We had one Adventure after Another this Summer at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp

(Originally published on The Boy Scout at blog.utahscouts.org and by the Utah National Parks Council)


By Kevin V. Hunt

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


Greetings, my Trapper Trails Scouting friends …  For over a year and a half, I have enjoyed writing blogs for The Scouting Trail and the Trapper Trails Council.  Thanks for letting me share Scouting times with you.   At the beginning of this past summer 2017, I stated my intention to take a “blogcation” – or time away from blogging.  I did this not because I wanted a break but because I planned to spend the summer at yet another remote Scout camp (this year in Southern Utah).  And as Scout camps typically have little to no internet and WIFI capability, I didn’t know what resources I would have.  And I decided that I needed to write when I could – for the council where I would be working.  But, now summer is over and I am back with my full computer capabilities and WIFI that works regularly.

I thought that you might be interested in how I spent the summer.  Now, admittedly, this blog is about a camp in another council so you may or may not want to read it.  But, Scouting adventures are Scouting adventures … so it may still be of interest to you.  If so, read on and enjoy…  But, if no, just wait for the coming blogs that might be more specific to you.

It was the privilege of Lou (my wife) and me to serve this summer on staff at the Thunder Ridge Scout Camp.  We were both commissioners who served the troops, leaders, and Scouts who came to the camp.  We are from Mesa, Arizona but to get out of the scorching heat – and to help Scouts and leaders – we leave home each summer to serve at Scout camps.  And for a variety of reasons, we have found ourselves at various camps through the past years.  Each experience has been rewarding and wonderful.  And this summer was no exception!  I have to say, however, that our “Thunder Ridge Scout Camp 2017 became one adventure after another ”

Thunder Ridge Scout Camp – located in Southern Utah – south of Parowan, Utah and just below the Brian Head Ski Resort, has been in existence since 1975.  The first Scouts arrived in 1976.  I had the privilege of serving as the first Program Director of the camp in 1977.

Lou and I both took Youth Leadership classes at BYU (where we met and courted).  One of our professors was the great Rulon Skinner.  He taught us that in Scouting (and maybe everything) there is opportunity for “fun, adventure, and romance”.  I have blogged on this subject before, but adventure comes as you do something for the first time.  Fun comes as you do it again.  And Romance keeps you coming for more.   Each summer and each Scout camp has been an adventure – and we have had fun doing these each year.  And we admit that we have felt the romance – the awe – of it all as we have served.

This year at Thunder Ridge, we have literally had one adventure after the other.  The adventures just kept coming!  When we signed on, we knew that we would have fun but we had no idea of the new adventures that would come our way.  But, it didn’t take long before we realized that this would truly be a summer to remember.

And along the way, I have enjoyed blogging about the fun times at Thunder Ridge.  I love blogging but somehow through my articles this summer, I seemed to become the voice of Thunder Ridge.  Thanks to all who read and kept reading my articles.  It was fun at camp to talk to Scout leaders.  Many said that they were searching the web for anything at all – any news – of the camp and its current condition.  One leader said, “Then I found this guy who blogged about the fire and the activities of the camp.  I loved reading his articles.”  (And “This guy” just smiled!)  That scenario happened a few more times.  And a couple of guys recognized me by mug shots in articles.

Then one time, Lou and I were dining “in” at the Beaver Taco.  (Any break from camp food is fabulous – and this was a really great break!  Great food!) Anyway, as ever, I was wearing my Scout uniform.  And this unknown stranger in line began to talk to me.  He asked me what camp I worked at.  I hesitated a moment before saying, “Well, we are from Thunder Ridge but at the moment, we are kind of moving around the country …”  He then looked at me and said, “I have enjoyed reading your blogs.  We are glad you are safe.”

As in the past, I could have provided journal entries with a lot of gory details, but this summer, I have chronicled our summer in various blog articles.  And being a historian, I thought that it might be good to tie all of these blogs together for a better chronological narrative.  (Not that any of it fits together … but here goes …)

As we began the summer, I reminisced about my days “way back then” when I worked 40 years ago at Thunder Ridge.  This blog tells that story and includes actual journal entries from that period:


Then, as Lou and I began our 2017 Adventure I wrote these lines:


I note that in previous years of camp administration, we had always lived in a cabin.  Not so, this year.  This summer we agreed to be satisfied to be in a tent – one of the 10 x 12’ “Bare Bones” tents used nowadays by the Scouts. This, in itself, would prove to be a big adventure.

Lou should have been a Boy Scout.  She took us to camp prepared.  And her preparations meant that our tent was made to look like the Taj Mahal.


Kevin and Lou tent at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp – Before the Fire

With a “current bush” to the trading post, we were big time.  Lou could blow up our air mattress, curl her hair, light the tent, and we could even watch an occasional “oldies” movie on our antiquated VCR player.  Wow!  But we soon learned that this luxury would not continue through the summer.

We began the summer with a week of staff training and camp set-up.  An adventure of that week was a staff trip to the scenic Thunder Lake (located a mile down the canyon and – as we found out – five miles back up.  An adventure of that trip was witnessing the stocking of the lake with 500 fish.  We didn’t know then that we would have fried fish (en masse) before summer’s end.  Anyway, here is our Big Fish Story at The Thunder Ridge Scout Camp:



Also, during the staff week, our Camp Director, Nick Hutchinson introduced us to his camp philosophy.  He called it “MARF” (which means “Maintain Absolute Rigid Flexibility”).  Little did he know then how much MARFing we would be doing over the summer.  That became our new watchword!

Some Thunder Ridge Scout Camp Staff members

Some Thunder Ridge Scout Camp Staff members

The Camp Staff at any Scout camp makes the program and is the energy and excitement for the great things in camp.  We soon learned that we had one of the greatest of camp staff.  And could they ever MARF!  This article is a tribute to those young staffers:


For several days before our first Scouts arrived – and it continued their first day – we were hit with horrific winds that were 60-70 miles per hour in strength.  We thought that we would be blown off of the mountain.  Good thing that the winds happened the weekend that they did – and not the next.  A photo of Lou in the wind tells all:

Lou blowing away in the wind

Lou blowing away in the wind

It was a great day when we welcomed our first Scouts to Thunder Ridge.  They came with energy and anticipation of their week ahead.  We were ready for them and felt that we had a super program for their enjoyment.  During that first week, we had a really great troop come to our camp.  They were the Warriors of Troop 26 (Logandale, Nevada) and they really knew how to do Scouting correlated with the Priesthood.  They were magnificent.


Troop 29 Warriors at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp – in “Warrior” T-Shirts


Saturday morning was beautiful.  I went out of the tent and looked to the gorgeous sunrise to the east.  I was in awe of the beauty of the moment around me.  The camp looked so grand in the sunrise.


Sunrise at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp on June 17th – the day that the Brian Head fire started a mile away from the camp.

Thunder Ridge Scout Camp sunrise the day the Brian Head fire began.  The Camp looked magnificent in the sunrise.

The Scouts all left camp and were gone that first Saturday by about 10:00 AM.  And all of the staff except Lou and I (who being from Arizona did not plan to leave).  The last staff members left the camp about 11:30 AM.  Within moments, our whole Thunder Ridge experience and summer changed.  Life would never be the same again this summer.   The great Brian Head fire broke out within just a mile or so of our camp.  We went outside and found two Sheriff guys there.  They pointed to the fire – visible just over our staff tents.  We were told that the fire was a mile away but that it could reach us in fifteen minutes.


Brian Head Fire – shown above Thunder Ridge staff tents minutes after the fire began June 17

So, we had just that long to get our just a bit of our stuff and to get out of camp.  This blog tells that story:



Brian Head fire photo by Brad Hancock (sunstonephotos.com)

Following the fire, Thunder Ridge was thrown into a major dither.  What to do and where to go?  Some troops went into a panic and cancelled out completely.  Others transferred to other camps of the Council.  And still others transferred to other weeks of camp.  And staff were notified by the Camp Director about 11 PM on Sunday night that if desired, we could work for Camp Maple Del or at the Scofield Scout Camp.  And we were told that if we chose to work, we would have to be there the next morning.  Yeah, okay …!  Hmmm!

Thunder Ridge Staffers Michael and Jason with Kevin at Scofield Scout Camp

Thunder Ridge Staffers Michael and Jason with Kevin at Scofield Scout Camp

Larry – our rifle range director, went to work at the Beaver High Adventure Base.  Some staffers headed to Maple Dell.  Two Thunder Ridge staffers – Michael and Jason – opted to go with me up to the Scofield Scout camp.  We headed out early the next morning for the long trip.  Lou opted to remain that week with our son and family in Washington (near St. George) and she was a major help to them.  Other staffers opted to “sit this one out” and got back into their own things at home.  Michael, Jason and I had our own new adventure at Scofield:


On our way home from the Scofield Scout Camp, I was anxious to try to get up into camp Thunder Ridge so we stopped in Parowan en route to Washington.  The fire officials would not let us go into the camp.  However, we did connect with council officials whom the Sheriff had escorted into the camp (for the first time since the fire).  In our rush to evacuate from the fire, we had not given much thought to what should go and what could remain.  We just grabbed what we could.  And after the rush of the moment, I realized with horror that my prized collection of 20 or so Scout bolo ties (by artists Bill Burch and others) had been left behind.  And my wife discovered that she had left her purse in our tent.  Knowing that guys were going back into the camp, we said, “We can live without everything else, but if you can nothing else, we would like to have my bolo ties and Lou’s purse.”  So, I was very pleased when the guys showed up with these items.  A while later, I greeted my wife at our son’s place holding just those items.  She said, “That is exactly how I pictured you coming home”.  A blessing and a miracle … our prayers were answered!

Kevin with Scout bolo ties and wife's purse saved from Brian Head fire

Kevin with Scout bolo ties and wife’s purse saved from Brian Head fire

I am sure that Camp Director, Nick, and other council leaders, Dave Merrill and Bob Gowans – and others – had to really scramble to figure out a place to hold our Thunder Ridge camp the following week.  But, they pulled off a miracle.  We were informed (as a staff) that we would conduct our camp within the Beaver High Adventure Base.  So, per our usual Sunday night report back, we all gathered to the Beaver High Adventure Base – located in the Tushar mountains high in Beaver Canyon.  And that was truly an adventure operating two camps separately within just one camp.  This blog tells how our entire Thunder Ridge operation including troops, Scouts and staff were teleported to the Beaver High Adventure Base:


Beaver High Adventure Base

Beaver High Adventure Base

While at Beaver HAB that week, I had opportunity to return to Thunder Ridge for the first time since the fire.  Previously fire officials had contacted us and had given us specific but very limited times that we could get up to the camp.  On this occasion, however, we contacted them and made an appointment – to be escorted by Forest Service personnel.  This was my report following that experience – and this also shows photos of the camp and how it survived or was damaged by the fire.  ://blog.utahscouts.org/camping/thunder-ridge-after-brian-head-fire/

Fire retardant on trees at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp following Brian Head fire through camp

Fire retardant at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp following Brian Head fire through camp

I wrote a third blog about Thunder Ridge following the Brian Head fire:


The next week included the 4th of July.  And unlike other camps where we have worked, the council opted to have no camp that week – because of the slim troop sign-ups of the past.  So, having the week off, Lou and I opted to trek north to Idaho Falls to visit our daughter and family there.  They had assured us that Idaho Falls had the greatest of fireworks displays so we decided to take up their offer to be there with them for the fireworks.  And we were not disappointed.  The fireworks were absolutely breathtaking and outstanding.  And while we were there, we went to the Idaho Falls zoo and other fun things. Lou made doughnuts for the grandkids, helped them paint and made clay dough for them.  I played many games of UNO with my five and two and a half year old grandsons.  And I read all of the grands stories from my new big Dr. Seuss book.  And we watched a lot of Hallmark movies late at night.  We spent a couple of nights with Lou’s sister and husband in Sandy, Utah.

The next week we really had an adventure.   There were girls – a bunch of them – at the Beaver High Adventure Base so our Thunder Ridge Scout Camp Staff found themselves displaced to the Tushar Lakeside Campground.  This actually turned out to be really excellent.  I had my doubts at first, but the location was great.

Tushar Lakeside (US Forest Service) Campground above Beaver, Utah

Tushar Lakeside (US Forest Service) Campground above Beaver, Utah

The facility was super.  There was even a small lake – equipped with canoes and life jackets.  Scouts and leaders could hardly tell that they were not at a Scout camp.  Everyone said that they had a grand time.  Leaders were gushing in praise for staging this camp opportunity.  This blog tells of our adventures there:


We were back to the Beaver High Adventure Base for our next week of camp.  This worked pretty well.  We worked well with the BHAB staff and of course the Thunder Ridge staff did a great MARFing job – AGAIN!

For this week, I wrote a blog about the great cooks that we’ve had this summer at the Thunder Ridge Scout Camp.  The article featured Roland and his team who cooked for us at the Beaver High Adventure Base:


We had a unique Scoutmaster come to our Thunder Ridge Scout Camp.

Army Veteran and now Scoutmaster

Army Veteran and now Scoutmaster, Travis Wood, at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp

Army veteran, Travis Wood, came despite major physical challenges.  Read his story here:


Our next week was actually a week off.  This was because of the 24th of July celebration.  Lou and I went to Washington/St. George and were privileged to spend the full week with our son and family.  We went to the grand 24th of July parade in Washington.  The rest of the week was spent helping to refinish a cabinet and we helped them get a home ready for sale.  Our babysitting helped them out a lot.  These weeks off gave us time to hang out with family but they were a challenge since the “no work … no pay” scenario existed.  This was not a good situation for us but somehow we survived this excitement.

And then came our final week of our Thunder Ridge Scout Camp.  This week was a bit unusual in that we had the Beaver High Adventure Base camp to ourselves.  The Beaver group had their final week the week before and they were all gone.

Troop 605 from Richfield, Utah

Troop 605 from Richfield, Utah

We had another really fabulous Troop in Troop 605 from Richfield, Utah.  They were in complete Class A uniform and they were spectacular.  I wrote a blog about them:


A couple of other notes.  I have written about our fancy tent which we had at Thunder Ridge.  At the Beaver High Adventure Base we had the same kind of tent – but much of our personal items were still at Thunder Ridge.  So, we kind of had the minimum of stuff at Beaver.  And for the week at Tushar Lakeside, we did not have the “Bare Bones” tents.  We were glad that Lou had come prepared with our own large family tent.  (Which we brought with the hope that we might have some of our children or grandchildren come to visit.  But, they never did  …)

Also …  Lou is one of those people who is very cold-blooded.  I think she has lizard in her genes.  She freezes when the weather gets below 92 degrees and then she burns up if it gets over 93 degrees.  So, this makes life interesting.  (Me on the other hand …  I only needed three or so blankets through the camp nights when the temperatures were in the mid 40’s.)  It was funny to watch Lou.  I think that she must have had about 22 blankets on top of her – on her side of the bed.  I joked that she needed a heavy duty car jack just to lift the covers so that she could get under them.  But, with all of these covers, she survived the “winter” through our summer.

Our Thunder Ridge Scout Camp ended with a bit of drama and more excitement than we wanted or needed.  Our final night in camp featured a massive thunder storm followed by hail.  So, I say we ended with “thunder on the ridge and a hail of a time”.

Hail of a storm on our final night at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp One Hail of a Storm on our final night of camp

Hail of a storm on our final night at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp One Hail of a Storm on our final night of camp

Hail of a storm on our final night at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp One Hail of a Storm on our final night of camp


In this blog, I also detail our final day of camp for the summer.  That was actually one of my favorite days and it kind of made the summer worth our sacrifice and effort.

On that day, I worked with three Scouts to help them complete badges.  Aidan got to finish up more of his 1st Class requirements.  I worked with Landon and he completed nearly everything for his 1st Class Rank.  And I was able to teach and pass Devaun on his Woodcarving merit badge.  What a special opportunity to work with these young men!

And I was really pleased that I finally had time to complete another of my carved sticks – this one for Thunder Ridge 2017.  I did the carving – with the fire and thunder – and Lou graciously painted it for me.  But that is stuff for yet another blog.  I promise to get it to you soon.



And after the storm, we worked together as a staff to close out the camp.  And then suddenly it was all over.  Where did the summer go?

But, there is one more memory that kind of moved front and center in our mind as it came time to leave camp.  After all of the staff closing work was done, Lou and I got our mini-van packed up tightly with all of our stuff.  (And we enjoyed a photo posted on our family “Group Me” site by a son-in-law – of a mini-van on vacation.  How did they find our photo?  (Not really ours … but we felt as if it were!)


Packing up the mini-van and our trip home – on a tow truck!

We changed out of our Scout uniforms and headed off toward our Mesa, Arizona home.  And five miles out of camp, our car’s serpentine belt broke.  (Just what we needed … don’t know if that was thunder, hail or fire!)

We had to call a tow truck from Beaver to come for us – and so we got towed as we headed out of camp.  We then spent the afternoon waiting patiently in Beaver for the car repairs to be completed.   (But we had a fabulous mechanic and were very pleased with Anytime Towing and Repairs.  What a great company and mechanic.  We were very pleased.)   It was now late (on that Saturday afternoon) so we headed to Washington (Utah) to be with our son and family – with the Arizona trip still future.  Thunder Ridge 2017 adventures … Ahhh … The memories!

This was not our first time down this race track so this underscored the fact that it was not the greatest way to end camp.  Finances and changed plans.  So, exciting!

I had to laugh at a comment from our long-time neighbor and friend, Richard Hale.  He wrote in an e-mail message to us:  “I heard about your car troubles coming back from scout camp.  I think you guys should just start the trip next year with a tow truck towing your car… “  Hey, that’s an idea!  Maybe we should go for it.  There might be one added benefit.  The truck lift might be able to get Lou’s quilts lifted for her.

Yes, the summer is now over but the memories of the many adventures linger and will be with us forever.  In spite of our evacuation, fire, and being nomads, we had a truly great summer.  It was the greatest of adventures.   (And thanks to all of you who have faithfully read my blogs.  And I would love to have your comments occasionally!  And now that you are in the habit of reading, I hope that you’ll join me for future blogs – here on Trapper Trails blog (thescoutingtrail.org)  as well as on the Utah National Parks website – at blog.utahscouts.org.

I figure that over the summer, Lou and I put right at 4,000 miles on our car.  We covered the length of Utah several times.  From my records, I note that we hosted a total of 86 troops.  These were led by 172 leaders – not counting replacement leaders (of which there was a steady stream).    Lou and I had very direct responsibility for each of these leaders and in our roles as commissioners, we very much enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and serve each one.  These men – and one lady – who was assistant Scoutmaster with her Scoutmaster son – were fabulous!  Such great people for their sacrifice for their Scouts.  And we had 532 Scouts.  They were the important guys!  And we got to associate with about 25 really great young staff guys (and three ladies).  We loved these young people as if they were our own sons (or grandsons).  I tried to be friends with each – and Lou was “mom” to many with her listening ear.  So, I think that we touched the lives of each of these leaders and Scouts – directly or indirectly.   This all makes for a wonderful summer and we feel great gratitude for the blessing that was ours.  And I say again, Ahhh… the memories!

And now, with this blog, the summer is complete. Done … we have the patches and the T-shirts.  It’s over.  Sad day!

Lou and I headed home and we were blessed with a safe trip the rest of the way back to our Mesa, Arizona.  I had to chuckle at one point.  We drove through beautiful mountains and green valleys.  It was all wonderful and grand.  I turned to Lou and said, “Hey, Lou …!”  “Yeah, Kev …”  “I think that we ought to go camping sometime.”  Then she looked at me with stunned shock as that thought tried to register.  “Camping … yeah!  What have we been doing all summer?”  I was serious but she thought I was joking.  It truly was a fun adventure together!

Then I took a moment to thank Lou for her sacrifices and support for me and for the Scouts.  She was a true “trooper”.  I know that she would have preferred being home with our nine children and our 33 grandchildren (while she was out of school and had time) – but she went with me and was fabulous!  And all of her leader, staff and Scout friends loved her.  Thanks, Lou!  (I guess with no summer income, and with no school, I could go to work at Taco Bell – but I would sure rather spend the time with Boy Scouts and their leaders and great camp staff men.)

It really was a great summer.  And what an adventure together!  We (Lou and I –  and all of the staff) MARFed together and we made it through in a grand way.  Thunder Ridge 2017 … Ahhh the memories!  Yes, truly our Thunder Ridge Scout Camp became one adventure after another.

It was great to be home – but Lou and I both started school just a couple of days later.  Our home (be it ever so humble) felt like a palatial mansion after our 10×12″ Bare Bones summer.  And a read toilet instead of the port-a-potty.  And the shower …  At camp we worried about not having enough hot water.  Here in Arizona as someone heads to the shower, we ask them not take all of the COLD water.  Lou went back to her special needs Autism classroom.  And I went back to driving a school bus.  We soon wished that we were back in camp.  That 115 degree weather in a non-air conditioned school bus was just a bit much for me.  And going from about 75 degrees each day – to 115 degrees all at once was a bit of a jolt for both of us.  (It’s even hard to MARF at that temperature … but somehow we’ll survive this next adventure!)  And now, I’ll start another countdown for camp again in 2018!  I can’t wait for that adventure!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevinthescoutblogger

See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger.  Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”,  and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!  Find Kevin on Facebook at:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.

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

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com




Having Fun with the Planned Program



Kevin V. Hunt

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

I’ve been writing about the program planning process – and have used some specific plans and programs established with my Varsity Scout team.  I talked about the annual program planning conference and then most recently about organizing the group – adults and youth – to make the plans happen.   With the plan in place and the group working together, the remaining action to take was just having fun with the planned program.

We had a great time in Varsity Scouting that year.  We had a variety of fun activities which we all enjoyed.  One time the guys came to my house for ice cream and to celebrate the birthday of one of the boys.

We went to Salt Lake City and toured the new Jordan River Temple.  We served at a Christmas party put on by the Kiwanis Club for kids of the community.  We held our own competition in many of the Varsity Games events.  We went to the Elk’s Club and presented a flag ceremony at one of their meetings.  Once we went and heard a live broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

One time we got all of our Varsity Scouts and their dads together.  We all went down to Salt Lake City again.  We first went to the Spaghetti Factory in Trolley Square for dinner.  Then we all went to the annual general conference of our church.  This was a very special experience for everyone.

One boy received his Eagle Award while on our team so this was exciting.  We held a special recognition for him.


On some other occasions we went ice fishing on a frozen lake and attended the district’s Klondike Derby.  We all froze on both occasions but looking back it it, we can say that it was fun.

We had a service project one night and we did a clean-up of the yard surrounding the council service center.  Another time we did the same thing in the yard of a widow lady in our area.

One experience was a real eye opener for our guys.  We decided to visit a church service of a different denomination.  Before visiting the church, however, we called the minister to make prior arrangements.  I found it interesting that three different ministers all told us that they did not want us to come to their church.

Finally though, we found a minister who said they’d be pleased to have us come to their services.  So one Sunday evening we made the visit to a very small little church on the other side of town.  It was an all-black, Pentecostal Church.  The boys were a little apprehensive about the coming experience but I assured them that we’d have no problems.

As we arrived at the little church, we were met by the Black minister.  You would have thought that we were all his long-lost sons.  He welcomed us with open arms.  He was obviously thrilled to have us there.


All of the other members of the congregation also came up and said how pleased they were that we’d come to their church.  As the minister started the services, he again made a big deal about our presence there.  He had each one of us stand to introduce ourselves.

The boys soon felt at home and we had a great experience with those special people.  My guys really enjoyed the evening.  We left with a new appreciation for our black brothers and sisters and the beliefs of this particular group.  The boys talked of that experience for many months to come.

Another fun activity that we had as a team was a mother and son progressive dinner.  The boys planned the menu and were all excited about the scheduled “dates” with their moms.  The mothers too, were excited since they’d never had an activity of this type with their boys.  We decided to have spaghetti as the main course.

Altogether our group of boys and moms numbered about ten people and since we had so few boys, we all had food assignments.  Also, one of the courses of the meal was scheduled to be eaten at each home. One family was assigned to bring hors devours, another the salads, another had snacks for during the movie and another family was assigned dessert.

One family had twin sons.  Since they had two sons, we thought they could handle two assignments, the garlic bread and the spaghetti.  The family, whom we’ll call the Doles (and the names have been changed to protect the innocent) were outraged at this extreme unfairness we put upon them.  Though they were fairly well off, they claimed that it would be a financial burden on them to provide “so much”.

Finally I volunteered to have the bread and spaghetti at my own home even though it was not real convenient to do so.  My wife was pregnant and due at the time the activity was to be held so I had purposely held off planning for any of the meal to be at our home.  As it turned out, my wife and our third daughter came home from the hospital the very day of the event.  She graciously made the bread and spaghetti for us.

The night of the big event came.  All of the mothers and sons participated.  The Doles (appropriate name, huh?) were, of course, there to help eat their fair share of the food even though they now had it arranged perfectly so that they didn’t have to bring any of it.  All three Doles “pigged out” and acted unaware of the inconvenience they had caused my family.

Anyway, we all had a very pleasant evening.  The boys and mothers all had a great time and got to know each other better through the activity.

The program I have outlined will work just as well for the Venturing program (or any youth group – for that matter) as it does for Varsity Scouting.  The only difference is that Venturing has experience areas rather than the five program areas of Varsity Scouting.  The principles, however, are the same.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

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

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com


The Annual Planning Conference Makes for a Great Program


Kevin V. Hunt

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

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

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

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


The “Dream” Cabin for your planning retreat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

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Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com


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



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


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 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.“



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:




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.”



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.]


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.


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.


“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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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 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.


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 – 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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Grateful to be a part of The Century of Honor


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Blessed to be a Part of the Century of Honor Book

Cover shot of the book “Century of Honor” that commemorates 100 of Scouting in the LDS Church.

The development of the “Century of Honor” book – on the history of Scouting in the LDS Church – was recently chronicled in an article by author Nettie Francis on the LDS/BSA Blogsite.  I invite you to view the full article History Highlights – Behind the Book.  I did not do it alone – but was pleased to join a great team that came together with their own individual talents and expertise to make the “Century of Honor” book a reality.

Blessed to be a part of the Century of Honor Writing Committee

Kevin Hunt blessed to be a part of the Century of Honor writing committee

The book “Century of Honor” truly came together as a miracle and with Divine help and guidance.  We all felt that power with us.  A Century of Honor – and I am grateful to be a part of it!

Having read that article by Nettie, I wrote my own article and feelings on the matter.  You can read of this on The Voice of Scouting:  Grateful to be a part of Century of Honor.  In that article, I began with the words:

“Once in a while, maybe once in a lifetime, an author and historian gets the opportunity to be a part of something really unique and exciting.  My opportunity came unexpectedly and I was grateful to be a part of the Century of Honor – a book which details the century long relationship (1913 – 2013) between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America.”

I then chronicled my personal journal entry for September 3, 2012.  That was the date that I received the call from Mark Francis, Director of LDS/BSA Relations.  The journal record details our conversation.  It was an exciting call!  Check out the journal entry!JOURNAL IMAGE FROM WEB.jpg

I also alluded in the article to “The Scouting Partnership” book that I had written years before – on the history of Scouting in the LDS Church.  I said, “Years before I had written a history of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [originally titled, “The Scouting Partnership”].  This was a very exciting project for me.  I believe that I was “directed” to create the book – and it was a miracle how I was given material for the book from the LDS Church Historian’s Office – and I later learned that I was the only person with whom this material had been shared.  So, I felt a sacred responsibility as the “guardian” of the material.

I would like to share with you a few more of the details of how the book came together in a rather miraculous way.

This book was first written about 20 years ago (and has since been revised and updated a few times).  Anyway, I had noticed that there was not a history of Scouting in the Church and knew well the impact of Scouting in the lives of the young men and adults of the church.  I determined to write the History.

I went to the Church Historian’s Office and Library and talked with personnel there.  They said, “We do not have a history of Scouting in the Church.  It would be great to have such a record.”

The staff explained to me the mechanics of their library.  They noted that I could have only five documents to be searched at a time.  I looked in the card catalog to ascertain all documents on the subject of Scouting.  I could tell by the descriptions the documents that I wanted and needed.

I went to the counter and ordered the first five documents.  The staff then said that I could have five documents in various areas of the library but could only physically have only five at a time.  So, from that moment on, the staff was fully cooperating and assisting me.  It seemed that all staff were working on my project that day.

I soon had five documents with me.  Five more were on the counter waiting for the return of the previous five.  Five more were on the escalator coming down to me.  Five more were sitting on the desk waiting to go down the escalator.  And five more were being gathered by staff.  As I finished one stack of five, I would return it. Then it would go up the escalator and all other stacks of five would advance one step.

Once I had the documents, I could see immediately – yes or no – if I wanted or needed the document.  I would then take them to the copier to be copied.  This added another five books to my process and I would get more at the counter.

This process continued for two full days.  It was exciting and wonderful to feel the support of the full Historian Department staff.  I could feel the Lord’s blessings as the cycle continued.

Armed with a three to four inch stack of copied articles, fliers and other documents, I went home to write.  The writing came easy as inspired of the Holy Ghost.  I very much felt that this work was to be published but it did not come forth at the time.  (I sent it to Deseret Book and they said that there was not a market for such a book – and that it was “not of general interest” to enough people.)

A few years later, I received a surprise phone call.  The caller said that the Church Historian’s office had given him my contact information.  He identified himself as being from Ohio.  Ironically, as we talked, we realized that we had been friends 30 or more years before – when he lived in Arizona as a teenager.  Anyway, he noted that he had gone to the Church Historian’s with the same mission that I had – to write a history of Scouting in the Church.

He was surprised at the reception that he received at the Historian’s office.  It was very much unlike mine.  He said that they told him, “We have already given that information to a Brother Kevin Hunt in Arizona.”  They would not give him any help or new information.

So, I think this is a significant fact – in that it means that I believe that I am the only person to whom the Historian’s Office has given this information.  That being the case, I have felt all the more compelled (through the years) to get this book published so that Scouters of the Church can have access to it.  I recognize d that it was not Kevin Hunt that said the stuff in the book – but that I was privileged to become the recipient of the material to share it with others.  I knew that the material truly had come from generations of inspired Prophets and other church authorities – as inspired of the Holy Ghost.

Dnews 07youngmen.0209.chn

President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints poses for a photo with the current and former Church’s Young Men General Presidency at The Joseph Smith Building. in Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. August Miller, Deseret News

Through the years, I printed single copies of the book and would gift these to new General Presidents of the church’s Young Men Presidency as each took office.  These men, including Elder Vaughn J Featherstone, read the book and loved it – and shared with me rave reviews of it.  I saw Elder Featherstone a couple of years after I sent him the book and he said, “I love that book.  It sits on my desk and I refer to it DAILY.”

Still, for years the book sat “on my computer” largely unseen by the world of Scouters whom I knew “needed” to see and read the material.  So, this phone call on that Labor Day was particularly exciting.

And so, with this background, it was particularly exciting to receive the call on that Labor Day night – in 2012 – inviting me to become a member of a team of historians charged with the task to create a history of Scouting in the Church – even a Century of Honor.

“I was surprised and very elated over the phone call.  Wow!”  A Century of Honor and I was grateful to be a part of it!  I called several of my children – the boys who had been Scouts – and a daughter who has always taken an interest in my book writing efforts.  “I got them on a multi-person call to tell them of the phone call.  They were all excited about the possibilities.”

Well, that was the beginning …  Later I received notification from Mark relative to the upcoming committee meeting.  I was unique in that most of the group would be meeting in person in Salt Lake City – but I was in Arizona – and unable to make the regular trips to be there in person with the committee.  But, the plan worked out okay.  Each time that there was to be a meeting, arrangements were made to get me into the committee meeting.  I was even asked once to offer the opening prayer for the committee meeting. And I guess the prayer even made it through cyber space to where it needed to be.   It was a bit challenging – since when I wanted to say something (and not being able to see the group – having only audio), I had to kind of interrupt and make my suggestion or comment).   I – and they – got used to this and it worked.

I was pleased and grateful that my research and the finished book product of years ago now became the foundation for discussion and further research in the creation of the “Century of Honor” book.  That was a great blessing and the beginning of a dream come true.

The project took months to complete but it was exciting and wonderful.  And as Nettie Francis said in her History Highlights – Behind the Book, “Conversations were intense, lively, and inspiring as the committee discussed important events, facts, and images which were necessary for the history. … Each meeting was a spiritual experience. After beginning with prayer, the discussions and ideas that each member brought to our meetings were priceless and invigorating. It was as if we were discussing a sacred topic–Scouting in the Church–and we had invisible beings in the room with us, directing our conversations and guiding our work. It was clear that each committee member had a unique and powerful role.  Many miracles occurred during the compilation. …”

And so, we worked together as a team and ultimately brought forth the great book, “Century of Honor”.  And what a book it was!  It was so exciting to be a part of the editorial team and to share the completed book with the world.  (And the book is “out there” now and is available for all interested in the legacy of Scouting in the LDS Church.)  The book is available for purchase through the LDS/BSA Relationships office or click here to order a copy of “Century of Honor”.  It is also available at many Scout Shops throughout the country.

And incidentally, being on the committee also gave me the motivation to again revise my own book and I actually published it this time and made it available also to the world.  I was pleased to have Elder Vaughn J Featherstone – himself a former General Young Men President – write the Forward to the book.  The book was published as “Scouting in the LDS Church – A Centennial History”.


And now as I look at the two books – “Century of Honor” and “Scouting in the LDS Church”, I believe that there is “place” and need for both.  Each is unique and different but together they make a great composite history which together document the history and legacy of this great Scouting/LDS Church partnership that has served both organizations so well in a century – and now into the second century.  The “Century of Honor” book has a plethora of wonderful photos and “Scouting in the LDS Church” has a more detailed narrative of the history of Scouting in the LDS Church.  So, together they complement each other and provide a great history of the Scouting legacy in the church.

And my involvement with the writing of the “Century of Honor” book, also brought other connections and opportunities for me.  These were unplanned but turned out be be great blessings.  So, these make me even more grateful to have been a part of this “Century of Honor”.  One of the really great opportunities was to attend the program (of the same name) that was staged by the Church in the giant Conference Center” in Salt Lake City.


This became a grand celebration of the LDS/Scouting relationship.  And with my “Century of Honor” involvement, I actually had a front row seat and saw the fabulous show “up front and personal”.  I never would have imagined myself in such circumstances … but there I was – and I enjoyed every moment of that spectacular show.

I have shared my feeling of that night in a blog which I created as I took on the opportunity to blog about Scouting.  I invite you to read this [again] if you have interest. The article A Century of Scouting and What it Has Made Me sums up my feelings of Scouting and being an LDS church member – and author. And again as I write this current article, I express again my gratitude for being a part of the Century of Honor.

"Century of Honor" Writing Committee with Scout Executives

“Century of Honor” writing committee (mostly front two lines) with Scout Executives (Kevin and Lou Hunt front row)

“On My Honor” writing committee (front 2 rows) with BSA Scout Executives (Kevin and Lou Hunt front row)

Being on the “Century of Honor” committee, I was able to make two different trips to Utah.  On one such trip, our writing committee dined with and mingled with many great BSA Scout executives.  The LDS/BSA office invites many Scout Executives to come to Salt Lake City for a relationship conference a couple of times each year – usually coinciding with the semi-annual General Conference of the Church.   At the April Conference, I happened (with my wife) to sit next to Lynn Gunter, a Scouting professional from the Trapper Trails Council in Ogden, Utah.  He knew Vaughn Featherstone personally and was able to connect me with him to get him to write the Forward for “Scouting in the LDS Church”.

I sent a request and invitation to President/Elder Featherstone and was very surprised with his Forward came back to me – even in Arizona – in just a couple of days.  I was in awe as I read what he wrote of the book.  He said:

“Here you have the finest history of Scouting in the Church ever written.  The research was impeccable.   It contains some of the greatest quotes of some of the greatest leaders of the Kingdom in this dispensation.   It is a treasury of the greatest Scouters, concepts, philosophies, principles and especially History of Boy Scouts of America and the Church.  This book is a classic and should be on every Bishop and Stake President’s shelf.”

Elder Featherstone continued:

“This book will reinforce your love and appreciation for the Boy Scouts of America and the early Church leaders who had the Vision to see a great need for Scouting as an activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood.  There are a multitude of quotes by Pres. Thomas S. Monson, Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, George Albert Smith and in fact, all the prophets who have affirmed our tie to Boy Scouts of America.”

The connections and blessings from “On My Honor” just keep coming and they keep me amazed – and grateful!


Kevin Hunt with Pres. Larry Gibson (of LDS General YM Presidency), Mark and Nettie Francis

It has indeed been a great Scouting Partnership – Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  A hundred years together …  a marvelous history, a glorious legacy for the Scouts of today and to those of tomorrow.  Let us all rejoice in this great Scouting Partnership!

“One hundred years in the best of the Scouting traditions!  What a legacy.  What a heritage.  What a great program – truly inspired of God.  Now that’s something to celebrate.”  And now, Let’s go for the second century!

A “Century of Honor” …  Wow!  Such a great Scouting partnership! And I’m grateful that I’ve been a part of it.  And having said that, I say as ever:

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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Sometimes my Camp Staff Learned the Hard Way


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Sometimes my camp staff learned the hard way.  But, generally they got the message and made the needed behavioral adjustments.   Our lessons and experiences are all part of the joy and trauma of Scouting in general and camp staff in particular.


I remember a couple of times at Camp Bartlett when I got huffy over a lousy campfire program or uptight about a couple of unrehearsed skits that were out of taste when they suddenly appeared unannounced on stage.  I dramatically walked out right in the middle of a couple of those programs.  Staff knew that when I did that I was less than pleased.

Often on occasions such as these I would go back to the lodge and would prepare one of those classy cracker barrels for the staff and then when they’d get there, we’d calmly discuss the disaster over the goodies.  That way my anger would be tempered a little through the effect of the goodies.

On one occasion, the fire building patrol used a little shot of “fire water” to ignite a stubborn fire lay.  This did not set at all well with me since this was against all BSA and general safety principles.


After using the special “fire water”, the staff involved also got a special reward the next day.  I said, “If you guys want to put something on a fire, you can really get into it.”  As already mentioned, our Friday Night Campfire Bowl was located majestically atop a large mountain which overlooked the whole valley below.  The only problem was that it was nowhere near a water source for extinguishing our fires.

The task I gave those fire builders was to trudge up the hill with water enough to fill the fifty-five gallon barrel located there for fire prevention.  After the initial shock they again pulled together and made a fun task of what could have been an unpleasant one.  They ingeniously created a yoke type arrangement for themselves by which they could carry a five gallon bucket from each shoulder.  We had needed the barrel filled anyway, but now the task seemed to fit the demands of the situation.

There were some days when everything went wrong in camp.  Luckily, that kind of day didn’t come every day.  One particularly bad day seems to stick in my mind even now, but it is kind of funny as I look back at it now.  The setting was Camp Del Well, located in Southern Utah and operated by the Boulder Dam Area Council in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On that occasion, both of the camp trucks broke down at once.  Three staff members were off for the day and were pestering me to get them a way into town.  The waterfront director cut his foot and could not direct the waterfront programs.  I had no choice but to go down there.  As Mitch and I returned from there in the afternoon, the rain started to pour down on us.  It came down in torrents.RAIN AT CAMP

After rounding up all of the ten or so kids who had gone to the lake for practice and classes, we headed back up the hill toward camp. We were caught in a grand hailstorm and had hail of about a half inch in diameter.  (And that was a bit of HAIL (and the alternate spelling could apply)!

That day was also the day that we gave the cook a break and extended the Scouts the chance to cook in their own campsites.  We had to eat freeze-dried food and the troop I ate it with didn’t do so hot with the stuff.FREEZE DRIED FOOD

Then that night’s campfire program got rained out.  We decided to hold it under the large Army tent draped with the orange parachute designed to shade the place.  In the rain the parachute sagged dramatically onto the tent.  Anyway, the program did turn out well.  It certainly was a campfire program to remember.  Rain or shine, the program must go on …!

Many of the camp staffers used to leave Camp Bartlett on weekends but there were always about twenty or so of us there.  Since the cook was off on the weekends, it fell my lot to do the cooking for the guys on Saturdays and Sundays.  I loved cooking so it was a fun job most of the time.

Generally the guys who stayed in camp were willing to take their turn and would each sign up and assist with at least one meal during each weekend.  A couple times in a row, however, only one or two of them put their names on the helper list.

I like them, had only a few hours of reprieve on the weekends and while I very much enjoyed cooking gourmet things for the staff, I didn’t want my entire time to be taken up by it.  I needed some time to spend with my family.

I asked a couple times for helpers but to no avail.  After the seconRED HENd meal that weekend with no help, I’d had about enough.  I finally got mad, locked the kitchen and posted on the door, the story of “The Little Red Hen”.

The guys were famished by the next meal and for some reason, several helpers showed up to assist.  Many of the staff, however, were angry over the incident and refused to come over to help or eat.  They then retaliated by setting off a bunch of firecrackers.  The experience proved to be one of growth for all of us.

Another time I reacted similarly when several staffers had gradually developed a habit of coming late to breakfast.  They had it timed perfectly to arrive after the flag ceremony and staff meetings were over and at the precise moment that chow was served.  Their habit was soon cured with a door locked to latecomers.  It took only about three days of being locked out to get them up and back into the groove with the rest of us.

My brother Ray was on my staff and he was one of those lie-a-beds who liked the breakfast hour dozing routine.  I didn’t cut him any slack for his actions, however.  He got cut out along with the rest of the latecomers.KP DUTY

And there is a funny story about him and that situation.  I placed all of the staff members into one of five staff patrols.  I then assigned them rotating tasks.  One week they would do KP duty, another week they would build the campfire, another week they would plan, implement, and clean-up after a weekly staff activity night, etc.

On this one occasion, Ray and his patrol staged their staff activity night.  It was a great activity and all went well.  But when it came time for clean-up, Ray and his tent mate did not do their required clean-up duties.  And then the next morning they were lazy and did not wake up in time to attend the required flag ceremony.  By this time, all staffers knew that attendance at the morning flag ceremony (a sign of being prepared for the day) was one thing that I expected with zero tolerance.  And if one or two patrol members were not there, then I came down on the whole group.

So, on this particular morning, the patrol members  were already less than pleased with Ray and his tent mate.  They came to me and as a group asked what I was going to do to my brother and his mate.  They were very surprised with my answer.  I said, “They are members of your patrol and it is your patrol who needs to deal with them.”  And as an inspired second thought, I added, “You can throw them in the lake for all that I care.”

That was the only thing that they needed to take care of the situation.  With a rather loud whoop – and now with the help of almost the entire staff, they ran in great haste to the tent of the flagrant lie-a-beds.  And in real swift action – before the two lie-a-beds knew what was happening (and remember that this was about 6:30 AM), they extracted them out of their sleeping bags and tents and with a lot of excitement, they pitched the two boys out into the cold lake at Camp Bartlett.

That was a major grow-up day for Ray.  He was no longer just “the camp director’s brother” but he was fully a staff member.  And he had to rise to the occasion (pun intended) to get on with life.  That moment began at least some accountability for Ray.  (He was the youngest of seven siblings – and I was the oldest – … so for many years, the B. of his middle name meant “Baby”.  So, he had a bit of growing up to do.)  I look back now and see early morning lake dip as a major milestone in his life.  (But, I’m not sure that he would agree.)

Speaking of Ray reminds me how hard it was to get him to write letters home.  He’d once been at camp for at least a month and had not written a letter to the folks.  I couldn’t pull the stunt on all staffers (though their mothers probably would have wanted me to) but I told Ray that he would not be eating another meal until after he wrote a letter home to Mother and Dad.

One year, both my brother and sister were on my staff.  I had not had girls or women (other than the married cooks) on my staff before so I was somewhat leery about putting even my sister on staff.  Some camp directors had told me that “the only place for a woman in camp is no place.”  (That was many years ago – and things have changed dramatically since then.)

With Laurie’s urging, I decided to give her a try.  I recruited another girl to come up also so that there would be two of them to fill one tent and so that they could keep each other company.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried about “company” for Laurie.  All of the staff were more than delighted to entertain her.  Knowing of this natural attraction, I gave the staff, both boys and girls together, a sound lecture about their male/female relationships in camp.  We talked candidly about the effect of moonlight in such situations.

The staff all agreed that neither sex would go into the tents of the other, that they must remain at arm’s length, and that any association together after dark would be at the lodge or other gatherings where a number of other staff were also present.  Though they had all agreed in advance to these stipulations, it wasn’t long before they were testing me to see just how far they could go.

I once found one of the boys in a tent with one of the ladies.  It was during the day time  (as if that is any “safer”) but they had both disobeyed the rules and got to experience the results of their behavior.  I also saw one of the boys walking hand in hand with one girl as they strolled down the trail.  They looked like a couple of moon-struck sweethearts.

I was adamant that the rules be obeyed.  I put out the ultimatum that the rules would be obeyed from that point on or the girls (and probably the boys involved also) would be sent home.  Neither gender liked the ruling but they did conform.  Years later my sister said that she could finally appreciate my actions and thanked me for them.

The experience with the girls on staff made me reevaluate whether or not I’d ever have ladies in camp again.  Actually though, there was another lady on our staff that same year.  She was our Nature Director, and I was very pleased with her male relationships.  Her performance proved to be a much more positive experience than that experienced with the younger youth.  Instead of being so twitterpated as the younger gals had been, she was very professional.  She, the men and the boys, all handled themselves well.

I set up the arrangement to have church girls come to Camp Bartlett for a couple of weeks after the regular Scout camping season.  I retained only the staff men whom I knew without a doubt that I could trust explicitly and they got to be staff for the young women.   That actually worked out quite well.  (They came one year when we were building the new Camp Bartlett Lodge.  And it was sure funny to see the girls looking around for the “current bushes” for their hair curlers.  They had seen a box of electric boxes sitting near the lodge and just knew that the current bushes had to extend also to the KYBO’s in their campsites.  And we were happy to accommodate them the best that we could.  We took some of the boxes and nailed them to walls in the KYBO’s – and even had a couple of wires that went down from the boxes into the ground.  They really looked legitimate.  And some girls even gave them a try!  What a hoot that was!)

And on another occasion, I actually worked out a plan for an Ogden Bishop to bring his whole group of young women to Camp Bartlett – in a chartered tour bus – for a surprise dance and other activities with my staff.   Talk about fabulous fun …  that was it!  But, that’s a subject for another blog.

Though I demanded perfection, I could empathize with the staff and their feelings. I  could remember well the trauma and difficulty I had experienced when I was their age.  I could see in each staff boy his own great potential and I worked hard to help him also see that same vision within himself.

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 Scoutingtrails.  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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