Dr. Richard Moyle – A Giant Man, A Giant Heart, A Giant of a Scouter


By Kevin V. Hunt

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

Although I’m currently on a self-declared “blog-cation” (because of my summer camp adventures at Camp Thunder Ridge), I need to come out of that hibernation to write about my great friend and Scouting mentor, Dr. Richard W. Moyle.  I noticed on a camp break today of the June 18th death of Dr. Richard Moyle.  Richard or “Dick”  as maybe only I called him, was my Scouting District Chairman when I served years ago as the Sr. District Executive of the great Mt. Ogden scouting district in South Ogden.  The district was then a part of the Lake Bonneville Council, and now the Trapper Trails Council.  With his passing, we have lost a giant of a man, a giant heart and a giant of a Scouter.

The Obituary of Dr. Richard W Moyle noted that he has been involved in Scouting for 60 years!  Wow!  How great is that?  And I can attest to the fact that this was not just minor or superficial involvement.  Richard gave his all to anything that he took on.  And that is what he did with Scouting.  He was willing to sacrifice everything as needed to make the Scouting program work for young men.  He was truly a giant in his Scouting service.  He was long-time recipient of the Silver Beaver Award.

Richard also wore the title of “Doctor” through his education.  He was a Geology professor of great renown at Weber State College in Ogden.

I became acquainted with Dick when he agreed to become the Varsity Scouting chairman for the district.  In this role, he worked tirelessly to implement to new Varsity Scouting program when it was a pilot program.  He went at the program with full steam.  He loved the program and wanted to see that all Scouts of our district had opportunity to participate in it.  He recruited a fabulous team of volunteers to deliver the first ever Varsity Scouting adult training program.  His team conducted the first Varsity Scouting Youth Leadership Course.  He was a proponent of the Varsity Scouting Games and had a major impact in their development.  His team was amazing and energized for the program.

Later, Richard willingly accepted the invitation to become our District Chairman.  Again, he worked feverishly to make our Mt. Ogden District the best and greatest in the council.  He caught the vision of what he and we could accomplish together.  And with that vision, he went forward to recruit the right people to do every job.  He was most conscientious in his dedicated efforts.

Our weekly (or more often) Key-3 meetings (with him, me and our district commissioner, Ron Harrison) were a real pleasure.  Dick was so anxious to make us successful.   Nothing brought him down.  He was the epitome of the positive attitude.  Everything that he did was “how can we make this happen?”  I loved his brotherhood and service.

Dick was also a hunter of great renown.  And with his hunting prowess, he would make anything and everything into jerky.  He would often come to me with his latest meat for my tasting.  “Here is some elk,” he would say.  Or, “Here is some bear!”  (That one was a shock!)  And then another shocker:  “Try some squirrel!”

My wife, on hearing of the death of Dick commented:  “He was just the nicest guy!  He was so personable and genuine.”  He and his wife, Belva (a distant Rawson cousin of mine) were so very sweet.  They were so concerned about Lou and me and our family.  We truly loved them!  They were the greatest friends and supporters of us and our growing family.  They came to our every event.  They were there at our baby blessings and all other family events.  And for years afterwards – even after we had long since moved away – he came to our wedding receptions when these were held in the Salt Lake area.

As I served with Dick, I was also the Camp Director up at Camp Bartlett.  Dick had a son, Wayne, and Dick helped me invite and persuade Wayne to join my staff at Bartlett.  Wayne was the life of every campfire program with his rendition of “Ernie”.  And the camp proved beneficial to Wayne and his parents too.  For at the conclusion of camp, we lined up Wayne with my wife’s former roommate from Snow College.  That proved to be “a match made in Heaven” as they courted and were soon married.

When I left the Ogden area – with a Boy Scout transfer to Santa Barbara, California, Dick  presented me with a marble pyramid-shaped monument on which he had engraved my service to the Mt. Ogden District.  This was a wonderful tribute and recognition of our five years together.  I still have and cherish that lasting monument to our district and personal brotherhood.

With the passing of Dr. Richard W. Moyle, we have all lost a giant of a man.  Richard was a man with a giant heart, and a giant love for Scouting and all of its programs – all with the goal of creating the best programs for our Scouts.  We will all miss this giant Scouter and friend, Dr. Richard W. Moyle.  Thanks, Dick …  I am grateful to you and will long remember your strength and commitment to me, and to the Mt. Ogden District!

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

It Was Quite the Summer at Camp New Fork 2016

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog #1:  Summer Camp Adventures


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

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


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

Blog #2: Preparing the Camp and the Staff


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

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

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


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

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

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

We are the Camp New Fork staff, you see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog #4: Camp Bartlett Lodge Re-dedication



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

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

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

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

New Fork Staff at campfire program

New Fork Staff at Campfire program

Well, another week at Camp New Fork 2016!  It is or was Week 3 and we hit the road running.    We had experienced our first week of Scouts and survived it with flying colors. We all felt that the week went pretty well.  We had some great reviews last week on our camp program and the staff spirits were running high.  We knew that we had good things going and we were ready to hit it again with our second week or session of Scouts.  Yes, camp life was good and we were ready to hit the trail  running.  We were enthusiastic and excited to greet our next group of Scouts.  As ever, I recorded the details in my personal journal and I now quote from that record.

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



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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I ended the final blog with these notes:

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin


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

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Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com







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

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Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

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



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

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


A big crowd at church services at Camp New Fork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Fireplace at Camp New Fork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Staff spirit at Camp New Fork

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

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

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


Camp New Fork Chow Line

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

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

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

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

Grace – “Princess Pat”

Waterfront – “5 Little Ducks”

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

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

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

C-Cade  and Scott – “Father Abraham”

Daxton and Max – “Deep and Wide”

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

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

Daghen – “Waddaleeachee”

Mason and Braeden – “Sunnyside”

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

Theo – “Zulu Warrior” and “Peanut Butter”

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

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

“The Muffin Man”

“Fleas, Flies, Mosquitoes”

“The Grand old Duke of York”

“I Met a Bear”

“Cippin’ Cider”

“Pink Pajamas”

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

“Web Footed Friends”


Flag Ceremony at Camp New Fork

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

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

I would officially welcome the troops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spirit Stick would be awarded to the selected group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Staff doing flag ceremony at a Monday opening day program

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

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

Explain the flag ceremony protocol

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

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

Introduce the Camp Director and other administrative staff

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

Stage the “emergency drill” as described above

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


Spirit Stick as described above

Dismissal to chow lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Scouts at Camp New Fork participating in songs at flag ceremony

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Dinner was on time – so this was wonderful.

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


Adults participating with Scouts in the Campwide Games stick pull

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

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

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


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


New Fork Staff in uniforms

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

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

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

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


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


Accreditation team and families getting into harnesses for zip line

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

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


Accreditation Team at New Fork

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

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


Kevin, Allen and Travis at Accreditation Luncheon

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Commissioner Lou Hunt training Brooks Blackmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PROGRAM ITEM                             WHAT TO DO                                   WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                               Drum beats and Welcome             Jace and Kevin

Fire Starter                                        Lady of the Forest                           Jason et al

Loud Song                                         The Window                                     Nathan

Troop Skit                                          Deer Call                                            Troop 350

Troop Skit                                          Hot News                                          Troop 6

Bull Run Winner                Award                                                David

Song                                                   Aaga Flaga                                        Will

Troop Skit                                          Houdini                                              Troop 641

Troop Skit                                          Christmas Tree                                 Troop 954

Run-on                                                                                                           Katie

Song                                                   Bear Song                                          Tannon

Troop Skit                                          The Lawnmower                              Troop 35

Troop Skit                                          Rough Riders                                    Troop 319

Song                                                   Bill Grogan’s Goat                           Larissa

Troop Skit                                          Caveman                                           Troop 563

Handicraft Awards                          Awards                                               Katie

Troop Song                                       5 Days of Camp                                Troop 563

Troop Skit/Song                               Hocus Pocus                                     Troop 49

Troop Skit                                          World’s Fastest Mugging               Troop 389

Shooting Sports Awards                 Awards                                               Bruce

Troop Skit                                          Mother, Mother               Troop 63

Troop Skit                                          Invisible Bench                                 Troops 465/605/469

Troop Skit                                          The Viper                                           Troop 443

SM Training Awards                        Outdoor, SM Specific                      Kevin

Alice the Camel                                Scouters                                            Kevin

Troop Skit                                          The Bear Attack                               Troop 373

Troop Skit                                          Candy Shop                                       Troop 644

Troop Skit                                          Airplane                                             Troop 49

Commissioner Awards                    Jim Bridger, Honor Troop              Lou and David

Quiet Song                                        America                                             Andrew and David

Song                                                   America Round                                Rachae

Flag Retirement Ceremony          Flag Retirement                               Jonathan, Scotty & Team

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                         Kevin

Quiet Song                                        On My Honor, Vesper                     Matt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

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Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 2 – We Roll out the Thunder!


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

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

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

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

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

We are the Camp New Fork staff, you see.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Camp New Fork front gate and sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Staff member, David, getting into the action.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Kevin and staff  at flag ceremony with troops

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


PROGRAM ITEM                        WHAT TO DO                                   WHO TO DO IT

Lead-in                                         Drum beats                                       Jace, Ushers

Start of Program                        Bugle                                                  Scott

Welcome                                                                                                    Kevin

Fire Starter                                  Cavemen                                            Max and company

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

Loud Song #2  (Stand Up)      Waddleachee                                      Daghen

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Outdoor Skills            Surviving Dwarfs

Run-on                                        Rent                                                        Katie

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Waterfront                   Ice Fish

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

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Handicrafts                  Mighty Mallets

Song  (Stay Seated)                  Ging Gang Goolee                               Kevin

Skit                                                Toast                                                       Larissa and Kiara

Song                                              Zulu Warrior                                         Jace, Theo, Cameron

Song                                              Ukelele                                                   Katie

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

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – High Adventure          The A Team

Run-on                                        Teen Rocket                                          Jace, Grace, Kassi

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Nature                           Golden Nature

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

Song – Medium (Stay Seated)   Princess Pat                                   Mason

Skit                                                Invisible Man                                     Daghen

Song  (Stay seated)                   Deep and Wide                                  Dax and Max

Skit                                                Jake the Peg                                        Kevin

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Shooting Sports         SS

Staff Patrol Intro                      Area Intro – Climbing                      The Rapellants

Song (Stay Seated)                   Herman                                                 Golden Nature

Skit                                               Sweet Betsy                                          Travis and Bruce

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

Skit #1                                          Banana Bandana                                Theo and Will

Song                                             Topnotcher                                           Rachae and Company

Skit #2                                         Movie Machine                                    Surviving Dwarfs

Story                                             None of Your Business                     Kassi

Run-on                                        Climbing Cliffside                             The Repellants

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

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                      Camp Director, Travis

Quiet Song                                 On My Honor                                       Matt

Quiet Song                                 Scout Vespers                                      Kevin

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

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


Kevin with friend, Jake the Peg


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kevin at the camp branding station

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Zip line – high above the road and activity below


Wow!  What a day!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is our full campfire program:


PROGRAM ITEM                              WHAT TO DO                                         WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                                Drum beats                                             Jace

Welcome                                                                                                                 Kevin

Fire Starter                                         __________________                   Max and company

Active Song                                        Grand Old Duke of York                      Kevin

Bull Run Winner                                                                                                  David

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

Handicraft Area Award                  (This week winner left early)            Katie

Waterfront Awards                          Mile Swim                                              Waterfront Staff

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

Song                                                      The Moose                                             Troop 152

High Adventure Awards                                                                                   Nathan

Troop Skit                                            Ain’t No Flies                                       Troop 523

Shooting Sports Awards                 Awards                                                    Bruce

Troop Skit                                            Lawn Mower                                         Troop 179

Troop Skit                                            In the Ditch                                           Troop 446

Song                                                       Austrian Yodeler                                 Katie & Staff

SM Training Awards                                                                                           Kevin

Alice the Camel                                  Scouters                                                 Kevin

Troop Skit                                            Ugliest Man                                           Troop 386

Troop Skit                                             Passing Gas                                           Troop 77

Commissioner Awards                     Jim Bridger, Honor Troop                  Lou and David

Skit                                                         Raisins                                                     Lindsay and Crew

Song                                                       Miss O’Leary                                          Troop 351

Troop Skit                                             Sole Reader                                            Troop 77

Uke Song                                                                                                                  Katie

America Round                                                                                                       Kevin

Flag Retirement Ceremony                                                                                Jonathan and Team

Quiet Song                                           Kumbaya                                                  Scott on Guitar

Song                                                       Zulu Warrior                                           Jace, Theo, Cameron

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                                   Chaplain Bruce

Quiet Song                                           On My Honor                                          Matt

Quiet Song                                           Scout Vespers                                         Kevin

Honor Trail                                                                                                              All Staff

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

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Camp New Fork 2016 – Preparing the Camp and the Staff


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director


It’s summer …  that grand time that all Scouts wait for all year long … the time to go to Scout camp.  All over the country about now, Scouts are heading to camp.  And in those same camps, Camp Directors, Program Directors, Area Directors and a multitude – yes, many thousands of staff members have been working feverishly to prepare for those hundreds of thousands of Scouts who will be coming to their camps.  The story is not new.  And the story is not unique to a particular camp, camp director or staff.  But, I guess the unique thing about me is that I take the time  (make it a priority) to write and blog about those camp experiences.  I have decided to blog about my summer at Camp New Fork – operated by the Trapper Trails Council – and located at the base of the Wind River Mountains in western Wyoming.  I hope that you might relate to the stories that I will tell, the mundane things, and the great, wonderful and exciting adventures of Scout summer camp.  And no Scout camp could exist without all of the work, the training, the joy and trauma, the building of a brotherhood team and all of that energy that goes into waking up a Scout camp from a long and cold mountain winter and transforming it – and the staff – into a great camp ready to welcome the coming troops and Scouts.  So, here it is … our Camp New Fork Staff Week 2016 … a daily account of one wonderful camp and how they (or we) pulled together and made it happen.

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

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



Our daughter, Larissa, my wife, Lou, and a young staffer whom we hauled up with us from Arizona – Jonny and I spent the night at the home of Gary and Holly – Lou’s sister – in Sandy, Utah.  I awoke at 6:15 AM and got ready for the day.  I repacked my suitcase and then the vehicle for our drive up to Camp New Fork in Wyoming where we will be working for the summer.   The events of the day made it feel unlike a Sunday and I missed the usual spirit of the Sabbath and the attendance of Church meetings.

We bid adieu to Holly and then drove north on I-15 to the Highway 89 – Kaysville exit and continued north to the community of South Ogden.  I was particularly pleased to be in this neighborhood once again since it was there that I served (30 plus years ago) as the District Executive of the great Mount Ogden District of the Lake Bonneville Council of the Boy Scouts – now called the Trapper Trails Council.  I had a hard time finding the Scout office today since the neighborhood where it resides has completely changed since Lou and I moved from South Ogden to Santa Barbara, California back in 1982.  A whole subdivision has grown up around the Scout office.   And the Scout Office itself has been greatly remodeled since the last time that we had seen it.




Ogden Scout Shop and Office – Trapper Trails Council – 2016

We went to the Scout Office to meet up with Travis Emery – the New Fork camp director and many of the staff.  Upon arrival, we found that we were the first people there.   Soon, however, we found many people beginning to gather there.  We found a U-Haul truck that had previously been packed yesterday by the camp staff.  It was there – on the bumper of the U-Haul that I met camp director, Travis Emery, for my first time.   I have been looking forward to this in-person meeting for some time.   We have been communicating via phone, Skype and e-mail messages over the past two months so it was great to finally meet him in person.   We gave each other a hug and it seemed that we have had a connection for a long time.  I believe that I will like working with and for this Travis as his camp Program Director.  (And Lou will work as the head Commissioner – and Larissa will work as the climbing and Cope area director.)

I also met a young staffer (age 14) named Mason – and his parents.  They are from Carson City, Nevada (not a part of the Trapper Trails Council).  They really seem like fabulous people.  I met many other staff members and their parents.


New Fork Staffers ready to hit the road

We were pleased to put some of the stuff from our own overloaded mini-van into the U-Haul – and this was a great blessing and a release of strain upon our own vehicle.  Travis turned the prayer assignment over to me and I decided to say it myself.

After the prayer we all got into a number of vehicles that were there in the parking lot and formed a long convoy with all of the vehicles.  A former and current staffer, Lena, drove in the lead with the Camp truck.  I then followed – driving the silver council 12-passenger van – with ten staff kids in with me.  Lou followed in the gold council van – half full of passengers.  Larissa got to drive our own vehicle.  She noted that she had never before driven this vehicle – since it was purchased after her mission departure – and she has not driven it since we got it back a couple of weeks ago.   We ruined the mini-van last summer driving back to Arizona (with Lou and me, four Arizona staffers and all of our gear in a trailer that was too big for the minivan.  And with a lack of money to repair it, it has sat without use since August 1st of last summer.  We just recently got it repaired and workable again – just in time to take it to camp again.  This was also Larissa’s first long distance driving experience – and she drove for five hours up to Wyoming.

We were followed by Travis driving the U-Haul and then several other vehicles with parents who were driving their own kids up to camp in our caravan.  UHAUL FOR CAMP

I noted that Mason and I were the only folks there in Scout uniform – and I immediately felt a bond between him and me.  I invited him to sit in the front seat of the van with me.  We had a lively and most pleasant conversation together – most of the way up to camp – until he moved further back in the van to be closer to a young lady who was in the group in my van.  He was a great talker and fun to visit with.


Kevin with Mason and family in Ogden – Ready to head up to Camp New Fork

As my passengers were all boarded, I looked back and counted heads.  I noted (aloud) that this felt like the former days when Lou and I had our nine children – in a 12 and later a 15-passenger van.  I was pleased to have nine staffers with me for the drive.

We went a half mile or so from the Scout office and got gas in the camp vehicles.  As we started on our way we stopped at a nearby Chevron service station and then the caravan was on its way.  We traveled east through Morgan County and this drive was spectacular and beautiful (with lush greenery) for me.  And it brought back a whole lot of grand memories of my great professional Scouting days there (34 years ago). MORGAN COUNTY UTAH I knew a lot of very wonderful people in Morgan County and had some great Scouting experiences there.  And I liked it so much that I named our second son – Russel Morgan – after Morgan County.

We were very pleased that Larissa experienced no trouble in the long drive.  We have been anxious about the long drive in our vehicle.  We were very grateful for this great blessing.  Thanks, mechanic Mike Billings!

From Morgan we merged onto the I-80 freeway and headed toward Evanston, Wyoming.  We turned north from the freeway onto Highway 189 and headed toward the Wyoming town of Kemmerer.  We stopped the caravan there and had lunch together – provided by Travis the Camp Director.


Kemmerer Wyoming Rest Stop

We stopped at a little park or rest area – that had a beautiful little fishing spot.  I there visited with a young staffer named Zach M.  He is a very impressive young man.  There was only a single port-a-potty at the place and it got well used with all of us wanting to go in at the same time.  I remembered that I had a KYBO pass – good for KYBO privileges – and not standing in line – as presented to me by bolo-time carver, Bill Burch.  I did not press the privilege, however.

We also made a stop in Big Piney.  I had to laugh at Zach.  He was like a little kid in his constant need to go to the bathroom.  We had to make a couple of stops for him.  Big Piney was a strange little place.  The kids all went inside for drink and drain.   There was only a single restroom (with boy and girl plumbing) for all of us to share.  Strange!  Some current American leaders would have been so proud!

As we drove I lead my staff group in camp songs – just as I would have done with my own children – and which I did on so many of our family outings.  We sang “The Bear Song”, “Cippin’ Cider”, and the old favorite, “Ging Gang Goulee”.  The kids were reluctant at first to sing – but they seemed to enjoy it after the initial shock.

We took a western turn onto Highway 191 and went a few miles toward the town of Pinedale, Wyoming.  PINEDALE ENTRY SIGNUp to this point, the terrain had been pretty flat country – and we went  through a lot of sagebrush.  There wasn’t much to look at.  We then took a road (352) north toward camp.  We went about 14 miles and reached a turn-off and dirt road (County Road 162) .  We traveled on this road for about five miles and ultimately arrived at the New Fork camp.  This was located at an elevation of about 8,000 feet and we found ourselves in a beautiful forest with pine and aspen trees.  It was a very beautiful place.

Camp New Fork was established as a Boy Scout camp 90 years ago – in 1925 – so it has been a camp forever.  The camp has an old but very nice log lodge or dining hall and a log office and headquarter building.  The camp sits on the south shore of New Fork Lake and this lake is also very beautiful.  The camp is also at the base of the very high Wind River Mountains.  And there is still snow on the tops of the high Wind River peaks.


New Fork Lake at base of Wind River Mountains

Travis stopped the caravan in the road and opened up the U-Haul truck so that staffers could remove their own gear.  He read off a list of cabins and assigned each of the staffers to one of the cabins.  There were many cabins for young men and a few for young ladies.  Yes, we have several young ladies on our staff.  Things have changed in the Scout camps of today.  (And I am not sure that I am pleased with the change.  There is too much chance for trauma with the mixed staff – combined with a lot of free time – and the moonlight.)

TRAVIS UHAULThe staff was soon off with their personal gear and they headed to their assigned cabins.  Travis pointed out the “Hill Cabin” which will be our home for the next two months of the camp season.  We found the place kind of “modern rustic” but it will be great for us.   It is similar to the cabins that we had privilege to use when at Camp Geronimo (in Arizona) but it is older.  We have a small living room – with a beautiful new couch and recliner (donated by the R.C. Willey furniture company – with stores around Ogden and Salt Lake).

We have a bedroom with a queen sized bed – and we brought out own bedding for this.  (We brought several blankets since night-time weather is expected to get into the mid-40’s most nights of the camp.  I will sleep under three blankets – and Lou will roast comfortably under five!)  In this bedroom there is a nice closet and a small table and also a chest of drawers – with four small drawers.   There is another small bedroom that has a set of bunk beds.  There is a strange “attic” or loft that has a ladder up from this bedroom.  And this loft has a queen mattress and several foam pads – just like a pioneer home – and which could be grand fun for visiting grandchildren.


Camp New Fork “Hill Cabin” inhabited by Kevin and Lou Summer of 2016

The place has a large porch where we can put our outdoor chairs – and from which we have a beautiful view of New Fork Lake.  The campfire bowl is located between our cabin and the lake – and the staff road also runs across the front of us.  There are guy staff cabins in front of us.  These are quite rustic and will house from 4 to 8 or more youth.  They have electricity, bunk beds – and no water connections.  Wow!  I have never seen such luxury for camp staff members!

I was surprised to learn that our cabin has water provided only through a regular garden hose – connected to a water line faucet.  And we learned that the electricity to our cabin is in the process of being upgraded – so that means that at present we will have no electricity.  So, this sounds fun!  I think that there is a ranger type guy who is working to get electricity hooked up for us.

And we are delighted that the place has a small bathroom – with a vanity sink and a tub shower – and a toilet.  I think that this is one of only four toilets (the others being in the corner of the dining hall – for use by kitchen staff, lady staff – and Travis and I, one in the health lodge, and one in the small apartment at the back of the headquarters office – and which Travis and wife, Lindsay and daughter, McKenna, will use.  All other people – scouts and staff will use the traditional 2-holer KYBO’s – and trough urinals.  So, we feel very blessed to have what we will have.

I played the role of a communicator for the younger staff.  They all had questions and I tried to answer them to help them get settled into their cabins.

Theodore or “Theo” who was on our staff last summer in Colorado – is on our staff again this year.  It was great to see him again.  We broke into a big hug as we saw each other for the first time today.  His brother, Jonathan – who came to camp often last year – to get Theo – is also to be on our New Fork staff.  He was not here today, however.  He was on the NYLT youth leader training course staff last week – and Theo got to attend the course in preparation for camp this summer.  And after the course, Jonathan had to go home to Colorado to get a paycheck and to finalize other things.  He had car trouble en route, however, and so this delayed and traumatized him.

We ate dinner in the large and rustic log dining hall.   Travis had me handle the staff – and this was fine with me.  I love this aspect of camp administration.  We had a staff meeting.  Travis had me conduct the meeting and he just interjected comments once in a while.  He and I think a lot alike so we agree on most everything. STAFF WEEK OF TRAINING I led the staff in our first song – “If you’re glad that you’re at New Fork” and then “Aardvarks are our Friends” and “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean” (standing up or sitting down with each “B” said).  The staff just kind of looked at me stone faced as I led the songs – so it appears that I’ll have some work to do to teach them to be a singing and enthusiastic staff.

I felt some inspiration during the meeting and acted upon it – to have all staff introduce themselves in A-Z order – so the two Andrews went first and we progressed to the two Zachs.  This proved to be a great activity and seemed to be enjoyed by all. We talked of general stuff – mainly from the Staff Manual.  It was a fun time getting to know the staff.  It appears that it will be a challenge to learn the names of all of the 50 or so staff members.

After dinner Lou, Larissa and I unloaded our vehicle.  We brought a lot of stuff up here.

Larissa will have her own cabin – located far away from all of the other staff cabins.  She is located adjacent to the climbing tower.  Her roommate is her assistant climbing director – Kiara.  We took Larissa over to see her place and it is a trash heap.  It will need a lot of cleaning to make it useable.

Back at our own cabin, we made our bed.  I took the Mel Stout’s bugle over to loan to staffer Scott.  He is a self-declared bugler and was delighted with the antiquated bugle.  I hope that he will learn to play it and that he will play it often – for Taps, flag ceremonies, etc.

We had a gorgeous view of the lake and the sunset over the lake this evening.  It was really splendid.  It got cloudy and we actually received some hail stones that were about 3/8” in diameter.  Wow!  This was a surprise.

Late this evening Travis came over to our cabin just to check on us.  He has been most anxious to have us comfortable for our summer stay here at Camp New Fork.  And we appreciate his efforts in our behalf.

Wow!  This has been quite a day!  I look forward to the summer at Camp New Fork – and being here with Lou and Larissa. I am grateful that we arrived here safely and that we had no difficulty en route.  This was a great blessing.  We are now here and are ready to go to work.


As we awoke this morning at 6 Am, I noted the large thermometer in our bedroom.  It read 48 degrees.  A bit chilly.  I had a shower and the water was just lukewarm.  It did not appear that the water heater is working properly.  I read from D&C 132 and then headed off to breakfast in the dining hall.  We then had a staff flag ceremony.  At each of these gatherings I lead songs – to teach and train the staff and to get them charged up and working as a team.  Songs help in many ways with the staff.

This morning I spent time with the Outdoor Skills staff.  I toured their many merit badge areas and then offered some additional ideas or training for them.  I worked with Kade – who is the area director – but who is feeling quite depressed and overwhelmed with the whole supervisory function.  I am kind of worried about him.

We took the staff on a tour of the camp.  I asked veteran staffer, Matt, to be the lead in this tour.  I am highly impressed with this Matt.  He is always smiling, always a willing worker and just overall an excellent employee.  And his smile is the best!  We stopped at one campsite and I gave the “heart of the camp” training – about how everything revolves around the troop in the campsite.  CAMPSITE WITH TABLES BEAR BOXI then sent all of the staff to work in their areas to get things cleaned out and looking good for the coming Scouts.  I made the rounds to check on the various areas.  I directed and delegated tasks to get things done.

Lou went in to the village of Pinedale to buy some food for Larissa.  Larissa is very stressed and ill.  She believes that she cannot eat most foods and this is a real trauma.  She has not been feeling well with her food challenges.  And she is losing weight and is not looking real healthy.  We are kind of worried about her.  (And I think that stress over various issues is making her worse.)

I met with staff again at lunch.  I sent the staff off with a stack of new program materials for their areas.  I again helped Kade and we planned when he and staff will teach the adult leader training that Travis wants us to stage for leaders coming to camp.   We also talked of the Scout to First Class program – using my computer as the source of the material.

I divided the staff into two groups.  One third of the staff went with High Adventure Director, Nathan – to move canoes.  Two thirds of the camp staff went with Bruce to move row boats out from the shooting ranges where they were stored for the winter.  I tried to personally talk to each staff member and I thanked them and complimented them for their work.  We were pleased to get all of the boats down to the waterfront – and out of so many of the program areas.

It began to rain and did so off and on all afternoon.  I walked to all areas twice and noted great programs being developed in each area.  I was pleased.  The Area directors are doing a good job and I am pleased with them.

I met with Travis about a variety of camp issues.  We conducted a meeting of area directors at 5:00 PM and learned of the area progress in getting camp set up.  I began the gathering.  I was pleased that Max and Mason volunteered to sing and to lead the staff.  They led “Bazooka Bubble Gum”.  This is a funny song.  I cancelled the flag ceremony – due to the rain.

Cook Mable got a bit annoyed with the dining hall uncleanliness of the staff.  She said that she doesn’t want to be their mothers.  Her words brought sudden words to my mind for an impromptu yell.  So, I got up and led them in the “apron strings” yell which I made up on the spot.  I had them all stand up, put on a [mother’s apron], then cut the strings, wave and then say, “Bye, Mom!”  Everyone got a kick out of this.  I loved it.

The area directors continued to work with their staff this afternoon.

In the evening meeting Travis and I alternated as we taught of the Aims and Methods of Scouting.  We make a good team.  It was a good meeting with the staff.  The staff was all wet from the rain.  I told them all to return to their cabins and to put on dry clothes.

I also went to our cabin to change.  I was absolutely exhausted from the long day – which included a walk around the full perimeter of camp – and my trips to the areas of camp program.  I got dry and was glad to do so.  I curled up on the couch as it rained a lot outside.  (And we again got a bit more hail.)  I didn’t want to go outside.  Larissa and Kiara came over to our place and they showered here – with the lukewarm water and the tub that won’t drain.  (And the rangers say that the tub has not drained properly for years!  Thrills!)



I awoke this morning – for whatever reason – at 4:00 AM.  It was then 42 degrees.  I couldn’t sleep any more.  I guess I got what sleep I usually have received at home.   And we had no hot water at all today.  We found that the pilot light had gone out on the hot water heater.  (And we still have no electricity in our cabin.)

The staff had breakfast together – and I again led some songs.  The areas were on their own today.  I hung out on the porch of the headquarter/trading post.  I printed training syllabus training for area directors who will do a part of the training.  I distributed these materials to the applicable area directors.  I got on the internet and was able to make my house payment  – in one of those rare moments when the camp WIFI was working.  Wow!

Mason was real homesick today and he displayed strange behavior.  I tried to console him and to let him know that we need him here at camp.

I continue to teach songs to the staff and now I am able to use a few staff to help in leading the songs.  This process is working rather well.  And I have started an index card to show which staff can lead what song.  I have also challenged all of the staff members to learn and to be able to lead one song – just one song – and through this process, we would then have 50 songs that we could do at any time.

After lunch I had Bruce, the Shooting Sports Director – and also a junior high teacher – teach the staff how to be better teachers.  He did a great job.  I appreciated his service and expertise.  Travis taught a section on the subject of safety.  We had a guest speaker also.  A lady came from the US Forest Service and taught us on the subject of bear safety – a very necessary subject at Camp New Fork.  She was a magnificent teacher and was very impressive.  I enjoyed her presentation.  After her presentation I led the staff in the “Pine Trees” song.  This is sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Sign” (or however you spell it) – and repeats over and over the words, “Pine Trees”.  The lady got a kick out of this song – and the second verse when the words were reversed and sung as “Trees Pine”.  Handicraft Director, Katie, taught a section on discipline and morale.  Lou taught the group about avoiding sexual harassment.  These were all good sections and I was pleased.

We had a flag ceremony and I did not require uniforms for the staff.  I organized the staff into area patrols and challenged them to develop staff spirit – with patrol names, flags, yells, etc.  The Nature area/patrol did the flag retreat presentation.  I made up a staff duty roster for the summer.  Each area patrol will have duties that will rotate weekly.

Larissa felt a bit better today and this was good.   She is watching closely the food that she is eating.

After dinner we gathered all of the staff to the waterfront to help the waterfront staff in setting up their docks.  I did not want to get into the super cold water so just gave moral support from the sidelines.  All of the staff that got into the water were quite frozen after the activity.

In our earlier session I noted that a staffer was sitting and showing about four inches of his posterior section as he sat on the bench with no belt, etc. and I determined to talk to him while at the waterfront in a father/son chat about the subject.  He did not even know that he had been exposing himself – to ladies and all others.

I sent the staff to change into dry clothes.  Many of the staff found warmth at the fire in the large fireplace of the dining hall.  The heat did feel good.  The staff came back for a learning session.  Rachae, the waterfront director, made a presentation about waterfront safety.    Travis and I later talked to a problem girl and tried to inspire her to greater effort and behavior.

I went to the headquarters to try to get some internet service.  It didn’t work.  This is a perennial problem in camp – not only here but everywhere I have worked.

The girls – Larissa and Kiara slept at their own place – for the first time tonight.  They have slept in the extra room of our cabin for a few nights.


New Fork Climbing Director and Assistant Cabin located at Climbing Tower

The maintenance guy, Ranger Jeremy – came over to relight our water heater.  He got it to start again.  But, we still have no electricity at our place.  This means that we end up going to bed earlier than desired – or spending the evening by the light of a small flashlight.  We hope that maintenance and camp builder Rod Smith will get us electricity soon. We got more rain today.


I arose this morning at 6 AM.  We had hot water for our showers for the first time and it was wonderful.  We went to breakfast with the staff and then conducted a flag ceremony.  I am having the staff areas take turns doing the flag ceremony for us.

We had some local Cub Scouts (from the local Pinedale and Big Piney communities) here in camp with us this morning.  They visited and enjoyed several areas of the camp.  I had the nature area group present the flag ceremony for these Cub Scouts.  Then I had the Outdoor Skills area do the Father Abraham song that I had taught to them.  They also led the boys in “Bazooka Bubble Gum” and the Cub Scouts loved this.  Having the Cub Scouts here kind of made me “homesick” for the Cub Scouts of the Jack Nicol Cub Scout camp where Lou and I were the directors last summer.

I spent much of the morning in the Outdoor Skills area.  Their area looked beautiful and I was proud of their set-up efforts.  All of the staffers seem prepared for their coming teaching functions.

Larissa has continued to be ill.  Many people have been concerned about her declining health.  So, Larissa’s friend – set up a doctor appointment for her in Sandy, Utah – tomorrow.   After talking to a few people about her symptoms, we and others think that she might have a gall bladder issue.  So, Lou and Larissa left – on their own – today – to drive down to Sandy.  (And since our anticipated state tax refund has not come to us yet, we have had to charge such trips and the doctor visit to our VISA charge card.  Thrills!  Things are real tight for us financially since school ended for us almost a month ago and we won’t get a camp paycheck for a while.)

Meanwhile back in camp, we had another staff teaching/learning session.  This was taught by Lindsay – wife of camp director, Travis – on the subject of “customer service”.  I then spent two hours with the staff as together we prepared for our first campfire program.   I had staff area patrols create patrol yells and names.  I had each patrol sign up for desired participation for a staff campfire program.

Again later this afternoon we once more went to the waterfront to help move the dock parts from their stacked winter condition – to being bolted out in the water together.  I resumed the same function as I maintained last night.  This worked well for me.

After the docks were in place and bolted together the staff all went again to get dry – this time in their full “Class A uniforms”.   In a meeting I made assignments for staff roles in staging the weekly Campwide Games for the coming Scouts.  I had several staffers come forward to volunteer to participate in the “I’m glad that I’m a Staffer … that’s what I want to be …” song. This was a traditional song sung by Camp Geronimo staff for years and I want to bring this tradition with me to this camp.

After the dinner and learning session event, I typed up the plan for our Monday night campfire program.  Travis presented a session about the special needs of some disabled Scouts who may come to camp.  I went to the office and printed copies of the campfire program – as well as just one newly revised Staff Songbook.

We held our first campfire program tonight for just the staff.  This was our first cut through the campfire planning process.  The staff did pretty well for their first time this season.  I was very pleased with them.  I had participation by many youth who wanted to lead songs or to stage skits.

After the campfire program I went with staffer Traeden to the office.   He needed to find some material on-line about his geocaching area.  He was hoping to find an existing lesson plan for the badge but had no luck in finding such.  Director, Travis arrived soon.

Outdoor Skills leader, Kade, and Mason – both from the same outdoor skills area- are both doing a bit better.  I have been worried about both guys.  They have been “mopey” and depressed and have acted kind of “out-of-it”.  This has been bad for both of the guys.  They both seemed to “click” with the group today – so this is very good.


I awoke at 6 AM and was at the lodge by 7 AM – an early start on the day.  Lou and Larissa were down in Sandy today – and spent last night with Gary and Holly.  They had an 11:00 AM appointment with the internal specialist.

We had breakfast at 7 AM and then our staff flag ceremony.  I love the precision that the staff is developing for the flag ceremony.  It is great to watch them in action.

We had a fun staff activity today.  We took all of the staff to the Pinedale Aquatic Center.  I drove the silver van with nine staff members with me.  We had a big convoy going as we all headed in various cars down to the PAC.


Pinedale Wyoming Aquatic Center

We found the Aquatic Center to be a truly fabulous place.  It has two giant indoor pools – one with swimming lanes.  And there is a smaller pool in that room also.  And in one corner of the giant pool there is a rope swing – which the kids really enjoyed.  (And later in the day, I even took a swing on the rope and dumped out into the water!)

We all got into our swim suits.  We then reported to the large pool where our own waterfront staff were the lifeguards for us to take our BSA swim tests.  Many of the youth passed their 100-yard swim test (and then a 1-minute floatation).  As my turn came, I jumped into the rather cold water to attempt the test.  It has been 30 years or more since I have attempted the swim test and the cold water did not help me.  I was able to swim just 25 yards before I gave up the attempt and got out of the pool.

I then went to the other room to the other pool – where many of the staff also gathered.  We there enjoyed the “lazy river” – with small waves, the giant slide which curved around and around, and the hot tub.  We enjoyed a fun morning there together.   And there in the warm water of this pool, I was able to complete the 100 yard swim and the float – but it didn’t count for the test.

The staff members who were 19 or over had to pay an admission fee of $2.50 each (usually it is $5.00) and all who were 18 and under got in free to the facility.  The camp paid for the adults.  So, it was truly a bargain and very amazing that the place can operate on this pricing structure.  And it was wonderful that we could have this staff activity together.   In addition to the pools, the place has a rock climbing wall, tennis and racquetball courts, exercise equipment, and much more.   Wow!  I was truly amazed and impressed.

We all had a real fun time together.  It was great that we could do this activity together.  I later learned that I had left my black camp director jacket there at the pool and hoped that it would be there later when I returned to get it.

I drove the 9 staff members back to camp.  En route to the place and back, I had the staff members who were with me tell about themselves.  It was fun to hear of their interests.

Back at camp, we ate lunch.  We then had a general staff meeting.  I led the song, “Sippin’ Cider Through a Straw”.  One line of the song says, “Now 49 kids all call me Pa – from Sippin’cider through a straw.”  Recently after the birth of our little granddaughter, Cali, I counted up my posterity …  So, nine children, eight spouses and 31 grandchildren – that makes 49 kids all calling me Pa.  Ha, Ha!  Funny and rather unbelievable!  (I have been singing that song for many years and now suddenly it has true meaning for me.

After the meeting I went with Larissa’s staff (in her absence) to the climbing tower.  They worked on their lesson plans.  I told all of the camp staff members that their merit badge class lesson plans would be their ticket to getting lunch tomorrow.  This ultimatum has given them adrenaline to work and to complete the tasks.  They are making good progress.   The threat of no food had a greater impact than anything else that I could have tried!

I made a trek to the maintenance shed – also known as the “Rat Shack” for some materials needed by the climbing staff.  I ascended the inside stairs up to the top of the giant 35 foot tower and enjoyed the view from up there.

Then a bunch of staff members were summoned to the archery range and I went there to assist and supervise the fifteen or so staff members – under the direction of Lena, archery director.  She wanted help in putting up two giant tarps that are specifically designed to catch all of the flying arrows as shot by the archer Scouts.


Camp New Fork Archery Backdrop “Curtains”

It took great effort to get these up.  We had to use a bit of ingenuity to get them strung on the long wires that had been put up earlier.  I remembered that as I went up the many stairs of the climbing tower I had seen a “come-along” (winch) on one of the levels.  I sent two staffers to get this unit.  Most of the staff had never seen this piece of “machinery” and I gave them the general idea of how it worked and let them work it out.  They soon figured out how to use the winch to accomplish our needs with the giant tarp.

I spent waiting time at the range sitting on a log with Mason and together we came up with a cooking and food plan for him to use in his cooking class.  I enjoyed the visit with him and he really got into the cooking plan.  He seems quite excited about doing the cooking.  We made a list of items to cook and which Mable the cook will need to order for our use.  We continued our discussion later until we finished the task.  We went to the kitchen to see what food items were already there that he could use.

At the flag ceremony, I had a fun time with the staff.  Deghan was the flag caller and he did a good job at this task.  At dinner I had mini-meetings with various people about their program areas.  The area directors are making good progress with their staff members and the program areas are coming together.  I think that we will have a great program for the Scouts who will soon come.

Lou and Larissa got back to camp at 6:30 PM – after the six hour trip from Sandy.  And they made it alone!  The doctor poked around on Larissa’s stomach and determined immediately that she does not have gall bladder problems.  I guess if the area is touched and extreme pain ensues, it could be gall problem.  But in the absence of that pain, the gall bladder is ruled out.  He diagnosed her with “gastritis” and told her not to eat foods high in acid.  She didn’t think that the doctor gave her much help but he ruled out one more thing.

At 7 PM I gathered the staff who volunteered to run the campwide games each week with the Scouts.  We then staged those same games for the staff team.  The staff had a real fun time doing these games.  The favorite activities were the pioneer games of stick pulling and leg wrestling.  I was very pleased that after all of the staff had competed against each other that I was able (in both games) to beat big boy Jace –  who had won all other matches.  He was quite shocked when I beat him and it was a bit of a dent to his ego but a boost to me to see that I, the old man of the group, could still go for it.

I called all staff to the dining hall for a meeting.  I called the group to order and said that we were going to have a meeting – on kind of a sober subject.  I also used the line that I often use with my children … “and I know that you won’t like it.”  This got all of the staff wondering what that subject might be.  So, after a moment of suspense, I said, “There is only one meeting subject tonight and that is brownies.”  They all sat in shock as that sank in and then they broke out in a great cheer.  It was a funny scene.  The cook had planned to make the brownies for dinner but then had forgotten to bake them.  It worked out well, however.  It was nice to have the brownie break at this point in our program.

As we returned to our cabin tonight, we experienced a wonderful miracle.  We found that Ranger Rod had got electricity restored to our cabin – for the first time this summer.  We were ecstatic over this new and great blessing.  I guess for whatever reason, they had run a new line up to the Hill cabin.  Wow!

Karissa and Kiara were here with us at the cabin tonight.  With electricity – and our outdated miniature VHS movie viewer, we were able to watch the movie, “Angels in the Outfield”.

With all of my time in the sun today I found myself with my arms and face quite burned tonight.


I awoke this morning at 6 AM and looked forward to a good day.  I decided to perform my “Jake the Peg” (3-legged man) act for the staff members at breakfast.  So, I gathered up the leg, the three old shoes that match, the hat, etc.  I also cut the pocket out of the new coat (which I recently obtained from my son, K.C. – it being the long coat that he bought for his mission and seldom used).  I put all of the goods into a plastic bag for transport to the dining hall.  I waited until all of the guys (and gals) had their food and were seated.

But just as I was to go “on stage”, my world changed somewhat.  Lou and Larissa came to me with Lou’s phone and showed me a shocking and very sad message.  It was from my brother, Ray.  He wrote that our sister, Laurie, had fallen a few times in the past couple of days – and fell twice this morning.  The last time that she fell, her husband asked her if she wanted to go back to bed.  She said, “No, I think I will sit here in this chair.”  He went to get her a blanket and when he returned to her, he found that she had died.  So, it appears that she had some strokes and with each one, she got worse.  But, it appears that she probably went out without a lot of pain.  The news was happy sad.  It is very sad that she has died and that we will no longer have mortal association with her – but it is very happy that she is now in a place where she can be free of pain and sorrow and that she will no longer be troubled with the mental issues that have held her bound for so much of her life.  So, this is a time for rejoicing for her.

Much of the rest of the day was spent thinking about Laurie and the positive impact that she has had in my life.  She has truly been a very positive influence upon me and everyone whom she has met.  We will greatly miss her sweet and loving spirit.

It was interesting to see the various text messages that came through the rest of the day.  I had a hard time dealing with the loss and the family’s reaction to the death and surrounding events.

Some of the texts brought forth some interesting facts.  I guess a couple of days ago Laurie’s daughter, Crista, was getting her nails done at a salon.  An unknown Chinese lady came up to Crista and told her that her mother had had a stroke.  This was a great surprise to Crista.

A couple of days ago Laurie asked Walter for a priesthood blessing.  And soon after the blessing she began to pack her bags for a trip.  Walter asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was going on a trip.  Walter asked her where she was going and she said that she did not know – but that she wanted to be ready.

So, that was a sad start to the day.  But, after the initial shock, Jake and I went out to perform.  I entered through the back door of the dining hall and began singing as I came in.  I walked around the dining hall and the staff as I sang and performed the act.  But, I guess that it was hard for the staff to see my third leg and the true picture of me and Jake.  Several staff members later asked me to perform the act again at our evening campfire program.

Travis went to town this morning so this left me in charge of the camp for a while.  I took a big group of staff to take a multitude of white buckets from a junk stack near the handicraft area and to a hidden spot behind some sheds at the front gate.  The place looked better without the buckets where they were.  I then took the same staff group with me and we began a marathon march through every campsite.  I had Grace make note of things that were wrong or needed in each campsite.  We checked each KYBO, removed the 55-gallon blue barrels from the KYBO’s and saw that there was a hose at each site – and many #10 cans for fire suppression.  I guess that in most cases, two troops share the same KYBO.  We checked the fire bowls and removed trash from the entire campsites – but didn’t find too much trash.  We checked for flagpoles and bulletin boards.  We made sure that the picnic tables were positioned in the best places and that they were sitting stable on the ground.  Some tables had been stacked over the winter.  We worked on this project until 11 AM.  We did visit all of the 22 campsites of the camp.

I then gave all staff an hour to work on and to complete their merit badge class lesson plans.  The kids were down to the wire as they knew that what could be a lunch-less lunch loomed in front of them.  A lot happened in that final hour.  I had the staff submit their finished plans to their own area directors and then authorized the area directors to release their staffers – individually or as a group – to go eat lunch.  The system worked.  We got some decent lesson plans developed.

We staged lunch outside under the white dining canopies that had been set up by the staff.   Travis talked of the Monday Scout check-in process and how it will work.  I talked of the Monday campfire program and got ideas of those who wanted to volunteer to participate with parts on the program.  Shooting Sports director, Bruce, had to calm the noisy troops so that I could continue.  I then apologized to the staffers for my inability to hold their attention today – and then told them that I had just learned that my sister had died.

In the afternoon Travis and Lou managed the staff as each area group exchanged with one other area and presented a sample lesson plan for the other to experience and critique.  Climbing, for instance, went to Nature and then they swapped and Nature went to climbing.  Waterfront and Outdoor Skills exchanged.  And the three shooting ranges worked together and exchanged with each other.  Overall, I think that it was a great event for all.

I went to the dining hall and used Lou’s phone to call my dad, mom, a brother and a daughter.  With each call I expressed my concern for all of the family and learned of the ongoing development of details of the passing and plans for the upcoming services.  I learned services will be held on Saturday next.

After the phone calls were made, I typed up the program for our Monday night campfire program so that we can have our first rough run-through tonight.  The “dress rehearsal” – or a more polished version will happen later in our staff week.   I had my laptop computer and worked on it in the dining hall.  As I worked, I saw Ranger Rob Smith in action as he worked to finalize new electrical systems which he has been installing in the dining hall over the past few months.  He finished his work and gathered up all of his tools and piles of supplies that were everywhere – and left for home.  He has been here for the staff week and has done a lot of work.  His wife has been our health officer.  He will return home to the Kaysville, Utah area and his work as the maintenance engineer for the Bountiful Temple.  We have appreciated his assistance.  And I have enjoyed visiting with him about people we have both known in the council.  He talked of Ron Blair who was the camp director and commissioner for years here at New Fork.  Ron was my Woodbadge coach counselor years ago.

Travis and Lindsay gathered all of the staff to the porch of the headquarters/trading post.  They gave each staff member two dark green staff/camp T-shirts for use as “Class B” uniforms.  They also gave each of us a New Fork hat – with the NF letters in gray on the maroon colored hats.  They also gave each of us a nice black jacket to be worn as part of the uniform.  The staff members were all jazzed with the many new items.  It was like Christmas morning.  We then gave all of the staff a free hour to go clean up their cabins.


Camp New Fork staff some in staff hats and jackets

I went to my own cabin to get my computer jump drive and then went to back to the office to print out copies of the plan for our campfire program.  I also printed out copies of my “Mountains to Climb on a Summer Day” poem for distribution to the staff.

At 5 PM the area directors gathered for a meeting.  We talked of various issues relative to their program facilities, equipment, lesson plans and general preparation for the arrival of the Scouts.

We later conducted our regular evening flag ceremony.  The staff all looked fabulous as they were decked out in all of the new staff regalia.  Larissa’s climbing staff presented the flag retreat ceremony.  We finished the ceremony early and had to wait for our 6 PM dinner.  As we waited for the food to be ready, I went over the campfire program with the staff.


Camp New Fork staff presenting flag ceremony

After dinner Travis had a fun program for us to participate in.  (He has incorporated some fun events into our training week – so these things have been fun and beneficial.)  He set up a pipe “tunnel” which he super-heated with a propane blow torch.  He had a couple of branding irons with the “NF” camp brand on them.  We were able to brand our hats, wallets, walking sticks, etc. as desired.  We will stage this same activity each week as the Scouts are here.

We also had another fun event near the end of the branding.  There are two beautiful signs that have been stored in the office – but which needed to be hung outside – in the peak of the log roof of the structure.  One sign says “Trapper Trails Council” and the other says “Camp New Fork”.  Both signs are green and yellow and they look real sharp.  I had asked the High Adventure staff guys to take charge of the logistics of getting these signs hung in place.  This was a bit of a challenge since the signs needed to be hung high in the air and because the steps up to the building were right under where the signs needed to be hung – this making it difficult to get a ladder close to the building.  They got the camp truck and backed it as close as possible to the building.  They then put a tall ladder leaning from the bed of the truck upwards to the apex of the roof.   They also stood the ladder up from the steps.  I held the ladder as Tommy and Jason climbed precariously up with the signs.  Nathan and both Andrews assisted in raising the signs up so that the ladder boys could get the signs up onto the waiting eye-hooks, etc.  They also raised a cow skull with horns – also painted green and yellow – and adorned with feathers up above the lettered signs.   The signs and the skull looked really cool when they were up and hung properly.  As the sign hanging was complete, the staff let out loud shouts and the ceremony signified that we were then truly done and ready with the camp – ready to present it to our first Scouts – who will arrive on Monday.


Later we all converged on the campfire bowl – located below our cabin- and between us and the lake.  Upon arrival, we found that the assigned staff patrol had not yet constructed the two campfire structures.

Anyway, after we got wood and the fire lays in place, we lit the fires and began our program.  Larissa did her “Toast” song … “Yeah, toast!”  Everyone seemed to like this.   Jake and I performed our act.  Each area did an introductory song or skit to introduce the people and their area, badges, etc.  Some of these were good and some were lacking in imagination.  Kameron and Cade led the group in “Father Abraham.”  I first led the staff in this song and now it has become a grand hit with all of the staffers – almost to the point of being obnoxious.    Daghen learned my Waddleachee song and was able to lead the staff in this.  I taught the group “Ging Gang Goulee”.   (Some of the staff learned this as we sang it together in the van as we headed to camp.)   Jace, Theo and Kameron led the group in “Zulu Warrior”.  Katie, the Handicraft director, played her ukulele and quietly led the group in “My Bonnie”.  Max and Dax led the group in singing “Deep and Wide”.  They did a good job.  Will and Theo did the “Banana Bandana” skit and did really well.  Theo had the role of the professor (or whoever) and Will was the dodo who folded the banana at the commands of the professor.  This was a big hit with everyone.  Of course I have been seeing this skit for years.  Will had borrowed some of my stocking safety pins to pin a plastic bag into his pants pocket for acceptance of the mashed banana (and so placed there to try to keep the pants from becoming a banana disaster).

Rachae – with Matt, Will, and others – led the group in singing “Topnotcher” … “I points to myself, Vas is das …” etc.  Their song – and particularly the antics of Will – was hilarious.  The Outdoor Skills patrol performed the movie machine skit.  Kassi told a story and did a good job.  (It takes real talent to be a story teller!)   Scott played a guitar and tried to lead the group in Kumbaya.   He was a bit quiet.  I love having a guitar played on the program – because it adds a great new dimension to the program.  We’ll have to have another staffer out to help lead the group next time – as Scott sings.  Scott also played the bugle that I loaned to him – at the beginning of the program.

Jonathan – a former US Army soldier – conducted a flag burning/retirement ceremony and used several staffers to help display the flag and then to lower it into the burning campfire embers.  I gave the Scouter’s minute and challenged all staff members – through my “Mountains to Climb” poem to make this a summer of personal growth and progress.    I wrote this poem years ago for another staff but have used it traditionally each year thereafter with each new staff that I have worked with.  I later gave out copies of the poem to all staff members.


Take time now, to climb your mountain

Choose your trail and go for the peak.

You have potential, much to gain,

go to work for the goal you seek.


Accept yourself as you now are,

become the man that’s there in you.

Use your strengths and you’ll go far,

as you learn all that you can do.


It matters not what others say,

It’s you who determines your fate.

Be true to you, in every way,

set your mark and pick up your gait.


Climb mountains, ford a river wide,

take time to ponder, think, and pray.

Dream some dreams and then you decide,

what kind of man you’ll be today.


Make spiritual preparation,

seek the Spirit, let it guide you.

In the beauty of God’s creation,

realize all He’d have you do.


You can do anything you desire,

your limits, only you can set.

Make goals to kindle inner fire,

whate’er you want, it’s there to get.


Make special time to be a friend,

help and serve and be a leader.

Look for the chance, a hand to lend,

serve with love and be a leader.


Use your time for study, learning,

give your spirit some time for growth.

Enjoy peace through family yearning,

and feel the strength of inner growth.


Work hard and do it with a smile,

have fun but always true to you.

Push yourself for the extra mile,

climb the mountain, that’s there for you!


You can, if you will, climb the hill;

you have power to win the race.

Live to your divine potential:

Reach high! It’s you that sets the pace!

— @ 1982 Kevin V. Hunt

I then had Matt lead us in the “On My Honor” song and I led the staffers (now lined up behind the fires) in “Scout Vespers”.

We then had various staff members stage the traditional “Honor Trail”.  Those who had assignment stood at 20’ or so intervals along the trail from the campfire bowl back to the parade grounds in front of the office.   As a group came to them, each staffer said their point of the Scout Law – saying, “A Scout is …” and then a brief narrative about what the point means – and then ending with “A Scout is …”.

After all had gone through the trail we gathered as a staff group and formed a large circle.  We then crossed arms and held hands with the staffer on our right and left sides.  We then quietly sang together “Friends”.  We sang, “Friends we are and friends we’ll ever be … where’re we are and wherever we may be … Friends we’ll be … throughout eternity.”  This was a solemn and wonderful moment together and we all felt a special bond as the New Fork Camp Staff.  I guess this is a traditional “ceremony” for the staff here at New Fork.  I liked it a lot.

We dismissed the staffers to their own cabins.  Lou and I also went to our own cabin.  I returned to the campfire bowl to retrieve Jake and his associated parts.  Later I walked Larissa back to her own cabin in the woods – by her climbing tower.

Back again at our cabin, I took the time to fill three 3×5” index cards (both sides) with notes of the day so that I could later transform the notes into full journal entries of the day.  It has been a busy day and a busy week thus far.  We have accomplished some great things as a staff team.


Today was our last day of staff and camp preparation before our first Scouts arrive on Monday.  We ate breakfast together.  At our flag ceremony I presented camp director, Travis Emery, with a neckerchief commemorating the 100-year association between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America.  The staff gave him a great cheer of approval for his work this week and for the past nine or ten months as he has prepared for this camp moment.

Lou and a few staffers went and created the “Takota” campsite where we will stage training sessions for Scoutmasters and other leaders.  They put up a dining fly and got tables and other things organized.  I again sent a team (many of the same that I had with me a couple of days ago) to make a final check on the campsites.

We had several staffers who chose to come late to the flag ceremony (and the earlier breakfast).  Travis was not pleased with these folks (and did as I would have done) and assigned the lie-a-beds to intense KYBO duty.  Ranger Jeremy got the boys supplied with KYBO cleaning supplies and they set off with a great lack of enthusiasm for the tasks ahead.

Travis and I met with a young lady staffer who has had multiple issues this week.  We decided to let this girl return home.  This is always a challenge and one that is not pleasant for the camp directors or for the non-performing person.  But, the action had to be taken.

I had a team of boys with me and we straightened up around the messy maintenance shed.    Cade, Zach “2” and I cleaned up around the full perimeter of the dining hall and we removed a lot of mess – mainly construction residue.   Our efforts made a bid difference.  Then with Tommy, Jace, Kassi, Cade, Zack 2 and Diego, we made a yeoman effort to clean up the dining hall.  We found stacks of messes everywhere.  It was evident that some of these stacks had been there for years gathering dust.  We dumped a lot of the stuff that was obviously not worth keeping.  We got rid of some winter mouse nests and swept the place thoroughly.  I was impressed with the work of the kids on this team.  They just kept going for it – even after most of the rest of the staff had wandered off to their cabins to do their own things.  We moved tables around to be more functional and accommodating to the large group of Scouts who soon will join us for meals.  We set up the salad bar table.  We cleaned all of the windows – inside and out.  And with our efforts, the dining hall looked beautiful and wonderful – a welcome sight for incoming Scouts.  We transformed a junk area into a fabulous dining hall.   I was very pleased with the united extra-mile efforts of the group.

With these tasks complete, we gave the staff a break and allowed them to get out of their uniforms.  Many looked forward to an “R&R” (rest and relaxation) trip into the town of Pinedale – located about 20 miles down the hill.

At 1:30 many of the staff gathered down by the camp gate.  Several older staff members have their own cars here at camp and they are willing to take other staff members with them.  Travis and Lindsay drove the gold van and they had it full of staffers.  I drove the silver van with ten more camp staffers.  Lou and Larissa and a handful of staffers drove our mini-van.

We formed another convoy and headed together for the giant metropolis of Pinedale (with the posted population of about 2,000 people).  PINEDALE WELCOME SIGN Having not been to Pinedale previously, I found the western town rather intriguing.   Many of the structures are made of logs – my personal favorite – so I loved seeing these buildings.  There is one main street – Pine Street – that runs the full length of the town.  There is not even one stop light on the street.  It seemed that more than half of the businesses were saloons and bars.  There is only one grocery store.   Ridley’s is kind of a mini-Walmart.  They have a little of everything in this place – all at pretty high prices.

We went to Ridley’s and all of the staff seemed to evaporate to do their own things – most of them in small groups of five or six staffers.  I noted that they walked Pine Street – up and down – about five times through the afternoon.  They didn’t have any particular plan but just kind of explored and took in everything.

Lou and I went to the Sublette County Library and found it to be a wonderful place.  It also is constructed of log and timber – so I thought it to be fabulous and beautiful.


Pinedale Wyoming Library – a very beautiful place with its log and timber construction

Many of the staff gravitated to there through the afternoon.  Some used the internet.  Some played chess – on the large boards that were a part of the tables.  I went to the internet and read a week’s worth of Arizona and Utah obituaries (a strange habit that I have).  I joined several staffers in the far end of the library.  We sat on overstuffed chairs and couches.   Staff kids checked and manipulated their cell phones – which they haven’t been able to use at the camp.  I took the time to browse three issues of the “Log Home Living” magazines that were on the shelves.

We (Lou, Larissa and I) went to Ridley’s and bought some yogurt, cranberry juice and non-gluten food items for Larissa.  She is still trying to get control of her health situation.

We then went to the Pinedale Aquatic Center where still more staffers had gathered.  I was pleased to find my forgotten coat there on a shelf just inside of the front door.

About 5:00 PM we began driving down the main drag and picked up a staffer or two at various points along the road.  When we finally had our groups together – for my silver van and Lou’s red mini-van – we headed back up the mountain to camp.

Back at camp we enjoyed a relaxed evening.  There was no schedule and little happening.  The cook team gets to have every weekend off (like all of the staff) and the mode for eating is that there is a large section in the commissary/kitchen walk-in refrigerator where food leftovers from the week are stored.  Each staff member is “on his own” to go to this shelf and find some food items that might be of interest to him/her.  They then go wait in line at a dumpy and antiquated microwave oven to get their food heated.  I don’t like this system – but I guess it has its possibilities.  (Another option would be for Lou and I to spend all of our free weekend time cooking for staff – but experience shows that this can be not so fun also.  So, the whole scenario is kind of a losing battle.)

I enjoyed talking with Andrew A., Tommy, and Daghen.  Daghen was down after learning that his Arizona uncle had died suddenly.  I could relate to him a bit in this scenario – after my own events of the past few days.  Andrew A2 came to our cabin and he and I had a good visit outside – in view of others – about mission preparation.

I then sat on the front porch and wrote in a new journal that I brought to present to a staff member.  The ladies and Kiara were inside and they watched a chick flick entitled, “Princess Diaries”.  Jacob 1 – who has a stump hand – but doesn’t let this slow him down any – came over for my wife (camp barber) to give him a haircut.  He brought Daghen and Braeden and I played the game of “Quirkle” with them.  Daghen was pleased to be the game winner.

It was traumatic, but I made the decision that Lou and I will remain at camp and will not go to Arizona for the memorial service for my sister.  We are in a remote Wyoming location and there is not a good way to get a flight from here.  We would have to go to Idaho Falls (about three hours away) to get an Allegiant flight.  And we would have to be gone from Thursday to Sunday – more than half a camp week – to make it happen.  I feel bad about this – especially since all of the rest of my siblings will be there … but under the circumstances, I feel that this is the best decision.

Wow! What a week!  We have worked hard as a camp staff and we are ready to receive the coming Scout troops.  We are excited about the prospects of it all.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin


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

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Excited about a new adventure at Camp New Fork and a blogging Hiatus


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

Well, it is summer time and that means it is time to be off on another summer camp adventure and a blogging hiatus for me – the Scout Blogger.   And yes, that would be true about me.  And yes, I won’t be blogging for a couple of months.  I hope that none of you will go through withdrawals over that news.  But, with the size of this blog and the recent one on Camp Bartlett – posted on The Scouting Trail, you might have enough reading material for a couple of months anyway.

It was 5:15 AM and I couldn’t sleep.  Grrr!  What is the deal …  This was a day off – I told myself.  I was out of school for the summer and I didn’t need to be at the Temple for another four hours for my usual Friday baptistry assignment.  So, I really could have slept in for another two or three hours.  It wasn’t due to my wife’s snoring.  She was sawing zzzz’s beside me, but I’ve learned to deal with that.  And it wasn’t my still hefty “do do list” of everything that I need to get done (in four days) before heading off to the hills. It was more than that!  I lay there musing and my mind began to race about my pending summer camp adventure.  Scout camp!  Wow!  Just the thought of it gets my adrenaline pumping.

Oh, the days of Scout summer camp!

The Scouting summer camp adventure awaits …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Camp Geronimo

Camp Geronimo sign at front gate

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

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

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

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

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

Camp Thunder Ridge

Camp Thunder Ridge

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

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

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

Welcome to Camp Del Webb

Camp Del Webb sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camp Loll

Beautiful “Lake of the Woods” at Camp Loll

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin proposed my mail to LuDen while at Camp Loll

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

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

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

Dutch oven cobbler

Dutch Oven cobbler cooked by Kevin Hunt

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

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

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

Camp Bartlett in Idaho

Camp Director Kevin Hunt at Camp Bartlett in Idaho

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

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

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

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

Kevin Hunt and carved walking sticks

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

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

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

Camp Rancho Allegre

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

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

Camp Three Falls

The famous rock at Camp Three Falls in Ventura County Califonia

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

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

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

Kevin as Commissioner at Camp Geronimo

Kevin as Commissioner at Camp Geronimo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We survived Camp Geronimo 2012

Kevin Hunt and family at Camp Geronimo 2012

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

Kevin and Lou on Rhine River cruise in Germany

Kevin and Lou on Rhine River cruise in Germany

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

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

Kevin and Dan Wright at Camp Jack Nicol

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camp Jack Nicol Cub Camp Staff 2015

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

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

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

Camp Jeffrey in Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin


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

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Helping Pioneer the Varsity Scouting Program


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kevin Hunt and Varsity Scouting in Ogden, Utah

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Dutch Oven Stew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin


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

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