Camp New Fork 2016 – Week 8 – We get Invaded by Pirates

 

Scout 1

Kevin V. Hunt

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

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

pirates-guarding-territory

Pirates guarding their territory

 

JULY 31st – SUNDAY

This begins our final week of camp at camp New Fork.  This is a sad thought.  We have loved our summer here and have had some great experiences.  It will be a busy week – with our biggest week of Scouts – though just a couple of Scouts more than a couple of other weeks.

After a movie marathon last night and staying up to 1:30 AM I slept in to 8 AM.  This was very nice.  I read my scriptures and prepared for the day.  We ate breakfast in the cabin.

Today was the last time for us to attend church services in our beautiful outdoor chapel.  This is a sad thought.  I have very much enjoyed the services and the Spirit in our summer meetings.

At the church services I met a Troop 269 and their leaders.  They are from my former Mt. Ogden Scouting district from years ago.  They are from the South Ogden 80th (LDS) Ward.  And as I talked to them, I remembered when this ward was created [in 1980].  As their district executive, I created the number for the troop and then gave them their papers to complete the organization process and then helped them to file these.  So, this was kind of cool.  One of their leaders – an old guy and long-time Scouting veteran – gave me a bit of a start.  He looked just like my own father (age 88) – with bib overalls, balding hairstyle, and all.

I also enjoyed meeting Jay Sjoberg, the 269 troop leader.  I remembered one of my commissioner volunteers – Ed Sjoberg – and this Jay said that Ed was his father.  He said that his father died a couple of years ago at age 98.  We talked of how Ed was the court of honor geru of the district.  He had court of honor props that included wonderful rank advancement signs, even a red carpet for the boys to walk on, and much more.  A flood of memories with those great props came to my mind.  I remembered also that I borrowed these props in 1981 – and filled my truck and camper shell with them.  I then hauled them clear down to Mesa, Arizona and used them to stage a wonderful court of honor for my youngest kid brother, Ray, when he received his Eagle Scout Award.  If I had had my journal collection with me at camp, I could have found the entry to show Jay.  Anyway, we had a good conversation and a fun visit.

church-services

We had a better staff attendance than some previous Sundays.  The attendees included David, Theo, Jacob, two Andrews, Matt, Jonathan, two Nathans, Diego and Jake, Traeden, Kameron, Brayden, Grace, Kiara, Marina, Mabel, Larissa, Kent, Lina, Tallin, K-Kade, and Jack.  And the admin team Travis, Ranger Reed, Lou and I were there.

Bruce conducted the services.  The South Ogden 80th Ward Scouts passed the sacrament – all in full uniform.  They looked and did great.  The highlight of the church services was a song by a number of the staff members.   They sang my old favorite hymn – “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – from the old brown hymnbook (it is not in the “new” green hymn books – new meaning 35 years new).  The group included David, Jacob, Traeden, and Katie.  They were accompanied by Diego on the violin.  (His father is a Scoutmaster with a troop this next week – and he brought up the violin for Diego for this occasion.)  The group and the song were fabulous.  I loved their music.

Jonathan gave a talk – on the subject of loving others.  (I secretly smiled as I thought of the budding love between him and Lina.)  Bruce talked on the subject of Charity – the true Love of Christ.  We began our meeting with the song, “Love one Another” and a prayer by Traeden.  The sacrament hymn was “Our closing hymn was “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” and a prayer by Matt.   In Priesthood meeting, Tallin gave a prayer and then we had a lesson by Nathan on the subject of Honesty.

Back at the cabin, after the services, I worked on Lou’s computer (mine being out of commission for the rest of the summer) all afternoon.  I deleted a bunch of duplicate photos.  I named and categorized (by the name) many of the camp photos.  I continued working on this project through the afternoon.  I am making good progress on this effort but there is still much more to do.  Work that I do now, however, will be of great benefit to my future blogging.

Lou and I did go to the dining hall for the serve-yourself lunch.  I carried the laundry basket up there for Lou.  She washed four loads today.  This camp dust really gets to our clothes.  We can wash them and be filthy dusty just a few minutes later.

I cleaned and oiled the Dutch ovens we used last night on Momma Lou’s Famous Scones.  Andy helped me drain the leftover oil from the ovens.

We held our usual meeting at 5 Pm with the Area Directors.  We talked a lot about the camp closing procedures that we will pursue through the rest of this week.  I was pleased with progress by many directors on their inventories.  At the 6:00 PM meeting I changed several staffers who have served so honorably on the Honor Trail.  Some of the staffers wanted a change so that they can experience the Honor Trail themselves.  Two or three staffers wanted to remain at their posts so I let them remain there.  Diego was selected by the senior staff as the Staff Member of the Week.  He well deserves this honor.  That boy volunteers for literally everything – and does a fabulous job.  Also at the meeting I read some of the evaluation forms – where staff was mentioned.  Travis covered our upcoming camp closing tasks.

After the meetings, Travis and I conducted exit interviews for the Shooting Sports staff.

This evening we had a fun staff activity.

staff-christmas-in-july-2

Christmas in July Staff Activity at Camp New Fork

It was “Christmas in July” (and we just barely made it in July!).  The staff patrol in charge of the event invited everyone to bring a white elephant gift – not to exceed $5 in cost.    We each drew numbers from Jacob and then in turn, we could either open a new present or else we could steal an already-opened gift from someone else.  (And a gift could only be taken two other times before it was “frozen” and remained with the last person to have it.)  This system always creates a lot of energy and enthusiasm when people latch on to something that they like – and then try to hike and keep it.  We even had a sparsely decorated Christmas tree and one of the staff found Christmas music on his electronic device.  So, in all, it was a fun event.

Travis pulled me out of the event to do staff interviews with the rest of the Shooting Sports staff as well as the High Adventure Staff.   Matt made an interesting comment – saying that would have been better for staff if I had attended (because of my position) the pre-camp training meetings.  I knew about the two meetings and actually arranged to have time off from my Arizona job to get there – but in the end, the Council – with budget restraints – opted to just have me connect with the meetings via SKYPE from my home computer.  So, that wasn’t real marvelous for anyone.   I enjoyed the interview with Tommy.  He and I have been friends before and during camp.

We finished these interviews with three departments done and five to go.  I was there with Travis to 10:10 PM.  Lou came about that time – wondering where I was – but also brought me a flashlight to get back to the cabin with.

We had a troop arrive early (today) for the coming week.  They announced themselves as the “Pirate Troop” – coming from Ogden.  They are Troop 577.  They announced that they plan to do “pirate tirades” and wanted to meet with camp leaders to determine the rules for their shenanigans.  Travis asked me to meet with him and them but he ended up having the meeting with them without me.

We had a little excitement in the cabin bathroom tonight.  A mouse came in there and wanted to share the room with Lou as she was in there.  Talk about pandemonium!  I just sat back and had a great laugh.

AUGUST 1st – MONDAY

Larissa and roommate, Kiara, had an interesting tale this morning at breakfast.  Larissa reported that last night as they went from our cabin to theirs, Scotty and C-Bas ran toward them with a light in their eyes.  Kiara screamed.  Today at breakfast, Jason had a strange hairdo.  He said that the scream woke him up.  He said, “Jason needs his beauty rest.”  I said, “Yeah, it looks like you missed it!”

I missed a note on Thursday a few days ago.  I wrote about the trauma with us with the effects of the fire in the sky and all around us.  When Lou and I went to town on Thursday evening, we were at Ridley’s grocery and saw there a fire tanker truck for hauling water to fire sites.  I noted that the truck had a Utah license plate.  So, I talked to the truck driver and asked where they were from.  He said that they are out of Layton, Utah but that they were assigned to come up to help on this Wyoming fire.  I thought this to be real interesting that he came from a unit five or so hours away.  We also talked to the guy and asked if the fire is near containment.  He said, “They are HOPING now to have it contained by September 30th” – two months away.  That is really a scary thought.  Wow!

Today was a troop check-in day – our last for the season – so we ate breakfast as a staff at 7::00 AM.  And they served it right at 7:00 AM.  But, the cook was upset.  No staff patrol did the kitchen clean-up last night.  One does not want to get sideways with the cook – and not doing clean-up is a way to do that.

So, we did breakfast and then had our staff flag ceremony.  And then the troops were upon us.  They were ready to get into the camp action with their Scouts.

As we were in the check-in process Ranger Reed brought a board to show us.  1949-staff-roster-and-tasksWe all found it interesting.  Reed had found it as he and some of the staff were cleaning up the old maintenance shed – which years ago, I think served as the camp lodge – before the current kitchen and dining hall was built.  Anyway, this board was a bit more than a foot square.  With careful examination we could see faint writing on it – and with greater focus, one could make out the writing on the board.  It showed the New Fork camp staff for the year 1949.  Wow!  Pretty cool!  David took the board and hung it up on our current dining hall so that others could check it out.

I had a grand time looking at the board and trying to imagine how Scouting might have been at New Fork 67 years ago.   First, it was interesting that camp only went for two weeks.  They had Senior Staff and Junior Staff.  They had an Indian Troop, Frontiersmen, and Pioneers.  And they had a few tasks that we don’t have anymore – like Bird Study, “Kitchen Police”, machinery, and baseball.  Everything else seems to be the same.  SCOUTING – hasn’t changed much in all of those years.  Here is the staff and their duties:

STAFF MEMBER                             FIRST WEEK                                   SECOND WEEK

Senior Staff

Camp Director                                  H.D. McMasters                               H.D. McMasters

Cook                                                     Jim Thomas                                       Jim Thomas

Maintenance                                     Matt Cary                                           Tony Krasevec

Boating and Canoeing                    Max Murrell                                      Max Murrill

Swimming and Lifesaving             Lee Larsen                                         Lee Larsen

Archery                                                Lug Larsen                                        Lug Larsen

Rifle Range                                         Clare Harvey                                     Henry Dupape

Scoutcraft                                           Lowell Larsen                                   Lowell Larsen

Baseball and Craft Lodge               Grant Evans                                      Tony Krasevec

Bird Study & Campfire Director   Rene’ Pellet                                      Rene’ Pellet

Junior Staff

Assistant Cook                                  John Parenta                                    John Parenta

Water Front                                       Robert Royce                                    Robert Royce

Kitchen Police                                   Lanny Stensazs                               Lanny Stensazs

Scoutcraft                                         Harvey Croft                                      Harvey Croft

Craft Lodge                                       Dick Jones                                          Dick Jones

Machinery & Camp Bugler           Robert Dupape                                 Robert Dupape

Indian Troop                                         Frontiersman

Scoutmaster                                          Grant Evans                                      Lowell Larsen

Assistant Scoutmaster                       “Lug” Larsen

Cowboy Troop                                      Pioneers

Scoutmaster                                          Hal Benedict                                     Henry Dupape

Assistant Scoutmaster                       Clare Harvey

Hmmmm … Let’s see …  I began to think a bit more.  I wonder if any of them are still alive.  Could we find them and talk to them?  So, let’s see …  the Camp Director probably would have been age 30-40.  The Senior Staff was probably ages 21 to 30 (adults had to be 21 in those days) and Junior Staff would have been in the range of 15 to 20.  So, are any of them still alive?  Camp Director … say age 30 plus 67 is age 97 … probably not.  Senior Staff … say 25 and 67 is age 92.  Probably gone too.  A sixteen year old 16 and 67 is 83.  Maybe …  So, all of them are probably gone.

But, I got onto the internet and did a little search of each person.  I didn’t find a whole lot, but did find a few facts about the staff of ’49:

Camp Director H D McMasters (not certain this is the guy but no other HD McMasters could be found):  Born in 1916 in Missouri.  In 1940 H Douglas McMaster was age 24 and was living in Allentown, Lehigh, Pennsylvania with his father.  He was then a college student.   This would make HD age 33 when at Camp New Fork in 1949.   (1940 US Census)  Many McMasters can be found in early 1900 Scouting units in various locations.

Max Murrell … found one in Sweetwater, Texas and one in Indiana.  These were both involved in Scouting.  Couldn’t be too many men by the name of Max Murrell.

I found the obituary of an Edward Harvey – of Independence, Missouri – and who was the son of a Clare Harvey – and lived from 1948 to 2013.  Might be the right Clare …  Edward was an Eagle Scout “and earned his membership in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say as a warrior.”

Lowell Larsen was born October 11, 1920 and passed away December 1971.  He was from Rock Springs, Wyoming.  There is not a guarantee that this is the right Lowell, but it sounds good. (Per obituary record)

Smithey Shults was born April 21, 1915 and died March 24, 1976 per Find-a-Grave records on-line.  No wife or children are shown in the record.

Tony Krasovec – a native Austrian, was born 4 September 1901.  He died November 1966 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  He was a carpenter by trade.  (US 1940 Census records)

Henry and Robert Dupape were brothers.  When they served at Camp New Fork, Henry was 28 and Robert was 14.   They were sons of Richard and Elsie Dupape of Reliance, Sweetwater County, Wyoming.  (1940 US Census)

Harvey Merrill Croft was born January 5, 1935 and died February 27, 2015 in Salt Lake City.  He taught through example what it means to live a life of integrity, principle, and service.  He was  an Eagle Scout and continued his involvement in Scouting his entire life.  He was a Scoutmaster and school teacher for several years. (Per his Obituary record)

Interesting stuff …

Back to Monday the 1st of August:  We had a steady stream of incoming troops.  And we were at the check-in area to 1:10 PM – the time we were supposed to be at the Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader orientation training.  Someone brought food over from the kitchen to all of us at the office porch.  This was our biggest week of the summer – with 181 Scouts.  (But, there were three weeks within a couple of this number).  Week #4 was 180 Scouts.

After the Scoutmaster meeting I went to the cabin and typed up the campfire schedule on Lou’s computer.  I cut “Deep and Wide” and “Toast” from the program tonight.  Some staffers were not real jazzed that they got cut.

In the afternoon I went to visit some of the program areas.  I delivered copies of the campfire program to participating staff members.  I went to the Takota Training campground and once again I had no youth leaders come to be trained.  I did have a good visit with Brian – father of twins Jake and Diego.  I then hung out at the camp office (the porch).

The flag ceremony this evening was enjoyable as the Pirate Troop made their formal introduction to the rest of the troops.  Even before the Scouts arrived, the pirates had left their mark on the camp.  They had removed the three camp flags on the poles and in their places, had hoisted three of their own pirate flags.  The staff took them down in time for the flag ceremony.  The Pirates were a bit sad that we hadn’t come up with more reaction to having possession of the Pirate flags.  I guess  we all needed more training from them in that regard.  The Pirates also came to the ceremony in their pirate uniform regalia and introduced themselves.  They shocked a few other Scouts with their energy and enthusiasm.  And they added some excitement in another way.

pirate-leadership-team-1

Staffer Jason (far left front) was “kidnapped” by the Pirates

They kidnapped Jason, their troop friend.  They got Jason into a pirate uniform T-shirt.  They made a big deal about giving him back to the staff.  With their super spirit, the Pirates took the spirit stick.  Tarrin and Jason led a song together.  I think that this was the first time that either of them has led a song.

As ever, I led the staff in singing our staff song as I said, “Roll it out, staff …”  This was their cue to go for it.  I love it as they sing:

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

We are the Camp New Fork staff, you see.

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

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

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

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

The dinner crowd was a bit more than the kitchen crew had planned on, I think.  They ran out of the BBQ chicken.  Somehow they found other food for the rest of the group.

I went to the cabin and had just arrived there when I got a radio call.  The caller told me that there were some folks who wanted to see me at the dining hall.  So, I trekked back up there.  Upon arrival, I found Jason Ames – the Scoutmaster/Captain/leader of the Pirate group.  The shared with me their plan to hide the spirit stick – and then to give a treasure map to the next group who has enough spirit to take the spirit stick.  I liked their plan.

Back at the cabin once more, I plugged Lou’s phone – and my zip drive – into her laptop.  I could see her photos but could not figure out how to copy them from her phone, to the laptop to the zip drive.  I’ll have to solicit the help of one of my children – who are much more “techy” than I am.

I went to the flagpole to meet the troops for the campfire program.  Some Scouts already caught on to the fact that I have multiple sticks and multiple bolo ties.  So, we had a good discussion about these.  That is actually one reason why I do the bolo and the walking stick thing – to get into conversation with Scouts and leaders.

Once I had the Scouts and leaders – “The Troops” – assembled, Jace began his drum beating and he and I led the long column of Scouts to the campfire bowl.  I always love this activity.

campfire-jace-on-drums-ahead-of-kevin

Will – filling in for Jace – with Kevin – leading troops into Campfire Program

And then walking through the staff – all at attention and with their Scout signs held to the square – really caps off the activity.  I love it.  It is really excellent.

 

The campfire program tonight was one of the best that we have ever done (and our last opening night show).  And with my program cuts, we got the program down to 55 minutes.  This was good.  This was our program:

NEW FORK MONDAY NIGHT CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – AUGUST 1, 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)               Princess Pat                                           Matt

Staff Patrol Intro                         Area Intro – Outdoor                          Surviving Dwarfs

Skit                                                  Banana Bandana                                   Will and Theo

Staff Patrol Intro                         Area Intro – Shooting Sports           SS

Staff Patrol Intro                         Area Intro – Handicrafts                    Mighty Mallets

Song                                                 Topnotcher                                             Rachae and Company

Skit                                                   Movie Machine                                      Surviving Dwarfs

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – Nature                              Golden Nature

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – Climbing                          The Rapellants

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – Waterfront                       Ice Fish

Song                                                 Herman the Family Pet                         Golden Nature

Staff Patrol Intro                          Area Intro – High Adventure              The A Team

Skit                                                   Raisins                                                        Lindsay and Crew

Skit                                                   Sweet Betsy                                               Travis and Bruce

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

Song                                                 Ging Gang Goolee                                     Kevin

Quiet Song (to Teach)                 On My Honor                                              Matt

Quiet Song                                      May we All Soar Like Eagles                  Bruce, Lina, Rachae

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                                  Travis

Quiet Song                                      Kumbaya                                                      Scott and Company

Quiet Song (as Scouts depart)  Scout Vespers                                              Kevin

Quiet Song  (As Scouts depart) On My Honor                                               Matt

Quiet Song  (As Scouts depart) Kumbaya – Scout Law                               Kade

campfire-rachae-and-will

Rachae and Will performing at campfire program

Travis and Bruce have frequently performed their wonderful rendition of “Sweet Betsy” and this has been loved by all who have seen it.  It is truly a classic act.  Tonight, we had a surprise at performance time when Ranger Reed came out in the stead of Bruce.  And Travis and Reed did a show that was “amazing and beautiful” (in the words of someone on the office porch).  And it was funny that Ranger Reed – during the act – came running over to where I was sitting in the front row and suddenly grabbed my carved zebra stick – and used it as an impromptu prop.  I almost went into a panic as the thought went through my head, “I hope he doesn’t break it in his enthusiasm”.  But, he used it for a moment – and got a lot of laughs from Scouts and Staff – and then brought it back safely to me.

The troops left the campfire bowl – led by the Scoutmaster of the first troop that we dismissed from the bowl.  He was a little surprised but one of his troop leaders hurried and handed him a flashlight for his task.  The staff then gathered to sing our traditional “Friends” song.  This song became more emotional for us tonight as we all realized that we’ll have only one more singing of that special song.  And then it will be all over!

Back at the cabin, I found that we had our usual visitors – Larissa and Kiara.  I looked at more of Lou’s photos and found a hundred plus that I want to copy from her files – if I can figure out how to do it.  Lou, Larissa, and Kiara and I had a photo show.  We scrolled through the photos and then recalled fun memories that each photo brought to our minds.  It really has been a great summer – as the photos attest!

AUGUST 2nd – TUESDAY

As we got to the dining hall this morning for breakfast we realized that we had again been sabotaged by the Pirates.  They had taken possession of the dining hall – with the hanging of their three pirate flags.

At the cook’s direction, the food was ready to eat.  And it was served by the High Adventure team.  Andy tried to put some water into the heating unit – hot water under the pans of food to keep them warm.  He somehow hit the hose wrong and a flood of water came flowing down – right into the pan of pancakes that were ready to serve.  So, the meal and serving was delayed a few minutes – but it was not as disastrous as it could have been.

kitchen-water-disaster

Lou got a text from our son, Keith, who lives in Ohio – and whom we seldom see.  I guess he and his wife and four children are all in Mesa, Arizona – our home town.  They are there for the wedding of Kayla’ sister.  I can’t believe that we will miss them by about ten days.    And I guess another daughter, Kaylea, hosted the group at their new home for dinner and swimming last night.  They had five of our children and their spouses, my mom and dad and 18 of our grandchildren there without us.  Sad day!  Camp does require a few sacrifices!

I hurried off to the Outdoor Skills area to meet with my Senior Patrol Leaders of the troops.  We covered the camp wide games to be held later in the day.

I then went to parade grounds and conducted the flag ceremony.  I wore my pirate bolo tie – carved by carver Jason Reed – in honor of the Pirate troop.

pirate-bolo-tie

Pirate Bolo Tie carved by Jason Reed

Larissa led the group in “Father Abraham” and then David and Grace led “Old McDonald” (the camp version):

Old McDonald Had a Farm*

Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a [word]

1: [Pine tree] Where they cut down the old pine tree. TIMBER!  And they hauled it away to the mill TRA-LA-LA

2: [Home] Home, home on the range!

3: [Dog] Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?

4: [Sweetheart] Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you. Let me whisper in your ear:

5: [Skunk hole] Well, I stuck my head in the little skunks hole and the little skunk said to me:

Music Notes – Song is sung in progression, adding a line every time it is sung through, similar to “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Each verse begins with “Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a [word]”. [word] of course being replaced by the word and line listed, in order.

Motions & Actions –

-Pine tree: Arms go at a 90 degree angle to each other and on “timber’ mimics a tree falling to the ground.

-Home: Arms go overhead mimicking a roof.

-Sweetheart: Arms go over chest, sway back and forth.

-Skunk hole: Arms form a circle, stick head in circle.

I noted last night that the Pirates won the camp Spirit Stick.  Today as the new Spirit Stick winner was chosen, the Pirates came forward and presented the winning troop with an authentic looking buried treasure map.   pirate-map-to-buried-flag-treasureIt was pretty cool and all of the troops oooohed and aaaaahed over it.  It created a bit of excitement for the camp.  The winning troop ran off to look for the stick per the instructions shown on the Pirate map.  This was fun for all!

After the flag ceremony, David and Lou took their Scouting adult leaders to their Takota Training Campsite. They were very pleased to have 12 men at their training session.  Wow!  This is really great!

I went to see the High Adventure guys head out for their adventure.  They had canoes loaded on two trailers – each behind one of the council vans.  It was fun to see and feel the energy of the Scouts, leaders and staff as they anticipated their fun trip and days ahead.

We had a bit more excitement than wanted in camp this morning.  We discovered a major water leak at the road down below the office – and near the Handicraft area.    I was glad that I was “in program” rather than camp administration or a ranger.  This meant that there was a major problem, but I probably did not have to worry about it.  I did stop at the site to check it out and to document the scene for posterity.

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Medic, Ranger Reed and Travis at major water pipe leak found under a rock

I am sure that wasn’t real exciting for those who were digging, however.

About this time as I was walking to and fro on the road, I was stopped by a random Scout.  I make it a habit to talk to each Scout and leader whom I meet on the trail.  I said my greetings to this Scout and then he began to talk to me.  His words surprised me as he said, “This is a great camp!  And by the way, there is a great choice of merit badges.”  Wow!  Thanks, man!  Great comment.

I passed other Scout and asked them, “How’s camp?”  A Scout said, “It’s going good!”  A leader I passed said, “It’s AWESOME!”

Very often along the trail this week, I have met and connected with the Pirate Troop SPL – Ashton.  This Scout is really fabulous.  I am highly impressed with him and his leadership abilities.  It is obvious that his father – the Pirate Commander – has trained him well.  And Ashton’s twin brother, Alex, is about equal to Ashton – thought I don’t know him as well – and it took me a few days to even find out that they are twins.  Great young men!

And speaking of those Pirates … I caught one leader “in the act”.  He went to the trading post and bought a large spool of tangled parachord (bought at a greatly reduced price because of the tangled mess that it was in).  With a sheepish grin, this leader divulged:  “This is for some of our shenanigans!”  Aha!  I see what it going on!

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Kevin Hunt with the “4-Bear Stick” that he carved

Today I walked with my carved 4-bear stick.  It has two bears at the top, a dancing polar bear in the middle and a Koala bear “down under” at the bottom of the stick.  This stick always gets a lot of boys to talk to me (and some leaders).  Everyone seems to be drawn to this stick.  It is fun that it engages good conversation everywhere along the trail.

And today was another one of those “Craft Like Grandma – 10% off sales”.   A lot of Scouts and leaders seem to like this weekly trading post sale.

We have experienced very little rain in camp through our entire summer here.  The few times that we have had rain, it has lasted only for a few minutes.  In my home state of Arizona, we sometimes get a 12” rainstorm.  (See my recent blog about Arizona Weather.)  That means that we get twelve drops of rain 12” or more apart.  We had one of those downpours in camp today.  It was enough of a threat of rain that someone hurried to take the flags down and off of the poles.  But, alas, within a few minutes the rain was gone.  So, later we had to scramble come time for the flag ceremony to get the flags back up the poles so that we could bring them down again.  I was hard-pressed to think of a time today when the radical flag action would have been needed.

When I asked another Scouter on the trail, “How’s camp?” he summed it up by saying, “DRY!”   (And I hoped that he was referring to the weather rather than my flag ceremony humor!)

I made a trip to the Climbing Tower.  I caught Scotty and Tarrin playing “hanging bumper cars” on one of the climbing walls.

They would “bump out” from the wall on their tethered ropes and then would jump around the other guy – as the action repeated itself many times.  It was fun to watch their airborne dexterity.  Some of the Climbing staff showed me their hands and said that with all of their rope climbing, they are getting callouses on their hands.  Funny!

And speaking of the Climbing Tower, they have developed an interesting collection over the summer.  Their staff members frequently make trips to the trading post for soda pop.  And then after drinking the sodas at their tower, they stack the empty cans in the inside framing of the tower.  They have created quite a collection there.

I came across yet another leader who had previously experience Camp Director, Delose Conner, and Camp Loll before coming to Camp New Fork.  It is always fun to talk to such people.  As in the past, this leader today and I talked of Camp Loll traditions including Delose’s stories of “The Ugly Little Green Man” (that’s another of my walking sticks) and “Moose S___ Pie … but good!”  This leader said of Delose, “He tells his stories exactly the same way – word for word – each time.  And even though I have heard the Moose Pie story over and over again, I still laugh at it – even though I know that I shouldn’t!”  I loved his comment about our New Fork Camp as he said, “I am having the time of my life here!”

Another Scout whom I stopped on the trail …  I asked him what troop he is in.  When he proudly said, “293”, I said, “Wow!  You are from the troop with full uniforms!”  That comment made him really proud.  He said, “Yeah, our leader is an ex-military guy so he keeps us in line!”  (Great job, Mr. Scoutmaster!)

This afternoon I also made a trip to the Waterfront.  We had several folks – both Scouts and leaders – who did not get their swim checks in yesterday – and had to take them today. waterfront-lake-and-docks And there were a bunch of other folks who planned ahead and took their swim checks – in warmer water – before coming to camp.  But those lucky guys got to take what Camp New Fork calls, “A Chill Check”.  For the chill check, one does not have to swim the usual distance required to become a swimmer – but they swim two or three “laps” from one of our docks to another.  And by so doing, they get to see if they can still swim in our icy “ice rink”.  I got to watch a few of these tests.  I laughed as some leaders were obviously “tentative” about trying out the water.  (But as one leader said, “The water is warmer than it is outside”.  That was the case sometimes this summer.)

While at the waterfront, I talked to a leader by the name of Nash.  My stepdad’s name is Nash – so this guy caught my attention.  We ended up talking about Nauvoo – where I served the last six months of my own church mission.

At lunch time today, I donned “the green neckerchief”.  We keep a supply of green “Forest Service” neckerchiefs on a board with nails – and located just at the entry to the kitchen area.  And so, any person needing to be on the serving line – or other kitchen duties – can put one of these on “as a hair net”.  So, I got to wear one of them today as the “Admin Team” had the opportunity to serve others at meals.

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Kevin serving peaches in dining hall

This proved to be a fun and rewarding activity.  Many of the staff were gone from lunch – as they were out eating with their troops – for whom they are troop friends (and per our new policies).

Marina said at lunch – speaking as one who works at the Nature Area – and who has a nature trail – with white cards:  “I hope it doesn’t rain.  …  Today is ‘white card’ day.”  (She need not have worried.)  And if it does rain, some staff have to revise their schedules and plans under a roof.  That’s why I said, “Well, if it did, you could come to the dining hall to study animals – animals like Jace!”  (He was sitting next to us.)  He didn’t know if he liked that comment or not.

I headed to the Takota Camp and was pleased to teach three leaders my favorite training session about program planning.  I then accompanied these same guys to the Rifle Range for our Tuesday program and hike information meeting with Scoutmasters and other leaders.  I met with a single Scout leader afterwards and gave him individual coaching for the “Outdoor Training” session that he had missed.  And incidentally, he and I also talked of the “legendary Delose” there.

My next activity for the afternoon was to hang out for a while on the porch of the office and trading post.  I didn’t do much – but this default activity is actually usually quite a productive time for me as I interact with a lot of Scouts and leaders.

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Hanging out with Scouts and Leaders – New Fork Office Porch

At the flag ceremony Rachae – waterfront director – was doing her KP duty in the kitchen.  Normally she presents a commercial about the upcoming polar bear plunge event at the Tuesday flag ceremony.  Larissa filled in for her.  She had heard the commercial before – and knew just what Rachae would have said.  Daghen and of course, Jacob, were our song leaders for the program.

Lou and I ate our dinner outside of the dining hall and enjoyed visiting with Jake (staffer) and his Scoutmaster father, Brian.  Great guys!

I also talked with the Pirate leaders about their “shenanigan plans”.  They have fun things planned for coming days in camp.  Again, I love these Pirate guys.  They really are a great group of men and boys.  I love their energy and enthusiasm.  It is fun to talk to them whenever I run into them.

I talked to another Scout and asked him, “What is the best thing about camp.”  I enjoyed his answer, “Well, HOPEFULLY, the zip line.”  I said, “Hopefully … ? Why do you say ‘hopefully’?”  He said, “Yeah, I hope I get to go on it!”  Another Scout said to me, “I’m glad they actually have us make arrows (for Archery) at this camp!”  (I guess that is not a common denominator among council camps.)

The Camp Director got my frustration level raised a bit tonight.  I love being a part of the staff “exit interviews” but he wanted to do them right at the moment that I needed to be out staging the camp wide games this evening.  It is a challenge to be two places at the very same time.  And in anticipation of their pending staff interviews, a plethora of Staff members had already come to me saying that they could not do their usual role with the games because they needed to be available for their interview – though there was a line and the reality was that they would still be able to help and also get interviewed.  So, this was the frustration which I experienced at the moment.  Finally the CD backed off a bit and the staff was able to get back to their posts for the Games.  So, the event did happen – and came off wonderfully well.  All of the events were excellent and the Scouts and leaders had a grand time.

And once again, I was able meet with Ashton and his father, Captain Jason (the guy with the big fancy hat), of the Pirate crew.  I ran the megaphone and sent the Scouts off to their next stations at 12-minute intervals.   And with the megaphone in hand, I was able to move around to the various areas.

I still got in on some of the staff interviews after the Games.  It was interesting that Staffer, Scotty, came to Lou and me after his visit and said that wherever we go next summer, he wants to be with us.   Interesting!

I found myself really tired tonight.  It has been a real fun day – but quite long when put all together.

AUGUST  3rd – WEDNESDAY

Many of the staff were gone today as then went on hikes with their troops – for which they are “troop friends”.   The kitchen staged one of their “self-serve” breakfasts today.  I staged a flag ceremony for just the staff – the ones not on the hikes with their troops.  Travis being absent, I took the initiative.   I sent the staff out to do major cleaning of their program areas, to pack their own things – and to clean up their cabins – also to take an inventory of everything in their cabins – all in preparation for our camp closing this weekend.  Normally the staff all kind of hide out on Wednesday hike days – thinking that this is a “free day” – so I was very pleased that most of them actually did what I asked them to do today.

And to help the staff keep focused, I sat on the porch of the office.  Whenever I saw a staffer come by, I asked if they were done with their task and if they needed another job.  This helped us all accomplish a great deal today.  It was great.

While on the porch, I talked with a Scoutmaster.  He and his leadership team had become rather frustrated with a Scout named Christopher.  This Scout did not want to eat – and hadn’t for two days.  And he was such a challenge that they did not feel that they could not take him with them on their hike.  And they did not have enough leaders to leave him at the campsite.  I agreed to let them leave the Scout in my charge there on the porch.  I promised to keep him busy and entertained.  So, this became our plan.

I first took Chris to the kitchen and gave him a tour of the place  -to see if he might find some food that would interest him.  He got some “Captain Crunch” cereal, a plain tortilla and a banana.   (What a great breakfast! A friend of mine has always said that “eating ‘cold cereal’ was like taking a funnel to your mouth and running to the wind!”)  We went into the dining hall and I sat and visited with him – and kitchen staff – as he ate.    Cook Mable said that she had tasks that he could do for her – including breaking down a large stack of cardboard.   Christopher agreed to do this task and I returned to my perch on the office porch.

Lou had a mom talk with Christopher.  He told her about his favorite food that his mother makes occasionally for him.  Later, Lou got the materials when we went to town and made it for him as a surprise.  And boy, was he happy about that special food and Lou’s service.  I think that the day was positive for him.  Maybe we made an impact on one Scout …!

I was pleased that staffer Kent agreed to – and did clean the campfire bowl.   This was a major camp closing function.  Travis and I did also conduct six or so staff exit interviews.  Lunch was another of those that were a bit questionable.  Not being a “PBJ” fan, I was not real fond of the spread.  I guess this is what the Scouts usually eat on Wednesday hike days.  And with that in mind, I always loved calling on Staffer Theo at the flag ceremony to sing his song “Peanut Butter and Jelly”:  “I’m Peanut Butter and and you are Jelly …”

About 1:00 PM I went to the Waterfront once again.  Lou even joined me there.  The scene there was set for a “major fleet war” between the Pirates and our staff.   (Merit badges would not start again until 3:00 PM – because of the hike day.)   The Pirates had issued their challenge!   The activity was a boat swamping – with everyone in kayaks or canoes.

The object was to swamp all of the boats for the other team.  David found a British – or whatever – flag for the staff to use (for  staking territory).  And of course, the Pirates also had their three flags.  We captured two of their flags and they captured ours.  I took a lot of photos that were great.  The action became pretty intense and it was fun to watch it all.  Both teams exerted all of their best strength in an effort to get boats turned over.  Both had their successful moments.  It was hard to tell exactly who won.  Both teams bragged that it was they who had won.  At the end of the activity we exchanged flags back.

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David negotiating with the Pirates for Flag Exchange

David was our negotiator and he seemed to love this action.  It truly was a grand event and both groups had a lot of fun.

At 3:00 PM I went to the Takota Graining Campground.  I there taught 15 men.  They had already been through the training sessions taught by Lou and David.  We first covered the functions of the troop committee.  This is normally Lou’s session – but they ran out of time.  I then taught the guys about the Annual Planning function.  This was a real fun class to teach.  I had a good time with the men, the subject and all.

I made a late afternoon visit to my own cabin.  It was a really gorgeous day outside – and the mosquitoes are now gone – so it was beautiful out on the porch.

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Campfire bowl and lake view from the “Hill Cabin”

I sat there and created the certificates for the many men who completed their Scoutmaster Essentials – Leader Specific Training while here at camp.  Meanwhile, Lou had a few free minutes.  She did our laundry – doing almost everything in the house – so that it will be clean as we head for home on Saturday.  She also cleaned the cabin and packed for our departure.  I took a bit load of stuff to the trash dumpster.  Things are beginning to wind down.

I then went to the office and printed copies of the Bull Run relay race.  It was then time for the flag ceremony.  The Spirit Stick looked really great.  The troops who have had it have done a good job on it.  I think that it is the best Spirit Stick that we have seen all summer.

One of the “spirited troops” had a yell that talked of “two bits”.  Looking at the age of the assembled  group, I realized that probably no one there would even know what “two bits” is – or how much it is worth.  I then told the group how when I was age ten or eleven, my family would go up to my Grandpa Ray Hunt’s farm near Enterprise, Utah.  I told them that he had a very messy (but typical farm barn) full of oily machinery, tools, old stuff of all kinds, etc.  And each year that we went to see Grandpa and Grandma, he knew that I would be willing to clean up his shop.  That was kind of a thing between him and me.  And, as ever, he would offer me “two bits” to do the job.  I again asked all of the Scouts and leaders if anyone knew how much two bits is worth.  And no one did!  I then told them that “two bits” was equal to a quarter – and that I cleaned his whole shop for just a quarter – or “two bits”.  Many of the crowd found this story interesting.

Also at the flag ceremony – in the “Spirit Stick” competition, one Scout could not get the help and cooperation of his troop … and he really wanted that Spirit Stick.  So, Brent came up on his own and performed “Toast”.  I have usually included Larissa doing this at opening campfire programs but cut the act this week.  So, it was kind of fun to see a Scout perform it – without us doing it here in our camp.  My only regret was that Larissa was on KP duty and did not get to see him.  His act was great and after taking the poll of the staff, I awarded the stick to him.   And to add a bit of spirit to the occasion, I led the staff in unison as together they yelled, “Yeah, Toast!”  (Just as Larissa always does when doing the skit.)  Yeah, Toast!

(I usually invite any interested troops to come forward to do their own song or dance – or whatever – in front of all of the troops.   And I get Lena to be my scribe and she writes down each auditioning troop’s number.  (I always have a supply of 3×5” cards for her to use if needed, but being a good Boy Scout, she is always prepared on her own.)  And then, after all troops have done their thing, I call upon her to read off the “contestants”.  And as each number is read, the staff and Scouts react with yells or claps – and thus we can usually determine (by the volume) who should receive the coveted Spirit Stick.)  Jacob led the group in “The Funky Chicken” and did a great job.  I love that song about all of the camp functions of the staff.

Lou and I and Larissa ate dinner tonight with a troop – at one of the outside tables.  It was great fun visiting with them.

After dinner – and since it was Wednesday night, I went and set up the branding station.  I had only a few “customers” come to get their sticks or leather branded.  I let the very hot station cool and then took it inside of the office.  Travis went to town tonight with his family – for a “date night” out.

As I returned to my cabin, I was surprised and pleased to see a couple of buck deer just twenty or so feet away from me.  This is always a special moment to see wild animals up front and personal.deer-up-close-2

This evening also I typed up duties of the Camp Commissioner – in this case, Lou – so that her tasks might be preserved for future years.  She told me what she wanted written and then I created that document for her to give to Travis as he requested.  Larissa and Kiara came over to our cabin to hang out with us.

AUGUST  4th – THURSDAY

I think that today has got to be the best day in camp this season.  I had a grand time.  Everything “clicked” to make it real fun –and interesting.  And the conversations that I had everywhere I went were excellent.

About men and Scouts – and many staff – including Larissa and two other staff ladies – gathered for the grand event.   I was amazed that there were no Pirates there for the event – even though they had previously made a Pirate promise that they would all be there.  The sunrise over the lake this morning was stupendous (that’s a sunrise word that my grandson, Bryson, and I use together).  The sunrise alone was well worth getting up for.  Magnificent and amazing!

Waterfront Director, Rachae, took charge of the Polar Plunge event.  She instructed all participants to enter the water and to kneel together on the sand – with knees and lower legs in the icy water.  (One Scoutmaster later said that this kneeling was the worst part of the event.)    Then, at the given signal, all of the group proceeded tentatively and fully into the ice water.  (I think that a few folks had to scrape the ice off of the water in order to proceed.)  Again, they followed the given directions and formed a large group circle.  And then, again on command, they began doing the “Hokey Pokey” dance.   They put their right foot in …

And incidentally, for those who may not know, the guy who created the “Hokey Pokey” experience recently died.  But the word is that they had a hard time getting the guy into his casket.  They put his right foot in …  (I later shared this fact with the Scouts at the flag ceremony and this brought a good laugh after the guys caught on …)

At the completion of the “dance”, the folks began to exit the freezing water.  One leader said as I stopped Larissa to take her photo … “That was cruel!”  Larissa actually got the whole event on camera.  She saw someone returning from the overnight canoe trip – just at that moment – so asked the person to record the event.  And this was great fun to watch together later at breakfast.

Another leader said, “You might as well cut off my feet – since I can’t feel them anyway.  Still another plunger said, “Now I am burning all over!”  (I guess the freezing water had that kind of an effect on the body.)    Another leader was visibly shaking violently – still in shock of the cold water.  (But, I guess that the event must have been a lot of fun!)

(And I found it interesting on last week’s evaluation forms that one leader was appalled that we did the “non-Scouting” Hokey Pokey for the Plunge activity.  I guess he thought that we should have stood there at attention doing the Scout Law!)   Some things at camp are purely for fun, I say.

With the plunge complete, I walked back up the hill with some leaders.  They were speculating about whether or not they could get into the showers at that hour (wondering if all of the stalls would be taken).   Another guy answered that taking a shower would only make the burning and the cold worse.  And still another leader had an interesting plan.  He said, “I think I will just go to the shower and remain in there – [in the hot water] until about 10:30 Am.”  And then thinking a bit, he added a P.S.:  “You can just put my breakfast in to me under the door.”  And yet another – who had been a bystander, said, “You wouldn’t catch me doing that – not in a million years!”

One Scoutmaster walking with one of his Scouts told a Scout, “Well, Now you are a REAL MAN!”  That was probably true.

As I returned to my cabin, my wife wanted to know how the plunge went.  She noted that she had heard the screams clear there at the cabin (coming from the Waterfront).

At breakfast that morning, many of the staff were mad.  They accused David and Brayden – the first staff to the shower stalls  – of “stealing all of the hot water”.  David seemed proud that he had outrun everyone else.  And speaking of staff and breakfast … all of the staff were freezing and were bundled up in their staff jackets.  They were grateful when a staff member started a fire on this freezing August 4th morning.  Larissa touched a fellow staff member and noted, “You are freezing”.  One staff member summed it up as he said, “The worst thing was getting out of bed … and then getting in.”  Actually seven staff members participated in and survived the plunge.  Brave souls!

When I had my SPL meeting, one of the SPL’s aptly described the morning’s weather.  He said, “I was sleeping in my hammock – in my 40 degree sleeping bag … my feet were so cold I couldn’t feel them.  I had to warm up my shoes so I could get them on!”  Another SPL said, “I woke up was there on the ground.  I realized that during the night I ended up on one side of the tent and my sleeping bag ended up on the other.  Still another SPL reported, “We saw a deer in our camp – a doe and two fawns.  Another SPL told the others, “I was just barely alive in the cold.”

One troop had been on the canoe overnight hike – and per Forest Service regulations – could not start a fire over on the other side of the lake.  He noted that a bunch of Scouts had worked together and had created a giant “wilderness survival” lean-to.  They slept under this big shelter – nine of them – and the SPL reported that they were “nice and warm”.

At the meeting I also asked the SPL’s, “What was the best thing that you did at camp?”  One boy was quick to say, “The Zip Line was AWESOME!”

At the SPL meeting I also with Pirate SPL Ashton.    I gave him a hard time about ditching the Polar Plunge.  He said, “We didn’t need to do the Polar Bear.  We thought we did it just with the weather of the day!”  Yeah, yeah …

At the meeting … and I don’t know how we got on the subject, but I kind of snookered all of the SPL’s.  My “trick” fit perfectly into the discussion of the moment.  I said, “Hey, guys, do you know that I can write Chinese?”  Of course they were all in awe.  I let them think about that for a moment.  Then I took the back of one of the Bull Run maps and on the back of it wrote the word, “C-H-I-N-E-S-E”.  Then they all really laughed as they realized what I had done to them.  And later as I distributed the map sheets, two or three of the boys were looking to see if they might get the sheet with my Chinese written on it.  I then told them that they could go back to their troops and pull the trick on their own Scouts.

A Scoutmaster had also come to the meeting.  I had been watching him during my Chinese exhibition.  After the meeting he said to me, “You really had me going there!”   We both laughed.

The flag ceremony this morning was fun.  The Pirates had signed up to do the flag ceremony.  And prior to them raising the colors – of the US, Wyoming, and Camp New Fork, they had again raised their Pirate colors.  I took the flags out for the Scouts – as I do each morning and said to Ashton, “Here are the REAL flags!”  The Pirates gave a big laugh with a hearty “Arrrrgh!”  The surprise to everyone this morning was that the Pirates came in real Scout uniforms – and they were actually in complete Scout uniforms – rather than their black and white Pirate T-shirts.

Staffer Kassi asked if she could lead the group in “Do You Know the Muffin Man”.  I agreed to let her do it – with one stipulation – that they have about six staffers all up front – so that we could get through the whole crowd much faster as they split and went to others – still singing, “Do you Know the Muffin Man” as they jumped and bounced in front of the next guy.

I was full of jokes at the ceremony – and my wife was led to say aloud, “He is really ON ONE today!”  I guess I was.  I played the role of a reporter and read some of the above comments that I had gleaned at the Polar Plunge and through listening along the trail – and in talking to leaders and youth.  The Scouts and leaders seemed to get a kick out of my “reporting”.   One leader later told me, “You ought to be a news reporter!”  (I could go for that!  Blogging and reporting seem to go together!)

Of course the Pirates all had their excuses for not being at the Polar Plunge.  Yeah, Yeah …  That’s when I shared a spontaneous yell as I said, “Pirates, Pirates, Lots of talk, but can’t handle the open sea!”  Captain Jason had another excuse.  I said, “It sounds as if you have a PHD – piled higher and deeper!”  (More laughter …)  And as at every other flag ceremony of the week, some leader came forth with the “pirate joke” of the hour.  (I had to warn some of the guys that the jokes had to be “white-washed clean” for the Scouts.  Most of them fit that scenario.

After the ceremony I met a guy named Adam Poll.  I asked him if he knew a Bob Poll from Morgan County, Utah.  I had known Bob years ago when I was the District Scout Executive covering Morgan County.  He said that Bob is indeed his uncle.  So, we had a good conversation as we shared memories of Bob and what he has done since that time so long ago.

I also had a personal fun experience.  We have all noted a 6’10”guy here this week as a Scouting leader.  Bryce Fox is a leader in one of my wife’s commissioner troops.  So, she introduced him to me – and vice versa.  (I had naturally seen him looming above the crowds at flag ceremonies – so was pleased to get to meet him.)  He willingly posed for a picture with me.

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Kevin Hunt with 6’10” Leader, Bryce Fox

I asked him if he had ever heard of the “World’s Tallest Boy Scout” and he had not.  I took him into the office and for once the internet was working.  I looked up … Robert Wadlow.  Bryce found this to be an interesting article about another big tall man.  At age 13, Robert stood 7’4” and was known as the world’s tallest Boy Scout.  He was also later designated as the World’s Tallest Man.  Interesting story if you want to check it out!  Robert Wadlow – World’s Tallest Scout

And after the crowd headed off to merit badges – or whatever else – for the morning, I again resorted to the porch of the office/trading post.   Another leader commented on the Polar Plunge.  He said, “I wouldn’t do that with a shotgun to my neck.”   Another leader said, “It was warmer in the water than out!”  (That still didn’t sound real convincing to me!)

I got onto the subject of the “Troop Friend” with another leader.  I told him that our Troop friend system was not working a bit better after I had told him of our rocky success with the program earlier.  He stated that the whole key to a successful and great camp is Troop friends who are engaging and fun with the Scouts.  I could not agree more!

I went to the dining hall and noted that everyone there was in a freezing mode.  And I thought it appropriate that the punch containers had “ice blue” punch in them.   I was surprised at this camp to see that the Cook always had an ample supply of chocolate milk for everyone.  In fact, most folks – youth and leaders took two small cartons of chocolate milk – rather than the traditional white milk – at every meal.  Today someone coined the phrase, “White milk matters!”

Later I met with Scoutmasters at the weekly Scoutmaster luncheon.   The challenge – for me – was that with the last week of camp and all, the cook had run out of flour and some other ingredients.  So, instead of her famous brownies, Cook Mabel served us cookies.  One leader wanted to know if there were nuts in the cookies.  Another leader was quick on the draw.  He said to the first, “Let me taste yours and I’ll let you know!”  At the Scoutmaster meeting I went over details of the Bull Run activity for Friday.  We also talked of the coming check-out procedures.  We asked for volunteers for various camp closing tasks – and everyone seemed more than willing to provide service with us.  Getting the Waterfront docks out – and stored for the winter – is one area that will require a lot of help to get the task done.

Lou and David did some make-up training today for some guys who had missed their earlier sessions.

Back on the porch, I heard some more great comments.  One leader said, “We’re having a blast!  This is a great camp.”  He noted that this was his troop’s first experience with “an organized camp” and he was impressed.

I heard another story that made my heart jump with pride for the leader who did it.  I guess this leader came up over the weekend and realized to his horror that in the rush of getting the troop to camp he had forgotten his Scout uniform.  And are you ready for this?  He drove four hours back home to get the uniform – and then four more hours back with it.  Wow!  That is total scouting commitment.  That leader has got to be one of the very best!  Thanks, Mr. Scoutmaster!

Although camp ends on Saturday, Lou and I exercised our option tonight (actually this afternoon) and went in to Pinedale – just for a break.  I went to a computer place but they could do nothing for my ailing computer.  We went to the thrift store – because Lou loves such places – but the thing that she’d seen and wanted was already gone.  Too bad!  We went to the library and picked up the pack that Johnny left there on Saturday.  (And he was later very pleased to get it back.)  We then went to get milk shakes at a local place.  We found these wonderful.  We finished off at Ridley’s where we bought a few things.  We filled up our gas tank on our mini-van – so that we would be ready to roll on Saturday as camp finishes.  We called a couple of our daughters.  It was a pleasant trip.  We got back into camp just in time for me to conduct the evening flag ceremony.

Brayden led the assembled troops and Scouts in the “Austrian Yodeler”.  This is a really great song:

THE AUSTRIAN YODELER

austrian-yodeler-song

Music Notes – Replace [insert word] & [sound] using the table below. Or by leaders’ direction. Note the pauses (denoted with the “//” symbol) here the music stops and you sound the [sound] corresponding to the [insert word]

Motions & Actions – Slap Thighs, Clap Hands, Snap Fingers throughout verses and choruses.  Roll-slap thighs on “Yo-de-li”. Make sure to follow leader, especially during the choruses.

[Insert Word] [Sound] [Insert Word] [Sound]
Cuckoo Bird* N/a* Grizzly Bear Rawr!
Avalanche Whoosh! Pretty Girl Ooh La La
Flirtatious Guy Hey, Baby Pretty Girl Dad Bang!

*Usually always first verse, hence the “Cu-koo” inclusion in the main song.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Again this evening Lou and I ate outdoors.  It was most pleasant out there – not nearly as crowded and noisy as the dining hall full of Scouts.  Larissa, Kiara and Marina joined us out there.

I again joined Travis for more staff exit interviews.  We met with C-Bas – of Outdoor Skills – and then all of the Waterfront staff.  As I helped with the interviews, Lou was out visiting her troops.  And back at the cabin, I typed Larissa’s Climbing inventory into Lou’s computer – and then saved it to my jump drive for transfer to the camp computer.  All of the Area Directors have been typing their own inventories as they have been able to have access to the camp computer.

We were sad today to learn of new Forest Service restrictions.  In light of the fires going on around us – and the very dry conditions we now have a very high fire danger status level for the camp and the surrounding forest.  We learned that we cannot have any fires anywhere in camp.  I really was not surprised at the new situation – but it does cut out a lot of good program things.  And we can count our blessings that this restriction did not come much earlier in the camp season.  We can probably handle just three days without fires.

AUGUST 5TH – FRIDAY

Usually I have no problem sleeping.  Last night was different, however.  I awoke at 3:30 AM and could not get back to sleep.  I guess I just had too much on my mind with the end of camp and all.

As I got to the dining hall this morning, I realized that I had forgotten to wear one of my signature bolo ties.

bolo-ties-of-kevin-fashioned-by-larissa

Larissa fashioning many of her dad’s bolo ties

I literally ran down the hill to get one and made it back to breakfast by the starting time.  (It would be bad for the Program Director to be late.)

I conducted my meeting with the Senior Patrol Leaders.  I extracted from those interested their skits that they want to do at the campfire program this evening.

At our morning flag ceremony, we had our usual pirate jokes.  Many leaders want to get in on these.

Two Scouting leaders mentioned to me that they had a problem with one of their Scouts – and two of our staff members and areas.  So, I went with them to see what was going on.  I first went with them to Wilderness Survival at the Scouting Skills area.  I guess the Scout had left the wilderness survival outing last night and did not spend the night.  The report that the leaders got was that boys had made fun of him but my counselor said that he had not been bothered but just wanted to leave.

Then at Archery, I talked to the counselors.  The boy decided on his own that he could not make the required scores and had skipped out.   The Scout leaders quickly got the picture that it was the Scout himself who was the issue – and that he had not exactly told the whole story to his leaders.  We found the Scout and talked to him.   It became obvious that he had left wilderness survival because he was afraid of sleeping out on his own.  I suggested to him that if he desired, he could build his survival hut in his own campsite and sleep there tonight.  He kind of lit up when I suggested this to him.  And I talked to the leaders later and they said that the boy was building his hut in the afternoon.  [And I talked to the boy on Saturday morning and he was real excited.  He had indeed built his shelter and had successfully slept in it!  Hooray!  And with this action, he was able to complete his merit badge!]  So, that all worked out.

I went back to the cabin and created the campfire schedule for this evening.  There are a great number of troops who want to participate in the program – so this was a bit of a challenge.

I parked our red mini-van near the cabin so that we could load things into it as we had time through the day.  So, at this time, I had a few minutes so I loaded several packed boxes into the vehicle.  I also used a bunch of paper towels and a bucket of water and used these to remove a bunch of New Fork dust that has been building up.  David put a message in the dust on the car which I didn’t like (something about a “red devil” but in espanol – which I don’t know – and that is what made me decide to wash the vehicle).  I saw him later and suggested that if he wants a ride home with us to Arizona that he should not be putting his message on the car.  (He looked at me kind of funny … like how did you know that it was me?)  That actually wasn’t that hard to figure out.  That same message about the red devil was on my vehicle at the end of camp last year in Colorado – and he was the common denominator at both camps.  Silly boy!

I took one of our worn out camping chairs to the large garbage bin.  We need all of the space in the car that we can get and we don’t need to take home junk in our precious space.  We had only a few staffers present for lunch today.  Most of them were out eating with their troops.

Back at the office porch, a Scout came with a major bloody nose.  I offered to assist him.  He said, “I’m taking First Aid – so I know what to do!”  So, I sat and watched him as he did his thing – and he did pretty well.

Lou has enjoyed her visits this week with the leaders from the troop in the Tendoy campsite.  She invited me to go with her this morning to meet and visit with them.  She had also told them of our engagement and marriage story.  I guess the Bishop of the Troop was in total awe that our first kiss – (not her’s) – but MY first kiss ever – was over the marriage altar.  He kept telling her how great he thought that this was – and wished that more youth in his group would not be so physical in their engagement period.

So, anyway, we went over to visit the folks.  The Bishop said, “You guys run a great camp.  We have had a great time.”  He said that the thing that he liked best about our camp is that is has been “clean” – meaning good fun, good language, and good taste in skits and all that we have done.

While in his campsite I noted a young Scout working on his Pioneering tower model.  He looked up at me – with pride in his tower – and it was then that I noticed how much fun the Scout has had here this week.  His face was totally black with the dirt.  I asked him if I could take his picture and he let me do it.

scout-dirty-face-with-pioneering-model

Yes, that really is all dirt on this Scout’s face!  He must have had a grand time at camp!

As we headed back to the headquarters, I talked with another Scoutmaster – an 18-year veteran Scoutmaster.  He said, “I like it – it’s a great camp!”   He noted that this is the first camp wherein we have the Scoutmaster belly flop.  A Scout overheard our conversation and the leader said to his boy, “Yeah, the old Scoutmaster will do it for you!”  Yet another leader said, “It has been excellent!  We’ve had a great time!”

I overheard two Scouts as they walked by a KYBO.  One commented on how bad the smell was.  And the other Scout said, “They probably never clean them out!”  And the first one reiterated that, “Yeah, probably never!”  I didn’t tell them that a pumping truck had come to the camp just today – and had cleaned out all of the KYBO’s.

I talked to a Scout on the trail down to the Waterfront.  I loved his comment.  He said, ”It’s been great to be at New Fork.  I’d rate it 5 stars!”  Wow, it doesn’t get much better than that!

After all of the merit badge classes ended for the afternoon (and actually for the summer), I gathered the troops at the parade grounds about 3:15 PM.  I read of the various legs of the Bull Run relay race.  I had the Scouts gather to a spot with a designated staffer who then led his group off to the point in the race where they would do their own things.  I then went down to the campfire bowl to be with David as he got the runners started – off and running.  As ever, he told the participants that to start the race they “had to have one cheek on the ground” (without specifying upper or lower cheeks).

After the runners were off and running, I went to the Waterfront Area.  I had a grand time watching the events there.  It was fun to see the large gathering of Scouts and leaders who were all there to shout encouragement to their runners as they came around the bend into the Waterfront.  Excitement was high.

And as ever, I really enjoyed watching the Scoutmaster Belly Flop.  This is always a hilarious event.  Some of the leaders really get into the action.  They all stand around and try to look buff for their boys.  And some had a hard time getting their big bellies to stay within their swim suits.  Many of them had a lot of beef to show.  Lou even made it to the Waterfront to watch this last flopping session.  She even got asked to be a judge of the flopping contest.

One leader bared a bit more than we wanted to see.  He gave us a big view of his giant bare posterior as he walked down the dock to make his flop (and flipped his suit down for all to see).  Oh, my!  Seeing this, a leader near me said, “It was gross (him) but good (his flop).”  I got a photo of the experience, but I shall spare all of you readers the trauma of seeing this.  Some things are best left just to the imagination … and this is one of those things.  But for those of us who saw it “in person”, the image will likely remain as a nightmare … indefinitely.

After the flops of the afternoon, all of the troops stayed – as we had invited or requested – to help us to dismantle the Waterfront swim and boating docks.  We obviously use these all summer long and then at the end of the summer, we dismantle the docks (remove all of the bolts and the giant weights (tied from the docks and going down to the shallow bottom of the lake) that have held them in place.  We bring the giant panels up onto the shore of the lake – and up a ways – where they remain stacked through the winter and beyond – until time to bring them out again for the next summer.   (Scott Foley, an old Camp Bartlett friend and staffer from years ago – and I were corresponding after camp this summer.  He noted that he attended Camp New Fork – his first Scout camp.  He said that helping to dismantle the docks at New Fork was one of his greatest memories of being at the camp!)

A great number of Scouts and leaders worked together to get the canoes, rowboats and sailboats out of the waterfront area.  Several people got around each boat and they hauled these away from the Waterfront.  Many of the boats got moved to the Trading Post for storage under the office and trading post (via the giant garage doors).  Many other boats got moved up to the Archery range where they were stacked.  The boats will remain in these two places throughout the long winter and spring.  And they will ultimately be removed during the staff week next summer.  So, this was a very major task to get all of these boats moved.

All of the rest of the adults – and some of the bigger Scouts – and many of the staff – remained to assist with the dock dismantling.

It took a dozen or so big beefy guys working together to manhandle one of these now water-logged docks up onto the shore and to the designated winter storage spot.  And once these guys were finished with one of the docks, they came back for more.  I could see genuine pride in the groups as they worked together to get the task accomplished.  It was one of those “man things” and they did their roles well.

It took a huge amount of muscle and stamina to get all of the docks up onto the shore and I am sure that all participants had a real personal work-out.  But a major thanks goes out to all of those men who helped.  They certainly were a big help – and their service was truly phenomenal.    What these many men accomplished in a half hour or so would have taken staff hours to have completed on their own.  So, thanks to all of you!   You were “lifesavers”!

We did not get done with the dock action until about 5:15 PM and at that time, most of the camp were still in swim suits.  So, I wondered how the flag ceremony would be at 5:45 PM. But, I should not have been surprised.   Almost everyone hurried back to their camps – and were still able to show up in uniforms for the flag ceremony.    This whole afternoon – the event, the service, and the uniforms were all a grand show of true Scouting spirit.  Fabulous!

It was my privilege again to talk to the Pirates at the flag ceremony – before the event.  I have surely enjoyed the association with these guys this week.  I have felt a strong brotherhood with Captain Jason and his sons – especially Ashton.  Great men!  And it was fun tonight to pose for a photo with all of the Pirate group and me.

pirates-surrouind-kevin

Kevin with his Pirate mates from Troop 577 – Ahoy, Mates!  Arrrrr!

At the flag ceremony Jacob led us in the Bazooka Bubble Gum song.  I really enjoy hearing the Scouts sing this song – and then bobbing up and down as they sing, “Bazooka, zooka, bubble gum!”

I have loved the Spirit Stick this week.  It has many carvings on it – and plainly beautiful.  We have kept most of the Spirit Sticks over the summer – and have put them to rest in the dining hall.  But, this one was very special – so I decided to just keep it for myself – and my treasured walking stick collection.   (Maybe I shouldn’t admit to that … but the deed is done … and I love it!  Thanks to all of you troops with SPIRIT!)  I think my act threw a monkey wrench into Pirate plans, however.   (But they may never see me again to make me “walk the plank”.)

There were long lines (two of them) for dinner tonight.  And the food was way late in being served.  Lou set out the Bear Claw fixin’s so that troops could collect their beads, claws, lace, etc.  Lou and David prepared the large envelopes to hold the merit badge cards, physicals, patches, etc. for each troop.  This is always a big job to put these packages together.  But, the consolation today was that these were the last such packages to be created for this summer.

We staged the Merit Badge Madness event tonight after dinner.  All of the Scout leaders were able to pick up their large envelopes and then each – per our pleadings – got to go through the package to make sure that everything was there that should be there.  Our Area Directors were standing by to assist and reconcile as needed with the merit badge completion and partials.

Travis and I somehow completed all of our exit interviews.  We held our last one – with our Shining Star – David – late this afternoon.  And then Travis met with Lou and I together.  We came out of the interview as “FREE AGENTS” for 2017.

The High Adventure group has managed the branding iron session on Friday nights but they had other duties for a while tonight.  So, I got it fire lit and the irons hot as we waited for them to come.  I had several Scouts and leaders come to get things branded.

I decided to start the closing campfire program a half hour earlier than usual tonight.  The reason was that we could not have a real fire (because of new Forest Service regulations) – and were limited to a small propane fire – using a system that a troop had and made available to us.  And it has been getting dark much earlier – so the combination of the two required an earlier start for the program.

As has been my practice all summer, I greeted the Troops and put them into a formation – at the parade grounds – using silent signals.  This system seems to work well.  And when they were all formed, Jace took the lead with his drum.  I followed him and the troops came behind me.  Troop 577 – the Pirates – were good Pirates and helped take lanterns and materials for the Honor Trail.  campfire-troops-marching-through-staff-great-photoLeading the troops tonight was kind of traumatic for me as I realized that this was the last time this summer that I would take the lead with the Scouts.  Kind of a tear jerker …!

A lot of troops performed skits tonight – no songs.  The skits were actually pretty decent.  Generally they are otherwise.

Here is our agenda that we followed for the evening – our final campfire program of the summer.  (Wow … that sounds ominous – and pretty “FINAL”.  Sad but true …):

NEW FORK CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – FRIDAY AUGUST 5TH

PROGRAM ITEM                       WHAT TO DO                                  WHO TO DO

Lead-in                                        Drum beats and Welcome             Jace and Kevin

Fire Starter                                  (Using a propane system)            Ranger Reed

Chant                                            One Fat Hen                                      Nathan

Troop Skit                                    It’s All Around Me                          Troop R-4

Troop Skit                                    Doctor                                                 Troop 416

Troop Skit                                    Water                                                   Troop 46

Song/Skit                                     Bear Hunt                                           Reed

Troop Skit                                    The Artist                                           Troop 365

Troop Skit                                    Charred Horse Meat                        Pirates – Troop 577

Bull Run Winner                        Award                                                  David

Song                                                                  AagaflagafleegaflagaishkanishkanogginoggaAagaflagafleegabirdiebirdie  Will

Troop Skit                                    Purple Gorilla                                    Troop 488

Run-on                                         The Fawn                                            Troop 46

Troop Skit                                    King’s Important Papers               Troop 524

Song                                               I’ve Got That New Fork Spirit      ________________

Troop Skit                                     Lady Bug                                             Pirates – Troop 577

Troop Skit                                     Skittles                                                Troop 269

Handicraft Awards                     Awards                                                 Staff

Troop Skit                                     The Wild West                                    Troop 365

Mile Swim Awards                      Awards                                                 Rachae

Troop Skit                                      Mountain Man                                   Troop 293

Troop Skit                                      The Emergency Broadcast System   Troop 312

Troop Skit                                      Grave Digger                                       Troop 258

Shooting Sports Awards            Awards                                                 Bruce and Lina

Troop Skit                                       Snake Bite                                           Troop 498

Troop Skit                                       Water Telephone                               Troops 281/106

SM Training Awards                    Outdoor, SM Specific                        Kevin

Alice the Camel                             Scouters                                               Kevin

Commissioner Awards               Jim Bridger, Honor Troop                Lou and David

Quiet Song (To Teach)                Scout Vesper                                        Matt

Quiet Song                                      Song                                                       Andrew and David

Quiet Song                                      America Round                                   Rachae

Quiet Song (To Teach)                 Taps                                                        Tommy

Flag Retirement Ceremony       Flag Retirement                                  Jonathan & Team

Scouter’s Minute                                                                                            Kevin

Quiet Song                                       On My Honor, Vesper                       Matt

Honor Trail                                      Honor Trail                                           Staff

“One Fat Hen” – led by Nathan …  Now there’s something worth repeating … such a great song, chant or whatever it is:

I was pleased again to lead several great Scouting leaders in my old favorite song – even “Alice the Camel”.  I love seeing the look of shock on the faces of the leader group that I get gathered together for such a song as this.  It is truly great!  It was also my pleasure to again present the Scouter’s Minute – my final one for this camp season.  And after my “minute”, staffers were in place.  They began as a group to sing quiet and reflective Scouting songs.

I led the first Troop from the campfire bowl and then on through the Honor Trail.   Staff in turn then each led a troop down the same trail.

A big thanks goes out to those staffers who have manned the various Scout Law points through the summer.  Each one has religiously been at their post each week.   And they have memorized a bit of their own challenge (and often it is the Scout Law point summary found in almost every Scout Handbook since the beginning of the Boy Scouts of America) – presenting the same thing twenty or more times each Friday night.  The group has included:

Trustworthy – Kassi

Loyal – Kameron

Helpful – Brayden

Friendly – Brad

Courteous – Jake

Kind – Grace

Obedient – Jack

Cheerful – Kendra

Thrifty – David

Brave – Daghen

Clean – Tannon

Reverent – Jason

I gave all of the Honor Trail guys (and ladies) the option of not doing it again tonight – if they wanted to experience the whole trail themselves – or to remain at their posts as usual.  A few took the option and I was able to recruit other staff to step in for them.  Each staffer held a lantern and then greeted each troop with his/her hand held high to the Scout Law square as each troop came individually through the trail.

The Trustworthy staffer said something like, “A Scout is Trustworthy.  A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.  A Scout is Trustworthy …”

And so it went for each point of the Scout Law.  This Honor Trail is so impressive.  Even after going through it probably fifty times … I still get choked up each time that I again go through it.  And tonight was no exception!  Scout Spirit at its best!

pirates-in-front-of-officeIt was such a great honor for me to take through my great friends – the Pirates from Troop 577!   And the Pirate leaders each individually broke into a great brotherhood hug with me.  I think that we were all crying by that time.  I know that I was!  Wow!  Such a great week with these great men.  I grew to love each one of them!  Again, Scout Spirit at it’s best!  Thanks, guys!  You truly showed what it is all about!  Arrrr!  Ahoy, Mates!  (And I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again!)

In all fairness, I should add another note here:  The Pirate Troop really did steal the show at camp in our final week, but this does not mean that there were not other great troops there.  R-4 was there and did a great job.  And ten or fifteen other troops could be mentioned.  Each troop present this week had their moments of strength and greatness.  Thanks to all of you for coming and for making it such a great week for all of us.

Camp Director, Travis, got the opportunity to give his final Scout Minute – from his rock – to each troop.  And I’ll have to admit that I was a bit jealous.  I truly loved the opportunity of doing this two of the Fridays of the summer.

It was a tear jerker again for me to be at the end of the trail and to welcome each staffer as he/she came with his/her troop and as they emerged in dim light up the small incline under the pioneering arch.  So classy!

So, each troop and their staff escort came through the arch and got the little speech by Travis.  And as each staffer finished his final program task, they each joined the staff group as we together awaited the arrival of the last troop and staffer.

Then as each of the troops were on their way back to their campsites, this left only the staff for one last and very emotional rendering of our staff circle.  There were a lot of tears as together we sang our final, “Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be.  Where’er we go, where’er we may be …  Friends we are, and friends we’ll always be – through all eternity.”  Those words could not be more true!  Such great friends after such a grand summer together!staff-photo-day-4

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

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

My own feelings were tender and poignant realizing that Camp New Fork was a “once in a lifetime experience” for Lou and I.  That was a pretty challenging thought at that moment.

Lou and I solemnly headed back – hand in hand – back to our cabin – as we reflected on the great summer that we had shared with all the staff, leaders and Scouts in the Camp New Fork 2016 experience.  Thanks to everyone for making it all so great.

Larissa and Kiara had closed out their cabin and left it all clean – for now – and awaiting new staffers in 2017.  They had packed all of their goods and kept out only what was needed for one final night and day.  They came to our cabin to spend the final night on the bunkbeds in our “spare bedroom” in the cabin.

We all finished the last of our packing.  Packing is always so “FINAL” in such situations.  That was the case for us tonight.  We ate some goodies together – and then watched a final movie – all with the sad realization that tomorrow truly would be the end.  And we knew that we had a big day ahead of us.

AUGUST 6TH – SATURDAY

Today was our final day at Camp New Fork.  So sad!

Lou was up at 5:00 AM to go check out her troops for the final time.  And there were some troops who were all packed and ready to head out – wanting their final inspections at that horrible hour.

 

Alone at our cabin (but I guess the girls were still in the other room), I took all of our bedding off of our bed and got it folded up.  I packed some more things into the already too-packed mini-van.

I made it to the final flag ceremony with the troops.  There were only five to six troops there for the ceremony.  Most had already left – or were still scrambling to get everything packed for their exit from the camp.  A few more troops showed up at the breakfast provided by the kitchen staff for all.

I called upon Daghen to come forward to lead us in “Waddleachee” just one more time.  He was great, as usual.  And I led the group in “Aardvarks are Our Friends” just so that the Scouts (and leaders) would have something to ponder and practice all of the way home.  We then went in to the dining hall for breakfast.  And following the breakfast, the troops all made their way out of the camp and were on their way home.  Sad day!

With the Scouts all gone, the staff was faced with at least a million tasks – all needed to close camp – and all of which needed to be done by 3:00 PM – our announced final moment in camp before everyone could head their separate directions.

Travis was off doing Camp Director stuff (and was heard on the radio a few times but hardly seen at all through the day) so it fell my lot to supervise, manage and inspire the hearts of all of the staff members in the plethora of camp closing tasks.  And as I thought about the upcoming day and the many tasks to be done, it was all kind of over-powering.  What had taken us a week or ten days to put up at the end of the summer now had to come down in about six hours.  It was all kind of mind-boggling and intense.

Right after breakfast, I took my own walk of the camp to see what needed to be done.  I checked the chapel and found all well there – and the Spirit still strong.  I then went through all of the lower program areas – and found them all looking great.  The Climbing Tower, Scouting Skills, Handicraft and Nature areas were all done and needed nothing else.  The Waterfront staff would have several more hours of work to close out their lakeshore property.  I knew that the Rifle and Shotgun ranges were nearly done.  And I knew that Archery would also be a major project for several people.

I went to the troop showers – for my first time this summer.

And as my wife suggested, I checked out the old shower boiler/hot water system which antiquated – but still visible at the side of the shower.  I remember those days of stoking the boiler with a ton or firewood.  Wow!  That is a memory … mostly bad … but the hot showers were sure nice – if one could get there at the right moment when the water was hot (before the staff or Scouts stole it all).  I took a photo of the old out-dated contraption.

I then perched myself on the porch of the office and trading post.  I became the central command post for all of the staff as we faced the ominous day together.  I sat there and each time a staff member came to me with tasks completed, I checked them off of my mental list.  And then I sent each staffer – individually, in pairs, groups, or whatever I could – to do the tasks of the day.

Brayden, Diego and Jake, and Matt all had fathers in camp with their troops this past week.  And knowing that they could not leave with their Staff sons until at least 3:00 PM, these guys – and their troops – pitched in to assist us.  They all proved to be a major help to us as they provided such service.  Marina and her mother did some other tasks but then really did the clean-up job on the office.    They were a big help to David and Lou as they worked to finalize the office.

Bryan – father of Jake and Diego – worked tirelessly in the trading post.   They helped the trading post to box up all inventory – as they made a physical list of all that was still there – even after the 50% off everything sale of yesterday.

We had a major team – mostly the High Adventure guys – who helped collect all of the giant metal “BEAR BOXES” from each campsite.  These were loaded onto trucks and trailers and taken up to the dining hall for winter storage.

Lou packed and cleaned our own cabin and did a great job on these tasks.  She packed most of the vehicle also.  Usually this is my task – but she did pretty well on her own.

There was trash in various places that all had to be hauled out – to trucks going out of camp – or into the giant green dumpster.  The entire camp had to be patrolled for litter.  The central KYBO’s, staff latrines and shower facilities all had to be cleaned.  The dining hall had to be cleaned, swept and mopped.  The trading post – after the disposition of the stuff – had to be cleaned.  The Scout showers needed cleaning (though the last assigned troop did well at this).  The Archery and Waterfront areas both needed six or eight staff members to help them close out the areas, put stuff away, etc.

At the beginning of the summer we had ceremoniously placed the Camp New Fork and Trapper Trails Council signs onto the front of the office/trading post.  Today those signs had to come down.  We wanted to put them safely in the office so that they would better weather the coming snows of winter.  At the moment that they needed to come down, we had no vehicles to get staff high enough for the tasks.  But, just at that moment, we were visited by the local Bishop – of the ward responsible for the camp and staff.  He had come up to receive a lot of leftover food from the kitchen – to be put to good use with families of his ward who could use some special assistance.  So, he agreed to help us and his truck was perfect.  With tall ladders placed in the bed of his truck, we were able to get high enough to get the signs down.

The list of tasks could go on and on …  To their credit, the staff were all willing to pitch in and they all worked hard to get the tasks done.  As they finished one task, they came back to me for more to do.  We were all tired, but the tasks remained and so we all somehow kept going.

The word was that we would all stop working at noon for a final staff lunch and BBQ.  Most of the staff were finished with their major tasks by that time.  More leftover food (mostly trail and high adventure program food) was distributed to staff members.

Mabel grilled meats of various kinds on the giant grill owned by the camp – but which has mysteriously laid dormant through the summer.  And everyone was pleased that all of the leftover candy from the trading post was also made available (for free) at the meal – and this made a great dessert – now and for the road home.  We fed all of the staff and the remaining two or three troops who had so graciously helped us.  It was a nice dinner together – outside – and with boxes and plates of a variety of things to eat.  There was choice enough for everyone and I think that everyone got plenty.

We had to kind of sit around to wait for the meal to be ready to be served – but it gave us all a bit of a break to relax and visit a final time.

After the meal I gave direction to all of the staff members to go finalize their own packing and cabin clean-up.  I had directed the staff to get started on this earlier in the week – and many of them did this.   But, as is typical of teenagers, many of the places were still war-zones.  Probably only mothers could envision the scene in each cabin.  But, instead of just their own son or daughter – it was times six or eight – to include the many staffers in each cabin.

And so, after each staffer – or actually the whole cabin group – was ready – with all stuff removed, and the place cleaned up, I was called over to inspect.  Some of the staff were still out at the Waterfront or on trash dumping trips and so in these cabins where they had lived, I had to bend the rules a bit.  In such cases, each staffer had to have his/her own area clean – including under their beds, and surrounding area – with the other folks to clean their own areas when done with the other tasks.

It took major effort but eventually I made it through all but three or four cabins (or six or eight remaining staff areas).  I personally checked all of the other areas and found them acceptable and “cleared”.  This proved to be a real chore for me – and for many of the staffers.

We had said that staff could leave – if all was done and clean – after 3:00 Pm.  So, by that time, most of the staff had been released by me and were on their way out.  And so, about 3:15 Pm, I took my keys and my radio to the office and left them.  I had hoped to see Travis but he was still off on his tasks – and in unknown locations.  And he was not reachable via radio.  So, I just left the items and headed back to the cabin.  And without keys and the radio, there was not much more that I could do.  I checked a final few more cabins and finished the final packing of my own vehicle.

And with that, Lou, Larissa, David and Johnny and I squeezed into the remaining tight spots in our mini-van and began our long journey back to sunny Arizona.  We pulled out of Camp New Fork about 3:45 Pm.  And so, our 2016 camp summer at Camp New Fork really did come to an end.  That was a real sad moment.  What a great summer it has been.  And what special memories we took with us.

sunset-over-the-lake

Sunset at Camp New Fork

Actually we were not all in the mini-van.  Nor was all of our stuff.  Our final staff function was to help drive the two council vans from camp and down to the Trapper Trails Council office in Ogden, Utah.  So, I drove my usual silver van – with Johnny (acting as a son of mine) with me.  Lou drove the gold van – alone.   And this left Larissa driving our vehicle – with David as her passenger.  And we put some of our personal stuff in the gold van – to help spread out the weight a bit.  So, we headed out in our own little convoy.

We headed south on Wyoming Highway 198 and stopped for drink and drain at the Kemmerrer rest stop (actually minus the drink).  We drove 70 miles per hour – under the posted Wyoming and Utah speed limits – all of the way south and west to Ogden.  We drove through Morgan.  And again, driving through Morgan County brought back real fond memories to me.  I recalled with happiness my time there years ago as the professional Scouter – the District Executive – for the area.

Typically I stop at many rest stops along any long journey so my wife and daughter – in their own vehicles behind me – were surprised that I didn’t stop at the rest stop on Highway 84 near Mountain Green and at the canyon just before Ogden.  And as I passed it on the freeway, I wished that I had stopped at this rest stop.  For as I whizzed by, I had a vision of a former memory that I had forgotten.  So, I wished that I had stopped and would have seen again the monument that Mt. Ogden Boy Scouts created thirty plus years ago.

monument-to-peter-skeen-ogden-hwy-84-morgan

The monument actually got built in May of 1980.  And that great Chinaman, Vince Quan, was the mastermind of the project.   This is the same Vince who masterminded our district Scout-O-Rama in a giant Western fort constructed for the event.  For this monument, he got many people to donate to the cause and then he staged a big weekend outing (like a stake camporee) to construct the monument.   After I returned from Camp this summer (2016), I looked in vain in my journal for details of the event.  I know that I was well aware of the project and helped with publicity and other details.  But, it was not recorded in the journal because the weekend that it was created, I was packing trailers with food and a million other supplies and left that day for Camp Bartlett where I would serving that summer as Camp Director.  My journal states that after a full day of camp preparation trauma, my wife and family arrived at Camp Bartlett at 3:00 AM.  Wow!  I guess my vision of the monument was of going to see the marker (on rest stops back from Morgan to Ogden) after I got home from camp – and seeing a plethora of photos from Vince and others who staged the event.

A Google internet search produced some interesting records about the monument and its construction.  The first is from the Utah Division of State History records for plaques and monuments:

Peter Skeen Ogden Monument built by Scouts

The second is from a “Deseret News” Article May 31, 1980.  This can be accessed at:

Deseret News report on the monument building

And included here is a classy photo of the completed monument – as taken by Jimmy Emerson, DMV on July 31, 2013.  And that the photo taken 33 years after the event shows the monument to still be in good shape and there at the rest area for everyone to see.

Anyway, back to the present …

We arrived in South Ogden and per instructions from Travis, we went to a service station to gas both of the vans.  And again, per Travis instructions, we took the two vans to the nearby Ogden Scout office.  So, we were back to where we started two months ago – at the Scout council office.

We then had a new dilemma.  We then had to stuff all of our junk (clothing and everything else needed for five people for a full summer) into just our mini-van.  It was then quite traumatic when the five of us had to also find places to sit.  The consolation was that we would only have to endure this arrangement to get us from Ogden to Sandy, Utah (where we would spend the night).  We knew that we would part with Larissa and some of her stuff in Sandy – and they would not have to go to Arizona with us.  (She flew a few days later to Minnesota – where she served her church mission – and she remained there for almost three weeks visiting with her friends she knew there.)  And with her and her stuff out of the vehicle, we had more space for the four of us and our stuff.  (But we were still packed to the gills!  Every inch was utilized and filled.)

After a summer of “camp food” (eating the same menu each day of the week – and the same stuff for eight weeks), we were all ready for some “real food”.  I had determined that we would eat at a Chuck-A-Rama smorgasboard in Salt Lake.  But, by this time, it was rather later and I knew that if we were going to eat at this restaurant, it would have to be there in Ogden.  Most of us were still in Scout uniforms.  We were pretty trail-weary but happy after our two months of service at Camp New Fork.  We arrived there just before the place closed and were able to load up two or more plates each with their wonderful food.  The waitress looked at our loaded plates as if we were crazy.  We explained that we were all hungry for “real food” after being holed up and eating “camp food” in a remote Boy Scout camp in Wyoming all summer.   She looked at us as if we had escaped from the moon.  I think that we all ate all of the food that we got – to the surprise of the waitress.  And boy, was that food ever good!  It was truly fabulous!

Then with full stomachs, we again did the sardine trick and managed again to get all five of us and our stuff into the mini-van.  We spent the night at the home of Lou’s sister and husband.  They let us crash their place – even though they were not there at the time.  We were all anxious to get our turns in the showers.  And Lou did the laundry – washing the uniforms of all of us (since David and Johnny would have to wear them to church the next day).  Both of these activities served to get all of the Camp New Fork dust off of our tired bodies – and all of our stuff.  (Though I still had New Fork dust on some of my shoes even a month later!)

After all of the above it was well after midnight – and we were even more tired.  It would be a really short night for me – the driver – since we would have to leave early the next morning for St. George where we planned to go to church with our son, K.C. and his family.

So, with this entry, our 2016 Camp New Fork summer was officially over.  All in all, it was a grand experience.  We were so grateful that we could participate and be a part of the New Fork staff – and that we were able to serve together in such a beautiful place.  We hope that we were a positive influence on others around us.

And this also officially ends my blog of the summer experience.  This is the last and final installment in an 8-part series on the camp – as seen by me – as camp Program Director.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading of these experiences – and that my writing was worth the effort.  And now in composite, I see that it is quite a history record of the 2016 summer.  Around 400 pages!  Wow!  And now you know what it is like to be a camp Program Director.  It is a very fun, very tiring and a very rewarding position and function in Scout camps.  I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve.

Epilogue:

On the day after camp Lou and I – along with David and Johnny – drove from Sandy, Utah to St. George.  We spent the night with our son, K.C. and his family.  It was great to see some of the grandkids again.  K.C. spent the afternoon – after church – trying to fix all of my computer issues of the summer.  He made super progress and worked miracles for me.

We left for home on Monday, August 8th.  We drove for eight hours or so from St. George to our home in Mesa, Arizona.  We were welcomed home to a super hot day – with a temperature of 111 degrees!  Wow!  This was surely a shock after the gorgeous and perfect weather of Camp New Fork.  We dropped off David and then Johnny with all of their stuff – at their homes.

We had turned off the air conditioning at our home during the summer (to save on expenses) and the house was deathly hot.  So, we elected to spend the first night with a daughter and family in their new Mesa home.  We went to our own hot home on Tuesday morning.  Later that morning I returned to my “winter job” as a school bus driver.  (And again, it was 111 degrees in a bus with no air conditioning.  Such fun!)  I drove my route in a “dry run”.  School then started the next day – and it was “back to the grindstone” for Lou and I – who both work for the Mesa Unified School District.

Larissa flew from Salt Lake City to Minnesota a few days later – and she loved her time with her mission friends.  She had a job interview the day after her return and got hired also with Mesa Schools – as a teacher’s aide in a special ed program.  She will serve in this position to save money to begin her “track” (Winter semester) at BYU-Idaho in January of 2017.

David received his Eagle Scout award at a wonderful court of honor held on August 30th.  He had actually completed all of the requirements and had his board of review almost a year earlier.  We attended his court of honor and we were so proud of David.  I was surprised and pleased when he presented me with his Eagle “mentor pin”.

I saw Johnny a few days after school started – as he missed his own bus home.  He got into the wrestling program for his school.

I guess there is life after Scout summer camp … but it sure makes one wish that he was still in Scout camp and still having a fabulous summer.  But again, the memories linger – and they are so sweet.  And hundreds of photos help us relive those special camp moments.  And of course, I worked hard to create blogs for each week of the summer.  That writing task has been a fun and rewarding challenge.  It is nice to have the task complete and the history created. It is there for posterity – and for the Scouts, leaders and staff who were all a part of the 2016 Camp New Fork experience.

For the convenience of any or all who may have followed this summer blogging, I have posted another article – entitled “We had Quite a Summer at Camp New Fork in 2016” that has the links for each of the ten weeks/blogs of the summer.  Included are links to the introductory blog written just before camp, the eight installments of blog articles of the summer, as well as a single blog about the week-end trip to Camp Bartlett.  Check them out if you wish!

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

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

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

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

kevin-and-lou-in-front-of-office

Kevin and Lou Hunt – With the 2016 Camp New Fork mission complete, they now look forward as “Free Agents” for a new camp opportunity in 2017

Well, that’s it … all the details – of our grand 2016 camp experience at Camp New Fork in western Wyoming.  The summer of 2016 …  truly a great summer at Camp New Fork!  Thanks for letting us share it with all of you great staffers, Scouts and leaders.

And so, we are back to where we started in the first article about Camp New Fork 2016:

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

So, now I ask, “Was  our summer unique or was it the “same old stuff” experienced in every Scout camp across America?   Don’t know … but for us who experienced Camp New Fork 2016, it was unique and wonderful … but I’ll leave it to each of you to decide the true uniqueness of our story for yourselves.

And as ever, I say,

Best wishes along your Scouting trails.  And we can hope that those trails for you and for us will cross again!

Kevin and Lou Hunt

Journal of the 2016 New Fork Scout Camp Summer experience as Program Director!

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!

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

 

 

 

 

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