with the Troop Leader’s Council.  There was so much to do.   We staged every fund-raising event possible.  (We could do those things in those days.)  slide-20-slide-show_page_022We planned and bought equipment.   We constructed patrol boxes.  We trained and re-trained our youth leaders.  We had shake-down meetings, activities and outings.  We made saguaro cacti men – four of them – to be our gate entry into our campsite.

Being from Arizona we wanted something representative of our area.  We decided to feature four Saquaro Cactus men with red Scout berets on their heads.  Their stickery arms had a friendly wave for everyone who passed by.  We had a lot of comments on our Saquaro men and everyone noticed our sign which told who we were and where we were from.  It hung from red ropes strung between the cactus men.

We recruited two other troops (from the nearby village of Lehi – and from our local Mesa, Arizona LDS Stake) to go on the outing with us.  Ultimately we chartered a 51-seater bus for the 52 of us and we were on our way.   Our Troop 155 had 13 Scouts plus Jim and me.  What a glorious and wonderful trip or adventure it was.  It was the grandest of adventures.  We all had a really great time.

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The group included Robert Wagner, DeLane Davidson, my brothers Kyle and Darcy, Don Carroll, Smith Skouson, Lance Gardner, Scott Johnson, Marvin Peterson, David Killian, Jim’s son – Markley Johnson, John Ray and Kenny Smith.  What a great crew!

We were to be gone for nineteen days!  I thought then, and have since, how few men would be willing to make a time commitment like that to Scouting and to boys.  But such was the commitment of Scoutmaster Jim Johnson!  I will always be grateful to Jim that he and his family were willing to make that sacrifice for us.  The trip was a dream-come-true for each one of us.

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We took our time getting up to the Jamboree.  We stopped for a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona.  I still chuckle at a photo I took of our thirteen boys with only their backsides to the camera as together they looked down – bent over – over the guard rail.  That photo was fun to show after we got home and at a parent’s meeting.  “There’s me!” each boy said proudly.  (I somehow lost that photo and I am so sad about that.  I keep hoping that it will show up somewhere.  It was truly a classic!)

Our second night was spent at Richfield, Utah.  We stayed in a church yard and did our cooking on our Jamboree charcoal stoves there on the parking lot.  The next two nights we stayed at a campground in Salt Lake City.

We stayed in Salt Lake City over Sunday so that we did not have to travel on that day.  That day also turned out to be a “fasting” day for our church.  The Scouts were less than thrilled when we reminded them of the 24-hour fast and our intent to observe it.

We spent Sunday morning at a church near Salt Lake’s LDS Temple Square and that turned out to be quite the experience.  The church congregation was almost entirely older people.  They all cried as the fifty two of us marched in – wearing our complete Scout uniforms.  Many of the folks who were shedding tears told us that they had not seen that many young people in years.

We spent the afternoon at the Temple Square visitor’s center and had a little church meeting of our own there – with the permission of the Center leaders.  Later we went to dinner at a nearby smorgasbord restaurant where we broke our fast and ate once again.

The boys all thought that they were going to die of hunger before the meal.  Then when they saw all of that food, they piled their plates up about six to eight inches high.  They immediately chomped own and plowed into the food.  Their eyes were bigger than their now shrunken stomachs, however.  Some of them literally turned green as they were so overstuffed and as they looked at the rest of the food that went uneaten.  It was really quite a comical scene.

The next day we again headed north.  We spent the night in Montana at a military base.  There were Scouts there from all parts of the country.  It was fun to see the operation there at the base.  The next day after that, we drove to Farragut State Park – located at the top of Idaho’s panhandle.  The whole area there was converted into one gigantic tent city of Scouts.

The first thing that we noticed as we entered the camp was an umbrella tent flying or whipping  around high in the air on one rope pegged to the ground. The wind was blowing hard and the tent was circling the sky on that one tether.  We later learned that the tent the was the KYBO (toilet) tent belonging to the Canadian Scouts who were camped near us.  I guess the wind had whipped the tent off – even as some poor Canadian Scout was in their doing his duty.

We were right on the western edge of the massive camp (of some 28,000 boys and leaders) so we saw all of the people … and huge amounts of  dust … coming into camp.  We also got the full force of the fierce winds which howled constantly all while we were there.  The area had not had rain there for over forty days and everything was very dry. That is what made the dust so horrible.

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We waited in line one day for a couple of hours just to be able to swim in the FREEZING Lake Pond Oriele.  What a mistake!  That has got to be the COLDEST water that I had ever experienced in my entire life (and I have been in some pretty cold water at summer camps).  It was SUPER COLD – to give a great understatement.  We got a headache just being in the water for a couple of minutes.

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That brings up the subject of the showers.  These were also extremely cold.  I am sure that they must have pumped the water straight from the bottom of that lake and into the showers. Then, to  make matters worse, we would be dustblown just trying to walk back to camp after the shower. We’d be dirtier when we got back to camp than when we got into the shower.

These showers were also the subject of many a humorous conversation by the hoards of Jamboree visitors (including mothers showing the silhouettes to their daughters).  The main frame of the apparatus was made of 2×4” boards.  A sheet of orange plastic was then rolled around and stapled onto the frame.  The plastic was placed above the shower platform about eighteen inches.

When I stood in the shower, my legs from the knees down showed through underneath the tight orange plastic sheeting.  And then my chest and above showed above the plastic. Add to this image that of a naked silhouette against the plastic and the scene was a total scream.  What a hoot! And to make matters worse, as we showered, we could see and hear some lady visitors pointing out the unique scene to their daughters as they passed by.  They really got a show that day.

One of the top leaders from our church was at the Jamboree for the entire week as a camp chaplain.  He made a point to go around to meet all of the Scouts belonging to the church.  One day he rolled into our camp on his bicycle.  The camp was a filthy mess from all of the dust and wind that kept the tents down more than up.

Scoutmaster Jim and I recognized the visiting authority and Camp Chaplain at once  – Elder Vaughn J Featherstone – and went into a state of shock because of our mess.  We did have a good visit with him but as he left, one of the boys asked, “Who was that man?”  …  “Uh, you mean that you don’t know?” we asked.  Anyway, we were horrified.  We hoped that the leader remembered the visit but not the state of affairs in which he found us in our dust bowl.

When the wind and dust were not killing us, we really did have a nice campsite.  I guess I’ll go ahead and admit that it was quite impressive.  I was Scoutmaster Jim’s Assistant Scoutmaster by this time and he and slept in a large white wall tent.  Our Scouts were camped as two patrols – in our new Baker tents – in a semicircle around us.

We had made little name tags which we posted on small poles in front of each tent and with these we could tell who occupied each of the spacious tents.  Our Saguaro cactus men looked great at our gate entry.  We had a lot of good comments about our Jamboree home.

Everyone at the Jamboree wore a complete Scout uniform consisting of a short sleeve shirt, red beret, and Scout shorts and knee socks (with those lovely garters and tabs).  There were about six inches of our legs that were not covered by either the sock or the shorts.  We really got sunburned there as we wore our uniforms through the Jamboree – and our 19-day trip.  Consequently, our legs were very sore.

My sunburn was so deep that I could still see the six-inch sunburned band for nearly two years after the Jamboree.  It was a funny reminder of the Jamboree, however, and it made for interesting conversations when I went swimming – and when with fellow missionaries.

A fun part of the Jamboree was a “wide game” involving all boys and leaders of the camp.  For this game, each participant was given a large letter from the Jamboree theme “GROWING TOGETHER”.  The object of the game was to find other people with the rest of the letters.  Once a new letter was found, we linked arms and set out to find the rest of the letters needed for the words.  The game made us think about the theme of the Jamboree, Scouting brotherhood and all of that.  It was a lot of fun.

The famous actor, Bob Hope, conducted the opening campfire program.  (He died a few years ago at age 100.)  Those fireworks were really something.  I am quick to admit that it was better than any 4th of July celebration that I have ever seen.

The most impressive moment of the Jamboree was the final closing campwide campfire program.  The vision of those 28,000 Scouts and their leaders was really something.  I’ll never forget that scene.  As the ceremony started, the arena of 28,000 plus Scouts and leaders was pitch black as all lights were extinguished.

At the given signal, we each took a three-inch candle from our pockets.  As we were directed to do so, the Scoutmaster from each troop lit his candle.  He then lit the candle of his assistants and troop leaders. Together they then lit the candles of all of the boys in their troops.  Within moments the place was lit up as bright as if it were noonday.  It sure was impressive.

We then heard a little talk about the influence that just one person could and does have upon the world.  We were told that we each had something to contribute and we were challenged to “let our light shine” to the world.  The principle of Service was very beautifully portrayed.

In that beautiful moment, I reflected upon the many wonderful experiences that I had known over the past eight years of my Scouting days in the troop.  It had indeed been a glorious climb from Gnubie to Eagle Scout and beyond.  Tears came to my eyes as I recalled the service I had been privileged to give and to receive.  I realized that in the process, I had discovered me – Kevin Hunt.  I knew of my own potential and welcomed the opportunities for service and continued growth through the great Scouting game.  I realized that this is what Scouting is all about.

I reflected too, on the selfless service given to me by Scoutmasters Kimball Nelson and Jim Johnson and the many other adults.  I caught a small glimpse of the great blessing that Scouting had been in my life.

I counted my blessings and all that Scouting had given to me.  It had been such a big part of my life.  I was grateful for the experiences of “Growing Together” with my many friends in Scouting.

I stepped out of that campfire bowl with a renewed desire to serve the Lord and my fellowmen.  I thought:

“On my honor … I’ll do my best … to DO IT”

One more thought came to our minds as we silently made our way back to camp:  “Troop 155 … THE BEST ALIVE!”  We really felt that we were the best alive. What a grand experience.

The momentum that Jim and I created with the troop was astounding.  In those days, the LDS Church established criterion for and awarded recognition for the “Top 50 Troops in the Church”.  We applied after our first year of preparation for the Jamboree and were recognized as Troop #35 – in the entire Church.  (And we didn’t even apply the second Jamboree year – when we were really fabulous!)  And that momentum carried through for several more years in the troop.  My youngest brother, Ray, was a part of the troop some five or six years later – and he still felt the momentum of that Jamboree trip.  By then I had headed off on my church mission but “Johnson Jim” – as my brother called him – was still going strong as the Scoutmaster of good old Troop 155.

And Johnson Jim was still as great as ever.  He truly was amazing as a Scout leader.  My younger brothers loved Jim as much as I did.  What a great man!  Wow!  Nothing was too much for Jim.  He would give his heart and soul to do anything needed for his Scouts – often at too much of a personal sacrifice to him and to his family.  But that was Jim!

In 1979 – when Ray became our fifth brother to receive his Eagle Scout Award – I was then working as a professional with the Boy Scouts of America – in Ogden, Utah.  I had graduated from the BYU and was married and we were expecting our first baby.  My wife, Lou, and I made a trip down to Arizona from Utah to stage the Eagle court of honor for Ray.

As a part of the recognition of the evening, I thought it proper to recognize Scoutmaster Jim for his many years – so far – in Scouting service.  I created a plaque – which four of the five of us Eagle Scout brothers presented to Jim at the court of honor.  And with the plaque, I also wrote a poem dedicated to the service and sacrifice of Scoutmaster Jim.

For that occasion I penned these lines:

MY BROTHER’S HERO

Written to Scoutmaster, Jim Johnson – On the occasion of the Eagle court of honor held for Ray Hunt – May 6, 1979

My brother and I have a hero

we talk about him every day.

He says, “I’ll be like him, you know,

I’ll be like him in every way.”

 

This hero teaches by example,

in all he says and does and lives.

He helps his boys but doesn’t pull,

He suggests; encouragement he gives.

 

With boys this hero hikes the hills,

he’ll cook and hike and with us camp.

Too often he will pay the bills,

just so his boys, the hills can tramp.

 

He has the time to be a friend,

this hero gives the time it takes.

He’s got a list’ning ear to lend,

his love’s genuine, he’s no fake.

 

This hero leaves family, sweetheart,

home all alone while he is gone.

They lend support as he’ll depart,

his work for boys is never done.

 

Excuses we make to see the man,

we follow him where’er he goes.

He helps us say, “I think I can,”

by hearing, watching, all he does.

 

Brother’s hero, his Scoutmaster,

to him we’ll always be in debt.

In all ways this man’s the master,

and one to whom we give respect.

 

This man’s made us all the better,

than we’d ever be without him.

He’s pushed brother, to be greater,

this man, our hero, known as “JIM”.

— Kevin V. Hunt

Years later I was living in California but decided to stage a Troop 155 reunion.  It took some effort but I located the addresses for many of those friends I’ve known along the way and whom I hadn’t seen for many years. I decided that while I was at it, I might as well invite everyone whom I could remember being associated with the Troop over the past twenty five years.

Prior to the reunion I wrote to all the guys and invited them to come and share an evening of Scouting nostalgia. I urged everyone to send some of their own Scouting memories for inclusion in a troop history to be presented at the reunion.

There were some skeptics who didn’t think the evening would ever come off but with a little work it turned into a fun filled evening loaded with nostalgia. Over 75 people turned out for the grand affair. In the crowd were former Scouts, several of the troop’s Scoutmasters, parents, wives and friends.

Then on the appointed day, we met at the site of our former troop meetings for a grand reunion. The guys came from near and far to be a part of the action. As we arrived, we greeted each other with big bear hugs and even a few tears as we recalled the grand times that we had shared so long ago together.

And the cool thing was that we were still the best of buddies, even though we may not have seen each other for many years. A lot of water had gone under the bridge for some of us, but the feelings and memories were still there.

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Troop 155 Reunions 1984 and 1989

It was interesting to see how everyone had changed over the years. Some had put on a little weight and a few had lost their hair. For the most part though, we could recognize everyone. Some of the guys were a bit more mellow and refined than had been the case in previous years, but that mischievous spark was still evident in most of the gang.

It was fun also to have our wives there and to show them off to each other I was pleased that my wife really went all out to make herself gorgeous for the evening. I think some of the guys were somewhat surprised that a “fat kid” like me could do so well. (I really wasn’t fat … that was just how I had seen myself. Funny how we can talk ourselves into believing that negative stuff.) I think that all the guys present had done okay in the wife area. There were a few guys that were still bachelors and of course they got ribbed by the rest of us.

We started the evening’s festiviti­es with a dinner. We could have assigned the meal and had everyone involved but we decided that we would prepare it all so that no one would have excuse for not coming. We went all out with a delicious barbecue with all the trimmings. Like old times, our former Scoutmaster, Jim, was willing to give his all and volunteered to provide the meat for the occasion.

After the meal we had everyone stand up to introduce themselves. Each Scout or leader present also got a chance to share some Scouting memories with their introduction of themselves. Each one remembered some Gnubie experiences. Many remembered the National Scout Jamboree that we attended together. Many recalled fun times at Camp Geronimo. Without exception, each of the guys thanked each other and also our leaders for the great times, the lessons learned and all the rest.  We all knew again that we were “155!  The Best Alive”.

A lot of war stories were shared. The more stories shared the more fun that evening became.

Fun Times in Troop 155 – “The Best Alive”

I shared a printed troop history that I had prepared and this seemed to stimulate everyone to thinking of “those good ol’ days”. The passage of time had made even some of the challenging times seem jolly and exciting. Some of the war stories shared by the troops were a real hoot. Boy, we had some fun times back then in Troop 155.

Some of the wives and parents present learned a few things about their Scout that came as quite a revelation to them. That added to the excitement of the occasion and made for even more laughs.

The special thing about the evening was seeing the progress that each Scout had made in his life. As a leader working with boys it is sometimes difficult in the trauma of the moment to see beyond the rotten dirty-faced kid in green khakis to that same boy as a man.

That night at the reunion, it was evident that Scouting had made a lasting impression on all of us present. For those of us who had served as leaders, the evening became especially meaningful. It was a neat experience to see what Scouting had done in the lives of those rotten little kids of years ago. We finally saw some of the results of our efforts which we had thought at times were fruitless.

Scout after Scout stood and recited the effect that Scouting had had in his life. It was with sincere pride that we could realize our influence upon the men present. That’s when those long ago aims of character development, fitness, and citizenship training came together in a grand realization that perhaps we had accomplished something, after all. Suddenly all the effort back then was worth it.

With all the laughs and reminiscing of special moments shared, some of us shed a tear or two. After everyone except Scoutmaster Jim and I had gone, he and I had a quiet moment together. The dishes were done and the place was cleaned up. I tried to get him to divulge the amount of money that he had spent on the meat so that I could pay him and square away the budget.

Jim was his usual generous self and wouldn’t give me any monetary figure. (He hadn’t changed over all those years!) He always was a little on the emotional side (and he cried and blubbered over anything and everything), but it was evident that he’d been especially touched by the special evening we had just experienced.  “What about old Lance Gardner … or “What about old Charlie Crismon …”  (He always referred to everyone as “Old _____”  that was just a part of Jim!)  Tears really flowed as he blubbered, “How can you put a dollar figure on something like that?” I knew just what he meant. I felt the same way. I had to fight the tear in my own eye.

What a special experience we had enjoyed. All our work and toil and discouragement of the past now had paid off. It was a neat thing to realize our impact on many a boy. My feelings for this great man were even stronger as I realized and appreciated the sacrifice he and others had made for me.

And now I can use his same words:  “How can you put a dollar figure on all of that?”  That is true!  All of the money in the world could not equal the joy and brotherhood that we had shared together through the years.  One really cannot put a monetary value on such a man and a life.  What he gave to me is beyond words to even describe his contribution.  He very much made me what I am today.

Through the years, I often wondered if there might be any way that I might – in small measure – give back to him something to truly express my thanks to him.  But I could never come up with just the right thing.  I had given him plaques and stuff – but still that seemed inadequate.

Finally, however, that opportunity came just three or four years ago.  At the same time that I began my Scouting in Troop 155, I also became interested in family history development and research.  That, along with Scouting, has become my life-long passion.

I had a conversation with Jim and he expressed a wish that he knew more about his family roots.  That triggered a point with me.  I knew that I could do the research to help him in his quest.  I began in earnest.  I worked feverishly on the project.  Then after a couple of months, I had found a great many wonderful documents and facts about his family.   And in the process, I traced his family lines back a couple of hundred years – in Norway and in the U.S.  I compiled the material into a large notebook for Brother Jim.

It was a grand day when it came time to present the finished product to Jim.  I was happy and excited about presenting it to him.  We sat a date and he had his wife and children waiting there as I arrived.  It was such fun to present this book to him and to see his eyes light up as he began to realize all that was prepared for him.  I was elated … at long last!  I was able to provide a special service to this great man who had given so much for me.

And now, with all of the special times and memories, it is indeed hard to bid farewell to that great man – even my Scoutmaster – the “gentle giant” – Brother Jim.  But, with a strong belief in the life hereafter and the resurrection (made possible through Jesus Christ), I know that I will indeed see and have brotherhood again with Scoutmaster Jim.  Maybe we can do some more Scouting together up there.

But, for now, farewell, my kind and wonderful Scouting brother.  Thanks for all of the Scouting brotherhood and training that you gave to me.  You will remain forever in my heart and my whole being swells with joy and gratitude for you and our earthly association together.  I will always remember you, what you did for me … and the knowledge that together we were and are “TROOP 155 – THE BEST ALIVE”!  Thanks, Brother Jim!

Until our trails meet again …

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!

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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

kevin-and-lou-in-front-of-office

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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 2 – We Roll out the Thunder!

Picture1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Recently I wrote a Scouting Blog about the Camp New Fork staff week.  In the article, Preparing the Camp and the Staff, I promised to blog about my summer at Camp New Fork.  You may have thought that I forgot about that promise since you have heard nothing more from me since that first blog.  I had good intentions, but with no reliable internet at camp, that became a really big challenge.  Now, however, I am back at home in Mesa, Arizona and am back to driving my school bus.  And I admit that returning home was a challenge.  We loved our summer at Camp New Fork and truly loved the weather there – there were only one or two days all summer when the temperature reached over 75 degrees.  We came home to 111 degree weather and we are about to die in our Arizona heat (and me in the school bus that has no air conditioning).  But, that aside, I will now again take up the task of blogging of our summer experiences.  So, here it is … Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 2 – We Roll out the Thunder (part 2 of an 8-part series).  It was our first week for Scouts – but the second week in camp for the staff.  So, we’ll call it Week 2.  (And incidentally, for those of you who read the initial Camp New Fork blog, I invite you to take a second look at it.  Now with internet, I just added a whole bunch of photos that you might find interesting.)

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 …

JUNE 19TH – SUNDAY

We awoke to rather cold weather this morning.  One leader checked his car thermometer and later reported that it was just 21 degrees outside.  There was frost on the bushes and ice on some of the water spouts.  I slept in to 7 AM this morning and it was nice.  Lou and I went to breakfast and dined on leftovers from the week.  (That’s the weekend plan for the staff.)   I went to the office to revise some computer files.

Lou and I and Larissa went to the small chapel located in the heart of the woods.  This is an LDS chapel that has been dedicated (similar to the Pioneer Chapel located at Camp Geronimo of my youth).  This New Fork chapel is located in a very beautiful place and it is very peaceful there.CHAPEL BENCHES GREAT PHOTO

Rob Smith, the council New Fork Chairman conducted the service.  Three troops – who normally come on Monday mornings, came in early and were there with us for the services.  So, there were about 75 people present.  I was surprised that only a few of the staff were there for the meetings – especially since almost all of the staff members are LDS.  I guess they don’t feel a need to attend when their parents are not here with them to get them out of bed.  A troop from Cheyenne supplied three speakers.  All were excellent.  I was especially impressed with their Bishop who talked.

Cheyenne … I almost grew up there.  I was born in Ft. Collins, Colorado and then my folks and I moved to Cheyenne when I was only a few months old.  Then, when my Brother, Dean, was born, he soon developed pneumonia.  The doctors said that he would never survive the Wyoming winters.  So, we literally picked him up at the hospital and moved to Arizona.

I went to the cabin and changed my clothes so that Lou could wash the uniform.  The uniform pants get really dirty fast because of all of the dust at the camp.  So, she can wash them in the morning and then within a few minutes they are completely dusty again.  We are able to use the washer and dryer at the kitchen so this is nice that we don’t have to compete with the staff for the machines.

Lunch was again on our own.  The cook staff is off for the weekends and staff is on their own to discover bits of food from the leftover shelf in the commissary walk-in cooler.

I spent the full afternoon at the office.  Lou printed copies of the forms that we give to troops each Monday.  There are about 20 forms.  I revised many old forms – or retyped them.  This was a big job – trying to get the best master possible for the copies.  Lindsay also helped – by trying to locate files on the computer.  We finally got the task done.  I then made a troop friend list and assigned staff members to this function.  We really emphasize this here at New Fork (unlike Camp Geronimo – where the camp director forbade me  – as lead Commissioner – to use the concept of troop friends.)

I went to the cabin for forms and papers.  At 5:00 PM Travis and I conducted our every Monday night 5:00 PM meeting with our area directors.  They all reported on the progress of their areas and we gave them direction.  We met under the large white dining fly near the dining hall.  The meeting went long – since we had a lot to cover.

After dinner I needed to talk to the staff so I didn’t eat dinner until 8:00 PM.  We held a long meeting with the staff.  I covered troop friends, the weekly schedule, the check-in process, the campfire for Monday, duty rotation for staff patrols, and more.  Travis talked as my voice got strained bit I still covered most of the meeting.

I gave Tommy  the journal that I had previously bought for him.  He seemed pretty excited about it.

After the meeting I was kind of worn out.  I was really tired of talking but answered calls from my kids for 2 hours.  They were all calling since today is Father’s Day.  (I called my own father yesterday for Father’s Day and his Monday birthday.)  I talked to all of my children and it was good to visit with them.  I had received earlier messages from them but we could not answer the calls when they came through.  I talked to Jackie yesterday but connected with all of the others tonight.  So, I started at the top – with Jenae – and then went down the line by age.  Actually, I made priority calls first to Jenae and to Keith – since they are on Ohio time – which is a couple of hours behind us.  I made most of the calls while sitting on a milk crate out behind the dining hall.  I got eaten alive by the hoards of mosquitoes while out there talking.

All of the children are doing well and all were wondering about the camp operation and how things are going.  We also talked of the recent death and departure of my sister, Laurie.

It was 10:45 PM when I finally got back to the cabin.  I again began reading from my favorite book of scripture.  I had just finished reading another book a few days ago.  I try to read three or four chapters each day.

Our first Scouts arrive tomorrow.  We have all been looking forward to this moment and I think that we are ready for them.  Ready or not, here they come!

JUNE 20TH – MONDAY

Today was my father’s birthday.  He turned age 88!

This was a momentous day today in that our first week of Scouts arrived today.  We had breakfast a half hour early to be done and ready for them as they arrived.  I started the staff morning by leading “The Morning Limbering” song.  I love opportunities to sing this song with Scouts.  (“Fighting the Battle of the morning limbering … it was a sight to see the Scouts in action.  Scouts to the action …”) and then we go through limbering actions that are very much like the words to “Father Abraham”

After our flag ceremony I sent all staff – who are assigned as Troop Friends – to go to the front gate to await the arrival of their troops.

FRONT GATE CLASSY GATE

Camp New Fork front gate and sign

They there did songs and other things to entertain themselves until the last troop arrives..  Lena and Jonathan are assigned as the leads down there.  They radio in to us at the office to let us know when another troop arrives.  The troop friend is to meet the troop, take them to the campsite, lead the boys to the waterfront for swim checks and then take them on a tour of camp.

Meanwhile, the Senior staff all congregate on tables on the porch of the trading post.  The troop friends direct the Scoutmaster up to us on the porch.  They first talk to Lindsay to finalize any payments due and make the required payments.  Then they pass through the medical officer – who looks at the forms and then discusses any health or eating issues.

The leaders then visit with Lou about her commissioner service and she gives them assignments for shower and dining hall clean-up, flag assignments, etc.  She also talked with each leader about their hike plans for Wednesday and whether or not they want to go on an overnight hike while in camp.  Lou also issued a can of bear spray to each leader – and made them sign for it – with the threat of having to pay $25 if it is not returned to her.

Then it was my turn in the line.  Leaders came to me and I gave them a large packet of printed forms.  I went over each form with them.  I gave them the weekly schedule, a duty roster, information on the Trail to First Class sheet, the campsite inspection form and guidelines, the adult leader training schedule, the score sheet for the Jim Bridger Award, fireguard chart, and more.  I talked to each one about our programs of the week.

After they got through me, I directed the folks to the area directors.  Area directors then met with leaders to discuss the merit badges that the Scouts want.  And they make any additions or deletions for classes as needed.  Scoutmasters are then free to re-join their troops.

We sat on the porch visiting with troops and then waiting for others to come all morning long.  We still had some troops arriving even as lunch time approached.  And the troops that were really late did not get to do their swim checks.  We were on the porch waiting until 12:45 PM.

I had about 15 minutes in which to eat lunch.  I needed to be at a meeting for Scoutmasters and Senior Patrol Leaders at 1:00 Pm.    Travis, Lou and I attended the meeting and talked of our areas of responsibilities.  Lou was in a bit of a panic since she has never been a commissioner before.  I have not been too worried about her however.  I know that the job will “click in” for her after the first couple of days.

I made a trip to the cabin and used the laptop to create the final draft of the Monday night campfire program.  I also studied for a presentation that I was to present to junior troop leaders (JLT – Junior Leader Training) later in the afternoon.

FLAG CEREMONY DAVID DOING SONG

Staff member, David, getting into the action.

David was a member of my camp staff at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp in Colorado last summer and I really wanted him to be on my staff again this summer – no matter where I ended up.  So, he agreed to follow us to Camp New Fork this summer.  He is from our town of Mesa, Arizona, but, he did not ride up to Wyoming  with us – nor did he attend our staff week last week.  He went on a two-week humanitarian or service “mission” to the Central American country of Belize.  He got home on Saturday and then on Sunday flew from Mesa up to Idaho Falls.  Our daughter, Lana, and Spencer were kind enough to pick him up at the airport and they took him to spend the night at their place last night.  They also agreed to bring him to our camp.  They opted not to do it last night since they wanted to be home for Father’s Day. We have missed David in our program preparations.  So, it was very wonderful when they arrived today with David.  They arrived about 3:15 PM.  (I had thought that they would be here much earlier.)

Actually David showed up and knocked on our cabin door as I was there.  I got him his uniform parts (staff hat, t-shirts and jacket) and helped him find his assigned cabin.   I didn’t know where he was to stay but we just looked for his plastic stuff box that Jonny had taken to the cabin.  (They share a cabin with Tommy and others.)

It was also real great to see Lana and Spencer and three of their five children.  Maycie and Cambrie were unable to come on the trip.  It was fun to see Quincy (now age 4), Carson (age almost two) and little Rylee Rae.  We saw her only when we were up in Idaho for her baby christening – back in October.  She has changed a lot.  She looks a lot like Lana – same eyes, etc.

KEVIN AND LOU AND LARISSA WITH ALLREDS 2

Kevin and Lou with daughter, husband and three of our grandchildren

I got Lana and Spencer into our cabin – where they will stay overnight with us.  Lou was teaching a training class for Scoutmasters.  I walked Lana and Spencer past her training.  She had to do the whole training alone – since David was not there to teach his sections.  I took Lana and Spencer and children up to see Larissa at her climbing tower.  It has been about two and a half years since Land and Larissa have seen each other (before Larissa’s recent church mission to Minnesota).   And two of the children were born while Larissa was on her mission.  So, they were happy to see each other once again.

Lana went on the climbing tower and easily climbed to the top – using the small toe and hand holds on the wall.  Spencer tried to ascend the wall but could not make it more than about ten feet high before he gave up on the hope of climbing to the top.  He tried again and didn’t get any further up.  Lana razzed him about how she had outdone him.  It was kind of funny.  Larissa was doing well as the Climbing Director.  Lou joined us at the wall after her training class.  Larissa’s climbing staff – consisting of Matt, Scott, Tarren, and Kassi – and assistant director, Kiara – all seem pretty good.

David got into uniform and somehow ended up immediately on the task of cleaning up the cabinet in the dining hall where the commissioners keep their bear claw making materials.  Lou had not got to this task before.

FLAG CEREMONY GREAT KEVIN AND STAFF

Kevin and staff  at flag ceremony with troops

As Program Director, I greeted the troops of the camp at our first campwide flag ceremony this evening at 5:45 PM.  I got the group organized into columns – using the hand signal for such desired action – with the Senior Patrol Leader in the front and other troop members behind him.   I have always had fun using silent signals to quietly gather and manage a group.  There are many fun silent signals, but here are some from a 1964 Boy’s Life magazine:

SILENT SIGNALS

 

I worked hard to show that the staff had spirit, and that we want a lot of “spirit” by the troops.  I introduced the “spirit stick” and urged all troops to work to get the stick – after showing off their best spirit – yells, etc.  We had a lot of razz-ma-tazz at the gathering.  Lana and family were there and Lana took several photos of the activity.  So, I guess Lana caught me in action – being crazy.

I selected one boy to give the dinner prayer and then let him and his troop be the first in line for dinner. I then directed the rest of the troops to go to dinner – starting with the troops who arrived earliest for the flag ceremony.  We have two lines for chow.  We have groups feed into both sides of the dining hall.  We let the Scouts eat first and then I let the “lady staffers” go next.  They are followed by the male staff members.

After dinner I retained the staff and we went over the final program for the campfire program.

We got back to our cabin and I noted that the water was turned off completely to our cabin.  Spencer said that he had seen a staff member turn off the main valve that goes to our cabin.  (Our cabin’s water supply is purely through a garden hose attached to a water line – at the main valve.  I went down to the valve and found that our water line had indeed been turned off.  Grrrr!  (And I know that a staff member is intentionally doing this just to bug me …)

I had earlier instructed the troops to come to the parade grounds at 8:15 PM.  So, most of the troops came and met me there.  I had Jace there on his bongo drum and he led the group to the campfire grounds.

 

JACE THE DRUMMER 2

Drummer Jace – ready to lead the troops to the campfire program

Lou and I were right behind him in the line.  Together we led the group down the trail.  As we neared the campfire bowl, the rest of the staff had formed parallel columns (of staff members) and it was through these columns that we passed with our line.  All of the staff were there in full uniform and they all looked sharp.  The staff stood at attention and had their hands held out square in the Scout sign.  It was cool.

We planned and practiced our Monday night campfire program a couple of times last week but the first real campfire program – with Scouts – is always a bit traumatic.   A program director always wonders how the first program – and the songs, etc – will turn out.  But tonight the program was a bit too long but it came off perfectly.  I was very proud of the staff.  Here is our full program:

NEW FORK MONDAY NIGHT CAMPFIRE PROGRAM

PROGRAM ITEM                        WHAT TO DO                                   WHO TO DO IT

Lead-in                                         Drum beats                                       Jace, Ushers

Start of Program                        Bugle                                                  Scott

Welcome                                                                                                    Kevin

Fire Starter                                  Cavemen                                            Max and company

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

Loud Song #2  (Stand Up)      Waddleachee                                      Daghen

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Outdoor Skills            Surviving Dwarfs

Run-on                                        Rent                                                        Katie

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Waterfront                   Ice Fish

Run-on                                        Girl Scout #1                                         Jonny, Matt, Jacob, Kent

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Handicrafts                  Mighty Mallets

Song  (Stay Seated)                  Ging Gang Goolee                               Kevin

Skit                                                Toast                                                       Larissa and Kiara

Song                                              Zulu Warrior                                         Jace, Theo, Cameron

Song                                              Ukelele                                                   Katie

Run-on                                        Girl Scout #2                                         Jonny, Matt, Jacob, Kent

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – High Adventure          The A Team

Run-on                                        Teen Rocket                                          Jace, Grace, Kassi

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Nature                           Golden Nature

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

Song – Medium (Stay Seated)   Princess Pat                                   Mason

Skit                                                Invisible Man                                     Daghen

Song  (Stay seated)                   Deep and Wide                                  Dax and Max

Skit                                                Jake the Peg                                        Kevin

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Shooting Sports         SS

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Climbing                      The Rapellants

Song (Stay Seated)                   Herman                                                 Golden Nature

Skit                                               Sweet Betsy                                          Travis and Bruce

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

Skit #1                                          Banana Bandana                                Theo and Will

Song                                             Topnotcher                                           Rachae and Company

Skit #2                                         Movie Machine                                    Surviving Dwarfs

Story                                             None of Your Business                     Kassi

Run-on                                        Climbing Cliffside                             The Repellants

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

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                      Camp Director, Travis

Quiet Song                                 On My Honor                                       Matt

Quiet Song                                 Scout Vespers                                      Kevin

It really was a fantastic program.  I was very pleased – and proud of the staff.

Lana and family were at the program.  I guess Lana filmed my entire “Jake the Peg” act and her kids enjoyed it at home later – and Cambrie memorized the act.

JAKE THE PEG KEVIN PHOTO

Kevin with friend, Jake the Peg

 

Back at the cabin we visited for a short while with Lana and Spencer.   We wished that we had more visiting time with them.  But, it was good to have them here – even if for a short amount of time.  Quincy was at first quite enthralled with our upper loft and then the bunk bed but ultimately, all three kids ended up on the king-sized bed (made of two twin beds put together) with Lana and Spencer.

Our water heater pilot light went off.  Ranger Jeremy came over here – on other business and we told him about the problem.  He tried hard to get it to re-light – but to no avail.

I walked Larissa back to her own cabin at 11:30 PM.  She doesn’t seem to bothered by the dark trail and would have gone back on her own – but I would not have her do that.

I stayed up to 1 AM.  I was writing memories of Laurie – to be read by Jackie – as if I were delivering it– at the memorial service to be held for her this Saturday.

JUNE 21ST – TUESDAY

There was no hot water this morning so I did not get my usual shower.  I went to the dining hall at 7:30 AM.  There was very little time for the troop friends to do their inspection – because breakfast was served late.  At 8:00 I ran off to conduct my tri-weekly meeting for Senior Patrol Leaders – held this morning – for the first time – at the Outdoor Skills area.

Lana and Spencer came to our flag ceremony and again saw the old grandpa in action.  Also, Larissa led the gathered troops in the song “Atootie taw”.  She did a great job.  After the program we were able to spend just a few minutes with Lana and Spencer and the kids before they departed to return to Idaho Falls.  Lana, Lou and Larissa all took some photos with their phone cameras of the group.

After Lana and Spencer departed, I went to the Outdoor Skills area to help Mason with his cooking class demonstration.  Tuesdays are to be cooking days for him and I told him that I would come to help on the first class.  He teaches cooking each hour and also is to teach Scoutmasters some cooking skills as a part of their outdoor training course.  I went to the kitchen for more food items to be cooked.

Mason has me really baffled.  Actually he is very hot and cold.  Some days he is wonderful and other days he is a real dork.  Today was one of those dork days.  He kept disappearing and was not at all into it.  He lost his food list and was not at all good at his cooking class.  I was pretty disappointed in him.

I taught Mason – when he would stay – and a few other boys some of my traditional utinsel-less cooking tricks:  a biscuit in an orange and in an onion (both halved at the “equator” and with some of the “goodie” scooped out to make room for the biscuit, burger on a rock, in an onion (as a meatloaf), etc.  I later heard a Scout on the trail all excited as he told his troop leader and fellow Scouts about how cool his cooking class was – and what he had learned to cook.

It was interesting in this cooking class to hear all Scout members of the group imitating the staff’s rendition last night of the “I’m Glad that I’m a Staffer” song.  They remembered each of the parts of the song.  It was pretty funny to hear them – and I am glad that they enjoyed the song as it appears that they did.  They were even imitating my “A farmer I would be …  Give, Bessie, give, … the baby’s got to live!  Give, Bessie, give … the baby’s got to live!” (which I do while imitating the milking action on a cow).

I make it a habit to stop and talk to all Scouts and Scouters whom I meet on the trail.  I talked to one leader this afternoon and he said, “We’re having a blast!”  That was good news!

At lunch time I gave recognition to Tarrin and Diego for being excellent troop friends.  I told them that they could get a free soda pop at the trading post for their efforts.

I went on a walk with Lou and we went to some of her campsites.  We then went to the rifle range for the Tuesday afternoon meeting where we give out hike maps and info on the campwide games.  Lou did good with the leaders that she visited.  David has taken over hike maps and has done an excellent job with this task.

Camp Director, Travis, disappeared to go help the high adventure group that is out on the river.  I never saw him again all day and night.

I went to the cabin and read my scriptures for a while.  This was nice.  I also recharged my laptop computer.

We had a fun flag ceremony.  I enjoy conducting these with the troops.  We introduced the camp “spirit stick” and had the troops compete for this through their troop yells and energy.  This was a fun deal.  Matt and Sebastion led a fabulous song entitled “The Austrian Yodeler”.  They did a great job.

After the flag ceremony I dismissed the troops to two different chow lines to the dining hall.  We served about 225 people.  The cook, Mable, was having real bad day so was quite challenged with the food function.  Nothing could calm her down – so it was better to stay away from her.  She is extra challenged because none of her staff have any previous experience in a kitchen.

I visited for a while with Scoutmaster, Ty Smith – from the small town of Manila, Utah.  We had a grand conversation.  He is really a sharp guy.  He and his assistant scoutmaster have been friends for years.  They were Scouts together here at New Fork twenty years ago and have been friends since – and still live in the same church group and community.  I found out that this Ty is a bear carver – and he carves bears using chain saws.  I would really love to have a carved bear for our back yard.  I asked Ty if he would be willing to stage a carving demonstration for the camp.  He agreed to do so tomorrow afternoon.

One of the troops  (Troop 179) here is week is from Morgan, Utah – which was a part of my Mt. Ogden Scouting district when I was a Scouting professional from 1978 to 1982.  I have really enjoyed talking with the two leaders from the troop.  We found many people in common that are still there today – and whom I knew way back then.

We staged a series of campwide games tonight for all of the troops.  This proved to be a really fun event.  We had a stretcher race, tomahawk and knife throwing, and the very popular stick pulling and leg wrestling.  CAMPWIDE GAME FUNThe Scouts really loved these events – and particularly the last two.  Staffer Jace was the champion of both events – after taking down a number of other staffers – and Scouts and leaders.  I decided to take him on – and really surprised him when I beat him in both events.  I was pleased.  Pretty good for an old man!  I was pleased that I became the “camp winner”.  (But, I would probably get beat by the two big muscle guys who direct the high adventure program.)

Larissa was the time keeper for the event and sounded the megaphone each time that the Scouts needed to rotate to the next of the nine events.

By the end of the evening I was tired and quite worn out – and depressed.  I also had no radio contact with Travis all afternoon and evening.  I guess the radio ran out of battery juice.

I couldn’t find Lou so I went to the cabin alone.  I was there for a while and wrote my journal notes for the day.

Larissa has been a bit challenged by her staff members on her climbing staff.  They had a near accident today – because the staff has not taken seriously the whole safety thing.  Lindsay – wife of Travis – had a chat with them tonight and really lit into them.  (Larissa does not believe that her father has any sense so she did not want me to talk to them.)

Most of the camp staff were really hyper tonight and they were loud until 10:00 PM.

This evening I logged onto the computer up at the office and then later opened four Family Search indexing batches – off line – and was able to work on them at the cabin.  I finished the indexing for all of the records.  Now I will have to try to submit the work on-line – if the computer and WIFI system will ever let me do it.  The batches were about to expire and they needed to be worked before the expiration date.

JUNE 22ND – WEDNESDAY

I was really in a foul mood today – and I guess the attitude was evident by the staff and Travis.  (And I didn’t realize what an impact my own attitude could have on the entire camp.  And I later felt bad about my negative impact of the day.)

As a starter, we had no hot water for showers.  So, this means that it has been three days since I have had a shower.  At breakfast, Travis told me that some staff members were not showering.  He specifically mentioned Scott – and said that he hadn’t showered in three days.   I curtly said, “Well, neither have I!”  (I told Travis and the rangers about our lack of hot water situation and they said that they would “order a new hot water heater” and that it would likely take “days” to get it here to camp.)  Anyway, he could tell that I was not a happy camper.

Then later the camp internet still would not work.  I was thus unable to send my memorial thoughts about my sister, Laurie – for the upcoming memorial service that I won’t be able to attend.   Also, we have not been reimbursed the Larissa’s CPR training – which the camp mandated and promised to refund – to the tune of $96.  And this and other finance challenges is a real stress.  So, all of these things combined put me over the “edge”.  Travis could tell that I was quite upset.

Today was the designated “hike day” for all of the troops.   So, this meant that most of the troops were out of camp all morning long.  And a few of our staff were invited to go on the hikes with the troops for which they are troop friends.  And with the troops gone, this also meant that most of our staff were left with nothing to do until 3:00 PM.  This was not a good scenario.  And I was not real pleased about the whole situation.

I conducted the flag ceremony with the staff and 2-3 remaining troops.  I had pre-arranged with K-Kade – the Outdoor Skills Area Director – for him to gather his staff at 9 AM for me to give them a group training about the cooking merit badge and function.  I wanted them all to be there so that they would be cross-trained in case they need to help teach the subject in the future.  I noted that Jonny – the designated cooking instructor was at the flag ceremony – so I then assumed that he was not going on a hike with a troop.

From the flag ceremony I went to the kitchen to gather materials for the cooking demonstration.  I gave instructions for K-Kade to start a large cooking fire – to generate coals for the best cooking situation.

I got to the Outdoor Skills area (as Program Director) and found only K-Kade and Tannon there.  Tannon was the appointed fire warden for Kade.  Kade went looking for his other staff members – who thought that they should have a day off and had disappeared to their cabins or wherever.  I was quite upset that no one was there for our training.  And I learned that Jonny was out on a hike with a troop and would not return for a couple of hours.

I went to my cabin to finish the Laurie thoughts.  I went back to the office and learned that the internet would not allow me to send the material (and the clock was ticking to get the material to my family in time for the service).  Travis could again tell that I was quite upset.

I went back to Outdoor Skills after a couple of hours and again found only K-Kade there – with Tannon.  There were no other staff members around.  Finally Max joined us – under duress that he had to be there.  We sat around for an hour waiting for the return of Jonny.  I had determined that if we did not start the cooking by 1:30 PM we would not have enough time to complete the cooking by the 3:00 PM start of class for the afternoon.  Jonny came about thirty seconds before my cancellation time.  And by this time, K-Kade had somehow found most of his staff.  Traeden was on the trail at that moment and was heading – in his beach attire – off to the waterfront.  He was quite put out with me when I called him over to the area for the cooking demonstration.  I could see fire in his eyes over the imposition.

And as Jonny arrived, he immediately started to head out of the area.  He said that his legs had got scratched while on his hike and that he needed to go to the nurse for help.  I could tell that Jonny’s legs were scratched but not in need of immediate attention.  I told Jonny that he was not going to the nurse at that moment – because we had all been sitting around all morning awaiting his return and that he needed to be with us.  And this got the Outdoor Skillsstaff all upset with me – thinking that I was being overly harsh with Jonny – whom they thought was truly injured.  Again I could see contempt and fire in their eyes and they all blamed me for this gross imposition and interruption of what they though was “free time”.  (They did not account for the fact that they were all still on “company time” and thus needed to be on the job!)

Anyway, I began the cooking class but it went over like a lead balloon over the above noted events.  It was not a good scene.  We cooked some really fun things – and I even planned to feed the staff but none of them were into it.  K-Kade (not 13-year old staffer C-Cade) got real upset with his staff and their behavior and lack of interest and attention.  He chewed them out while I was there – and again later.

I showed the guys how to cook in an orange, an onion, on a rock, how to make a cake, and more.  All of the food turned out pretty good – and most of the boys were willing to try some of the food – but still did so with a scowl on their faces.

I left the area and went to my cabin.  Lou had washed our uniforms today – when we did not need to be wearing them.  She got the many layers of dirt off of them.

I went to the Takota training canopy.  I had some think time – and no journal note cards to make notes on.  So, with the think time, I came to my senses and mellowed out considerably.  I felt much better about life – and decided I needed to be positive.  This was a good thing for me – and for everyone else in camp.

I taught seven men about the annual program planning process – as a part of the 3-part leader specific training that we are offering to Scout leaders while they are here in camp.  All of the leaders were excited about this concept.  Most of them had not heard of the planning conference or process previously.

Ranger Jeremy found me four flags that can be used for staff patrol flags.  I was excited about these.

I visited the nature area.  I talked to director Tallin about their possible nature trail.  I went to climbing and talked to a 24-year old leader – also named Tallon – an assistant leader to Ty from Manila, Utah.   This Tallon too, seems pretty sharp and I enjoyed our visit.

I went to Outdoor Skills and found that many of their staff had migrated to the nearby Climbing Tower and Kassi – from the tower had gone to check out the boys at the Outdoor Skills hangout on the rock.  Sometimes it is a challenge to keep some of these young staffers on task and where they need to be.

I was happy again at the flag ceremony and this went well.    We had many good contenders for the Spirit Stick.  I had Daghen lead Waddaleachee again.  I released the troops to dinner.  They are the paying customers so they always go first – followed by the lady staffers and then the guy staffers.  We had a new dining hall table arrangement – set up by the upper ladies.

After dinner I went to the cabin to drop off some stuff.  I then set up the branding station for the Scouts.  We invited Scouts to come to get brands on their hats, walking sticks, wallets, etc.

BRANDING STATION

Kevin at the camp branding station

I had to chuckle at one real tall scoutmaster.  He came up to the branding station and just kidding, I asked, “So, are you ready to be branded?”  He didn’t hesitate but pulled down his pants and undies on one side and said, “Yeah, here you go!”  This was a surprise to those who were standing by.

Eric Turner, the assistant scoutmaster of the Morgan troop 179 – and Scoutmaster Dan Dickson (offering moral support) – helped me with the branding process.  The Scouts who came to the branding thought that the branding was cool.  We have a NF brand – for New Fork – as well as a Scouting Fleur-de-lis.  Some got just one and some got both.

 

David was sick today.  I told him that it was probably an altitude thing.  He has had a multitude of altitude changes in the past week and it is probably catching up to him.

Back at the cabin tonight, we watched the rest of the “It Takes Two” movie.  This is a pretty funny movie – and even has many camp scenes in it.  We started the movie last night but it got too late to finish it.

A couple of Scoutmasters told the ranger today that they could help with any needed plumbing issues.  The ranger pointed them to our cabin and the [again] non-working hot water heater.  They had the ranger buy a thermal coupler and they installed it.  So, the water heater got fixed for about $13 rather than the cost of a new water heater.  We were very grateful for their services.  Lou enjoyed a hot shower tonight.

I wrote four pages of journal notes on the events of the day.  Wow!

Since we have not been able to get the internet to work – and since I have not been able to send my Laurie thoughts – for the coming memorial service, Lou took a photo of my writing on her phone – and sent it to our daughter, Jackie via the phone.  Jackie will read my words and memories at the services – since she is my oldest daughter.  I guess all of my siblings are going to talk – beginning with me the oldest – and going down to Ray.  So, it sounds as if he will get the final word.  That could be scary!

JUNE 23RD – THURSDAY

I enjoyed a HOT shower this morning and it was truly fabulous!  I read from metiy scriptures as I do each morning and then went to breakfast.  I rushed off to conduct my daily meng with the troop senior patrol leaders – this time held at the nature area.  We talked of skits and songs.  The flag ceremony was good.

After the flag ceremony I talked to Scoutmaster, Ty Smith – the chain saw bear carver.  He agreed to do a chain saw bear carving exhibition for Scouts and leaders.  We set the carving time to begin at 4:00 PM.  I asked him what kind of a log he would need and he described what he wanted.  I said, “I know where just the right log is located.”   I then led him to the Clilmbing/Cope course – and to a tree that Ranger recently had to cut because it had fallen over the trail of the Cope course.  He agreed that this log was perfect.  I then took him to the maintenance shed and he sharpened the camp’s chain saw.  I was happy that he found all the tools that he needed to do the job.  (One never knows if this will be possible seeing the questionable state that the shed is in.)  I went to the office and created some advertising fliers about the bear carving activity and posted these everywhere for Scouts to see them.

Travis took Matt to the high adventure group today.  Matt’s dad and a brother are part of the current floating group.

Lou and David went to visit his troops in their campsites.  David is excellent at a variety of tasks but he has to be prodded a bit  to go see his troops – as part of his commissioner duties.  So, he needed the extra nudge from Lou.

Lou and I, David and Travis all attended a Scoutmaster luncheon at the white dining flies – located north of the dining hall.  The Scoutmasters seem to enjoy this informal gathering – away from their Scouts.  We talked of Friday’s Bull Run activity – and also check-out procedures for Saturday.

I later had to chat with Justin about his behavior.  He was given another “strike” and with this action, he had to call his father to tell him of his situation.  I reassigned Justin to work in the kitchen – and he seemed to get into the work there in the afternoon.

I talked to many Scout leaders on the trading post porch.  I enjoy this activity – and it helps me be connected to the leaders – and I also get good feedback on the programs, merit badges and everything else that is going on in the camp.

I revised the check-out form to make it more viable for the camp.  David created the Troop Friend list for next weeks’ troops and sites.  I filled out certificates for the Scoutmasters who completed the training programs – as staged by Lou, David and I.

This afternoon we got to witness the bear carving demonstration by Ty Smith.  It was a great thing to watch and many Scouts, leaders, and staff enjoyed it.  Daghen took a lot of photos for me of the event.  The carving took about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete (and then another 20 minutes or so the next day to burn in some accent color).  The completed bear was really wonderful.  I liked it a lot.  Travis took some photos and posted them on Facebook and the photos got rave reviews – including from the council Scout Executive.

A couple of days ago I talked to a Scoutmaster (troop 77) about one of his boys whom I had been watching and thought would be good camp staff material.  During the bear carving I was sitting on the log – where the staff stands at flag ceremonies and this Scout, came to talk to me.   We had a very pleasant conversation there together.  I was surprised at how long he stayed and talked to me.  A very sharp young man!

As I conducted the flag ceremony, Travis mentioned a couple of announcements for me to make.  I surprised him by turning the program over to him.  The staff won the spirit stick.   They were pretty enthusiastic.

We got back to camp about 9:30 PM.  Larissa and the sleeping Kiara were at out place watching a movie.  I wrote more journal cards.  The best part of the night was eating the brownie that was left over from lunch.

Larissa has been running the climbing tower but heretofore her zipline was not operational.   A guy came today and inspected the system – and approved it for use.  Her staff member, Tarrin, was the first person to try out the 500’ line.  He liked it a lot.  The Zipline will now probably be a real popular place for Scouts to go.

ZIP LINE ABOVE ROAD

Zip line – high above the road and activity below

JUNE 24TH – FRIDAY

Wow!  What a day!

At breakfast I led the staff in the Teensy Weensy Spider song.  I then went to the waterfront to conduct my meeting with the Senior Patrol Leaders.  We had a good meeting.  We talked of the campfire program for tonight – where the troops get to present their own troop skits and songs.  We had a lot of troop spirit at the campfire program.

While in town last night I went to Ridley’s Ace Hardware store and there bought some linseed for use by bear carver Ty.  He says that linseed oil is his favorite finish for his bears.  Today he burned some color onto the bear and also carver “NF 26” in it – NF for the camp and the 26 because it is his troop number.  He then applied the linseed oil.  The bear now looks very classy.  The only thing that we lack is black marbles for its eyes.  I will have to try to find some in town.BEAR CARVER AND FRIEND

I spent some time on the laptop computer.  I planned the program for our first Friday night campfire program (for tonight).  And I actually got internet service for a few minutes on the porch – a very rare situation, indeed.

At lunch time I had Scoutmaster Mark come at my request.  He had earlier shared with me his thoughts about the importance of the Troop friend.  I liked what he said and thought that his words might be beneficial for all of the staff to hear.  He covered the subject well.  I hope that the staff will take it to heart.

I spent some more time planning the campfire program.  It looks like a good show.

Just as I was about to start the Bull Run activity, all Hell broke loose in the camp.  I guess the Waterfront staff called in all boats and closed the waterfront because of the sound of thunder.  (This is a normal practice whenever we have thunder or lightening.  And the staff has to watch the clock for 30 minutes after such.  And if there is no more thunder or lightening then the Waterfront can open once again.)  And there were whitecaps on the water – so it really was not safe to have boats on the lake.  It was also closed yesterday for thunder.

 

I conducted the evening flag ceremony.  I there handed out copies of the campfire program to all of the participating troops.  Mason tried to lead the “Knock Knock” song and it bottomed out – in a big way – after Scouts took control of the song with “Knock, Knock … who’s there?  Dishes … dishes who? Dishes annoying” and again, “Dishes is the end”.  I was not at all thrilled with the obnoxious behavior by the Scouts – and the staff too.  It really was a challenging afternoon with all of our excitement – and I guess it wore on me a bit.

Lou helped out in the kitchen tonight since we were running late.  All of our area directors did the blue merit badge cards.  They had their staff bring completed rosters and cards to them and then the area directors signed the completed cards.   The Scoutmasters came at 7:00 PM – to what we affectionately call “Merit Badge Madness”.    At this gathering, we gave top each leader a giant envelope containing all of their troops’ merit badge partials and completions, medical forms, patches, etc.  I got a few Scoutmasters connected with Scoutmasters who had questions about the materials in their packets.  The area directors then went to the class rosters for the classes in question and we were able to get the issues solved.  We had begged the leaders to spend whatever time was needed to get their cards in perfect order.  We told them that it is a whole lot easier to solve the problems while still here at camp – with the staff and rosters here to assist them – than it would be a few months later at the Scout office.

Lena got together a group of staff members to assist on the dining hall and kitchen clean-up projects.   I went to the cabin to get a coat for the campfire program.

At 8:15 PM I met the troops at the flagpole.  As all were gathered, Jace played a constant beating rhythm on his drum.  He led the troops (with me in front) from the flagpole down to the campfire bowl.  Lou took up the rear of the line. As we neared the campfire bowl, the staff members were all lined up in two columns through which we passed as I led the troops to the campfire bowl.  They all had their hands raised in the Scout sign – and they were all most impressive.

We staged a pretty decent campfire program.  We had troops present songs and skits and the staff also had about half of the program.  I presented certificates to the Scouting leaders who completed all three sessions of our adult training – along with their many troop responsibilities.  I then called forward Scout leaders from all of the other troops.   It was great fun to lead them in singing – and hip bumping their neighbor to the tune of “Alice the Camel.”

I also called forward my carver friend, Ty,  and presented to him a bear claw necklace that Lou had created for him.   This was in thanks for the bear that he carved for the camp.

Troop 77, with Cade (the potential camp staffer) as a member – was honored tonight as the “Top Troop of the Week”.  Cade has worked in tandem with the troop Senior Patrol Leader – as older boys in the troop – and they have done a really great job.

Here is our full campfire program:

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM for JUNE 24TH

PROGRAM ITEM                              WHAT TO DO                                         WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                                Drum beats                                             Jace

Welcome                                                                                                                 Kevin

Fire Starter                                         __________________                   Max and company

Active Song                                        Grand Old Duke of York                      Kevin

Bull Run Winner                                                                                                  David

Troop Skit                                          “Don’t Have a Skit”                             Troop 26

Handicraft Area Award                  (This week winner left early)            Katie

Waterfront Awards                          Mile Swim                                              Waterfront Staff

Troop Skit                                            ??????                                                      Troop 5/66/98

Song                                                      The Moose                                             Troop 152

High Adventure Awards                                                                                   Nathan

Troop Skit                                            Ain’t No Flies                                       Troop 523

Shooting Sports Awards                 Awards                                                    Bruce

Troop Skit                                            Lawn Mower                                         Troop 179

Troop Skit                                            In the Ditch                                           Troop 446

Song                                                       Austrian Yodeler                                 Katie & Staff

SM Training Awards                                                                                           Kevin

Alice the Camel                                  Scouters                                                 Kevin

Troop Skit                                            Ugliest Man                                           Troop 386

Troop Skit                                             Passing Gas                                           Troop 77

Commissioner Awards                     Jim Bridger, Honor Troop                  Lou and David

Skit                                                         Raisins                                                     Lindsay and Crew

Song                                                       Miss O’Leary                                          Troop 351

Troop Skit                                             Sole Reader                                            Troop 77

Uke Song                                                                                                                  Katie

America Round                                                                                                       Kevin

Flag Retirement Ceremony                                                                                Jonathan and Team

Quiet Song                                           Kumbaya                                                  Scott on Guitar

Song                                                       Zulu Warrior                                           Jace, Theo, Cameron

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                                   Chaplain Bruce

Quiet Song                                           On My Honor                                          Matt

Quiet Song                                           Scout Vespers                                         Kevin

Honor Trail                                                                                                              All Staff

After the program we marshalled the Scouts out one troop at a time.  We led each troop through the “Honor Trail”.  On this trail we have a staffer posted with each of the twelve points of the Scout Law.  Each has a rustic looking lantern to show light on him.  Then as a group comes to him, he repeats a memorized two or three lines about that particular point of the Scout Law.  Then the troop moves on through each of the 12 Scout Law points.  This is a most impressive ceremony and does a lot to cause each boy and leader the opportunity to ponder again the effect of the Scout Law in their own lives.  Camp Director, Travis, met each troop at the end of the trail and shared with them a final moment of inspiration.

Then, after all of the troops have made it through the Honor Trail, the staff leaves his post and joins the staff group as together they march onward through the 12 points of the Law.  And after all Scouts have left the area of the flag pole, then the staff gathers into a large circle.  And in this circle, we lock hands with the folks on our right and left.  We then sing our traditional “Friends we are …” song.  This is always a special moment for all of the staff members.   Some of the staffers who were to be at some of the Scout Law points were not there tonight as they had previously committed.  Travis was not pleased with this scenario and doesn’t want it to happen again.  I will have to work hard to make sure that there are no gaps next time.

Travis has felt it necessary to move Jason from the river and high adventure staff and to exchange him with Matt – who has been on Larissa’s climbing staff.  So, it appears that Matt is heading off to be on the high adventure river staff.   Travis broke the news late this evening to Larissa and Matt.  After the “Friends” song, Matt and Larissa were seen hugging each other and both were crying.  They were both sad that the climbing association is ending.  Larissa was especially sad became Matt has been her greatest strength and support.  He has always been “on task” and has been super helpful and friendly to all who have come to their area.

In more positive news of the day, a combined troop (Troops 5/66/98) erected a new welcome sign for Camp Newfork.   Their Scouts did all of the cement work for the sign.  It is a very nice sign.  NEW FORK SIGN NEW

At our cabin tonight – after the above festivities, I made my journal note cards for future typing.  I was glad to have this day as history.  It has been a bit traumatic in some ways – as we have had challenges with staff.  But, it has also been a really great program day with the great troops that we have had here with us this week.

JUNE 25TH – SATURDAY

We had our flag ceremony early – at 7:10 AM to accommodate those troops who were going home early and wanted to eat early too.  We then served breakfast for all of the troops.  The troops get their food at the commissary for each breakfast and lunch of their camp week.  But we feed them in the dining hall for dinner each night and then breakfast on Saturday as they depart.  I like this combination of commissary and dining hall feeding.  It has been years since I have seen commissary feeding.  That is what our Troop 155 did years ago when we went to Camp Geronimo in Arizona.

Lou went and hung out with her troops until they all fully checked out and departed from camp.  She just went from one troop and campsite to another.  David, on the other hand, did really squirrely visits to his troops.  He just passed through and did not do a final inspection of the sites.  (I guess he needs some re-training!)

I went to the office and revised some forms.  Not knowing the New Fork operation, some of the forms were created in a vacuum and ended up not applicable to this camp.  The same applies to some of the forms that I brought from previous camps.  So, I revised these forms to better reflect what we have here.  I also created a new duty roster form for the troops to use.

Travis and I worked together and cleaned the office.  It was in need of some attention.  We also moved the furniture around.  We moved a table to become a desk for me. KEVINS DESK IN OFFICE I was pleased that this faces the office window – so I can work there and see out to leaders who might come by and with whom I could visit.  I wanted this spot also so that I would have use of an electrical plug for my laptop computer – on which I do many camp functions.

At the start of camp Travis told Lou she would have a desk.  I had to laugh at Lou.  She has never “had a desk” so she wondered what she was to do with a desk.  Silly Lou!

All of the staff worked in their areas and got them reset, shining and ready again for another batch of Scouts.  Some staff washed off the porch of the office and trading post.  The building floors certainly collect a lot of dust.  So, it is always nice to get a new start.

We got lunch from the “weekend shelf”.  This is the self-serve area in the refrigerator where staff can pick and choose the food that they might have interest in.

Larissa went in to Pinedale with High Adventure Nathan, Katie, Andrew Au and Tommy.  They went to the Pinedale Aquatic Center.  Back in camp later, she watched “Remember the Titans” with Grace, Kassi and Mason at our cabin.

The memorial service was held today for my sister, Laurie – in Mesa, Arizona.  I was sad that I was not able to attend.  My camp duties – combined with the remoteness of our location – and the difficulty in getting to a plane all made it not real conducive to fly home.  My other sister, Lesa, hosted an open house affair last night at her home for family and friends of Laurie.  All of my brothers were to talk at the memorial service today – as well as mother and also Laurie’s Bishop.  I had Jackie read thoughts that I prepared for the occasion.

On this evening, I was able to make a road trip to Camp Bartlett – where I served as Camp Director for three summers – when the new camp lodge was built in 1980.  I was able to go there with my wife and four New Fork staffers for the re-dedication of the lodge.  I could relate details here of that trip, but I have already blogged the whole excursion and the re-dedication program.  You can read all of the details of this Camp Bartlett Lodge rededication program with this link.

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Kevin Hunt with New Fork staff members – and the famous “Old Ephraim” Bear (statue) en route home from Camp Bartlett lodge rededication program

The whole Bartlett trip was a glorious experience.  I am so glad that we were able to make the trip and that we were able to be a part of the whole re-dedication event.  It really was a great time there.

Upon arrival back at camp  after the Bartlett trip, we found that Kiara (Larissa’s roommate) had left for the weekend.  Our Larissa was asleep on our couch in the “Hill cabin”.  I also noted on the temperature display on our vehicle that the current temperature – at midnight – was just 35 degrees.  Just a bit chilly …

Well, there you have it!  The exciting times of our first session of Scouts at Camp New Fork.  We did our best to roll out the thunder for our first Scouts – and I think that we did a pretty good job of it.  Stay tuned for part 3 – the stories and details for session #2 – to be posted soon!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals as well as 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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Excited about a new adventure at Camp New Fork and a blogging Hiatus

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

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.   And yes, that would be true about me.  And yes, I won’t be blogging for a couple of months.  I hope that none of you will go through withdrawals over that news.  But, with the size of this blog and the recent one on Camp Bartlett – posted on The Scouting Trail, you might have enough reading material for a couple of months anyway.

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 didn’t need to be at the Temple for another four hours for my usual Friday baptistry assignment.  So, I really could have slept in for another two or three hours.  It wasn’t due to my wife’s snoring.  She was sawing zzzz’s beside me, but I’ve learned to deal with that.  And it wasn’t my still hefty “do do list” of everything that I need to get done (in four days) before heading off to the hills. It was more than that!  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.

Oh, the days of Scout summer camp!

The Scouting summer camp adventure awaits …

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.

As the summer approached, fellow bus drivers asked each other about their summer plans.  All said that they were going to remain in our town of Mesa, Arizona.  (See my blog Crazy Weather in Arizona to see how fun that might be!)  One guy said that he was going to work on his lawn all summer … yeah, right … in our heat!  Another said that he was going to watch television all summer.  (Wow … that sounds productive!)  Many drivers have signed up for summer routes for part of the summer.  And some are on bus-cleaning crews  (getting student gum off of the seats, etc).  None of those options sounded at all appealing to me.  So, no one had plans as exciting as mine.  When I heard of their plans, I was really happy about my summer plans for a Scouting summer camp adventure.

Many folks when hearing of my summer adventures thought that it all sounded wonderful …  cabin on a lake, 7200′ elevation, temperatures of about 72 degrees daytime and 45 at night, … (a rough job but someone has to do it) …  But then when I added the element of hundreds of Boy Scouts, most of the people backed off in a hurry. They didn’t want anything to do with that.  We needed many staff members and I tried to recruit young drivers (and some old) to join us for the adventure.  None of them wanted anything to do with that.

I once heard some say that Scouting would be a really fun program with out the money worries … and the Scouts!  Not me …  The Scouts … that is why I WANT to go to camp again.  I love serving the Scouts, their leaders, and the staff.  I have caught the vision of what can happen with all of these Scouting groups and camp programs.  So, sign me up!  I am ready to go for it!   I am so grateful for the opportunity again to be there … helping provide the program, getting events and activities organized, inspiring the staff, and creating quality Scouting experiences for the young men.  GERONIMO COMMISSIONER 2008 KEVIN HUNTCOMMISSIONER KEVIN 2010 CAMP GERONIMOCitizenship training, character development, physical and mental fitness, and the aims of methods of Scouting …  That’s what its all about with me and the summer camp adventure!

Another funny incident:  A brother came to me home that same night to pick up my box of printed stake histories that I complied (in my role as Stake historian) – and which arrived this year before I headed out for camp. They arrived the day after I left last summer and that was a real problem.  We talked of my summer plans.  This guy is not a Scouter – nor is he a camper.  I started my “don’t you wish you were going with us” speech.  I said, “Cabin on a lake, 70 degrees, …”  He just shook his head and said, “I’m still not seeing it!”  I couldn’t figure him out – but I was glad that I had a vision for my summer.

On that early Friday morning when I couldn’t sleep, I started thinking back …  Wow!  I have surely been on a multitude of Scout summer camp adventures!  I didn’t even attempt to count the number of times that I have been to camp.  I guess I can safely say that there have been very few summers in my years of life upon the earth when I have not been in camp.  (So, that is just a few!)SLIDE 13 CAMP GERONIMO TROOP 155SLIDE 13 changed_Page_01

I got my start as a “gnubie” in Troop 155 in Mesa, Arizona.  And I have written about many of those Gnubie experiences – and I have been blogging about them “Gnubie to Eagle Scout” (from my book of that title) on The Scouting Trail.  As a gnubie, and for several years after that – and even after I became an Eagle Scout with four palms, I had the great privilege and honor to attend Camp Geronimo.  Camp Geronimo is located up in the beautiful pine country on top of the Mongollon Rim – located about a hundred miles north of my Mesa home.

Welcome to Camp Geronimo

Camp Geronimo sign at front gate

I actually attended Camp Geronimo for seven summers as a Scout.  I went there as a Gnubie, and remained with Troop 155 as I continued as a Scout.  (Note that most boys of my area moved from the troop up into what was then Exploring.  I had the misfortune to belong to one of those wonderful “basketball Explorer posts – and they are still pretty everywhere even today and we didn’t do anything.  Our post had grandiose plans to go to Hawaii.  But, we didn’t even make it to Sunflower, Arizona.  So, I soon tired of that basketball stuff and went back to the troop.  I remained there until I headed off on an LDS church mission.  And so that meant that I went each summer to Camp Geronimo with the troop.  I even served on the Geronimo camp staff for a short time.  I worked in the trading post located in the brand new Knappenberger Lodge.  But, I got kind of bored with the camp staff life.  I had a lot of free time and had already earned most of the merit badges available at the camp.

For many more summers through the years I had other opportunities to go to Camp Geronimo.  I served on a number of Scouting committees and often volunteered to go to camp as a leader.  I don’t know how many times I did that – but it was a bunch.  I think that I went to Camp Geronimo fifty times or more on various camps, events, and events.  (That may be an exaggeration, but I know that it was a lot of times.)

A few summers ago, I had opportunity to return once more to Camp Geronimo to attend a national BSA camp school – in preparation for being the lead camp commissioner later in the summer.  It worked out that I had my father and brother, Ray, drop me off at the camp – because they were to be in the area – and my wife needed our only car at home. As we got to Geronimo, I was appalled when my brother, Ray, divulged that this was his first time ever to be at Camp Geronimo.  How could that be?  We grew up in the same Troop 155 (or was it the same?)  Sure, he was eleven years younger than I, but I guess they went out on their own camps or whatever.  I thought of all of the great times that he had missed at Camp Geronimo.

After I returned from my mission, I had the privilege of attending Brigham Young University in Utah where I majored in Scouting – in the Youth Leadership program.  And as a part of our curriculum, we needed to get some practical intern experience in the summer camp adventure.

So, in one summer I ended up having not one, but TWO Program Director assignments in a single summer.  And that was kind of crazy.  Crazy fun, good, and exciting!  I began with a four-week season at Camp Thunder Ridge – owned by the Utah National Parks Council.  I was at Camp Thunder Ridge when the camp was brand new – I think I was there the second year of its operation.

Camp Thunder Ridge

Camp Thunder Ridge

So, Thunder Ridge didn’t even have water.  I spent a great deal of time going down the mountain to a gas station in the little but beautiful village of Parowan, Utah.  I/we filled a giant tank from the station’s water supply (with their permission and payment) and took it up to camp.

One fond memory of Camp Thunder Ridge was trying to get a shower – with no camp water supply.  I rigged up a plastic tarp around a couple of trees – and that was the shower haven.  (But, it gave a beautiful view of the stars above!)  I learned to take a two-pot shower.  I got one large Scout mess kit pot, filled it up with our precious hauled water, and heated this to near boiling on a camp stove.  I then got another of the same pots and poured half of the hot water into this.  I then filled both pots up to the top.  So then I had one pot to use for soaping down and the other for the rinsing.  I rigged a pole up above me in the shower (those Scout lashings came in handy) and hung a pot at a time from this pole.  And I had a stick with a “handle” which I used to gently tip the suspended pot down onto me as needed.  It wasn’t the greatest system but it was wonderful.

Then, after Camp Thunder Ridge ended, I left on a Saturday morning and went over the lofty Cedar Mountain – about forty miles south – to become the Program Director (in an 8-week season) for Camp Del Webb.  Camp Del Webb is operated by the Las Vegas Area Council (then the Boulder Dam Area Council).

Welcome to Camp Del Webb

Camp Del Webb sign

In preparation for camp at Del Webb, I wrote to Norm Stone, the camp director.  I asked him about facilities of the camp – so that I could make my program plans for the season.  He wrote back and said, “We have plenty of land, sun, blue skies, rocks, and trees – and as much of these things as you could want.  The only substantial facilities that we have are the KYBO’s and I don’t anticipate much program happening there.”

On the day that I got this letter, it made me kind of mad.  But actually, it gave me comic relief for my semester exams that were to happen later in the day.  I got to camp and found Norm’s description of the camp to be totally accurate.  But, I used the resources available – including the great staff – and together we created a wonderful camp program for the summer.

I noted that I had been at BYU before going to camp.  And with my summer plans, I moved out out my apartment (as a cost saving venture).  And so, I went to camp with all of my earthy goods loaded into my car.  I set up a large wall tent (like the one that my HUNT family had used for generations as we went to the same Twin Peaks location (northwest of St. George, Utah) when we went dear HUNTing.  And I put all of my stuff in that tent with me.

The tent itself did not have a floor.  So, I put a large plastic tarp under it.  We did get a lot of rain at that camp but the tent and floor did a fairly decent job of keeping me and my stuff dry.

One night I awoke to the pitter patter which I thought was rain dripping somehow onto my plastic tarp.  I thought that it must really be coming down.  But, then I investigated further.  The noise was not quite that of rain.  I got a flashlight – located near me in the tent and took a look around.  To my horror, I noted that I was then sharing the tent with a skunk!  I could just see (and certainly smell) that skunk spraying his stuff all over my stuff.  I knew that if that happened, I would be dead meat for the rest of the summer.  I froze in my horror and watched that skunk as he paddled around in the tent – and as he actually walked right under my own cot.  Thankfully he didn’t see the need to harass me further and made his way out of the tent – without the spray.  Whew!  That was a close one!  Thank you, Lord for answering that prayer!

By the next summer I had graduated from college and found myself living and working in the Lake Bonneville Council, Boy Scouts – in Ogden, Utah.  And I was pleased to receive the assignment to work at Camp Loll – located on the south border of Yellowstone Park – in Wyoming.  I was to be the assistant camp director working with Delose Conner.  At that time, Delose was a greenhorn camp director – he having served just the year before in the assistant camp director role – and now this was to be his first year as Camp Director.  For those of you who are familiar with Delose, you know that is a living legend – having now served for over 35 years as Camp Director.

Camp Loll

Beautiful “Lake of the Woods” at Camp Loll

My experience with Delose was generally very positive – though there were a few negative experiences – as you can glean from my recent Scouting Trail blog about Camp Bartlett.  We had great times together and we kind of complemented each other.  Delose loved to take the staff off on Sunday adventures – since that was our only “kind-of” day off from the Scouts (because Camp Loll is a 7-day a week camp – with no break time for staff).  I personally liked Sundays to be more of a reverent day (a day of worship and reflection).  But, since the camp was in operation, a Camp Director needed to be present.  I volunteered to remain at my post at camp – while Delose was off with the staff.  This meant too that I had the Wednesday town run for groceries, doing laundry for 40 smelly camp staffers, etc.  Fun times!

And being the Sunday Camp Director meant that much of my time was spent tending to emergencies and other challenges that come with the job.  And much of that was often first aid to Scouts.

On this one particular Sunday, a Scout came to me sporting a fishing hook in his lip. Now this was not just a single hook, mind you … two of the prongs had stuck fully into his lip.  Thrills!  And so I got the unpleasant task of trying to push these two prongs through his lip so that I could clip off the barbs (and then slide them out gently without the prongs).  No gentle action that I tried worked.  We worked at the task for a very long time – all without success.  Finally I decided that it was time for action.  I quickly pulled the barbs through with a jerking motion – and the task was done – before the boy could scream again.  And then I was able to do the rest of my plan.

And of course there were the millions of mosquitoes at Camp Loll.  And did I mention that there were millions and millions of mosquitos there?  That would be an understatement.

Camp Loll was also where one of my greatest of life’s adventures began to be a reality. It was at Camp Loll that I proposed by mail to my gal LuDen – who was then working at an LDS girl’s camp – Camp Brighton – located on the mountains east of Salt Lake City – and about 400 miles from my camp – where she was the head cook for 250 girls.

Kevin proposed my mail to LuDen while at Camp Loll

Lou Dene “LuDen” Belcher at the time that Kevin proposed to her

It took all summer long to get engaged.  And that is the subject of yet another blog – and you’ll probably hear a lot more of this from me in the future … a book written together with Lou – “Eternally Yours” and who knows … maybe a movie – like our own “Cheaper by the Dozen” or something in the future.  That book is mostly written – but we are waiting to be “discovered” by the big-time folks.

At Camp Loll – like most of the camps where I have worked, I found my niche staging Dutch oven cooking demonstrations for Scoutmasters and leaders each week.  And Delose had perfect timing.  Just as my cobbler was due to come out of the oven, he would smell it somehow and would show up to taste the delicacy and to entertain the men with one of his famous stories.  He had a lot of practice sharing his “Moose Shit Pie” story and this always brought a bunch of laughs!  Silly Delose!

Dutch oven cobbler

Dutch Oven cobbler cooked by Kevin Hunt

I worked for the next four years at Camp Bartlett – located north of Bear Lake and west of Montpelier, Idaho.  For the first summer I was the assistant to Ray Chase.  And then for the next three summers I had the great blessing and opportunity to serve as the Camp Director.  Many of my Camp Bartlett adventures have already been noted in my blogs for The Scouting Trail.  And I recently did a blog specifically about the Camp Bartlett Lodge – new, then old, and now new again.

I could go on forever about my Scouting camp adventures at Camp Bartlett – but I’ll feed you a few of those at a time.  In my recent Camp Bartlett blog, however, I shared details of what I still consider the greatest staff event that I have ever staged for a summer camp staff.  I invite you to read about that dance and associated events.  Great times!

Okay, I admit that I HATE Scout skits at campfire programs.  Imagine that!  I am a song guy.  But, at Camp Bartlett, I loved each week seeing skits as some of the all-time staff greats performed their skits.  I loved “The King, the Queen and the Gate” as staged by staff,

Camp Bartlett in Idaho

Camp Director Kevin Hunt at Camp Bartlett in Idaho

Wayne Moyle as “Ernie”, Matt Ericson doing “Igor and the Man”, and Paul Kearl doing “The Snake Catcher.”  (I may be a bit harsh in my assessment of campfire skits … but literally, we are seeing those same old skits today that I saw fifty years ago as a Scout.  They never seem to change.  And they are just as bad now as they were then – but probably a whole lot worse!)

And as ever, at Camp Bartlett, I often had occasion to get involved with first aid stuff. On one occasion a Scout came to me with a trauma complaint.  Usually a boy will not actually admit that his problem is that he is homesick, but this kid admitted that.  I spoke to him with consoling words and said, “Oh, you’re in luck.  I have just the thing for you!  I have a HOMESICK PILL.”  So, I pulled out a giant orange flavored vitamin – with about a 1-inch diameter.  I handed it to him with my instructions:  “Take this pill and then go back to your campsite.  Get involved with the guys of your troop.  Help them fix lunch …  work on a merit badge for a few minutes … and you’ll be feeling better in about 20 minutes.”

The Scout headed off elated after taking the pill (and somehow getting it down).  I then went about my usual camp director duties.  I next saw the homesick boy about an hour later.  He came running up to me all excited.  “Mr. Hunt!  That homesick pill really worked!”  And then he paused a moment before saying, “But the only thing is that it took FORTY MINUTES instead of twenty!”  So funny …

It was at Camp Bartlett that I really perfected my skills in what I call “walking stick counseling”.  I enjoy carving walking sticks and have tried to carve a new stick for or at each camp that I have worked.  And I have found that Scouts are super interested in carving and they all get real excited when they see me carving on a stick.  So, on a very frequent basis, I would get my knife and a stick and would find a spot out in the middle of everything – with a lot of people around me – and would perch myself on a log or a rock and would begin to carve.  And within minutes, I would soon have one or two boys on the log with me.  We’d first talk about carving but then I would ask, “So, what merit badges are you taking?  What is your favorite badge?  Who is your favorite counselor? Any staffer that you don’t like?”

Kevin Hunt and carved walking sticks

Kevin Hunt with walking stick collection – many of them carved by him.

Each conversation lasted only a few minutes and then I would be joined by another boy or two.  And over the course of a very short time, I had learned a lot of what was going on in my camp.  It became real frustrating to my staff.  It appeared to them that I knew everything about camp and about them.   And they couldn’t figure out how I found out so such about them and the camp.  (But now, I guess my secret is out.  Shhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone!)

I transferred with the Boy Scouts down to Santa Barbara, California.  I then had the opportunity to become the Director at camp Rancho Allegre.  This wasn’t as fun of an experience as I had enjoyed at Camp Bartlett.  I was kind of on a tight leash and didn’t have a lot of freedom to act.  Still, however, there were great times.

Camp Rancho Allegre

Kevin Hunt as Camp Director at camp Rancho Allegre near Santa Barbara, California

After my professional Scouting career ended, I moved to nearby Santa Paula, California – in Ventura County where now as I volunteer, I became the Scoutmaster of our local troop.  I took the troop to Camp Three Falls (operated by the Ventura County Council) for a full week. It was really different to find myself on the other end of things – of being a Scoutmaster – after so many years as Program and Camp Director.  But, it was a great experience and we had a lot of fun times together.

Camp Three Falls

The famous rock at Camp Three Falls in Ventura County Califonia

Then after a few years I uprooted the family and we moved our whole operation (stuff and by then seven children) back home to Arizona.  And, as noted, I had multiple opportunities to again go to my beloved Camp Geronimo with different troops where I served.  And with the help of my journal entries from those years, I could go on forever about the great times.  But, I’ll save them for future blogs.

And for many years I did not have jobs that would allow me to have full-time Scouting summer camp adventures.  And how longed again for those “Good old days” of summer camp.  I went through withdrawals every year – all year – but particularly as the time for summer camp drew closer.  My heart strings were ripped apart.

Luckily, Camp Geronimo provided at least some relief for my Scout camp anxieties – and desires to be there again.  This camp has the great blessing of having many family cabins that they can make available to volunteer adult commissioners.

Kevin as Commissioner at Camp Geronimo

Kevin as Commissioner at Camp Geronimo

They invite Scouters to come to camp to serve without pay for a week.  They are told that they can bring their families and can have a cabin for the week. And the families can do literally anything that they want to do in camp – in the program areas, take merit badges, hiking, etc. while dad (or mom) is off being a commissioner for four to six troops.  (And they have four or five such commissioner families at the camp each week.  And this means that about 25 or more families can enjoy this great adventure each summer. Wow … such a deal!)

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And so, for TWELVE SUMMERS I served as a Geronimo commissioner – one week at a time.  And each time I hauled my family (now consisting of nine children) up to camp. They let us come but I think our coming kind of “broke the bank” with the expense of our many meals.  It was such a great thing for our family and we all have such wonderful memories.

Lana – then only about nine – developed a special bond with the older guy in the cabin next to us.  They would often be found out on his porch putting together puzzles, playing games, etc.  He was grandpa to her – and they both loved it.  Years later, Ed still asks about “his Lana girl” and she has fond memories of this great man.

Our daughters (six of them) enjoyed being at Camp Geronimo – and having all of those boys to themselves (though the Scouts were a bit young for most of them).  The girls also enjoyed going to hang out and shoot up at the rifle range.  None of them had ever shot a rifle before but three of the ladies – the A-Red-Lion personality types – and the three blondes got scores of from 46 to 50 on their first tries.  This was a real frustration to the male staff members who witnessed the ladies in their shooting.  Jackie’s score of 48 – and then a 50 was really irksome to the staff.  It played against their male egos in a major way.  They tried all week to duplicate her score – but to no avail.  Then finally in the ultimate of frustration, they fabricated a target to show a higher or matching score. But, then a Scout or someone ratted on them.  So, the staff guys finally had to admit that they had been outscored at a girl and they had to humble themselves enough to present her with the Sharpshooter of the Week award at the Friday night campfire program.  So funny!

I’ll share just one commissioner experience (of hundreds) that I recorded with glee in my journals of the day.

Everyone knows that commissioners have the duty of communications.  Everything about the commissioner job is communicating – with staff, with Scouts, with leaders, etc – about programs and activities, policies, etc.

Well, anyway, Tuesday nights at Geronimo were always billed as troop nights.  The Scouts had to prepare their own meals in their campsite and some took hikes, etc. They were kind of on their own to do their own program while the staff had the time and opportunity to hang out and do their own thing without the strain of the Scouts.

So, on this one occasion, the staff was having “western night”.  And I was at the Farnsworth Lodge in my Western shirt, boots and duds.  I was living the dream!  And outside it was raining cats and dogs.  It was really coming down in torrents!

My Western bliss was aborted when the Camp Director came to me saying that he had received a major emergency message from a parent of a Scout in one of my troops.  He asked me to go up to the campsite – in the rain – to get this Scout and his leader so that the emergency call could be made back to the boy’s mother.

So, I trudged in my western shirt – and the pounding rain – clear up the muddy mountain to something like campsite 26 (of 29) to talk to the boy. En route up to the campsite, I had visions of the worst for this poor boy.  I imagined that his father had probably died and that he had to find out about it here at camp.  How terrible, I thought!

I somehow made my way up to the campsite and cornered the leader.  I broke the emergency news to him and he called the boy over to him. Then together, the three of us headed off with heavy hearts and went clear across camp to the camp headquarters building where a return call could be made to the boy’s mother.

The call was made and then I learned of the details of the “major emergency”.  It was learned that the mother had gone to Taco Bell and was sure that she had one of the biggest tickets – that when combined with the ticket that her son had (at camp, no less), they would be the absolute winner of the grand give-away contest.  Are you kidding me? I was so angry!  I absolutely could not believe it!  Wow!  (But being a great commissioner, I kept my mouth shut and bid the folks well as they headed back up the mountain – and me back to the lodge for the now almost over western party – all in the pouring rain!  (And my western shirt and boots were never the same!)

I ultimately – after a lot of years – found myself in this bus driving job.  And that meant that I could return again to the full-time summer camp adventures that I had only dreamed of for so long.  I was elated! This was truly wonderful and exciting!

And so it was that in 2012 I returned to my beloved Camp Geronimo for a full summer – and this time as the Lead Commissioner.  I have never worked so hard in my life as I did that summer – and with so little appreciation for anything that I did.  But, there were wonderful times with the trauma.

We survived Camp Geronimo 2012

Kevin Hunt and family at Camp Geronimo 2012

The following year, we could have returned to camp but took a personal and family hiatus.  Our daughter and family (with four of our grandchildren) were then in Germany – where our son-in-law, Paul, was serving in the Air Force as an in-flight nurse.  So, we took advantage of them being there and went to spend a month with them in Germany.  it was a rough summer … exploring old castles, eating German food, seeing all of the street fairs, and cruising the Rhine River on a big boat …  Someone had to go see them when they were so far away … and Lou and I were glad that we could accommodate them.

Kevin and Lou on Rhine River cruise in Germany

Kevin and Lou on Rhine River cruise in Germany

The following year we wanted to return to camp … but where?  So many camps … and so little time to see them all …  I had been a regular subscriber to Indeed.com and so often I received in my e-mail box a list of current camp director opportunities around the country.  But, we had to find a camp whose schedule matched our squashed summer camp schedule – of when we got out of school and when we had to report back.  That wasn’t an easy task – since our school begins about the 10th of August each summer.

But at last I found what looked like the perfect summer camp.  Lou and I applied and were hired – me to be the Camp Director and her to be the Program Director.  Our daughter Larissa got to go with us also – and stayed until she left mid-season for a church mission to Minnesota.  We worked the summer of 2014 at the Jack Nicol [resident] Cub Scout Camp.

Kevin and Dan Wright at Camp Jack Nicol

Camp Director Kevin with friend Dan Wright at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp

This camp is owned by the Longs Peak Council of the Boy Scouts and is located about 50 miles northwest of Ft. Collins, Colorado (the city of my birth) – and near the village of Red Feather Lakes.

We came on board kind of late to the camp and didn’t know what to expect or how to plan for a themed Cub Scout experience.  That first summer was our learning year.  I knew how to direct a great Scout camp so I applied all of those skills to the camp.  We didn’t do anything with the theme and felt bad about it – but knew that we really gave the campers a great experience.

Kevin and Lou having fun with staff and Cub Scouts at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp

Kevin and Lou having fun with staff and Cub Scouts at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp

We had so much fun that we chose to return the next year.  And this year, we really worked hard to create a funtastic camp centered around the theme of “Cubbywood”. Everything in the camp revolved around movies.  And we had a grand time with that. Each of our staff selected a star celebrity to dress and act like.

Camp Jack Nicol Cub Camp Staff 2015

Kevin and Lou as Green Acres stars with other staff stars at Camp Jack Nicol

And we had a packed program.  This was loved by almost everyone but a few people actually complained the the council leaders about us.  I had to laugh at the reaction of the council Camping Chairman.  He said, “That’s the best complaint that I have ever heard – too much fun!”

The Jack Nicol Cub Scout camp is part of the large Ben Delatour Scout Ranch which includes Camp Jeffrey, Soaring Eagle and a Venturing high adventure base.  I had forever thought of Camp Geronimo as the “Cadillac” of Scout camps.  I had never seen one to compare at all with it.  But, this Camp Jeffrey came pretty close – thought one could earn the hiking merit badge just going from one place to another.  One had to travel a lot to get to the next program area – no matter how “close” it was.

Camp Jeffrey in Colorado

Lake activity at Camp Jeffrey – on the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch

Another great thing about this Camp Jeffrey is that it had a great log building (my favorite) dedicated specifically as a Scouting museum.  This place was manned through the camp season and was open to Scouts and leaders.  They had some real true vintage items that were fabulous.  I even found duplicates of my old Cub Scout books, uniforms, etc. there.

We had planned also to be at Camp Nicol for the 2016 season.  We really got into the Circus and Carnival theme – and probably spent between 200 and 300 hours – through the winter and school year – dreaming and preparing every carnival detail for camp.  But, then the continuing problem … that of staff.   By early April the council could not produce even one camp staff application for us.

Now my wife is actually Superwoman … but even with her skills – combined with mine, we could not do it alone.  (We had tried that the past two years – and did not want that situation again.)  It was gut-wrenching deluxe but we had to admit that we could be at the camp under that scenario.  So, reluctantly we gave notice that we would not be returning.

Then we were in a bit of a dither as suddenly we were “free agents” with no camp to go to.  I thought in horror of scraping gum off from bus seats for the summer.  Ughh!  That was not for me.

We thought that we had found a spot where we could serve for 2016 but that didn’t pan out.  I had met Jeremy Bell of the Trapper Trails Council through my Scouting blogging.  As I submitted one of my blogs to him, I asked – kind of as a side note – if they had a camp that could use us for the summer.  I told him of our interests – and said that we’d want a spot for Lou and I – as well as Larissa, our daughter – who was now home from the mission and with us.  Literally within a few minutes, Jeremy responded back with a simple note:  “Camp New Fork” and he gave me contact information for Travis Emery the Camp Director (and he must have told Travis about us).

Travis and I connected real fast and the deal was soon made.  We would join his team – with some of our own staff entourage for the summer at Camp New Fork – located at the base of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming.  And from that first commitment, Travis and I have found that we are true camp blood brothers.  We think alike in every way and we are so similar that it is almost scary.  We have had a few staff meetings (with most of our staff) via Skype and Zoom but Travis and I have not actually met yet.  I look forward to that meeting with high anticipation.

And in one of our conversations, Travis admitted that when he was first told of me – and that perhaps he should go for me, he was kind of traumatized.  I guess my past experience kind of made him wonder.  But, we soon learned that we could work together well – and we have in preparation for the camp.

And so it is that now we will be heading for Wyoming.  We so look forward to that grand Scouting camp adventure.  We hope that our car will make it – unlike last year.  Last year we hauled four Arizona staffers – and their huge amount of gear – with us to Colorado.   And we had so much gear – with personal stuff – and a whole bunch of program equipment – that we had to pull a packed utility trailer with our small mini-van. And the proved too much for the vehicle.  As we climbed some giant mountains between northern Arizona and New Mexico – and just about 150 miles from home, the minivan overheated and soon died.  And then we had a real adventure getting it towed, renting a big van to get the staffers home, going back up for the dead vehicle, etc.  And then for about nine months, we had no money to fix the minivan and it sat dead in our front driveway.

But, with the help of a brother-in-law and a very skilled mechanic, the car is now “road-worthy” (or at least we hope) once again.  And now we are off for another summer camp adventure.  And we are real excited about the prospects.  We are anxious to serve the Scouts of northern Utah, Southern Idaho and western Wyoming.   The three of us are willing and anxious to give our all to the Scouts who will come our way.  And we pray hard each day that all will go well so that together we can all have a really great summer.

And, as I hinted at the beginning of this rather lengthy blog, it appears that I will have to take a summer hiatus from this blogging activity.

I play “Words” (or Scrabble) on-line with my Idaho daughter, Lana – as a way to stay connected with her.  According to the “Words” dictionary, the word “hiatus” means: “A break or interruption in the continuity of a work”.  So, that is what it is – a “hiatus” from blogging.  I apologize to any of you who may have found yourself looking forward to my blogging articles.

For one, I will be extremely busy as Camp Program Director and will likely have very little free time in which to write.  And secondly, this blogging business takes a lot of computer capability.  And I am sure that this camp will be like all other Scout camps. Internet capacity will come at a high premium – if it is available at all.

So, as I start a two-month Scouting camp adventure in Wyoming, I bid you a temporary adieu – but promise that I will be back at the job in August.  I may die coming back to the Arizona August heat – after the cool mountain Wyoming air – but I’ll get back into the blogging action then.

I wish you all the best along your summer Scouting adventures and trails.  Get those boys up to camp and have a grand time with them.  Camping can be the greatest of adventures for them – and for you too.  And as one of my favorite singing cowboys, Gene Autry, often said, “Happy trails to you …”

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

 

Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!

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The Camp Bartlett Lodge – Once New, then old, and now new Again

 

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

This article is dedicated to all past Camp Directors and the great staff members who have served at Camp Bartlett through the past 50-plus years.  A great thanks to all of you and your great efforts! – Kevin Hunt

As I look at the coming 2016 summer calendar, it appears as if it will be another great summer for camp experiences.  My wife and daughter, Larissa, will have the opportunity to serve on the Camp New Fork staff in Wyoming.  (And that will be the subject of another soon upcoming blog).  It will be great to work with camp director, Travis Emery.  But, the really grand event will be the rededication of the Stewart Lodge (if it is still called that) at Camp Bartlett.  The Bartlett Lodge – once new, then old and now new again … has been recently remodeled and has received again is “paradisiacal glory”.  Such exciting news!  The rededication is set for 5:00 PM on Saturday, June 25th.LODGE RENOVATION PLANS

That will be such a glorious day!  And my camp New Fork duties and schedule will allow me to make the journey from Camp New Fork to Camp Bartlett to be a part of the great festivities.  And I can’t wait!

You have probably realized that I – the “Scout blogger” am a bit of a relic in camp circles.  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!BARTLETT LODGE

I think that I have told you, my blogging Scout friends, that I am an avid journal keeper.  In fact, I began keeping a daily journal on May 25th, 1973 and have now have a daily journal record for all of those many years in between.  That equates now to about 150 journal volumes and some 30,000 pages.  Wow!  I can’t believe that myself.

And now, with the forthcoming rededication of the Bartlett Lodge, it has caused me some reflection as I think of those days back so long ago as the “new” lodge was a building.  And as I have reflected on the coming rededication, I was naturally drawn in curiosity back to my journals of the day.  JOURNAL IMAGE FROM WEBAnd I spent a couple of fun days reading the back journals and reliving those glorious days.  And with the coming dedication and positive thoughts of Camp Bartlett, I would like to take you – and anyone who may be interested … back through the annals of my personal journals to share with each of you a bit of the history of Camp Bartlett.  I hope that my journal entries might be of “general interest” (quoting Frank Galbraith – of “Cheaper by the Dozen” – and one of my greatest heroes)  to you and that they will bring back some great memories – and maybe some unknown history of the Camp and the great Stewart Lodge.    This material may appear long, but it is historical – and fascinating – as history always is.  So, buckle your seat belts, and here we go …!  Let’s begin with an entry made

Monday, June 2nd – 1980

“We woke up this morning at Camp Bartlett to snow.  … Grant Robinson (Scout Executive), Wes Barton (a Construction guy with a backhoe – and whom I recruited from my own Mt. Ogden District, Elmer Ward, Jed Stringham (the council camps know-all maintenance guy and camp builder), John Reeve, and Doug Fife came in this morning and marked out the site for the new lodge which we’ll build here this summer.  It was exciting to see “the big guns” decide where to put the new building.  It should be up by the end of the summer.”

Tuesday, June 3rd

“We woke up again to more snow.  We had a total of about fifteen inches in the last two days.  There was snow on all of the tree branches and with the clouds and mist (mist over the lake) we had the appearance of a real fairy land.  It was quite pretty but presented a few problems.  Wes Barton had his backhoe up here and pushed the snow off the road.  We were lucky to have him or we would have really been “socked in” here.  … [and later in the day:] We still can’t believe all of the snow – and particularly for the first of June.  This was a real mind blower.  The sun came out for the afternoon and melted a lot of the snow.  We hope that things will dry out soon.”

Wednesday, June 4th

“The snow really started to melt today.  We now have a muddy mess everywhere.  I took a walk through camp and there were big trees down all over everywhere. …

Thursday, June 5th

“… I went to Montpelier and took three kids with me – Brian ____, Wendell Whitely, and Terry Allen.  We worked on the road all of the way down.  Water was running down the road in many places so we diverted it as much as possible.”

Tuesday, June 10th,

“Jed arrived back in camp today so he and I did a little work on the new trading post under the A-frame.  … He and I and Ron Blair went in to Montpelier for some lumber and assorted supplies.  The Bartons arrived soon after noon.  They were real anxious to get started on the digging for the new lodge.  They brought their families – Wes and his brother and families and mobile homes to stay in.  They started up their big machinery and went to work.  They moved the caterpillar to the lodge site and promptly got it stuck in the mud.  Its back-end was down a couple of feet.  Then then got the backhoe and planned to pull the cat out.  The backhoe then sunk three feet in the ground.  We had to put all kinds of logs under the vehicles to keep them “afloat”.  The ground was really soupy under the surface and we couldn’t do anything.  We finally went to the town of Ovid and bought (I mean borrowed) some cable from the county and were able to get the vehicles unstuck.  It was evident that the new lodge couldn’t be built in that location.  It would take months for it to dry out.  We called Grant and gave him the news.  …  My wife, Lou, is cooking for all of the Bartons, Jed and  Charlotte Stringham, my brother Ray, Richard Stuart (staff member) and us – a total of 22 people.”

Wednesday, June 11th,

”We selected another site for the new lodge this morning.  We chose a place on higher and dryer ground.  It is still a pretty site for the building.  Wes and Floyd dug the hole for the foundation footings.  We all got involved in digging, laying 2”x8” boards for the footings.  Ray, Richard and I shoveled for several hours and we were all sore.  Ray and Richard enjoyed helping with the surveying.  We opened the new trading post for the TLT course (currently in progress).  … Rick, from the Caribu Trout farm and stocked our lake for the season.”

Saturday, June 14th,

“The TLT group left today.  They have had a good course here.  Many of the camp staff came in today.  …”

Tuesday, June 17th,

“… Several times today Jed Stringham came for a bunch of staff members to do “Jed-Work” – this time to work on the new lodge. [Read my recent blog on Jed Work – The Greatest of Camp Work]

JED STRINGHAM

Jed Stringham

 

We covered the sewer line with straw and then did some work on the foundation so that all of the cement can be poured tomorrow.  …  This evening Jed kept us busy on the lodge so we had to postpone our evening staff session on “Counseling” – which John Perry was to give.  We did later have a training session on campfire programs.  It has been a long day.”

Wednesday, June 18th,

“…  My assistant Camp Director, Ken Holford, and his wife are still living with us in our cabin.  We are getting a little tired of people being here constantly.  We will be glad when everyone moves out.  The Bartons are all living in the other cabin so Ken is here until they leave.  They poured the foundation for the new lodge today.”

Thursday, June 19th,

“My daughter, Jackie, was in the hospital in Montpelier overnight and I went to the hospital and brought her and my wife home.  She was almost her old self.  We were very grateful for this.  We spent a couple of hours in town picking up stuff for camp.  We needed a lot of paint and other things for the program areas.  We got back to camp about 3:00 PM. …  Ken took the Bartons fishing and they caught several nice big ones.  They were delighted.  They have tried fishing several times but haven’t caught any.  I’m glad that they caught a few.  They plan to go home tomorrow.  They have sure been good to donate all of their time, money and machinery for the last two weeks.  …”  [Wes Barton and his brother should go down in the annals of Camp Bartlett history as one of its greatest friends and financial contributors.  These guys accepted my invitation to come to camp with their families – with the promise of wonderful mountain air, use of a cabin, and plenty of fish in the lake – for two weeks. And they brought with them their construction company backhoe and caterpillar and used these on the new lodge and elsewhere for the entire two weeks – and all completely as a donation – and at no charge to the council.  Wow!  These guys were the greatest of heroes!]

Saturday, June 21st,

“The Bartons left for home today so Ken and wife Lorelea Holford moved into their own cabin.  We were glad to see them leave – just because it is taxing to us when people are here with us in our cabin …”

Monday, June 23rd,

“Our first group of Scouts arrived this morning.  We were all nervous and wondered how things would go and what to expect.  Our first kids came about 7:45 AM.  The check-in went real smoothly – almost too smooth.  …  We had a record group of troops and boys – 31 troops and 267 boys. …”

Thursday, June 26th,

“…  A truck arrived this morning from Bob Wade at Precision Built Homes (our Council President) and contained several pre-fabricated panels for the new lodge.  …”

Friday, June 27th,

“Bob Wade arrived with the second load of lodge panels today.  We gave him a Bartlett jacket and made him an official Bartlett staff member.  We had to do something fast – because he had arrived with a Camp Loll jacket.  He looked much better in the Bartlett jacket! …”

[It was my pleasure to stage the first activity at the “new lodge” and I went all out.  Again, my journal memorializes that truly wonderful occasion … enjoy!]

Wednesday, July 2nd,

“… We had the long awaited staff activity tonight.  LouDene and I have been planning this for some time.  We arranged with John and Gwen Stevens (the square dance callers of the “Dudes and Dolls” square dance club that we belong to in Ogden – to come up to call a dance.  John is also the bishop of their ward so they brought all of their girls (and they recruited others from the stake to make a total of 27 girls).   The girls arrived in camp a complete surprise to the staff – and in a bus that I had chartered for the activity!  None of them knew that the girls were coming.  We’ve really kept them in suspense throughout the last week.  Each day John Perry (waterfront director) has posted how many days remained before the big event.   [We gave out a myriad of assignments to staff to stage this event – but they all had only a small bit of the package so none of them – except Lou and I and John and Colleen Perry – saw the whole picture!  And this was great!]  This afternoon I delivered a secret sealed envelope of instructions to each of the staff.  Lou Dene spent all morning writing them up.  We instructed staff not to pen the envelopes until precisely 5:00 Pm.  This of course, really psyched up the guys as they pondered what could be in the envelopes.   In the instructions we told them to “report to the shower” and then to report at the rifle range.  (And this was totally out of character for me – as I NEVER allowed staff showers at that hour – and not until after all programs of the day – usually about 10:00 PM.  So, this really made them wonder.  And it was hilarious that Scott Price – the camp “Romeo” just “reported to the shower” – and did not take one.  Ha, Ha!  So, funny!)

“Then at a given time, we had one or two boys synchronized to lead the boys back down from the rifle range (where they had a staff shoot.  [And this added to the bafflement of the occasion … why would they have to shower just to go to the rifle range!]

We put all of the girls into the “old dining hall or lodge”

KEVIN BY THE OLD LODGE

Kevin Hunt – 2014 – by the “Old Bartlett Dining Hall/Lodge” – Used before 1981 when the new lodge was created

to await the arrival of the boys.  We synchronized their departure from the building to coincide with the boys coming down the mountain.

“As the boys came down to the old dining hall, some of them just about went into shock at the sight of the girls.  And it was kind of funny.  We had one of the staffers lead the rest of the guys in the old camp favorite song of “Sippin’ Cider”.  And at that moment, we had the girls stashed out of sight and as the boys sang the song, the girls sang back with the “echo” of the “repeat after me song”.  The boys had no idea of what we had up our sleeves.

“We gave all of the guys and guys a color-coded nametag  which told them how old they were. We ate a nice dinner of sloppy joes and then gathered on the new lodge foundation for the square dance.  (And Romeo Scott – at the sight of girls – took off running at top speed to more than “report at” the shower.  I never heard of a staffer showering as fast as that boy did that night!)

“Some of the staffer guys tried to sneak out of dancing but I caught them and brought them back.   One girl who had come up was seen by a Scout passing by (a non-staffer).  He saw his girl at camp and dancing with some other guy … and boy was he mad!

“All of the staffers – and girls too – seemed to enjoy the dance very much after they got into it.  After the dance we had a campfire program together up on the hill.  The staff activities patrol (of which my brother, Ray was a member) had put up a huge Army tent so we slept all of the girls there.  [And this whole tent scenario blew the minds of the staffers who were given the instructions to erect it.  I had also instructed some other guys to take straw from the archery range and to set it up around the perimeter of the lodge foundation – for people to sit on – and this combined with the tent in the middle of the field, made the staff believe that we were having some kind of a circus event.  Little did they know!]

“Some of the staff were a little bothered over me insisting that they be in their own tents at 10:30 PM.  All of the kids had a great time – guys and gals.  LouDene and I were happy that it all went over as well as it did.  It was sure fun to pull the wool over the staff.

Thursday, July 3rd,

“We had a night of rain and thunder but everyone survived.  Lou Dene said this morning how loud that the thunder had been.  I hadn’t heard anything during the night – since I was so tired.

“… We had an early morning fireside this morning under the A-Frame for all of the staff and the young ladies.  Brad Cottrell’s Dad – who is a Bishop of the Ogden 80th Ward, was here for the day so we asked him to be the speaker.  He talked about circumstantial evidence that the Gospel has been restored.  The ladies ate breakfast with us and then they headed back to Ogden.  We enjoyed having them here with us.  Ron Robinson (son of the Scout Executive) said that he felt like he had gone to the Celestial Kingdom for a few hours.

“I had to laugh at Scott Price.  He shook my hands several times through the day and each time, said, “I have to thank you again for that activity.  I can’t believe that you pulled it off for us …”  [And I’ll have to admit that this was the absolute greatest activity that I ever pulled off for the staff.  It was truly awesome.  Several staffers would often ask me when we would do it again.  I told them that this was a one-time thing – since I could never pull off such a surprise again.”]

Thursday, July 10th,

“… The craftsmen arrived today to start the erection of the building of the new lodge.  The thing is all “pre-fabbed” from Precision Built Homes.  The crew today got the walls up completely.  It is really looking great.  A big group will come up on Saturday to finish getting it up.  The whole thing is real exciting! …”

Saturday, July 12th,

“The troops were a little slow in leaving camp today.  They weren’t all gone until about 11:30 Am.  About 50 people – including about 10 of our staff, some Camp Kiesel staff, and other professional Scouters and volunteers – converged about 8:30 AM and started the erection of the new lodge.  They got the walls (inside and out), the rafters and the roof plywood up.  The crew worked on it all day.  I kept wanting to go help on the lodge but a new troop would come as I was heading over there.  LouDene and I cooked lunch for the whole crew.  We made spaghetti for the group. … The new lodge is really exciting.  I hope that I am the Camp Director next summer so that I can use the new lodge.”

Tuesday, July 15th,

“… All of the program areas went super today. I found Kee Brandow – staffer – not at his area as I casually toured all of the areas so I assigned him to “Jed Work” for the afternoon.  Jed kept him busy until suppertime.  Jed took a crew after dinner and got all of tar paper put on the new lodge roof.  They got this all done.”

Thursday, July 17th,

“… This evening Lou and I went in to town with twelve of the staff.  I treated them to a night out on me (Bartlett).  The twelve (including Ray) were the ones who stayed here last Saturday to help on the new lodge construction.  This was their “bonus”.  We first went bowling.  We all played three games.  We then went to the drive-in theater and watched “The Prize Fighter” starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway.  Everyone enjoyed the evening.”

[I can also say that I was able to stage the first actual event in the new lodge.]

Friday, July 18th,

“… This evening at campfire time it was really windy and threatened rain.  We made the decision to not hold the program at the campfire bowl.  We elected to hold it in the big room of the new lodge.  All of the Scouts were excited when I told them that they could always remember that they were a part of the first gathering in the new lodge.  We had a fun program – even without a fire.”

Monday, July 28th,

“…  Our camp is finished for the summer …  After they got their paychecks the whole staff took off for home.  We have had a great staff and a great summer.”

Wednesday, July 30th,

“The Wood Badge staff arrived today with their “we own everything and can do whatever we want” attitude. …  LouDene, Jackie, Ray and I headed for Ogden about 1:00 Pm. …  It felt good to be back home again.  We just about died because of the heat difference.  We have had weather about 70-75 degrees at camp.  It has been about 105 degrees in Ogden but was only 87 degrees today.”

[Lou and I later returned – at the end of the week – back to camp and staged a camp outing for LDS girls from Kaysville.    This girls event was for a good friend of ours – who served in the Young Women of her ward and we staged the camp experience as a favor to her and to her girls.  This event gave me the vision that we could expand Camp Bartlett to include LDS girls – to give them a great experience – and to help beef up the camp budget.  And after the final close of camp, Lou and I and Jackie headed off on a much needed vacation – to Nauvoo – where Lou’s folks were then serving on a Church mission.]

Tuesday, September 2nd,

”Today was my first day back on the job in Ogden.  The party is over and it was time to go back to work.  We got the new year started with a staff meeting.  Delose Conner was in charge of this one.  He had it at the trout farm in North Ogden.  It was good to see all of the guys again. … The highlight of the day was receiving our staff assignments for the next year.  I was delighted to learn that I will again be the director at Bartlett next summer.  Terry Ripplinger will be my assistant.  He should be fun to work with.  Delose has decided to stick around here for another year and they will make him the director at Camp Loll again – with Paul as his assistant.” …

Over the next couple of months, life was very busy as I was back into the functions and myriad of activities and meetings in my Mt. Ogden Scouting District.  Camp was still very much on my mind and I worked on it whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes to do so.  And of course, it was exciting to hear of progress on the new Bartlett Lodge – though since I was not up there, I made no journal entries about the progress on the lodge construction.  My next entry about the camp came on Friday, October 10th.  I had just been in Dallas, Texas – at the national BSA headquarters and training center for a full week.  And my first act upon returning home from the week of training was Camp Bartlett.

From the journal of Kevin Hunt

Friday – October 10th

“… Just got back at noon from a week in Texas for NEI III.

“We (Lou, Jackie and I) went together and bought the food for tomorrow’s lodge dedication.“

 

BARTLETT DEDICATION DAY – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1980

Saturday – October 11th

“LouDene, Jackie, Matt McCain, and Rich Stuart and I headed to Camp Bartlett early this morning.  We went up for the dedication of the new lodge.  The lodge isn’t finished but we decided that we needed to go ahead anyway.  We wanted the dedication two weeks from now but the Donnell Stewarts – who donated $70,000 toward the lodge were going to be gone that day.  The lodge is really looking super.  I can’t wait until next summer when we get to use it.  The new mall in Ogden has held us up considerably.  All of the electricians in town were working on the mall, I guess, so we couldn’t get any up there at camp.  About 100 people (just a few over) were there today to witness the dedication.  Bob Wade provided meat for everyone.  A couple of ladies provided the dessert.  LouDene and I were in charge of the rest of the meal.  We had rolls, punch, celery, olives and salad.  We made the salad up there and then just bought the rest ready to use.  Matt McCain led the group in the song “America” and Rich led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Dr. George Lowe gave a history of Camp Bartlett.  Jim Whetten presented a plaque to the Stewarts.  They announced that the Stewart Lodge will be the lodge name.  We ate and then I took a few interested people on a tour of the camp.  The place really looked different – almost ugly – in the fall.

I kept a copy of the dedication program and now share it with you:

BARTLETT LODGE PHOTO PART 1

BARTLETT LODGE DEDICATION PAGE 2

BARTLETT DEDICATION DONORS

Later that day, Lou attended a baptism program (as Primary President) and Jackie and I delivered district dinner tickets to Pres. Walker up in Morgan.  (So, it was a whirlwind day – after a busy week of being gone).

Throughout the following winter and spring, I labored feverishly in preparation for camp and the summer of 1981.  I greatly anticipated use of the grand new lodge for my staff, and the many campers – Scouts and leaders – who would come to camp in our next season.  It was a very busy time as I made those preparations.  But, at long last, the day did come to head back up to my beloved Camp Bartlett.

I continue with journal entries from the summer of 1981 as they pertain to the new lodge.

Friday, May 29th, 1981

“Again, I was on the go all day.  This was the last day which I had to prepare for camp.  Everything finally seemed to come together today and all fell into place.  At 2:00 PM about 15 members of the staff gathered at the Scout office in Ogden to help load vehicles.  Phil Halverson loaned us his large yellow flatbed truck and we loaded it heavily with food which Norton Fruit delivered right to the office (about $4,000 worth between Bartlett and TLT).  We then loaded the council’s large trailer full of program equipment, trading post supplies and plywood.  The whole thing went very smoothly.  …  We were done with everything by 4:00 PM.  …”

Saturday, May 30th,

“LouDene was quite sick this morning and last evening.  She just worked too hard and got thoroughly exhausted from her week’s work.  … She managed to drive up to camp in our car.  I had to drive the council van.  I took Scott Foley with me.  Steve and Shannon Janson (commissioner and cook) followed in their vehicle. …  We arrived at camp about 2:00 PM.  It was sure great to be in camp again.  I look forward to camp all year long.  Camp is what makes the rest of the year bearable.  The camp looked great and we could see no damage from the winter.”

OVID LIBERTY WARD CHAPEL

LDS CHAPEL – LIBERTY, IDAHO – WHERE THE BARTLETT STAFF ATTENDED EACH SUNDAY

Sunday, May 31st,

“We all got up and attended church at the Liberty Ward this morning. …  Back at camp we felt as if we needed to get “our ox out of the mire”.  The Order of the Arrow is due tomorrow and we needed to be in the new kitchen in the new Stewart Lodge.  All of us donned work clothes and went to work scrubbing, setting up tables and shelves and other preparations for operation.  The four OA boys really worked overtime buffing the cement floors.  They are good kids.  (It’s to’ bad that most of them are on the Camp Loll staff – and not Bartlett.)”

Monday, June 1st,

DELOSE CONNER OF CAMP LOLL“Delose Conner – with the OA – and the Camp Loll director, suddenly came in and asked what time lunch was to be served.  We had not planned to serve the Order of the Arrow lunch.  (The four boys had already told us that Monday supper was the first meal.  We didn’t even have the food to feed them.  I rushed to town with Steve, Scott, Kevin, Bruce and Larry.  We bought food for the group and picked up a trailer load of the government surplus food.  We really had a load.  We didn’t even get back to camp until 2:30 PM.  Delose was fit to be tied.  His attitude bugged me even more when I read in all of the literature that Tipi week would begin with Monday supper and not Monday lunch.   The rest of the day was hectic also as we tried to get the kitchen in the new lodge operational.  About ten kids helped us was the dishes (after they had sat all winter). …”

Tuesday, June 2nd,

“Just as Shannon was going to begin cooking breakfast this morning, all of the electricity in camp went off.  This meant that we had no way to cook the food.  We had to feed them (the Order of the Arrow members) cold cereal and fruit cocktail.  We fed the candidates the traditional plain slice of bread, cup of hot chocolate and a few raisins.  Dave Shupe was the OA member in charge of work details.  He and I got together to decide what we would need the OA ordeal candidates to do for their ordeal.  We came up with several major projects.  We really needed a lot of potential work since we had 87 young kids going through the ordeal. …  We really got a lot accomplished with the 87 candidates plus members all working together.  Shannon and LouDene had an exciting time trying to prepare dinner (since the electricity was off still).  We were an hour late with dinner because of the problems. …  It rained all afternoon and evening.  We all hope that things will run much more smoothly tomorrow.”

Wednesday, June 3rd,

“…  The OA candidates (19 of them today) spent quite a bit of time in clean-up around the new lodge.  …  The place is really beginning to look nice.  Shannon was glad to hear that the electricity was running.  Things went much smoother in the kitchen than they have all week.  The TLT (Troop Leader Training) course staff arrived this afternoon to prepare for the course which begins on Saturday. They have already begun their little fights with the OA.  Both groups think that they are the best and want to prove it to the other.  …  It rained part of the day again and [at my direction] several if not all of the OA candidates and several of the staff slept in the lodge. …”

Friday, June 5th,

“… This evening the Troop Leader Training Course staff had a special banquet in the new lodge.  This was their last time together before the candidates arrive tomorrow.  They invited LouDene and I and our two daughters to attend.”

Saturday, June 6th,

“I was happy to see Delose and the Order of the Arrow leave this morning.  They have been kind of a pain in the neck.  On the other hand, however, they have done a great deal for the camp while they were here. The Grizzly Bear troop leader training course began today and the 114 candidates arrived today.  They have an excellent staff so the course should be read good.  Glen Walker is the course director and all of my work has been through him (me being the council TLT advisor).  He has three good Scoutmasters under him.  This is the first time that we’ve had three troops in the course.  It is getting bigger each year.  Kary Birke is the course Senior Patrol Leader and Ron Eastman is the adult quartermaster. …  I went into town for more supplies for the course. …  Back at camp, Scott and I scrubbed the floors good in the staff dining hall (in the lodge), kitchen, and one restroom.  We then put a coat of sealer on the cement floor surfaces.”

Tuesday, June 9th,

“…  Scott and I stocked the five new cupboards which Greg (an Australian exchange camp staff member who arrived yesterday), Jed and I put up on the new kitchen.  Jed and Greg made shelves in the pantry off of the kitchen.  We also stocked these.  We’ll have so much storage space in the new lodge that we won’t know how to handle it.  The kitchen is really super.  Scott and I moved in the stainless steel table from the old dining hall so there is a lot of counter space.  Greg and Jed also began hanging the paneling in the large room of the lodge.  As soon as they finish this job the electricians can come to finish up.  I hope that we can get the building finished soon.”

Wednesday, June 10th,

“Greg and Jed continued to hang the paneling in the large room of the lodge today.  Scott and I added another eight boxes to the cabinet with squares for storage for each staff member.   [I was able to get a huge number of beautiful new cabinets donated for the staff boxes before coming to camp.]  We then painted the boxes white to match the new lodge.  This now makes 40 boxes in this apparatus.  …  I spent quite a bit of time cleaning the new kitchen.  The place is really looking great. …”

Saturday, June 13th,

“We were surprised this morning to wake up to a couple of inches of snow.  The weather is crazy here.  The local natives say that  they have two seasons here – winter and July.  The TLT course finished their course today and headed home.  They did a good job of clean-up today.  I let them serve their continental breakfast in the new Stewart Lodge – since it was snowing outdoors.”  [And a special note:  in those days, Scout troops brought their own food for their week in camp.  And we cooked only for the staff in the new lodge.  We did, however, provide refrigeration and some storage in the lodge for the food brought by the incoming troops.]

BARTLETT CAMP STAFF 1981

1981 Camp Bartlett Staff – the first to use the new Lodge

 

 

Monday, June 15th,

“All of the rest of the camp staff arrived today.   We had our first general session for everyone [in the new lodge] at 10:00 AM.  It was good to see the entire staff together for the first time.  I am real impressed with this staff and think that they will be the best that I’ve ever worked with. …  We had training sessions and work details all day. …  We closed the day with a kneeling prayer and a “cracker barrel”.  We hope that today set the stage for a successful and enjoyable camp season.  We should have a fun summer!”

And so, the new 1981 camp season began.  And it was so very exciting to have use of the fabulous and wonderful new Stewart Lodge.  It proved to be a truly great place.  It was a pleasure to experience the grand new lodge through that summer.  It was one of the greatest – the best of times.  We worked hard to maintain the new lodge and to keep it wonderful.  It was a special treasure and blessing to be there at that time.

I jump to the end of the ’81 camp season …

Monday, July 27th,

“All of the staff – those I personally hand selected to remain (after sending most of the staff home) was in a state of ecstasy today as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the LDS girls.  I told them at breakfast that I had never seen them so vibrant before.  Laurie (my sister) and Mindy Froerer – the only girls who have been a part of my staff, were in a state of depression as they realized they would soon be forgotten with 400 girls here for the staff to play up to.  We really got a chuckle out of the whole affair.”

One really funny incident happened with the girls.  They had previously been told that they would have no use of electricity in camp – so there was no need to bring their curling irons and such that are common to all women and girls.

But, with our construction of the new lodge, we had still a box of unused electrical plugs and some wires.  Some of my staff had a brilliant idea.  The got these boxes and nailed them to the walls of the gross KYBO’s of the camp.  (Camp KYBO’s are all the same … but that is a story for another day and blog!)  And they strung wires down from the boxes and into the ground.  (Grounded … ha, ha!)  They looked real official and “legit”.

As the girls arrived at camp, they went (very reluctantly) to the KYBO’s.  KYBO PHOTOAnd upon seeing the electrical boxes, they were mad at their leaders who had told them not to bring their curlers to camp.  They also expressed their sentiments to our staff – about how there really was electricity for them to use.  (And my staff laughed hilariously at the gag they had created.  What a laugh!  It was pretty funny!

A journal entry from later in the winter may also be of “general interest” …  This came long after the summer camp season – and as I was working in my district and dreaming constantly of the “The Good old Summer Time” (song) and when it would be time again to be at Camp Bartlett.

Saturday, February 20th – 1982

“The Forest Service called a while back and said that we need to get the snow off of the roof of the new Camp Bartlett lodge – and all of the other roofs, as well.  Several of us wanted to go up but our Field Director, Ray Chase (bless him!) said that we couldn’t go – that we were needed in our districts.  Then this week he put out the “edict” that we would go and had no choice about the matter.  He’s in this big power and ego trip.  I thought that I had three camp staffers to go but it ended up with only Scott Foley who was able to go.  He is sure good about helping on all of these extra-curricular activities.  I appreciate his friendship and willingness to serve.

“I picked up Scott about 7:00 AM.  We stopped for doughnuts in Preston, Idaho and then went to the dirt road turn-off that goes up to camp.  There was three feet of snow on this road.  The others had not yet arrived so we went and visited Steve and Shaunna Flammer (my waterfront director and cook who live in the nearby metropolis of Ovid).  They’re so excited about camp.  Steve loaned me some gloves.  The rest of the gang finally arrived with six snowmobiles.  The group included Jed Stringham, tom Bird, Carl Robbins, Terry Ripplinger, Larry Behling and Ray Chase.  Bill Taylor, one of my former Cubmasters from Riverdale – and now in the newly created district – after they chopped up my district) furnished most of the machines which we used.

BARTLETT LOOKING TOWARD LAKE FROM LODGE ROOF FEB 1982

The Bartlett Lake with snow – as seen from the roof of the Bartlett Lodge

“The ride into camp was quite pleasant.  I couldn’t believe all of the snow.  Tom and Jed said that they had never seen so much up there.   The nine of us worked for about five hours.  The snow was packed down and real heavy.  We were able to do only half of the roof of the lodge but took an awful lot of weight from it.  BARTLETT SHOVELING SNOW FROM LODGE FEB 1982Scott thought that I had about rattled his brains off as we snowmobiled out to the cars.  It was such warm weather that the snowmobiles didn’t want to go.  We had to really gun and rev them.  I had to go much faster than I would really prefer.  The day was very beautiful.  The temperature was in the low 40’s – I think – at camp – and the sun was shining.  We stayed warm all day.

BARTLETT VIEW OF A-FRAME FROM LODGE ROOF FEB 1982

“It was such fun to be there on the roof looking up at the clear blue sky (contrasted to the white expanse of snow).  When we took the gloves back to Steve, Shauna had made some of her famous cinnamon rolls for us.  They were excellent.  We told her that she ought to be a big hit at camp.  Terry Ripplinger rode back with Scott and me – and we talked camp and next summer – most of the way.  We stopped in Logan and bought dinner at Burger King.”

I returned again to Camp Bartlett in 1982 and was again privileged to be the Camp Director.  And once again, we basked in the beauty of the lodge.  It was so functional and wonderful for the staff and the many Scouts who came to us.   Then after the 1982 season – and after four glorious summers spent at Camp Bartlett, I accepted a job transfer (as a Professional Scouter) to Santa Barbara, California.   And then life went on as I pursued a variety of things and experiences over the coming years.  I continued to work in many different Scout camps – in many states and with many great staff teams through the years – and loved all of the camp experiences – as opportunities came up.  I then had many years in a camp dearth where I had jobs that did not allow me to be in Scout summer camps.  And oh, how I longed again for the opportunity to be in camps once again.  Once it gets in your blood, it is there to stay!

Now jump forward 32 years … to 2014.  Wow!  Where did all of those years go?  Unbelievable!

In 2014, my wife and had the opportunity to direct the Jack Nicol [resident] Cub Scout Camp located northwest of Ft. Collins, Colorado (the city of my birth) – near the village of Red Feather Lakes – located in the far northwest corner of Colorado.

NICOL FULL STAFF AT NICOL SIGN GREAT PHOTO

Kevin and Lou Hunt – Directors of Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp in Colorado – and Cast Members

In preparation for the camp, we attended a National Camp School at Camp Tracy – located in a canyon east of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Allen Endicott, Scout Executive of the Trapper Trails Council (and what used to be the Lake Bonneville Council that I worked for years before as a Scouting professional years ago) and many of his staff were the host council and trainers for the Camp School course.

LODGE AT CAMP TRACY SLC USE FOR DRAWING

Camp Tracy – Boy Scouts – Salt Lake City, Utah      The site for the 2014 National BSA Camp School

 

I had previously met Allen and also Lynn Gunter as I was a member of the writing committee for the “Century of Honor” book.  (See my recent blog about my experience as a member of the writing committee:  ______________________).

It was my privilege there at Camp Tracy to meet Jeremy Bell, the Trapper Trails Camping Director and also Jake Olsen.  I was pleased and excited to learn that Jake was the current director at my beloved Camp Bartlett.  We had many good conversations as he shared with me “the good new days” and I shared with him “the good old days”.  It was great to bridge that gap and to catch up on everything going on with the camp.  It all sounded so wonderful and exciting.

Jake told me that Camp Bartlett would be celebrating the camp’s 50th Anniversary that coming summer.  He invited me to be a part of the grand celebration.  I was excited to learn that my busy summer schedule would allow for that opportunity.  Our Colorado Camp would end about the 22nd of July.  We would be able to attend my wife’s Belcher family reunion over the 24th of July at the grand family cabin near Heber, Utah, and then we would head up to Camp Bartlett.  Just the thought of going back to Bartlett kept me energized all summer long.

I refer again to my journal entries:

JULY 26TH – SATURDAY – 2014

After the reunion …  We bid adieu to many folks – and especially to our son, K.C. and Celeste and family.  They  returned to Hurricane, Utah later in the afternoon.  It was fun having them at the reunion.

Our daughter, Kaylea, and Lou were kind of slow getting their things together but we did get out of camp.  We rushed off headed for Idaho.

We drove again to Evanston, Wyoming and then went northwest of there and headed for Camp Bartlett – where I served as camp director for four years from 1979 to 1982 (one of those I was actually Assistant Camp Director to the notorious Ray Chase).  We drove up the west side of the giant Bear Lake – which borders in Utah and Idaho.   We drove to the little village of Ovid, of which we always joke.  Dad loves to find Idaho people and ask them if they are from Ovid.  Thirty years ago, this was just a post office and a service station and today it is even less.

OVID IDAHO FORMER POST OFFICE

Metropolitan Ovid, Idaho

It looks as if the latest business there was a craft place and it looked as if it was closed.

When at Camp School a couple of months ago, we met Jake Olson, the current camp director at Camp Bartlett.  He told me about the camp’s 50th Anniversary celebration that was [to be held] tonight.  So, we went to the camp to be a part of this gathering.  We drove through the village of Liberty, Idaho – where we attended the church and began to reminisce all along the road, at the turn-off, and up the dirt road into the camp.BARTLETT SIGN

…Soon after we arrived, Jake went up front – in a new building that had been built since we were there.  He mentioned a couple of finance campaigns going on for the camp.  I took a paper to become a “friend of Camp Bartlett” for $30.  And he unveiled the grand plan for the “renovation of the old lodge”.  This was funny terminology to me since the “grand new lodge” was constructed during the time that I was Camp Director and I was the first director to use it.50 YEAR REUNION 2

After the festivities, we milled around and met people.  Many of the guys whom we met at Camp School were there – and work now for the “Trapper Trails” Council (which is the combined name after three or four councils merged.  When I worked there, I served in the Lake Bonneville Council).  Lou took my photo of a case which housed camp patches for most of the camp’s 50 years – and I was pleased to see our four in the collection.

BARTLETT PATCHES AND KEVIN 2014

KEVIN HUNT WITH 50 Years of CAMP BARTLETT PATCHES – His patches are two top right and second row – first patch

We had a good visit with Jake.  And we checked out the architect’s drawings of the “renovation of the old lodge”.

We went outside and walked around the central area.  I would have liked to have gone clear around the lake but the ladies didn’t want to do that. THRASHED ROOM FORMER STAFF DINING HALL We explored the lodge and we were appalled at how the place has been thrashed with the passing of time and extreme use by the Scouts of almost two generations.  We took many photos.

 

I was really jazzed to find some of the giant handcarts still in use.  I got a bunch of fire carts donated for the camp when I was there and I took a week and went to St. George and my Grandpa and I constructed about 25 of the carts.  So, it was exciting to see them (at least some) still in use.  We got a few photos of these.

KEVIN WITH LOU CART MADE BY GRANDPA RAY

Kevin and Lou Hunt with Camp Bartlett Cart – 2014 – Built originally by Kevin and his grandfather, Ray V. Hunt in January of 1981 – and still in use!

We next went to check out what I knew as “the old lodge – or dining hall” (which we had before the new one was built.)  We noted the other buildings or cabins and saw fifty or more staff tents crammed together in this area.  We went to the cabin where we always stayed when we were up there at Camp Bartlett.  We could hardly find the place.  It was covered with an extreme growth of trees and the only break in the bushes was the space for the door.

KEVIN AND LOU IN FRONT OUR OLD CABIN

Camp Bartlett cabin where Kevin and Lou stayed when he was Camp Director

I also found it interesting that the old A-frame – where we had handicraft and created the new trading post – has been completely filled in and is now used for adult staff housing.  And the roof – up in the rafters – of the “new lodge” has also been filled in and it is now home to about 18 of the lady staffers.  When we were at Bartlett, I think that we had a staff of about 40 and now they have close to 100!

KAYLEA AND LOU 2014

Kaylea and Lou – Camp Bartlett Memories

When we left Bartlett in 1982, our Kaylea was just four months old. So, she had spent half of her life up to that point at the camp.  And of course, we had Jackie and Jenae.  Jackie was born just after we returned from our first year up there so she spent three summers there.  Jenae would have been there in 1981 and 1982 – and would have been there for the grand Hunt reunion that we staged at Bartlett in 1981. …

As we went around I thought of many of the staff greats whom I worked with at Bartlett – Wayne Moyle, the Flammers, Rodger Thomas, Scott Foley, Paul Kearl, John and Colleen Perry, and many others.  It would be such fun to have a reunion with those folks!SLIDE 41 CAMP BARTLETTSLIDE 41 CAMP BARTLETT_Page_1

It was great fun to be back “home” again at the camp.  Being there brought back a real flood of memories of our grand days there.  Those were the best of times!

And now that brings us back to the here and now.  It has been a long journey, but here we are!

And so, it is with great excitement that we anticipate the rededication of the Camp Bartlett lodge on Saturday, June 25th.  It should be a grand and glorious day!  Wahoo!

I have noted that I plan to be in attendance for the grand rededication festivities.  I wouldn’t want to miss it!  I’ll look forward to it through the coming month of June.

It will be especially interesting and exciting for me to be present – since I was the original Camp Director of the “New” Bartlett Lodge.  It will be fun to see if at the rededication services I am the only person who was in attendance at the original 1980 dedication – or if there will be other “old-timers” there.  I guess time will tell!

And so, the Bartlett Lodge …  The Bartlett Lodge – once new, then old and now new again!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  [And you might want to check out Camp Bartlett trails … ]  Kevin

 

Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!

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Helping Pioneer the Varsity Scouting Program

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

DON’T LET HIM STOP YET!  Those are my words of challenge to all leaders of the older young men in Scouting.  The Boy Scout troop was (hopefully) a great experience for the Scout.  He had opportunity to try new things – to go camping and hiking and to learn many of the wonderful skills of the outdoors.  He had opportunity to advance in rank and experience.   There are some really exciting Scouting programs available for the 14-20 year old young men (and some ladies too).  It has my opportunity to be involved with Varsity Scouting, Exploring and Venturing.  And it was great fun for me as I had opportunity helping to pioneer the Varsity Scouting program.VARSITY SCOUTING LOGO

For many Scouters and parents the big challenge comes after Johnnie has been a Scout for a few years and begins to get bored with the regular Boy Scout program.  What do we do with him to keep him challenged enough to stay with Scouting and to keep him motivated to finish those last few requirements for that Eagle Scout Award?

By the time a boy reaches the age of fourteen or fifteen his world begins to change drastically.  He is ready for new horizons.  He’s ready for high adventure beyond that available in a Scout troop.  He starts to get interested in girls and begins to live for the day he’ll get his driver’s license  (beware of the “fumes” – perfume and car fumes!)  Generally, too, he’ll have a job by this time.  It is also a time of intense emotional and physical change for him.

With all of these changes in his life, it is no wonder that he wants a new challenge.  Well, there is such a challenge available to him through the Varsity Scouting, Exploring and Venturing programs of the Boy Scouts of America. These are all exciting programs that have much to offer him. Though often misunderstood, the programs when properly implemented, can be all a boy needs to keep his Scouting interest during those traumatic middle teen years.

VENTURING IMAGE

Venturing is now the main program used for older youth (age 16-20) and is the one used by the LDS Church.  Exploring is still a viable program but focuses on career oriented programs (like police, fire, emergency rescue, and more).  Youth can actually be a part of multiple units (i.e. Venturing and Exploring).  Varsity Scouting is for boys ages 14 and 15.

Having worked with all three programs I can testify of their greatness.  All of the programs – Varsity Scouting, Venturing and Exploring were developed with the older teenage boy in mind.  Each program has the potential for advanced high adventure activities, sports, career exploration, social and cultural activities, and growth opportunities in spiritual and personal development.

As the Varsity Scouting program came into existence, I was able to serve immediately as a Varsity Scout Coach.  I served on the council committee for Varsity Scouting.  For many years I was the district and council training chairman for Exploring.  Later I served as Young Men President for a few years and helped implement the new Venturing program – while also staging district and council training for the new program.

I know that these programs can be the viable link needed to keep our young men on the right track.  People who say that the programs do not work, have not really implemented them as designed. Many people are apt to brush these programs off saying that they don’t meet the needs of teenage youth.  I don’t believe this.  I know that they’ll work in the lives of boys when given as much attention as the other Scouting programs.  I see them as great programs with unlimited growth potential for the young men.

As a Professional Scouter, it was my special privilege to work very closely with the Varsity Scouting program almost from its inception.  In fact, I attended my first training program on Varsity Scouting while still a Senior at Brigham Young University.  At that point, I already had a contract to work with the Lake Bonneville Council (now the Trapper Trails Council) in Ogden, Utah so they invited me to attend the Area kickoff for the new Varsity Scouting pilot program.

I was elated as I learned more of Varsity Scouting.  They made a believer out of me the day of that course.  I came away excited and happy to be a part of this grand new opportunity for fourteen and fifteen year old boys.  Talk about potential!  This program was packed with it.

The day that I started my professional Scouting career was also the day that Varsity Scouting was implemented as a designated “pre-pilot program” within the nine Scouting councils within the Mountain West Area.  It was great fun to be a part of that special program right from the beginning.  (And later after the Mountain West Area saw results of the program, it became a National BSA pilot program and ultimately became a full program of the Boy Scouts of America.)

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Kevin Hunt and Varsity Scouting in Ogden, Utah

I took an immediate interest in the Varsity Scouting program and soon found that I could play a vital role in helping to mold and shape the new program.  There were still some gaps in the program and this left room for creative work and thinking to get the program off and running.  I found that many of my ideas could find their way permanently into the program.  In fact, I feel that I was able to put my fingerprints on the finished Varsity Scouting program that eventually became a full program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Not to brag or anything but it was my district that held the first ever, Varsity Scouting Youth Leadership Course.  We took the course outline and had some real fun with it.  With Richard Moyle, my fabulous Varsity Scouting Chairman, we staged that first youth leadership course with just five boys.  While conducting the course for just a small group presented some additional challenges, it worked well enough to prove that the concept would work.

I didn’t realize until a few months later that my district had held the first ever Varsity youth leadership course.  I went to an area meeting to hear more about Varsity Scouting and the subject turned to the youth leadership course.  They asked who had used the course and I was the only one in the room that had.  My comments and evaluation became the base for future development of the course content.  When I returned to my district I made sure that I complemented Dick and his team for a job well done.  [And incidentally, Richard Moyle was one of the all-time great geology/geoscience professors at Weber State College … and you can read of him here:  Richard Moyle at Weber State College]

Since it was a brand new program we were often a little frustrated that we didn’t have all the Varsity Scouting resources we needed or wanted from the National Office.  We didn’t lament for too long, however.  If it didn’t exist we went to work to create it.  One example was the badge of office for the uniforms of Varsity Scouting leaders.  Once the new redesigned Scout uniform (with orange epaulets for Varsity Scouts and Scouters) came into vogue there was a need for shoulder patches for the leadership positions of the program.

In reviewing available materials from National we found no patches for Varsity Coach, Captain, Squad Leader or any of the Program Managers.  We quickly designed our own patches for use just in our Council.  I worked with the Council Varsity Scouting Committee in the development of the much needed patches.  We drafted a number of ideas and finally settled on one that we thought looked attractive.  One of the volunteers created the basic patch and did a great job on it.

VARSITY SCOUT PATCH

Varsity Scouting patches created by Scouter in the Mt. Ogden District – and later marketed by the BSA

It then became my task to get the patch design into a final form that would work for each of the various Varsity Scouting team positions. We decided to use a uniform format on all the badges.  The Varsity Scouting emblem was put in the center of the badge and then the specific position title circled the emblem.

I took our finished design to a patch making place in nearby Salt Lake City.  Through their special air-brush technique the place soon had a beautiful and colorful patch which we sold or gave to our Varsity Scouting leaders.  I retained for myself, the very first Varsity Scout Coach patch as it came off the press since at that time I was serving as a Varsity Scout Coach.

Somehow, copies of our new patches found their way to the creators of Varsity Scouting and then eventually to the National Office.  I was delighted a couple of years later to see that the patch designed by the National Office was the exact design which we had created.  The air-brush technique was no longer used but was instead an embroidered version of our design.

It was a neat feeling to know that I had helped mold the national Varsity Scouting program.  It is not often that one gets to be a pioneer of something new and exciting like Varsity Scouting.

Another way in which I was able to be a modern pioneer was through the Varsity Games, a series of games and competitions designed specifically for the fourteen and fifteen year old boy.  That first year that Varsity Scouting started we decided that we needed a big event to help provide some program for the boys.  We felt that the Varsity Games could be the impetus for great things in the lives of the boys of our council.

Again, at that time I served as one of two Council Advisors to the Varsity Scouting program – with Tom Bird – and the Council Varsity Scouting chairman – Gerald TayloVARSITY GAMESr. So, it became our task to create and implement the Varsity Games.

That first year, our Varsity Games were somewhat small and featured only a few events.  We did have competition in about ten areas, however.  The games were held on two Saturdays in different locations throughout our large council.  We had only forty four boys participating but those who did participate had a great time and the word passed around quickly.  We used those first games as the springboard of even better competition in the years to come.

Another great adventure for our Varsity Scouts was our council’s annual Mountain Man Rendezvous.  This Rendezvous also began in the Lake Bonneville Council and it generated some really great enthusiasm for Varsity Scouts and their leaders.  The first Rendezvous was held at the Fort Buenaventura in Ogden.  But, we soon outgrew that great place and moved on to other sites.  Each summer we gathered our Varsity Scouts to the beautiful Bug Lake in northern Utah.  Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of the place.  None of us in the council had ever heard of it either until we had the Rendezvous there.

And in recent years it has been my privilege – usually as a Dutch oven chef

MOUNTAIN MAN RENDEZVOUS CHEF KEVIN

Dutch Oven Mountain Man Chef Kevin Hunt serving his banana chocolate chip cookies

– to be a part of the Mongollon Mountain Man Rendezvous held every other year in the Mesa District of the Grand Canyon Council.  From those early Utah beginnings, the Rendezvous has become a major program feature for Varsity Scouts everywhere.  And what a great program it has become!

The Varsity Scouts came to the Rendezvous prepared to rough it to the hilt.  Where possible the boys dressed the part of mountain men.  MOUNTAIN MAN RENDEZVOUS TEAM ATTIREThe Chief Mountain Man was a member of our council’s Varsity Scouting committee and he and his team planned some great activities for the boys.  (And dressing in the greatest of Mountain Man regalia is still a big part of the Rendezvous tradition.)

As Northern Utah Scouts arrived, they were treated to large bowls of hot venison stew which had been cooking over a fire.  The Friday evening campfire programs featured tales of the Old West and the many real mountain men who had held their own rendezvous near the same area over a hundred years previously.

DUTCH OVEN STEW

Dutch Oven Stew

Saturday’s events featured canoe races on Bug Lake. I think that they had to portage their canoes since the lake was not deep enough for paddling.  They also had a mountain man relay, fire building using primitive methods only, axe throwing (done under very controlled circumstances) and many other exciting events.

One year the Rendezvous was held while our camp was in session.  It was on a Friday and Saturday night and I sent all of our fourteen and fifteen year old boys from my staff down to the big event at Bug Lake.

They were of course, elated that they were able to attend.  All of the staff who were too old for the experience came over to my cabin for games and home make ice cream.

It was a real pleasure to work with Ernie and Gerald, of the Council Varsity Scouting Committee, as together we worked to make the Varsity program more successful each succeeding year.  Those were great days.

In talking about those who helped pioneer the Varsity Scouting program I must make mention again of Richard Moyle, Paul Warner and others who worked overtime in our district to make it happen.  Their energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the program was felt by all of the Varsity Coaches in our district.

As a professional Scouter, I often had occasion to be with Dick in the promotion of Varsity Scouting.  Together we trained many people in the mechanics of the Varsity Scouting program.  I met informally with several Varsity Coaches, Scouting Coordinators and others.  In addition, I served on staff for formal training courses on the subject.

It really was an exciting and wonderful time helping pioneer the wonderful Varsity Scouting program.   And as the pioneers, it was exciting to see our efforts take shape – and to become the catalyst for even great Varsity Scouting adventure.  I can honestly say that the Varsity Scouting program – WHEN PROPERLY IMPLEMENTED – can become one of the greatest adventures of his/their Scouting career for our young men.  I recommend the program highly to all.  Just jump in and go for it.  Use the program as it has been designed and you (and certainly the Varsity Scouts in your program) will have some exciting adventures, will grow in the Priesthood and in the Scouting program – and wonderful benefits will come of your dedicated efforts.  The boys deserve so much more than just a basketball program!  I challenge you to learn the program and to implement it fully.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

 

Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!

 Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs