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!”
JULY 10th – SUNDAY
A Sunday in camp … a day of rest with no real duties and no Scouts! I love the Scouts but it is also very nice to have a break one day of the week – to get recuperated and ready for the next week. I slept in to 7:00 AM and it was glorious! I got up and read some chapters from my scriptures. Lou and I ate a quiet breakfast there in our own cabin.
I worked to organize photographs of the camp – and put them into some directories – and with photo names that will make them easier to find later when I do blog articles about the camp. I copied photos from Lou’s phone and my I-pad (which I use as a camera). This proved to be a very difficult set of tasks.
We went to church in the chapel and loved this. Eight troops came in early so joined us for the meetings. Chaplain Bruce actually got to go home this weekend to see his family – so Andrew A. conducted the meetings. He is young and not fully acquainted with the order for such gatherings so things were a bit interesting – but good.
After the meetings we went back to our cabin. We ate some stuff that we had on hand there – rather than subject ourselves to the “weekend shelf” in the kitchen fridge. I separated out photos from that staff week – that I want to include in the blog article that I am working on. I typed twelve pages of the journal package for our first week with Scouts. This also included material about our trip for the Camp Bartlett lodge rededication. After I wrote this material, I copied it to become a separate blog article. I edited out a few personal items that I won’t publish. I accomplished a great deal through the day so I felt real good about it all.
At 5:00 PM Lou and I went to the white dining flies adjacent to the dining hall. We there met with the many area directors of the camp. We again reviewed the evaluations that leaders wrote about last week in camp.
We gathered all of the full camp staff for our usual Sunday night meeting. There is always a lot to cover at these meetings and tonight was no exception. Jacob was presented as the Camp Staffer of the Week. He well deserved it. That boy is certainly a worker! David handed out Troop Friend assignments for next week. He has been creating this list – and has done well. We talked of the national camp inspection – now called “Accreditation” that will happen this week. We announced that a few staffers will have new service area assignments and a few merit badge teaching changes. Max will now go to work at Shooting Sports and Jace and Kameron will teach first aid. Last week’s Staffer of the Week got to choose his favorite dessert – per the cook – and she cooked it for him. So, we all got to dine on scrumptious peach cobbler.
Back at the cabin, I finished writing a journal and blog article package. I also found Camp Bartlett photos (of the rededication) and put them in their own directory for easy future reference on my laptop computer.
Also this evening Lou and I and Larissa finally had the time and electronic files and resources to listen to the memorial services for my sister, Laurie, who recently passed away. This proved excellent. I wish that I could have been there but am grateful to the family who were there – and for my daughter, Jackie, for her reading the tribute and memories that I wrote of Laurie.
Still later I again worked to sort more photos into directories. I hate this task – but it is a necessary and good one for blogging and other purposes of the future. I went down to the dining hall and called my son Rusty and daughter, Jackie. Marinda did not answer. The back of the dining hall is about the only place where we can get service on Lou’s cell phone.
We got a little bit of rain this afternoon. And then the weather turned quite cold – even with the clouds.
I note that my “brain is fried” tonight – after all of the photo and computer work. So, I needed a break … but did type the weekly check-in sheet for use tomorrow. It was great that twins, Jacob and Diego, returned today after being gone last week. They were on staff at a recent NYLT course at Camp Bartlett. They were great before but with this new training they should really be fabulous.
JULY 11th – MONDAY
So, week #4 with Scouts began today. And the day began super cold. It was only 33 degrees per the weather report. But, that was actually for the little village of Cora, Wyoming – located down the hill a few miles. And we are at a much higher elevation that is Cora. Lou and I both about slipped on ice that had formed on our cabin steps. The staff was all frozen at breakfast time and the fire in the dining hall fireplace sure felt good.
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!).
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).
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”
“Threw it out the Window” (with nursery rhymes)
“Web Footed Friends”
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.
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!
JULY 12TH – TUESDAY
I arose this morning at 6:15 AM and got a hot shower. It was wonderful! The weather was still quite cold but the sun came out and made the day pleasant.
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.
I had a great time watching the stick pulling activity. The Scouts really love this competitive game. They also like to challenge the staff for a go at it. Jace and other run the event – so often Jace gets challenged by the bigger Scouts and even leaders. Tonight a church Bishop challenged me to the event. I had beaten most of the staff – including Jace – earlier in the season but tonight this guy really pulled me over. My wrist was a bit strained in the activity.
I made a late call to my son asking for his computer help. But, Google insisted that a call be made to my phone number of record in order to change the password. This could work – in theory – except that I was 1,000 miles away from my home computer in Arizona. So, the challenge continued – and I finally resigned myself to my fate and lack of computer technology. Of course there was always hope – but that hope faded as the season progresses with no changes. Grrrrr!
Lou and Larissa worked late to make sure that the Climbing area – ropes, etc., were properly inventoried – since these use logs will likely be reviewed tomorrow as the Accreditation team comes to visit us. I ended up in a camp office gathering – unplanned – with Travis, David, Mabel, Lindsay, Bruce and I.
JULY 13TH– WEDNESDAY
Today all of the staff was asked to be in full Class A uniforms (dark shirt, gray pants, belt, red staff hat, etc.) all day. Normally we have required Class A’s for breakfast and flag ceremonies – and then the Class B T-shirt can be worn until time for the evening flag ceremony. But the Class A’s were needed today since it was our scheduled camp Accreditation visit day. We had just the staff at the flag ceremony – since today is Wednesday and that means a hike day for the troops in camp.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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!
After all of the morning excitement I went to my cabin and relaxed for a bit. I returned to the office to try to e-mail Climbing photos – of everyone on the zip line – to Jeremy. But, it was no surprise that it was a failed effort with the camp WIFI limitations.
I have noted in previous blog about my “Annual Planning” presentations to leaders. I have been talking up the training to the men in the training classes of Lou and David. One leader came to me today and said that he had to leave camp at 3:00 PM – before my presentation. I offered to visit with him one-on-one so that he would not miss the session – and would thus be able to complete his training goal and certificate. So, we sat on the porch and I gave it to him. I made the presentation later to six men.
David hurt his foot today so he hobbled around with a hurt ankle – and a big bandage. He still managed to complete his campsite visits and other tasks.
Travis and family went to town tonight. Their daughter is in a local swim class – on Mondays and Wednesdays. And after the class, they went out to dinner.
I was on the porch and had occasion to have an injured Scout come to me for help. He had a very major bloody nose. The blood was coming down all over. The medical person was not immediately available so I helped him get the blood stopped and he was soon on his way. I continued to hang out on the porch and talked to many folks. I asked each of them how things were going and how I might help them. It was a good time.
We had five troops compete for the Spirit Stick at the flag ceremony. We then all went to eat at the dining hall, as per our usual pattern. I made a quick trip down to our cabin to get our own electric fry pan that we brought to camp with us. I then managed the branding function. I was pleased to have the fire help of Daxton and Jace. They had fun with the fire as I did branding for the few folks who came for the service. I think that somehow people have got the idea that there was a cost for the branding – so hearing this, I made sure later that no one else got this idea. I did branding for about 30 people. It was a fun activity.
This evening Lou made a special treat for the staff members. (Though many were out with troops for the “intertroop activities” and missed it.) She made a great big quadruple batch of doughnut dough. She took care of the dough – and cut the doughnuts – with the hole in the center. I took over the cooking function. We had a multitude of options for decorating the doughnuts – frostings of various kinds, nuts, sprinkles, sugars, etc. The staff really loved these luscious doughnuts. They were a major hit with everyone. Most of the staffers ate about six doughnuts or more each. Larissa was still at the Climbing tower as they took care of a troop who wanted a troop climbing experience. We sent a big plate of doughnuts down to them at the tower. We had about fifty doughnuts left after the staff had all gorged down all that they could. We had a team decorate each of these – in many creative ways – and we’ll save these for the staff to eat at breakfast tomorrow morning.
It was 11 Pm when I finally got back to my cabin. I was worn out after a rather long day.
One other note of the day: I was finally successful in getting the Nature and Waterfront staff up the tower and down the zip line. It took a while, but I finally got it to happen. The guys were pleased with my efforts.
My wrist was real sore tonight – after stick pulling the other night – and my extensive writing efforts.
And a funny note about Jacob – with his stump arm. One staffer tried to ask him if he ever thought of getting a prosthesis for his arm. But, the person asking the question got a bit mixed up and said the wrong word. So, we all laughed as he said, “Have you ever considered getting a prostitute?” So funny!
JULY 14TH– THURSDAY
It was cold again this morning – so you can be sure that all of the staff had their black staff jackets on.
All of the staff – including those not there last night – loved the doughnuts again today. They were wonderful for breakfast.
I conducted my Senior Patrol Leader meeting at the nature area. We talked of tomorrow’s Bull Run event and I also asked which troops were planning to do troop skits and songs at tomorrow’s campfire program.
I would describe my day today as a “day of service”. I was able to be of service to many people – and it felt good – and productive.
I met a great man today. This was Brooks Blackmer – a “Canuck” – from Canada. I found him highly impressive – and a great man to serve with Scouts. He came to me after the flag ceremony and had a couple of questions about some program areas. So, I took the opportunity to take Brooks around the camp. So, he got his tour and I got to check on all of my program areas. And we had a good visit together. Later Lou met with him individually – sitting out under the shade of a tree near the office – and she gave him the training courses that he missed since he just arrived in camp.
I happened to go to Troop 885 – in a campsite in Lou’s commissioner area. He has a troop of just four boys – and they are all brand new in Scouting. And this is their first camping experience. They arrived in camp late on Monday and the leader found that most of the classes were already full. So, his boys were all in the campsite and were really bored with camp life. I told them that I could get them into some classes – and suggested handicraft badges. The leader was fully supportive and pulled out money sufficient for each of the boys to buy the basket kits in the trading post. I took the boys to the handicraft area while the leader went to the upstairs trading post.
I turned the boys over to staffer Daghen and found him to be a good teacher. Kameron was also doing a great job nearby teaching leatherwork.
I talked with long-time camp staffer (a Scout leader this week in camp) about our program. He is on crutches – so available to talk. He had rave things to say about everything in our camp – so this was good. And he also served as a program director to Delose Conner at Camp Loll.
I visited with a Morty Jenkins – from the Trapper Trails Council Executive Board. He came to camp with just two grandsons – and they camped out near the front entry of the camp. I learned that he was at the original Camp Bartlett lodge dedication – as I was – back in 1980 – and also attended the recent rededication program this summer – as I also did. So, we had good conversation about Camp Bartlett and other common interests. I let him read the recent blog that I wrote about Bartlett and he seemed to like it a lot. I also added a Morty quote to the Bartlett article.
At lunch time I met with the scoutmasters in our weekly luncheon. This is always a fun – and a short – meeting. And the brownies are worth going for.
I later taught a redo of my Planning session to Brooks (mentioned above) and Ricky Hatch of Troop 63, Nathan Ador of Troop 641 and Eduardo Aruna of Troop 193 – all great men! This was time well spent. It was interesting to talk to Eduardo. He did not then belong to our now common church – but he grew up in Santa Paula, California – where my wife, children and I lived for five years. We knew several of the same people – including my friend, Steve Lazenby.
I talked on the porch with James Hansen – another of the noble and great ones. We talked of many subjects – including books that I have written.
A Scoutmaster came and was rather upset with happenings in the Outdoor Skills area. He had sent two boys – who needed 5 requirements between them to complete their First Class badges. They were turned away by the staff there. So, I accompanied him and the two Scouts there. I asked C-Cade personally to help the boys to get their requirements. He rose to the occasion. He got a Scout Handbook – new version – and determined which requirements were missing and what needed to be done for them. He immediately went to work using his resources. He found that some requirements needed to be completed in the Nature area. So, C-Cade, the Scouts and I went over there – with C-Cade calling the shots. He went to Tallin, the Nature Director who pointed us to a Nature staffer who willingly assisted the boys. Then he went to another Nature staffer whom he knew taught the skills needed. This requirement was quickly accomplished. We then went back to the Outdoor Skills area. He utilized the resources of Jacob to complete a knot requirement. Wow! With just a bit of personal help and interest, we were able to help these boys complete all of their requirements for First Class – success!
Then, as a follow-up, at our next Sunday night staff meeting, I brought forward C-Cade and then the two Nature staff, Jacob, and the troop friend. Oh, and I forgot to mention his role. As we were leaving the Nature area, the troop friend to the Scouts happened to there on staff also. He acknowledged the two Scouts by saying, “I’ll see you in a little while in your campsite!” Fabulous! I told the whole staff what a great thing happened on behalf of these Scouts – and how little effort it took from any of us who got involved with them. It was a great teaching moment about customer service and really doing our jobs as Scout leaders.
Again tonight I set up a display table and showed my bolo ties and walking stick collections. Many Scouts and leaders came and took an interest in them.
At the flag ceremony, I was shocked when some of my staff members were late and ran into the flag ceremony – right in front of the Scouts – that was then in progress. I called them out at that moment and sent them back to the porch. The staffers were a bit shocked at me – and didn’t see that they had done anything wrong.
This brings up more conversation on this same subject. Although we had a regular starting time for flag ceremonies – and we did the actual flag part at the exact scheduled starting time, we always had a plethora of Scouts and troops who arrived at the flag ceremonies late. They would come into the parade grounds – even if the flag ceremony was then in process. This always bothered me a great deal – but I figured the troops were under the direction of the Senior Patrol Leaders and Scoutmasters. Then in on an evaluation form, a leader commented on this whole scenario and suggested that I write a blog about this subject – and the Scout way to be on time and not to walk in. So, at his suggestion, here it is. It is a serious subject – about Duty to God, Duty to Country, Reverence, Loyalty, and more. It is something on which we should each train our Scouts. Let’s all make a commitment to teach them the proper flag etiquette and respect.
Last week Camp Director, Travis, had promised us that tonight could be a date night for Lou and me. And we got permission for Larissa also to accompany us to town – since she has been real stressed at the Climbing tower. But, true to duty, Lou first had to hand out beads to those who had earned the “Jim Bridger Bear Claw Awards” (with different requirements for First Year, Second Year, Third Year, and Fourth Year awards). So, she had them spread out on the back table in the dining hall. So, she took care of folks before we could leave for town.
Lou and I really did need a break night. The stress can kind of build up when one goes for it with diligence through many busy days. At the suggestion of Travis and Reed we went to the Mexican Las Cabos restaurant. Both guys raved about how authentic the food is there. So, we went there but we did not share their same opinion. I guess Pinedale is a bit too far “from the border”. Being from Arizona – where we can get “real” Mexican food – plus some that isn’t – I guess we are spoiled. I was surprised that there was not a bit of spice or green chili in any of the food that I ordered. We made a trip to the library and the ladies did some computer stuff. I used Lou’s cell phone (I don’t have one) and called a daughter and my mother – and with whom I left messages at both numbers. Making any phone connections with any family while at camp is only fair at best and usually is non-existent. It is just a real challenge. (And that is not just a Camp New Fork issue!) It seems to come with the territory at 8,000 feet and being out in the tullies. We also went to Ridley’s and bought some root beer float ice cream bars to satisfy my sweet tooth.
We got back to camp at 10:15 PM. The car temperature outside – in the car – was 43 degrees. The temperature went down 25 degrees in less than one hour.
JULY 15TH – FRIDAY
Our granddaughter, Abby, turned age 11 today. We were sorry that we could not be with her for her day. But, we look forward to seeing her here at camp with us next week! Should be fun!
Several staff members – including David – were late for breakfast. So, they all got assigned to KYBO cleaning duty.
The flag ceremony was great, as usual. C-Cade led a new song that I hadn’t heard before. It always surprises me that Camp Director Travis never has anything to say at the flag ceremonies. Not that I care, but I’m surprised.
And speaking of Travis … he left this afternoon and actually won’t be back until late next Saturday night (a week from now). He went to a professional Scouting training session at the Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico. So, this means that I will be wearing two hats from now until he returns – Camp Director and Program Director.
Today was a BSA payday and it was great! We got paid for a full two weeks. Nice.
I met with a staffer, Jace, and we had a good talk about life and how to deal with it. I hope that the conversation was helpful to him.
Lou taught Brooks Blackmer again. He is determined to get through his training.
At lunch time I called a staff meeting. I talked of weekend plan options (including a staff trip to Jackson Hole) and asked staff to let me know what they plan to do. I typed a sign-out sheet to have them log on. I went to the office and created a campfire program with a multitude of troops doing skits. We do/did have a bunch of performing troops this week.
After the merit badge times ended, the troops gathered to the parade grounds for the Bull Run activity. I always love these events. As ever, I gave out the instructions and then sent the various runners off with the staff lead for each leg of the race. I then went with David to get the first runners started from the campfire bowl. We had 4 heats of runners. Runners were to run from the campfire bowl, to the archery range – where they would pass the baton to runner #2 and this runner is to hit the archery target with two arrows. The second runner runs up the east side of camp to Jacob at station #3. There the 3rd runner ties whatever knot Jacob shouts out. This runner then runs over the hill to station #4. There the final runner takes off headed for the waterfront. And at the waterfront, two runners get into canoes and race around two buoys – and also have to change positions in the canoe before returning to shore.
Today featured a new but quite exciting and fun event. The weather cooperated and so we staged a Scoutmaster belly flop event. We told the leaders that for each leader who flops his belly, their troop will get 5 seconds taken off of their Bull Run race time. And we said that the top winners would do it again – and would be judged on redness of belly, style and splash. Some of the men were sure had the bellies to flop. I kidded them that they had obviously been working at the bellies for some time. And their antics were hilarious! I loved the event – as did all of the onlookers who watched the floppers. A fun time for all!
After the Belly Flopping exhibition I went and hung out on the office/trading post porch for a while. At the flag ceremony the staff showed their spirit – and by design – got to keep the Spirit Stick. A troop really did an excellent presentation of the flag lowering. Dinner was great. Everyone in camp looks forward to dinner time – and the kitchen staff comes through with pretty decent food.
The big event of the evening was our big “Merit Badge Madness” event where Scoutmasters come to collect their medical forms, patches and merit badge cards. This is always a zoo in the dining hall as this event goes forward. And there is plenty of noise. And with all of the merit badge card activity, a troop or two is also always there trying to figure out how to mop the large floor. The waterfront did not have their cards done before the Madness started so a few people had to wait on them.
Troops returned to the Parade Grounds at 8:15 PM and Jace and I led them down to the campfire bowl. I loved the Staff lined up in two columns to greet us as we came through them. They looked real sharp in their full uniforms and each had their arms raised in the Scout sign. Very impressive.
As noted, we had a plethora of troops who signed up to do their thing with skits at the campfire program. They all came through and did a great job.
NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – FRIDAY JULY 1Sth
PROGRAM ITEM WHAT TO DO WHO TO DO
Lead-in Drum beats and Welcome Jace and Kevin
Fire Starter Lady of the Forest Jason et al
Loud Song The Window Nathan
Troop Skit Deer Call Troop 350
Troop Skit Hot News Troop 6
Bull Run Winner Award David
Song Aaga Flaga Will
Troop Skit Houdini Troop 641
Troop Skit Christmas Tree Troop 954
Song Bear Song Tannon
Troop Skit The Lawnmower Troop 35
Troop Skit Rough Riders Troop 319
Song Bill Grogan’s Goat Larissa
Troop Skit Caveman Troop 563
Handicraft Awards Awards Katie
Troop Song 5 Days of Camp Troop 563
Troop Skit/Song Hocus Pocus Troop 49
Troop Skit World’s Fastest Mugging Troop 389
Shooting Sports Awards Awards Bruce
Troop Skit Mother, Mother Troop 63
Troop Skit Invisible Bench Troops 465/605/469
Troop Skit The Viper Troop 443
SM Training Awards Outdoor, SM Specific Kevin
Alice the Camel Scouters Kevin
Troop Skit The Bear Attack Troop 373
Troop Skit Candy Shop Troop 644
Troop Skit Airplane Troop 49
Commissioner Awards Jim Bridger, Honor Troop Lou and David
Quiet Song America Andrew and David
Song America Round Rachae
Flag Retirement Ceremony Flag Retirement Jonathan, Scotty & Team
Scouter’s Minute Kevin
Quiet Song On My Honor, Vesper Matt
The campfire program proved to be really excellent. I was very pleased. Again I enjoyed leading my “Alice the Camel” song. I also gave the Scouter’s minute at the end. (Travis was gone but typically Lou and I have done the campfire minute and then he has given his own moment at the end of the Honor Trail.) So, I actually had both times tonight in his absence. As we lead Scouts and troops from the campfire bowl we keep troops together and we lead them one troop at time into the trail. And each troop is joined by one staff escort who leads them through the trail. So, tonight, I led the first troop out of the campfire bowl after my Scouter’s minute and then led them right to my end-of-trail minute at the end.
In the campfire bowl I told two stories from my youth. One was when I was at Camp Geronimo in Arizona. I was twelve years old and was attending a JLCT (Junior Leader Camp Training ) course. This was a fore-runner of today’s NYLT. In the course, we went to camp a week before our troop would arrive at camp. We received leadership training as well as specific training and orientation about the camp. I went up to the course with a couple of guys from my own troop but we got put into different patrols and so hardly saw each other all week. I was thus thrown in with a patrol made up of total strangers. And I was the only boy of my religion and standards in the group. Actually though, they were all great guys. Anyway, I immediately noticed that all of these other guys used the name of our Lord in vain and cussed and swore very frequently in their conversation. I did talk in that way.
After a short time, I knew that the language needed to change. I suggested that perhaps as Scouts that we should not use such language. And amazingly, they all agreed. And then together, we camp up with a plan that anyone caught using such language would be assigned to a pot or other dish to wash after the next meal. So, these other guys soon each had a great number of dishes lined up with their names on them. And the cool thing was that I soon found myself not washing any dishes with the group. About Wednesday they realized that I was not doing any dish washing with them. They said, “Hey, Hunt! How come you’re not helping us with the dishes?” I said, “Well, wait a minute, guys … remember at the first of the week when together we decided that we would not cuss, swear or take the name of the Lord in vain … and that whoever did so would have to wash an extra dish at the next meal?” They thought of that a moment and then I added, “I don’t believe in talking that way so that’s why I have not been doing any dishes.” Wow! That was quite a revelation to them. They could not believe that anyone could go that long without using those words. I talked of the influence of one person upon others.
I then told the story of when I was age 18 and attended a National Scout Jamboree. In the opening (or was it the closing) ceremony, all 35,000 Scouts and leaders were given a small candle as they entered the campfire bowl. And then at a given signal, as all lights were out, all Scoutmasters in the crowd were invited to light their candles. They then lit the candles of the senior patrol leaders. And together, they spread the light on to all other members of their troops. And within a few seconds all of the 35,000 candles were lit and the campfire bowl was as bright as if it were noon. Again I talked of the influence of a couple of people and how their lights can spread to the world.
As I led my troop into the Honor Trail – and as I proceeded with them through it, I felt that the trail was perfect. Each staff member did his/her part in an excellent manner. They said from memory two or three sentences about their assigned Scout Law point and then as they were done, they said, “A Scout is … (and said their assigned point).
As already noted, I finished the trail with my group. I then went to stand on the rock which had two or three candle buckets around it. Then, on this rock, I told the group how important the Scout Law is and what it can do in our lives – and in service to others – throughout our lives. Then as I concluded, I said, “Good night, Scouts” and motioned for them to move on to their campsites. Then another troop – led by another staffer was ready to come up to me. And with them gathered around – as a single troop – I again repeated my message. So, this whole thing was a really great experience for me – and I hope for the troops. This process repeated until all 20 or so troops had been through the trail.
It was heart rending to me as one Scout at the rock with me said to me, “Thank you for a wonderful experience!”
Then after the Scouts were all gone, I was able to talk to the staff and to tell them how great they have been and the great progress that they have made through this summer camp experience together. It was again a special moment as we crossed arms and connected with the two people on either side of us. And then, in this giant staff circle, we sang again those emotional words, “Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be …”
And after all of these words, I announced to the staff that Katie (newly engaged) and her fiancé (visiting here at camp for the weekend) had made banana bread for all of us. We all went to the dining hall and the banana bread was fabulous (that’s one of my favorite words). It had been a very special evening and we had all felt the Spirit as we were serving together.
Though now rather late, the Waterfront area/patrol offered to assist the Climbing patrol do the mountain of dishes in the kitchen. The staff went crazy as they sang every song that we had learned and practiced together. I hoped that they did not awaken all of the troops out in the campsites.
It was 11:30 PM when Lou and I finally got to see our own cabin again. And it was refreshing to know that had had no Friday disaster today. I was very sleepy as I forced myself to write my journal notes for the day.
JULY 16TH– SATURDAY
My son, Rusty, turned age 30 today. How could that be possible? We wished that for this moment we could have been home to celebrate with him on this milestone birthday. We called him a while later and sang “Happy Birthday” with a van-load of staff all joining us in the song for him. This was fun for all of us.
Travis and Lindsay were both out of camp today. As noted, he will be gone for a week and she will return tomorrow night.
We held our closing flag ceremony this morning at 7:30 AM for the troops. We then served the whole group breakfast. They seemed to appreciate this since they were all busy in the midst of preparations to leave camp and to return home. Lou and David then worked to get all of the troops checked out of their sites.
Again the Waterfront staff helped with the kitchen and dining hall clean-up. All of the staffers worked hard at these tasks. Jace and Kameron cleaned the trading post and then sprayed the front porch. I cleaned the office and emptied all of the trash. I sent all of the staff off to clean their areas but once this command is given, all of the staff pretty much disappear into oblivion – thinking that the work week is over and that they are free to do their own thing. That is not the way the morning is designed but it is hard to corral them after the troops leave. I went to help clean the dining hall. Theo helped me with the sweeping. I also swept the outside steps going out from the dining hall. Then I joined the kitchen cleaning crew and helped diminish the big stack of dirty dishes. Jack and Jacob and Will all helped me on the dishes. The problem came, however, when we ran out of hot water and the cook said that the clean-up process would have to commence again later. The cook was also rather anxious to spray the whole kitchen floor with the hoses.
I could see that there was more work than available workers so I sent for more recruits. Then the cook told me that “I can’t have all these bodies in here”. I said, “Well, in that case, we will all leave.” This silenced her and she was content to let us finish the tasks.
Travis and I talked early in the camp season and he said that typically camp staffs make a trip over to the famous Jackson, Wyoming – located about 90 miles – almost straight west of the camp. We determined – that even though he would be gone this weekend, that this would probably be the best weekend for such a trip. So, I announced yesterday that the vans would be available and anyone who wanted to go on the Jackson trip would be welcome.
I was surprised that more of the staff did not want to make the Jackson trip. Ultimately I drove the silver van and had with me Lou, Larissa, Kameron, Diego and his twin brother, Jake, Sebastian, Johnny, Daghen, Brayden and the other Jacob. We headed out of camp about 11:30 AM. Most of the others staffers wanted just to go hang out in Pinedale – as we have done most Saturdays.
As we were pulling out of the camp parking lot, Tommy came up to my window of the van. He brought news that Tallin and crew – including Tommy, Tarren, and Daxton were on their way to Pinedale. I guess they went a bit faster than was recommended for the curve in the road. And in the process of trying to negotiate the turn, he lost control, started to slide – and then over-corrected, and then they went off of the dirt road. Tommy had found a ride back to camp with another traveler on the road. So, we drove him there with our group in the van.
We arrived at the accident scene and found it all rather interesting. We were grateful that none of the passengers were hurt and that all – except the car – were all doing well. As we observed the area – and heard from the four guys in the car, we saw that they hand spun around in a 180 degree turn – to the left off of the road. They spun THROUGH the four wires of the 4-wire wire fence surrounding the Forest Service property. It was truly amazing to try to contemplate how in the world the car made it through this fence. And the wires – though quite loose – were still all attached. One fence post had been broken off as the car slammed into it with its passenger side.
We found some minor damage to the passenger side of the car – but nothing compared to what it could and probably should have been. All of the doors still opened. The main damage was that two tires had been popped off of their wheels or rims through the moving and stopping action. Tallin called his folks and later their insurance company and a tow company who came to the scene and got the vehicle pulled back out – this time under the wire of the fence – and then on to the back of the tow truck.
Our van – under the direction of Momma Lou – went back to the dining hall to get some lunch for these guys – whom it appeared would be there for a while. Daghen decided to go with us on the Jackson trip. Tommy and Tarrin returned to camp and Tallin alone remained to await the tow truck.
So, after this excitement I headed for Jackson with my passengers noted. We drove South to Highway 191 and then west to Jackson. The trip took us just under two hours. We passed through some absolutely Wyoming country. Again, I loved the many log cabin houses and structures along the way. At the Hoback/Alpine Junction we then went north on Wyoming Highway 89 and on to Jackson, Wyoming.
Upon arrival in Jackson we drove around a bit to see what the town had to offer its visitors. We saw in a couple of places some small groups of Camp Loll staffers – but we were on the busy highway and there really was not opportunity to stop to talk to them – though I would have liked to – since years ago I worked with Delose – who is their current camp director. I left Lou and Larissa and five boys to explore the downtown area.
Then at their request, I took three boys – who all hoped to see a movie – and we back-tracked three or four miles to the theater. Our timing at the theater, however, was not good. All of the movies were then about half way through and the next movies would not start until about 4:30 PM. And we did not plan to stay that long. We went back to re-connect with the rest of the group.
As I found Lou and Larissa we were all in the mood for ice cream. I had found a place called “Moo’s” so we waited in the very long line to place our orders. We each got two scoops of exotic ice cream flavors – two scoops in a waffle cone – at $7 for each of us. I guess these folks make the most of their tourist trade.
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.
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. 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 Scout, The Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read!
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