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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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. The 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.
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 – 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.
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
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.
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. 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.
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 Scout, The Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read!
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