Camp New Fork 2016 -Week 6 – Crosses to Bear and Scoutmasters Flip and Flop with Style

Scout 1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director

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.

BULL RUN SM PLUNGERS 5TH WEEK

5th Session Scoutmaster Plunge – Camp  New Fork 2016

JULY 17TH – SUNDAY

Our granddaughter, Elsie, is four today and once again we miss a birthday while at camp.  But, it’s all good.  We called her from the Church in Pinedale.

I got up at 8 AM – after a late night – and enjoyed a relaxing morning.  I again read from my scriptures.  I then wrote and typed on my journal.

The local bishop of the Fremont Park Ward – under whose direction we are at camp, asked us to come down to Pinedale for services today.  A church general authority was to be at the meetings.  Travis supposedly sent out an e-mail to incoming troops to tell them of our plans away from our camp chapel but I went down to the chapel just to be sure that some troops were not waiting there for us.  It was a good thing that I did.  I found two troops there.  I explained the circumstances and gave them the choice of what to do.  Their own Bishop was there with the group and he opted to conduct services for his own boys.  I helped them get set up with everything needed for the sacrament.

I went back to the cabin and I continued my journal typing project.  About 11:45 AM I trekked to the dining hall.  I reminded staff hanging out there about the plan to go to Pinedale at noon.  Back at the cabin, I changed into my Class A uniform.  (As I prepared to come up to camp, I believed that I would never be attending church away from camp so with the concern of space in the car, I made the decision not to take a white shirt to camp.  Normally I wear white shirts to church – and throughout the full day of Sunday.  I can’t believe that I actually did this.  So, today, I had no choice but to wear the Class A uniform.  But, several other staff members also wore their uniforms so we all did it together.)

We formed our own convoy as we headed down into Pinedale.  I again drove the silver council van – with just Lou and Larissa, Brayden, and Marina.  Many staffers went in other vehicles but also a great many opted not to go at all.  On the way down the mountain we talked of all of the staffers who could have been going with us – but weren’t – now that “mom wasn’t there to get them to church.”  Marina made some very interesting comments.  She said, “It never would have occurred to me NOT to go to church – just because my Mom isn’t here to get me there.”

At the church I made a note of those who WERE in attendance.  Our group included Kameron, David, Brayden, Jacob, Jonathan, Jake, Lina, Will, Diego, K-Kade, Bruce, Andrew, Nathan, Tallin, Golden, Mable, Reed and family – and of course Lou, Larissa and I.

Elder Scott Whiting– the President of the Asia Area Mission of the Church – was the visiting authority.  I guess he has a daughter who lives in Pinedale – and so with his planned visit, he was invited by Apostle Stevenson to speak to the folks of Pinedale.  His wife first talked – about the Good Samaritan and also the Church and places in Japan.    Elder Whiting said that his grandfather used to come up to Pinedale years ago (before Elder Whiting was born) on fishing excursions.  He talked of Hawaii – where he lived for years.  He talked of the Hawaiian leper colony and service performed by LDS and Catholic brethren who served others on the leper island – and ultimately got the disease themselves.   He said that the Catholic Priest was made a “Saint” about ten years ago and Elder Whiting was asked to speak at the service – because of the service of the early Mormon Elder who served with the Catholic Priest.  Elder Whiting issued his own challenge to us to serve other whenever and however we can.

Many of the adult staff members ended up in the Sunday school class with us.  The youth all went to their own class – and no doubt multiplied the local youth group.  We talked of Ammon and his missionary efforts.  During the Priesthood opening exercises, eight staff guys decided to crowd together on one of the short benches.

Bruce and I only went to the High Priest meeting.  The subject was that of family history – one of my greatest interests.  A local Brother Hunter gave the lesson.

After the meetings, many of the staffers kind of ended up together in a room where there was a piano.   David loves to play the piano and so was delighted to get to play.  The surprise was “Stump” Jacob.   Even with his challenges, he was absolutely amazing on the piano.  He really made his stump go for it.  The guy never ceases to amaze me.

Soon it was time to return to camp.  But, the camp break was nice and the services were excellent.

Troop 1966 of Sandy, Utah came to camp this afternoon with 30 people.  I ran into them after their arrival and they were trying to figure out what campsite they were to be in.  I took the leaders to my cabin to check some records.  Nothing showed for them on the reports.  So, I took a Brother Kilpack out and about to check out possible sites for their troop.  And thus, I was ten minutes late to my meeting with the camp area directors.  At the meeting we read evaluation forms and talked of some other items.

At the general staff meeting, Golden

dh-golden-and-daxton-great-photo

Golden and Daxton

– of the kitchen staff – was announced as the camp staffer of the week.  That boy is a real dedicated worker.  In last week’s journal I wrote about a group of several staffers who all had a part in helping just two Scouts finish their first class requirements.  Tonight at the meeting I brought them all forward – and bragged of their efforts before the entire staff.

Ranger Reed and his wife made us a staff treat tonight.  They made us banana bread – using some of the many bananas left from the week – and which became very ripe.  Mabel had also made different pie fillings – of puddings.

Back at the cabin I typed the rest of a journal package.  Lou and Larissa watched “The Secret Garden”.  I went to the office.  I still had no use of Google and the e-mail system – even with the work by my daughter.  Grrrr!  I called my parents – but got messages for both of them.  I made journal note cards for the day.

A few staff members splurged and bought some old television and video sets at the Pinedale thrift store.  But, we have noted an adverse effect  (late to breakfast, etc.) from these and Travis asked all of the staff to turn in the units to the office.  So, I collected these today in his absence.

We talked to our son, Keith, tonight on the phone.  We were pleased to learn that they are expecting a new baby in February.  This will be our #32 grandchild!  So exciting!  I love and welcome each new one that comes!  Can’t get enough of them!

JULY 18TH – MONDAY

As per our usual plan, we had staff breakfast a half hour earlier than usual – to be ready for incoming troops – whom we tell could check in after 8 AM.  But today, the kitchen was a half hour late in producing the food.  And the gravy – poured over biscuits – had no thickening and was just like water.  Yummy!

We conducted our staff flag ceremony and our fifth session with Scouts officially began.  flag-ceremony-kevin-leading-songCamp Director, Travis, is at Philmont all week so this lets me wear both hats – that of Program Director and Camp Director concurrently all of this week.

We found the weather much warmer today than we had last week.  We did our usual porch and front gate set-ups to welcome incoming Scouts.  We had a very busy morning as the troops trickled in.  David did the printed report of the incoming troops.  We received news that handicraft director, Katie, was trying to get back to camp and got stopped by a major fire on Highway 191 from Jackson east to us at camp.  She had to make a major detour to get back to camp – and was much later than she had planned after a four hour detour.

Rachae returned to camp with two new staff volunteers – her brother, Gordon, and their cousin, Tyler.  They were most welcome additions to our too-small staff.   One boy will work at archery and the other will teach Indian Lore.

We were busy with the check-in process all morning.  We finished at 12:50 PM – just in time to rush off to conduct the 1 PM orientation meeting with scoutmasters and senior patrol leaders.  Hardly time to catch my breath …!  I conducted the meeting – with Ranger Reed and Commissioner Lou there to assist and to do their roles.  We received some good questions from those in attendance.  Lou and David had NO trainees for their training.

In the meeting, a plumber, Jake Moss, came to me and asked me if we had any plumbing problems that he could work on while here this week.  I told him that I could smell a gas leak at our cabin water heater.  He willingly came over to assist me.  I took him to the cabin and he was able to quickly fix the problem.

I typed up the Monday night campfire program.  I decided that I needed to cut out a lot of the program.  It was just too long last week.  I even cut out my own “Jake the Peg” act – as well as Larissa’s “Toast” – and some other acts.  The High Adventure group used my laptop computer in the office to show their incoming group a river safety video.

I noted that we have a wheelchair guy here in camp this week.  And I soon noted that we did not have a KYBO that he could get into with his chair.  I immediately talked to Ranger Reed to get a small ramp built up into the KYBO.

The afternoon found me with a visit to the Nature area.  I remained there for a while talking to staff and observing their operation.  They always do well.  My next check stop was the Waterfront.

Back at the office, I still could not get into my g-mail system – even with a new password.  Grrr!

At the flag ceremony, I invited Daghen to lead my old favorite Waddaleachee song.

wadaleachee-song-by-deghan-and-jacob

Daghen and Jacob leading the Wadaleachee song

After the song, I told the Scouts that this is one of my all-time favorite songs.  I told them that I even remember the EXACT moment when I first learned this song.  In a previous blog I wrote about the NYLT youth training course that I attended at Camp Geronimo as a new patrol leader.  As a part of that training course, the staff took us to the top of the Mongollon rim – which ran horizontally high above most of the camp.  And on the overnight up to “the rim”, staff taught us the Waddaleachee song.  I loved it then and always have since.

As ever, I gathered and quieted the group with silent signals.  I had a hard time getting much enthusiasm from the Scouts so I awarded the Spirit Stick to the staff.  They were elated!  And as usual, I dismissed the Scouts per their arrival order to the parade grounds.  We had a very full dining hall once everyone was in there.

The kitchen crew made BBQ chicken for our dinner.  This turned out pretty good.  They also served mashed potatoes (which still need some work to bring them to perfection), rolls, our usual salad bar, and cake.   I actually passed on the potatoes and ate my roll with gravy on it.  Good stuff!  We all enjoy the fresh salad bars that we have each week night when Scouts are here.  It is wonderful!

After the meal, I rushed to my cabin to pick up my staff jacket and also a flashlight for the campfire program.  Will filled in for Jace on the drums for the campfire lead-in.  Will does a superb job at EVERYTHING that he undertakes – and I see him as a very major asset in our camp program.  He is especially great at song leading – and he steals the show with everything that he is a part of in the campfire program.

campfire-rachae-and-will

Rachae and Will in a hilarious campfire act

Such a great funny kid!  I took many photos of the program – for future reference.  And believe it or not, the two fires (prepared by the Waterfront staff) were PERFECT tonight.

Once again I enjoyed leading another of my favorite songs – “Ging Gang Goolee”.  As I began the song, I told the story of the song.  Scouting lore indicates that the song was written by Lord Robert Baden-Powell as he prepared for the first international Scout Jamboree in 1920.  He anticipated Scouts to come from 24 or more countries for the event.  And this song is “jibberish” to be sung and related to by the Scouts of those many countries.  And High Adventure Nathan even found the Ging Gang Goolie on his phone internet and had me listen to it.  Such a classy song!  Even after I cut several program items from the campfire program, the events still went an hour – so still a bit over the optimum 45 minutes.  It was, however, a very good program as the following agenda indicates:

NEW FORK MONDAY NIGHT CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – JULY 18, 2016

PROGRAM ITEM                            WHAT TO DO                             WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                              Drum beats                                 Will, Ushers

Welcome                                                                                                    Kevin

Fire Starter                                       Caveman                                       Max and company

Loud Song  (Stand Up)                  Grand Old Duke of York           Matt

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Outdoor                 Surviving Dwarfs

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Waterfront           Ice Fish

Song                                                   Ging Gang Goolie                        Kevin

Staff Patrol Intro                            Area Intro – Handicrafts         Mighty Mallets

Skit                                                     Banana Bandana                        Theo and Will

Song                                                   Deep and Wide                            Dax and Max

Staff Patrol Intro                           Area Intro – Shooting Sports   SS

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – Climbing                 The Rapellants

Song                                                 Topnotcher                                      Rachae and Company

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – Nature                      Golden Nature

Skit                                                   Movie Machine                               Surviving Dwarfs

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – High Adventure    The A Team

Song (Stay Seated)                       Herman                                           Golden Nature

Skit                                                   Raisins                                             Lindsay and Crew

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

Quiet Song (Stay Seated)          Kumbaya                                           Scott

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                      Lou

Quiet Song                                    On My Honor                                    Matt

Quiet Song                                    Scout Vespers                                   Kevin

Quiet Song                                    Kumbaya – Scout Law                   Kade

After the program, Lou and I returned to our cabin and there enjoyed our own “s’mores” – but cooked in a microwave.  smoresThese microwave s’mores are good but they don’t hold a candle to the real thing toasted over the campfire.

I also wrote out several note cards of my journal notes of the day.

JULY 19TH – TUESDAY

Staff breakfast was back to its usual 7:30 AM start time this morning.  But though present in body, many of the staff appeared to be sleep walking.  I went to conduct my meeting with the Senior Patrol Leaders.  With the steady flow of SPL’s, however, I had to repeat my speech at least four times.

C-Cade led “Father Abraham” at the flag ceremony.  A troop presented a new “Spirit Stick” to us at the program.  This was good – since one week we gave the Monday night Spirit Stick to a high adventure team – who went on the river the next day – without coming to return the stick at the next morning flag ceremony.  So, we were in need of this new stick.  Now we will have enough to get us through the rest of the camp season.

I ended up making two or three trips back to my cabin this morning.  A Scout leader got locked out of his car and asked if I had a wire coat hanger.  I didn’t know where else there might be such a thing in the camp but I knew that we did have one in our cabin – a souvenir from our tub draining escapades earlier in the season.  I took him there to get it – and he was pleased.  I also got the chord to my I-pad so that I could get it recharged.

I again hung out on the porch of the headquarter building and had some great customer service chats with many people.

office-hang-out-leaders-and-scout

Brian, the wheelchair guy, went with me to the KYBO and together we measured and looked to see if he could get his chair inside.  kybo-typical-at-new-forkHe was able to maneuver the turn.  A while later, Ranger Reed, constructed the small ramp to get him from the trail up into the building.  Brian was a very happy camper.

As I went to lunch, I met a young high adventure Scout.  He had got sick in camp last night so was not able to leave with his group today as they headed for the river.   I hadn’t known about him but I guess others herded him to the first aid shack to be “baby sat” for the rest of the day today.  As I talked to him, I felt bad that he was having a wasted day.  This Jace told me that he was now feeling much better.  I suggested that we could get him into some merit badges so that he would be wasting his time here in camp away from his group.  I got him over to the Waterfront for the afternoon.  I connected with him later in the afternoon and was very pleased to learn that with the customer service help of the Waterfront staff he was able to earn the full “kayaking” merit badge in his three hours down there.  waterfront-kayaksAnd he was then ready to go back to the river with his group – and one of the High Adventure staff came back to get him.  So, that was a personal success story.

After lunch I taught the Outdoor Skills session #1.  The guys and I went together to the rifle range for our usual Tuesday meeting and training held there.  And again after the rifle range gathering, I went back to the Takota training campground to teach my Planning session to three leaders.  I love teaching this class!

Zach M, another great staffer, was gone for two weeks but returned this week.  It was so great to have him back.  He even offered to teach a new Astronomy class this week.  We have not offered this in the past.  Katie led her “Princess Pat” song at the flag ceremony.

There were other choices at dinner but I opted just to have tater tots and the salad bar.

This evening we held our camp wide games.  And since I will be gone tomorrow night – when I normally do branding, I opted to offer it tonight as one of the events of the games.  I actually liked this schedule better than the past.  brandingIt worked quite well.  And of course, we put up a rope safety guard to keep Scouts back from the branding and also the knife and hatchet throwing at the parade grounds.  It is so fun to watch the Scouts as they participate in these Tuesday camp wide games.  They all seem to have a really grand time.

Staff bugler, Scott, played taps tonight – at exactly 10:00 PM – as he generally does.  I brought this vintage Scout bugle with me to camp from Arizona.  A long-time and really great Scouter friend, Mel Scout, gave me this bugle a couple of years ago.  I don’t know how old it is – but it is actually made by or for the Boy Scouts of America – and bears an official seal.  Upon learning that this Scott plays the bugle, I presented it to him for the summer.  He made a rope handle for it and has often been seen with this strapped over his shoulder.  I have loved his bugle sounds.

I finally made it back to the cabin at 9:45 and joined Lou and Larissa and Kiara for the last of their “Secret Garden” movie.

JULY 20TH – WEDNESDAY

I arose this morning at my usual 6:15 AM.  It is nice to “sleep in” here at camp – since at home I have to get up at 4:15 AM to get ready to drive my school bus.  I did my usual scripture reading before breakfast.

As I conducted the flag ceremony only the staff were present.  All of the troops were out on their Wednesday hikes.  I gave the staff instructions to get them through my absence of a day or more.  Ranger Reed is also trained in camp administration (from the National BSA Camp School) so he was able to take over for the day in the absence of both Travis and I.  I mentioned several staff projects to be completed with Reed.  I assigned David to conduct the flag ceremony tonight – and possibly tomorrow – in my absence.  I also sent the staff to the archery and rifle ranges for some staff shooting up there – since they had no teaching responsibilities for the morning (again because of the hike day for troops).  The staff was quite excited about my suggested staff activity morning.

Since before camp, Lou, Larissa and I have been excited about and have looked forward to making a road trip today to Rexburg, Idaho.  Our eldest daughter, Jackie, has worked for the past three or four years in the BYU-Idaho “Pathways” program.  And even as wife, mother of four – including two boys born during her schooling time – completed all classes and requirements needed to earn her BS college degrees.  She had years ago – when single – graduated with an Associate’s degree from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.  So, today was the day for our trip for her graduation.  She and her family came up from Arizona for her to attend the graduation ceremonies.

Long before camp Travis had approved our plan to be gone for the one day.  When the trip was first planned, it seemed like a real easy day-trip.  The challenge, however, was that the graduation event would not start until the late hour of 8 PM.  But, the trip would only be about two and a half hours away – so we figured that we could drive there this afternoon, attend the program and then make a late trip back to camp.

“Mother Nature” did not cooperate with us, however.  In fact, “she” worked very much against us.  Over the weekend a very major fire – near “Bondurant”, Wyoming – was started on Highway 191 by lightening.  And this fire spread rather quickly all around the area.  And with the fire, the highway was closed to all traffic.  So, no vehicles could travel east or south out of Jackson – located about half way from Camp New Fork to Rexburg.

This meant that Lou, Larissa and I had to take a major detour to circumvent the fire.  We had to take Highway 189 clear south to Kemmerer and then west to Highway 89, into Idaho – and then north to Rexburg.  So, we were not real excited as we headed off on our trip.  The detour added an extra four hours to our travel plan.

We left camp about 9 AM to have plenty of time to make the trip.  We stopped for milk shakes – even at this early hour – at nearby Daniel Junction.  We had still maintained hope that the road would open up today – and there was some talk of this, but at Daniel Junction, we faced the roadblock and had to turn around a mile or two.  We drove south to Kemmerer and then went west on Highway #30.  We went to Montpelier (located near Camp Bartlett) and headed northwest.  We then went west a long way – and ultimately connected with the I-15 Interstate that headed us north toward Idaho Falls and Rexburg.  We made a very welcome stop at the A&W root beer place in Pocatello.

a-w-restaurant-in-idaho

A & W Restaurant in Pocatello, Idaho

A&W has kind of gone the way of the world in our native Arizona – so seeing such a place – open and thriving – was wonderful indeed.

We arrived at the home of our daughter, Lana – Spencer and family (the same who had brought David to camp for us).  They live in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  We got there about 3:30 PM.  It was really great to see them all again.  Jackie and Michael and their family were there also from Arizona.  So, we had a grand gathering with three of our daughters, two husbands, and nine grandchildren gathered together.

Upon arrival in Idaho Falls, we learned that all electricity in the town was then currently off.  We had heard rumors of such being the case in Rexburg too.  Luckily the power did come back on after a while.

We went to a new pizza joint called “Rizo’s Pizza”.  This place was unique in that it is a “build your own pizza” place.   This place has a variety of crusts, toppings, etc. and diners can pick and choose from their multitude of options.

What a great place!  I went all out:  I got a personal pizza with BBQ sauce, Canadian bacon, and various veggies.  And this was topped off with a pizza cookie with ice cream.  Yummy!  And it was great activity with all of us there together.

After dinner we made a stop at Walmart.  Yes, a WALMART!  It was our first visit there in over six weeks!  I bought shampoo, some goodies, and guess what else … a white shirt and tie!  I was a pretty happy camper!

We followed Spencer on the freeway and traveled up to Rexburg.  We parked in a faraway lot near the new Temple there.  We walked to the Hinckley building – which houses a giant gathering room – like two or more chapels connected together.  We met up again with Jackie and Michael and the children.  We took some graduation photos of our graduate.

jackie-as-graduate

Jackie Bowles as BYU-Idaho College Graduate

She looked happy and wonderful.  We sat by Michael’s folks.  His mother was also a graduate of the same program that Jackie had been involved in.  It was nice to have nine of our grandchildren there with us.

Larissa was pleased to connect again with one of her missionary companions.  She had planned to room with this gal when she goes up to BYU-Idaho in January.  But, it turns out that the companion will be getting a new roommate.  She told Larissa today that she is engaged and will be married in October.  Larissa went into a state of joyful shock over that news.  But, she was sure sad about losing her roommate.

We had to shuffle kids around a bit to find the right combination between adults – where they would be able to endure the program somewhat quietly.  We learned that there were various different graduation programs all over the campus.  It was amazing to hear of the logistics of the whole graduation scenario with so many people.graduation-byu-idaho

Jackie graduated in the field of “Marriage and Family Studies”.  The degree is kind of like counseling.   The whole program was wonderful.  We enjoyed it a lot.   And we were so proud of our daughter, Jackie.

With Jackie’s graduation, we now have three sons and one daughter who have graduated with their BS degrees.  And two other daughters have completed their Associate’s degrees.  This is very exciting for us.

We had hoped that the road with the fire might be opened by tonight but this did not happen.  And since the program did not get over with until about 10:00 PM, we didn’t want to start a six hour trip back to camp at that hour.  So, under the circumstances, we knew that it would be best to stay overnight – and then get an early start tomorrow – even if it means being away from camp for a bit longer.  So, we returned to Lana’s place in Idaho Falls – all of us – and spent the night there.

JULY 21st – THURSDAY

We arose at 4:30 AM and once again checked the road situation.  It remained closed.  So, we left Idaho Falls – to go back the LONG way to camp.  Jackie and Michael and their family followed us all of the way to camp and will plan to spend a couple of days with us there.

So, with the fire, we had to travel another 200 miles out of our way.   This made for a real long trip.  We stopped at a rest stop on Highway 98 and another in Kemmerer – the same that we stopped at with staff en route to camp – for drink and drain.  We did not go the same way that we had traveled to get to Rexburg.  This time we went down on Highway 98 – through Alpine.  This was kind of the reverse of the trip that we had taken to Camp Bartlett.  We drove south to Highway 26 and then south on 89 to 30 East to get back onto Highway 189.

All while we were traveling Larissa was really worried about her climbing tower and how little that the staff could do there without her (the camp school requirement thing).  As she was gone today, she missed the morning “A & B” climbing classes and she wanted to be back for the 11:00 AM free time.  But, Larissa had preplanned so that her staff did extra climbs on Tuesday – so that the staff could do ground and book work stuff today in her absence.  So, really, the AM classes missed out on nothing.  Ultimately we did get back to camp just a few minutes after 11:00 AM.  We drove her right to the tower – so as not to lose any more precious moments.

We could not drive up to our cabin in the usual manner.  Ranger Reed had some service projects going with Scout troops and the truck was in the road in the way.  He has the Scouts removing huge “slash piles” of wood.  Troop 1966 – with LaMont Munn – one of my favorite camp Scoutmasters – was out there helping today.   He has really worked to get these cleaned up throughout the camp.  And I, for one, really appreciate his great efforts to get the camp cleaned up.

We sent Jackie and Michael and the kids directly to the dining hall for lunch.  Lou and I headed straight to the Thursday Scoutmaster luncheon.  The meeting went well and was positive.

At the end of the meeting, however, a “snake in the grass” reared its head.  This came in the form of a very negative Scoutmaster.  This guy proved to be very negative.  He had come up with a multitude of things that he felt were wrong with the camp – and he was ready to jump down on us with both feet.  He had also been around to campsites to rally other troops against us.  He kind of took over at the end of the meeting – after he ushered the Scouts away.  (David was supposed to conduct the SPL meeting this morning in my absence – but had somehow forgotten it.  So, as a plan B, he had invited the SPL’s to join us for this meeting (which is usually just Scoutmasters).  This leader was surprised when he had no following of adults stay to support his position.

Lou, Reed and I remained to listen to this leader.  He went through his long list.  Lou and I then spent the afternoon with him and for him – trying to correct the things that he had mentioned that bothered him.  Ironically, one thing that really bothered him was the absence of Larissa on the climbing tower.  He said that her absence would keep his Scouts from using the climbing tower and hence would not be able to get the merit badge.  But, upon investigation, his boys were enrolled in the afternoon class – which hadn’t yet happened – so they did not miss even one class time – and were able to complete the badges in good form through the classes that did happen this afternoon.  But, the guy really made my daughter cry with his tirade against her.

The handicapped KYBO was another concern.  I had taken immediate action on this issue the moment that I had realized that we had a problem for the wheel chair guy.

Anyway, the attitude of this leader had a very detrimental effect upon me and other members of the camp administration team.  I wondered how this very negative person could possibly have any kind of a positive influence upon his Scouts.  But, perhaps they get to see a different side of him.   The whole scenario kind of dragged me down over the next couple of weeks.  I could say that it became a hard cross to bear.  And incidentally, after hearing the guy’s laundry list, I had three or four guys who had remained at the meeting – but who were silent – come to me to say that this had not been their experience at all.  And we had many great comments at the end of the week on the evaluation forms.

In the afternoon I took Michael and all of the kids except Darren on a full tour of camp.  And through the tour, I checked on all of the program areas.  Everything looked good.  I had to laugh at one little incident along our way.  Blake – age 7, needed to visit the KYBO.  He came out and was pretty grossed out by the whole scene.  He told his sister, Abby, age 11:  “You don’t want to go in there!  It smells like the petting zoo!”  I noticed that she took his word for it.

Later I enjoyed some quiet time to myself for a few minutes at the white dining area.  I wrote some journal notes.

It was nice to be back for the flag ceremony.  It sounded as if they did not start on time last night – and this morning – so the one leader was upset about this.

flag-ceremony-troop-in-full-uniform-great

Troop in full dress Class A uniforms at Camp New Fork

 

At dinner time it was great to visit with Jackie and Michael and their family.  We got at the end of the line – as is my usual practice.  We ate outside under the white dining flies and this was nice.  The boys are all loving all of this dirt up here.  It is funny to see how much they are having fun with it.

We had no camp wide events tonight so this was nice.  However, Lou and I needed to be in the kitchen to help the Shooting Sports group do the dishes.  Actually, High Adventure was assigned but of course, they were out on the river.  And this meant that the admin team needed to fill in for them.  So, it was Shooting Sports who helped us.  The kitchen and dish cleaning was and always is a great deal of work.  Meanwhile, Jackie and Michael took their kids to the tower and Aunt Larissa let them go up the climbing tower wall and the older two kids even got to ride down the zip line.   They had a grand time.  And even Caleb, age 3, got to go up and down the wall – with help from Larissa.

In light of the above stuff, I was not a happy person tonight.  I was glad that I had a night off to unwind and cool off a bit.

JULY 22ND – FRIDAY

I was up at 6:15 Am after a good sleep.  Jackie and Michael were again here and they went to breakfast with us.  At the flag ceremony Michael took several good photos.  In fact, he took photos throughout the day.  I later had him copy them to my computer and I have used some of them in my blogging articles.  Later Jackie and Michael took the kids around camp and they got to see and do many things.  They made a project at Handicraft and were pretty happy about that.

I typed up the campfire program and this included all of the troops who wanted to participate with songs and skits.  I continued to work on the Camp Bartlett rededication blog.  I imported a lot of photos from Lou’s phone to my I-pad (and from there to the laptop) and into the Bartlett blog.  I was pleased that the internet actually worked for a little while and I was able to get the Bartlett blog published.  The camp WIFI is totally unpredictable and often does not allow work on things such as my projects.

At lunch time in the dining hall I had all staff members assigned to do points of the Scout Law at the Honor Trail stand up in order of the 12 points.  I do not want to have any surprises (staff being at their posts) tonight – or ever.  So, I made sure that we have all of the points covered.  I showed the completed Bartlett blog to Matt, Will, Diego and Golden – the New Fork staff men who accompanied Lou and me there for the rededication program.  They thought the article to be neat – and they all liked seeing reference to themselves in the article.

The merit badge classes ended at 3 PM.  And then a few minutes later, I had the troops gather to participate in the weekly Bull Run event.  The Bull Run calls for five or six runners or participants in the various “legs” of the race.  So, once the group was gathered, I sent each leg group off with staff members.  I then took the first leg runners down to the campfire bowl.  I watched as David did the send-off for each heat of participants.  The Scouts and leaders always are baffled at the beginning of the race when we tell them that they “have to start with one cheek on the ground.”

bull-run-start-one-cheek-to-ground

New Fork Bull Run race with starters and “their cheeks to the ground”

But, we never tell them what cheek that has to be.  So, some of them use the cheeks on their heads and some use the other side.  Anyway, it is always fun to watch as everyone tries to figure things out.

We had rain and thunder so we had to cancel the water and canoe part of the Bull Run event.  This was a sad deal for everyone.  We then went 30 minutes without thunder and lightning.  So, we talked about it and decided to resurrect our plans for the Scoutmaster belly flop splash.  We had a great many adult leaders who really got into the action.  It grand fun to watch some of those big boys flip and flop to impress their Scouts.  Some of those guys have been working on those bellies for a long time – just to be prepared for such a flopping occasion.  I took several photos – including some of those who were on shore just watching the event – and who were rooting for their favorite flopper.

After the initial flops we had judges who voted and selected the best of the best.  These guys had the “privilege” of doing it all again.    Each participant was judged on the redness of their bellies, their style and the size of their splashes.  So, we had some guys who went all out to excel.  In all, it was a very fun event.  Everyone had a good time – even those guys who had the really red bellies and who did the flopping.  I think that they enjoyed the opportunity to show that they were “real men” – with all that went with that.bull-run-sm-plunge-week-5

After the Bull Run and the Scoutmaster splash the Scouts and leaders all headed back to their campsites to get changed into their uniforms.   Most of them made it back in time for the flag ceremony.  The staff did the “Funky Chicken” song that talks about the various areas of the camp and says funny things about what staffers might do at each place.  Brayden led the song tonight – his first time to do it.  He did well.  I love that song:

Funky Chicken

[Call] “Let me see your funky chicken!

[Response] “What’s that you say?”

[Call] “I said ‘let me see your funky chicken!’”

[Response] “Show me the way”

flag-ceremony-funky-chicken

New Fork Scouts doing the “Funky Chicken” song about the staff

Music Notes – Sung in call/response form; Verses are changed by replacing “funky chicken” with a camp area name. I.e. “Let me see your handicraft!” (as pictured as verse two)

Motions & Actions – First verse flap elbows like chicken wings. Other verses vary with area announced.

Jackie and Michael were again with us at dinner.  We dined on pork ribs, rolls, salad and gravy.

The High Adventure group managed the branding tonight.  They are really great at this task.  I can do pretty well on wood and leather but I tell the Scouts to save their mugs and other things for the High Adventure team on Friday.

We had our “Merit Badge Madness” event after dinner.    This is where we have large envelopes made up for each troop.  And in these envelopes we have their merit badge cards – including those passed and partials, patches and medical forms.  We hand these out after dinner and then the leaders go through everything – while the Area directors and staff are still present and hanging around – to make sure that all is in order.  This process works pretty well.  But, it is always a relief when the event is done and the merit badges for the week are “put to bed”.

I went to our cabin for a few minutes.  Lou and Jackie and Michael and the children had already left to go to the campfire bowl.

Again Will – a high school drummer – handled well the task of the lead-in of Scouts to the campfire bowl.  He and I met the troops at 8:15 PM and headed to the campfire bowl with them.  Again, it was a fabulous experience to be at the front of the line as I led the Scouts and the 20 or so troops down the trail and then through the two parallel columns of the staff standing at attention – with their Scout signs held high.  This is really a fabulous thing for me – and I hope that it is for the staff and Scouts too.

campfire-troops-marching-through-staff-great-photo

Scouts entering New Fork campfire bowl through 2 columns of Staff members at attention and showing Scout sign

We had a really great campfire program tonight.  The troops did a super job on all of their “performances” of their skits.  Here is our program for the evening:

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – FRIDAY JULY 22nd

PROGRAM ITEM                WHAT TO DO                               WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                 Drum beats and Welcome        Will and Kevin

Fire Starter                           Lady of the Forest                       Max, Jason et al

Chant                                     One Fat Hen                                  Nathan

Troop Skit                             A Bear’s Best Friend                   Troop 300

Run-on                                  #1                                                      Troop 145

Troop Skit                             J.C. Penney  (with pants)          Troop 182

Bull Run Winner                Award                                               David

Song                                      Aaga Flaga                                       Will

Run-on                                #2                                                        Troop 145

Troop Skit                            Skittles                                             Troop 741

Troop Skit                            Mosquitos                                        Troop 617

Run-on                                #3                                                        Troop 145

Song                                      Troop Song                                      Troop 63

Troop Skit                            Indian Time                                    Troop 509

Jokes                                      Jokes                                                 Troop 423

Troop Skit                            Olympic Blanket Toss                  Troop 320

Song                                      Pepe Song                                         Troop 1966

Run-on                                 #4                                                        Troop 145

Troop Skit                             Motorcycles                                     Troop 414

Handicraft Awards             Awards                                              Katie

Troop Skit                             Invisible Bench                               Troop 229

Song                                       I am Cow                                            Troops 348/470

Troop Skit                            The Diner                                            Troop 41

Shooting Sports                 Awards                                                 Bruce

SM Training Awards         Outdoor, SM Specific                       Kevin

Alice the Camel                  Scouters                                              Kevin

Commissioner Awards     Jim Bridger, Honor Troop             Lou and David

Quiet Song                            Song                                                    Andrew and David

Quiet Song                            Scout Vesper                                    Matt

Quiet Song                            America Round                               Rachae

Flag Retirement Ceremony                                                          Jonathan & Team

Scouter’s Minute                                                                            Kevin

Quiet Song                           On My Honor, Vesper                   Matt

Honor Trail                          Honor Trail                                      Staff

Once again I had the opportunity to present the Scouter’s Minute.  I used the same thoughts that I used last week.  The Scouts seem to like these personal stories of mine.

And once again I led the first troop  – Troop 1966 – “the Red t-shirt group” and my friends in it – through the Honor Trail.  flag-ceremony-red-tshirt-troopI gathered this group to the “rock” and presented my little moment that I had done last week – about the importance of the Scout Law as a guide for life – and even a way of life.  I bid them adieu and then got ready to great each new troop as they came under the big arch – escorted by their staff members.  This whole experience was a great one for me.  I found it a great blessing and opportunity to be with and to share these special moments with each troop.

After all of the troops had departed for their campsites, I gathered the staff around – for my rare opportunity of having them to myself (since Travis was still gone).  I told the staff how great I believe that they are – collectively and individually.  I expressed gratitude to each staffer for their talents that they have shared with us through the summer.  We truly have some great staff guys (and ladies).   Our “friends” circle was extra special.  Those are special words as we sing together “Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be … Where’er we go wherever we may go … friends we’ll be through all eternity.”

Back at the cabin Jackie and Michael transferred a plethora of photographs to my own computer.  I was very happy to get these photos.  We enjoyed our last night visit with Jackie and Michael and Abby.  It has been a real fun day today – and it was great to share these special times with Jackie and family.

One other note of the day:  As I made my rounds through the camp today, a found myself at Outdoor Skills as the adult leaders were there for one of their training sessions. One leader began a conversation with me.  He said, “From your many years of camp leadership experience, what would be your recommendations for making the most of a summer camp experience.”   That really was an excellent question.  I gave him some answers but the more that I thought of the question through the day, the more ideas came to me on the subject.  I decided that my ideas might be helpful to any and all Scouting leaders – new and experienced – as they prepare for camp – especially for next summer.  I made a lot of notes on some of my cards so that I can write a full blog article on the subject at a future time.

JULY 23RD – SATURDAY

Our tax refund money finally hit our account today.  It has only taken three months to get to us.  This will help our financial strain somewhat.

I woke up at 6 Am and read my scriptures – after my hot shower.  I conducted the closing flag ceremony for the troops.  I led the group in that great song, “The Morning Limbering”.  This is always such fun.  I then dismissed the troops and the Scouts to eat breakfast at the dining hall.  I hadn’t planned it, but the tables were full and I was able to eat with my Scoutmaster friend, Lamont Munns.  I think that he and his troop have had a grand time this week.

I helped two Scouts who had only a requirement or two in order to complete a merit badge.  Usually we cut off the advancement right after the last class on Fridays but these Scouts were real sincere and anxious to complete the badges.  And by that time, the regular staff for those badges were long gone.  My visit with the Scouts put me a bit behind schedule – but they were worth it.

I returned to my cabin to say goodbye to our children and grandchildren – and to change out of my uniform and into work clothes for the events of the day.  It has been fun having our family here with us at camp.  And I think that they all had a really grand time.  They headed back to Arizona today.  They planned to go as far as St. George, Utah and will spend the night there tonight – with our son, K.C. and family.

The Forest Service asked that we help them on a major service project and this was scheduled for today.  The tasks of the day called for all staff to participate and to help.  Lou and David stayed in camp to get the troops checked out.  But, all of the rest of the staff have known that they were expected to remain at camp and available until noon or even a bit later.  (This was a real challenge for some – since many believe that they are free to leave right after breakfast – and perhaps a tiny bit of “area clean-up and preparation”.  And generally, that has been the way it is or has been.  So, today, some of them were in shock and still discussing the “what if of whether we would be back by noon” or whenever.

Anyway, after my camp duties of the morning I made my way to the council’s silver van.  I also pulled one of the High Adventure canoe trailers – for use as a utility trailer.  We had to take several vehicles but I had the silver van mostly full.  My van group included Larissa, Jason, Zach M, C-Bas (Sebastian), Kiara, Brayden, Jack, Marina, Johnny and Jake.  I had also told staffers that my van would remain in Pinedale – for a few hours after the project – so those who went with me had opted for that scenario.

We drove our convoy into Pinedale and then went east about 20 more miles to the Boulder Creek campground – maintained by the US Forest Service.  As my group arrived, we found most of the staffers already engaged in the project. We were the last staff group to get out of camp and the last group to get to the work site.   We actually had taken a bit of an unplanned detour en route.  We overran the turn-off and had to continue up the road about four miles before we found a turn-out that would accommodate the trailer that we were pulling.

We ultimately had 40 plus staff members there to participate in the service project – so quite the group.

Our task for the day was to dismantle and take down a log rail type fence that has existed at the campground – probably for many years by the looks of the fence parts.  I drove the van around the place and made multiple stops.

And at each stop, about 15 staffers pilled rotted logs onto the “arms” of the trailer – which extend from vertical poles up from the trailer – and on which boats are normally stowed.  And then every little while I drove this full trailer of logs to a central dumpsite where the Forest Service personnel will ultimately burn then over the winter.

A real unique part of the service adventure was hauling cross pieces – called “bucks” to the road so that they could be dumped in another pile.  SERVICE PROJECT ALL BEARING CROSSES 3I loved this scene of multiple staffers – including me – carrying “our crosses”.   It was a great scene.  And I could not pass up the opportunity to razz a Jewish staffer about him “carrying his cross” with the rest of us.  He just laughed.  I had Larissa take some blog photos with her cell phone – and they turned out great.  So, we preserved the “cross bearing” photo for future generations.

We worked together on this project for two and a half hours.  It was a really fun event and I think that everyone enjoyed it – and also got a workout.

One side note:  Jonathan and Lena – the shotgun and archery directors respectively – have had a growing admiration for each other.  They have been good to obey all of the rules and have behaved wonderfully even as a “couple” – something that we strongly talked against at the beginning of the summer.  Today for the first time, they seemed at ease to show a bit of PDA – Public Display of Affection – for each other.  They make a great couple.  It will be great to watch them after camp to see what might develop between them.

After the event most of the staff members headed – in their various vehicles – back to camp.  I headed with my group into Pinedale.  Kiara wanted to be dropped off at the local laundromat.  Some went to yet another Pinedale festival.  Larissa and I went to Ridley’s.  We were disappointed that they did not have tamales – that even Larissa can eat with all of her gluten-free garbage that is going on with her.

Larissa and I went to the library and worked for a while on our electronic devices.  We also found Jason there.   Some other staffers – whom we thought had gone back to camp – also showed up while we were there.  I also organized photos and deleted some that were duplicates – from my various photo sources.  I opened The Scouting Trail website where I do some of my blogging – and copied the New Fork Staff Week blog into this site – in a rare moment when I had access to the internet.  I made good progress on the effort.  I got just the text added to the website and got it saved.  I will still have to add the photos at some future time.  But I did make some excellent progress.  Larissa and I went back to the library to get Kiara and her clean clothes.  Larissa and I then returned to the library.  We had said that we would leave to go back to camp about 5:00 PM.  When that time came most of the staff somehow found us and the van.  (This is not hard in such a small town!)  As a group, we returned to Ridley’s.  I picked up some meds for Lou and also bought a few snack goodies for consumption in our cabin.  We left for camp about 5:15 PM.

Back at camp I actually took a short nap.  I was kind of wiped out from the work of the day – and especially the hot sun.

This was the week that Larissa and her climbing staff were stage a staff activity.  She decided to stage several fun games – with the event to be held in the dining hall.  She was a true leader as she led the group in “4 on the Couch” staff-game-night-by-larissa– where participants are divided into two groups and then where everyone’s name is given to another person.  Participants have to yell out a name – trying to find a member of their group to go to their own couch – and thus to get their own “4 on the couch”.  The staff really got into this action and had a lot of fun with the activity.

Next Larissa led them in the “bag game” where a paper bag is placed upright on the floor.  And then participants go through wild contortions trying to pick up the bag with their mouth and lips – but never touching the bag with their hands.  This game is hilarious to watch and the staff again really got into the action.  staff-and-bag-gameMeanwhile, Lou did our laundry.  I think that the staff were all surprised that our shy and quiet Larissa could come up with such games.  (They don’t know the real Larissa!)  Larissa managed to keep the staff fully engaged in her games for nearly three hours.  It was a fun time for everyone.

All of the gathered staff gave a big cheer as Camp Director, Travis, returned from Philmont about 9 Pm.  They gathered around him in a “group hug” – knowing that he absolutely hates such an activity.

I got a major sliver (actually several) in my hands at the very end of today’s work project.  Tonight I had Lou “operate” on me to remove the large wood pieces.  Actually, she dug the hole and then I “sucked” them out of my finger.

We watched a modern version of “Cheaper by the Dozen” – one of my all-time favorite movies.  For years Lou and I wanted a full dozen children – like the legendary Frank and Lillian Galbreath  (my heroes) – in the original “Cheaper by the Dozen” movie – but when we got there, Lou said enthusiastically, “Nine is fine!”  And with my journals of those “Nine Fine” days, and Lou’s memories – we hope to someday write our own such book of our crazy experiences. That is a project for a future day.  And who knows … maybe someone will “discover” us and we’ll become famous with our “Fine Nine!”

I had a headache and so was not feeling real jovial at this moment of the night.  Larissa and Kiara came later and enjoyed the last of the movie with us.  They also took their showers at our cabin.  They often prefer our shower as compared to the staff showers.

 

 

 

We had a “snake in the grass” this week but in the end, we bore our crosses well.   I really don’t think that we had any flops – other than Scoutmasters – and they – and we – did it all with a lot of splash and style.  Great job, staffers!  And Scouts and leaders, … it was great to have you all here with us this week.

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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