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

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By Kevin V. Hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevinthescoutblogger

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

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

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

Jamboree Time full of Fun and Tradition

 

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By Kevin V. Hunt

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

It’s Scout Jamboree time and the hype and excitement is probably building in your council and throughout the country.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the jamboree experience – but most descriptions of a Jamboree begin with “FUN!” and “TRADITION”.  Jamborees certainly bring all of that together.  National BSA Jamborees come around every four years.  And international or world jamborees also happen every four years – but between the BSA events.  (So literally, there is a Jamboree is held every two years.)  Every Scout and leader “should” have opportunity to attend a Jamboree.  They are the ultimate!

Though each Jamboree is unique and different in their own way, yet too, they are much the same.  There is so much of tradition in the Jamboree that Scouts attending the Jamboree this year – in 2017 – will likely experience many of the same great feelings, events, and activities as a Scout might have in 1937 when the first Jamboree was scheduled.

Back in October, I blogged a bit about the National Scout Jamboree that my Troop 155 “The Best Alive” attended together.  This was hidden in a blog of tribute to my Scoutmaster, Jim Johnson, who had just died.  But, since it is Jamboree time, I thought that I would re-visit the Jamboree theme – in this and a couple more blogs.

You might all know by now that I might be as old as dirt.  And our Jamboree experiences might be years apart.  Yet, even so, perhaps as you read you can relate to or get excited about your Jamboree experience whether it is upcoming or like mine – a part of ancient Scouting history.  Anyway, with that in mind, I’d like to share some of my Jamboree experiences with you.

My own experience was actually a bit unique.   For most Jamborees, Scouts and leaders work hard to earn or to get funds to attend a future Jamboree.   Then as the Jamboree event gets closer, the Scout or leader registers with the local council and becomes a member of a Council Jamboree troop.  And a council could have a single such troop (of Scouts from all over) or it could have many troops – each with its own adult leaders and sometimes even different itineraries to and from the event.

When I attended my Jamboree (in 1973) the BSA staged two different Jamborees simultaneously (one in Farragut, Idaho and one at the Morraine State Park in Pennsylvania).  I attended the one in the north Idaho pan-handle.  Also, for that Jamboree, they opened up the event the regular home-town troop to attend under its own regular adult leadership.  And so each troop could create its own Jamboree plan, how to finance it, where to stop along the way, etc.

I had forever heard of Jamborees and had always had an intense desire to attend one.  But, money (as it always does) seemed to play a big role in the decision.  So generally lacking it, my hopes of attending a Jamboree were always “dashed”.  But, when I was about age 16, I read in the BSA “Scouting” Magazine of the opportunity to attend the Jamboree with one’s own troop.  And man, did I ever get excited.  That would be an understatement.  As I read the announcement, I knew that that it was plausible – and too, that I could make such a trip possible for me and my troop.

I don’t know exactly when Scoutmaster Jim Johnson came on the scene but I believe it was also when I was about 16.  And as the Troop JASM, I took on the task of “training him” in his Scoutmaster duties.  Jim and I hit it off immediately and we soon developed a pattern for great things in the troop.  I can still remember those wonderful “Patrol Leader Council Meetings” – held in his living room – wherein we planned and created the troop meetings and outings.  I worked very closely with Scoutmaster Jim and in many ways he treated me as if I was an adult Assistant Scoutmaster.  I helped plan activities, hikes and other programs.  Those were great days and they bring back such great memories.

Anyway, as I read that article that day, I was elated!  I could not believe it.  I had always wanted to attend a National Jamboree – and now suddenly out of the blue – here was my chance.  I rode my bike over to see the new Scoutmaster Jim Johnson.  I said, “Hey, Jim (that is what I always called him) … look where we are going in two years!” (as I showed him the magazine).  He said, “We are????”  But, he was willing to talk about it.  I was ecstatic as I worked to persuade him and he soon bought off on the plan.  And this would be a very major sacrifice for him since the Jamboree was about a ten or twelve day affair and with travel to and from, it would be about nineteen days.   And Jim was a self-employed painting contractor.  So, if he didn’t work, he didn’t get paid.  Jim was soon as excited about the plan as I was.

We went to our church leader – Max Killian – and presented the plan to him.  With a Scout son in our troop, he bought into the plan immediately.  He gave us the charge to earn as much of the money as we could over the next two years – and then gave us the promise that “whatever else you need, you will have”.

So we were then off and running.  The next two years were hectic and busy but glorious and wonderful.  Jim and I met often to talk about our plans and to put them into place with the Troop Leader’s Council.  There was so much to do.   We staged every fund-raising event possible.  (We could do those things in those days.)  We planned and bought equipment.  We trained and re-trained our youth leaders.  We had shake-down meetings, activities and outings.  We made saguaro cacti men – four of them – to be our gate entry into our campsite.

Once we made the decision to attend the grand event, we recruited two other troops (from the nearby village of Lehi – and from our local Mesa, Arizona LDS Stake) to go on the outing with us.  Ultimately we chartered a 51-seater bus for the 52 of us and we were on our way.   Our Troop 155 had 13 Scouts plus Scoutmaster Jim and me.  What a glorious and wonderful trip or adventure it was.  It was the grandest of adventures.  We all had a really great time.

We were to be gone for nineteen days!  I thought then, and have since, how few men would be willing to make a time commitment like that to Scouting and to boys.  But such was the commitment of Scoutmaster Jim Johnson!  I will always be grateful to Jim that he and his family were willing to make that sacrifice for us.  The trip was a dream-come-true for each one of us.

Out Troop 155 group included Robert Wagner, DeLane Davidson, my brothers Kyle and Darcy, Don Carroll, Smith Skouson, Lance Gardner, Scott Johnson, Marvin Peterson, David Killian, Jim’s son – Markley Johnson, John Ray and Kenny Smith.  What a great crew!  We were ready for the fun and grand traditions of a National Scout Jamboree.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

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

 

All in the Name of High Adventure

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

One of my previous blogs introduced the Fun, Adventure and Romance of Scouting.  In that blog I quoted one of my BYU Professors who liked to discourse on this Subject.  “Adventure,” he said, “Is when you do something for the first time.  “Fun” is when you repeat the adventure and still enjoy it.  And “Romance” is the Spirit of Scouting, the classy experiences that tie you to the program. Romance keeps you coming back for more fun and adventure.”   I decided to write about a recent activity that I participated in with my wife and youngest daughter.  One could say that it was “all in the name of high adventure”.

Our adventure began the day after Christmas.    My wife and I were both off of school for a couple of weeks.  We left our home in sunny Arizona (65 degrees) and headed through Utah and Idaho to take our youngest daughter, Larissa, up to attend college at BYU-Idaho.   I don’t know if taking the daughter to college was an adventure or fun by the above definition.  It was not the first time for such an event.  She was the seventh child that we have sent off to college.  And we have sent off the same number of missionaries.  And I might add that it doesn’t get any easier sending the kids off – even with the numbers.    (As a side note:  one son graduated from Dixie College in St. George, one son graduated from Ferris State University in Michigan – and four daughters maintained a very strong tradition as they all followed their mother to Snow College. Another son also attended college – but he went to Arizona State University close to home.   Four children have B.S. degrees and two daughters have A.S. degrees – so far.)

The adventure came more because of the weather.  It was kind of crazy for an old Arizona desert rat.  In another previous blog, I shared information about the Crazy Arizona Weather.  You might enjoy reading that blog if you haven’t already – so you’ll know where we were coming from.  December weather in Arizona is usually pretty nice and this year was no exception.  And while we were enjoying our winter, we sought out the extended weather report for Utah and Idaho.  My wife was very meticulous in this task – almost to obsession.   She checked all of the possible routes – including Highway 89 which we generally prefer (through Flagstaff and Jacob Lake).

Our trip to Utah and Idaho soon grew into an adventure.  I am not sure that it would be classed as fun – and I am certain that it wasn’t romance.   It wasn’t fun – doing something for the first time – and it was not an adventure that was still fun.  But, we pressed on.  We were able to go up our chosen route and got to see our son and his wife and children in St. George en route for a couple of days.  The trip on to Salt Lake City was pretty pleasant and “normal”.  The snow that hit with a vengeance on Christmas Day had kind of stabilized – though we saw results of it everywhere we went (including in Flagstaff and Jacob Lake) but the roads were still passable and okay.

The true adventure (if that is what you would call it) came as we traveled in the darkness on Interstate 15 toward Idaho Falls (where we would stay with a daughter and her family).  As we pulled into Idaho Falls early that night we saw the snow banks everywhere and rejoiced that the roads were still clear.  And we were in complete shock as the temperature was a chilly seven degrees.   We survived the trip and made it safely to our daughter’s home.  We were glad that they had reserved us a space for our car in their garage – since we wondered if our Arizona car would survive otherwise.

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Snow in Idaho Falls, Idaho January 1, 2017

As we traveled the freeway toward Idaho Falls that night, Lou and I (almost simultaneously) both began to remember back to a former day – and a true winter high adventure – or a couple of them – along the same route.  And both of these were Scouting adventures.  (I don’t know what happens to the “adventure” when “high” is added to it.  Does that talk of altitude or added exhilaration in the adventure?)

Anyway, the first winter high adventure outing happened just three months after Lou and I were married (back in the dark ages).  In those days the Lake Bonneville Council (Now Trapper Trails) sponsored a winter high adventure “super activity” up at West Yellowstone (Montana).  This was for Explorers or Venturers and even Varsity scouts.  Traditionally, this was staged on the days following Christmas and through New Year’s Day.   And with the Scouts, there was often room for some adults to join the party.  So, Lou and I were able to tag along for the ride.

Again, my journal records the details of that high adventure trip:

December 27th,

We continued north through wind and snowy roads to West Yellowstone Park.  We will be snowmobiling from here tomorrow.  Delose Conner – the Camp Loll Director – and his staff were already there – after riding all day today.  We spent the night in the “Three Bears Lodge”.   (I had served with Delose as his Assistant Camp Director that summer – a few months before – so I knew all of these Camp Loll staffers and they were my friends, too.  We had a wedding to attend yesterday or we would have been on the machines with them today.)

 

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Three Bear Lodge – Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

December 28th

We ate breakfast this morning at the “Three Bears Restaurant”.  At 9:00 Am we met in the parking lot and were assigned our snowmobiles.  We were dressed in three or four layers of clothing – including a snow suit.  We wore knitted face masks – plus a sock cap.  We also had our own gloves inside the large mittens which were given to us.  LouDene and I rode together on machine #157 – a Pantera – made by Arctic Cat.

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Arctic Cat – Pantera

We could only take driving for a short time so had to keep switching places.  It was at this time right at 50 degrees below zero – when accounting for the “wind chill factor”.  [I am surprised that we could still be alive in that kind of weather.]  While on the back, our hands could get relatively warm (but that is an interesting statement).

snowmobiling-buffalo-herdWe saw two herds of buffalo, many elk herds and a very large bull elk.  The trees and everything was snow-covered and the sky was overcast.  We stopped at Madison Junction for a few minutes to warm up at the fire and to use the restrooms.  We continued onto Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park.  old-faithful-geyserWe saw the Old Faithful geyser spout off steam and water.  We stayed in the lodge for nearly two hours warming up and eating out box lunch.  A girl from post 97 (in my Mt. Ogden Scouting District) had back problems to this delayed us.  The post advisor and I knelt in the corner and gave her a priesthood blessing.  She improved greatly and rode back on the snow transport.

Lou Dene was driving the machine and hit a bump wrong.  The machine dumped us in the snow and then kept going for about 40 feet.  It ran into a tree and dented the front grill on the machine and broke the front windshield.

We didn’t get back until after dark.  We enjoyed the trip – despite the cold.  We traveled a total of 60 miles by the machines.  It was quite the trip.  It was ONLY 10 degrees below zero when we returned.  We were happy to go to bed at 8:30 PM after eating dinner in the lodge.

December 29th

The temperature this morning was 51 degrees below zero.  Our truck would not start because our battery and gas lines were frozen for a few hours.  [And this was the case for probably every vehicle in town.  So, the mode of the few automotive places in town was to tow vehicles to their garages and where they could sit for a while to warm up.  Such was the case with us.  We had to wait our turn to get towed.]  So, we stayed in the motel room for a few hours.  LouDene watched TV and I read a few chapters from 1 Chronicles.   We just about froze ourselves each time we went outside.  Finally Tim Chamberlain, of the council staff, towed the truck to the service station with the council van.

The men at the station were slower than molasses so they didn’t get the truck going until about 7:00 PM.  They put it in the garage – which warmed up the oil, gas lines, etc. and connected an electric battery charger to it and then it started right up.  [So, then we had a choice to make.  It really was too late to be starting a long trip – in the snow – toward Ogden.  But, if we stayed overnight, then we would likely face the same kind of day tomorrow.  We finally opted to go for it.  So, we ate dinner and then departed south – even though it was late and was still snowing.  We drove to the home of Lou’s sister in Pocatello and spent the night – although they were gone at the time.

As if that trip was not enough high adventure we decided to make the trip two winters later.  (Probably gluttons for punishment – but we did it.)  This time I recruited or invited volunteers from my Mt. Ogden District to join us on the adventure.  And many folks were intrigued and signed up to go with us.  Again the journal details the adventure:

December 30th

LouDene and I and our daughters – Jackie, a 15-month old toddler, and Jenae, a 1-month old new-born – left Ogden at 7:00 AM and met Ron Smith, Bill, Clara and Larry Larsen, Russ Myers – with his wife, Barbara, sister Laura  and LeDeen Bartshchi – at the 31st Street freeway entrance.  We caravanned together to West Yellowstone, Montana.  Tim Chamberlain (formerly on the Ogden Scout staff) rode with us as far as Idaho Falls.  It was fun to talk to Tim again.  He is always an interesting talker.  He drove a lease car to Ogden and needed a ride back to his current home in Idaho.  We ate lunch in Idaho Falls.  We arrived in West Yellowstone about 2:00 PM.  We got checked into the “3 Bear Lodge” motel.  Others of our district met us there and they included Wade and Eulalia Combe and their son, Robert, and daughter, Jana, Rich Ordyna and his wife, Phil and Dionne Halverson, and Wyatt and Karen Pectol.  We all plan to go snowmobiling tomorrow.

We ate a nice meal at the lodge restaurant.  We then had an orientation meeting and then had the rest of the evening free.  Lou and I watched a movie – called “The Mating Season”.  The movie had a couple of bad inferences but was basically pretty good.  All of the time we watched the movie we tried to get the girls to sleep.  Jackie thought that there was too much action for sleeping and Jenae was quite sick and had trouble breathing because of her cold.  I gave her a priesthood blessing in hopes that this would help her to rest better.

There is hardly any snow here and the temperature is warm – not at all like the trip we made just two years ago.  That trip was a real joke – with snow everywhere and 50 degree below zero weather.

December 31st

We ate breakfast at 7:00 this morning.  After an hour or so we were ready to head out on the snowmobiles.  It took a few minutes to warm them up and then we headed out for the day.   LouDene stayed at the motel with the girls since we didn’t have anyone to leave them with.  I rode with a kid named Rob Godfrey.  He just returned from a mission to Japan and is on the trip as an adult with the boys from the Ogden 55th Ward (also from my district).  There was an add number of people in each of our groups so they had us go together.  Ray Chase, of the council staff, was the guide on our trip.

We headed south with Two Top Mountain as our destination.  We traveled all morning making occasional rest stops.  Rob and I traded off driving throughout the day and it worked out quite well.  We visited along the way also.  He was a sharp kid. [I say “kid” but I was only age 26 then myself.]

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Rob Godfrey snowmobiling

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We stopped for a box lunch at Idaho Big Springs Resort.  Several people from Morgan – including Bob Peterson, Jerry Betournay and Larry Newton were there.  We then went to Two Top Mountain.  The trip was beautiful.  They let us go on our own for a half hour or so.   Rob and I went up and down the mountain several times.  He was a good driver so could go quite fast.  We did hit a small tree and were worried that we had damaged the machine.  We were very lucky and didn’t hurt it at all – since any damage that we did we’d have to pay for ourselves.

From Two Top we could see about 200 miles in each direction.  The Teton Peaks were visible to the South were really beautiful.  snowmobiling-3-on-two-top-mountainThe snow had banked and froze around the trees and this was also beautiful.  We could not have had better weather.  It was sunny and very warm.  I didn’t even have to wear gloves most of the day.  (This was markedly different from the last time we were here.)  All in all, the trip was really super.

We got back to the Three Bear Lodge about 6:00 Pm after traveling about 75 miles.  Lou and I and the girls then headed over for dinner at the restaurant.  And since it was New Year’s Eve, we decided to have a little party with everyone who came with us.  We went to the conference room in the Tipi Lodge.  Everyone but the Larsens came for a while.  We played “Aggravation” and “Uno”.  I spent some district funds and bought all kinds of crackers, cookies, candy and pop.  We all ate until we could eat no more.  We managed to stay until about 10:45 PM.  Everyone was too tired to go until the new year.

January 1st,

We ate breakfast at the Three Bear Restaurant and said goodbye to everyone.  We then packed and made preparations to head for home.  We decided to again travel with Russ Myers and his three-woman harem.  The drive south was beautiful.   We saw Two Top Mountain where we went yesterday.  The sky was clear and blue until Malad where we hit dense fog.  We had bad fog until Ogden.  We could hardly see in places.  We arrived home about 4:00 Pm.  We really enjoyed our trip.  It was fun!  I was glad that we went up there.  (But I felt miserable with an aching back – from my snowmobiling, a splitting headache, and a cold – so we went to bed at the unheard of hour of 8:15 PM.

Wow!  Those trips were real “high adventure”.    They truly were!

I close this blog with a high adventure story from my own mother – and which I have often quoted.   Dad always took me and my four brothers (and sometimes the two sisters) up deer hunting.  We went in Utah and in Arizona – often in the same trip.  And our Hunt family hunted in the same grounds – south and a bit west of Enterprise, Utah for 6 generations and 45 years.  (I just went along for the marshmallow roast but those were grand times!)  Anyway, this one year as we headed to Utah, the weather was projected to be really bad – and it kind of was.  We had this neighbor lady who had nothing else to do but worry about what was going on with the Hunt family across the street.  And so, as we were gone, she would come over every few minutes to visit with my mom – and each time would give her an updated and even worse weather report – adding the thought, “What if they …”  Finally my mother needed to silence her.  She called her by name and said, “Mrs. L., if they didn’t think that something like that MIGHT POSSIBLY HAPPEN TO THEM, they wouldn’t have gone at all.”  My mother had vision.  And she was a super Scout mom too!  And she looked good flying those five miniature Eagle pins in flight formation on her shirt!

Oh, and we did make it back from our recent adventure trip (or whatever it was) from Idaho.  We did have to leave a day or two earlier – because my wife learned about the projected snow that was coming.  We had snow in Idaho and clouds in Utah – but the roads were clear.  And we were successful in getting our daughter up to College.  Larissa is used to adventures – even Scouting adventures.  She was on staff with us at the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp in Colorado and literally flew out from the camp for her mission to Minnesota (where she had an adventure with the snow, ice and cold).  She spent this past summer with us at Scout Camp New Fork in Wyoming – as our climbing director and It was Quite the Summer at Camp New Fork 2016.  And so now, she begins her own new adventure … and maybe some fun … and who knows … maybe some romance (but she is in bit of a panic about that first kiss)!   And this time we – now just Lou and I – did return home via Las Vegas – since snow really was projected for Flagstaff and Jacob Lake.   It was not surprising but wonderful that we came home to beautiful blue skies.  (Kind of rough … but I guess someone has to do it!)

Ah, the “fun, adventure, and romance of Scouting!”   Yes, … Scouting high adventure!  The opportunities are endless!  Let’s get all that we can!  It can really put the “high” in Scouting for all of us!

Best wishes on your own Scouting [high adventure] trails …

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

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

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

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

 

Organizing to Implement the Program Calendar

 

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

Organizing the group to implement the program calendar is a key function to be completed after your program planning conference.   You went through the effort to plan your program and now it will take additional effort and planning to make it happen.  Rally your team together and go for it.

In these blogs we have been talking about  the planning conference and how effective it can be to get you moving with your program.  That was true with the Varsity Scout team that I’ve been sharing with you.

You can see that our team had made some good progress within a short time.  We had a trained committee of parents who were ready to be put to work.  We had a list in hand of the resources and the program capability to be found within the adults of our organization.  We also had developed a one-year calendar of exciting activities.

For a more detailed description of the Annual Program Planning Conference you might wish to refer to PLANNING FOR SCOUTING PROGRAM also by the Kevin the blog author.

Within a day or two of our planning conference I typed our calendar for the entire year ahead.  We had previously scheduled our next “parents meeting” where we planned to share with them the boy-built calendar.

At the next parents meeting we distributed copies of our yearly calendar to everyone present.  This served two purposes:  First, it showed our activities and that we had a going program.  Secondly, it committed us all to the program and to our calendar.

After distributing copies of the calendar we discussed it in detail.  We listed the activities and categorized them into the five program areas.  Every activity on the calendar was assigned specifically to a committee member.

The committee member (Program Supervisor) and youth counterpart (Program Manager) were then given the task of making arrangements for each of their activities.  They were to reserve the facilities, locate the needed equipment and plan promotion of the event.

You probably think this all sounds almost too good to be true, perhaps like a fairy tale dream that everyone would hope for.  The neat thing is that it worked!  We all had a great time making it work and just being a part of it all.

After the annual program calendar was built, we focused on a three month period only.  Within the three month period ahead, we made a more concrete plan for our activities.  This then became our pattern the rest of year.

Each month as we met (both youth and adult groups) we dropped the previous month and made more definite plans for the new third month of our calendar.  As the third month was added to the three month block, the adults and youth managers started making their specific plans for the month’s events.

By the time that the activity was one month away, the final details of the activity were announced.  That’s when we knew the exact time, the meeting place, what to bring, and what we’d do.

As mentioned earlier, I was able to just sit back and watch all this happen but of course I was always there to lend support or to give additional training as needed. A few times things fell through the cracks but overall our program worked very well.

I bragged about our team committee and boy organization throughout the district.  I now could talk with conviction as I told others how the program was working for us.

Naturally we had to make occasional minor program changes when other groups (church, school, etc.) failed to plan ahead as we had done.  We had to sometimes adjust to their schedules.  This was a little disturbing since we had done our homework and they hadn’t.  Overall, however, we worked our plan and it worked for us. It is a good system and I would recommend it to you.  I have used my own Varsity Scouting team as the example for this blog but the same principles will work with any Scouting program – or any other organization for that matter.  So, get your calendar, get organized, and go for it!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

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

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

I’m so Grateful I’m in Scouting

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

Today on Thanksgiving, as I was counting my blessings, Scouting came to the top of the list.  After a life-time of Scouting, it has proven to be one of my greatest blessings – and it has made for a good life as I have climbed the Eagle trail, progressed from Cub Scout to veteran Scouter and have enjoyed so many wonderful Scouting brothers and gatherings along the way.  So, as I  think about it, I can honestly say, “I’m so grateful I’m in Scouting!”

And being a writer – or attempting to be, I decided to put my feelings into poetic prose.  So, here goes:

I’m so Grateful I’m in Scouting

 I’m so grateful I’m in Scouting,

growing, serving, so much to give.

Scouting brotherhood and outings,

Oh what a life it’s been to live.

 

We earn our wolf badge, then the bear,

Then Webelos, Arrow of Light.

We get to go to day camp where,

We all have fun with all our might.

 

We started with the Cub Scouts,

and we all love the Blue and Gold.

Such fun in dens, and packs as Scouts,

When done with fam’lies young and old.

 

 

New Scout Patrol is next you see,

We start as Scouts then Tenderfeets.

Then Second, First Class Scouts we be,

Star, Life, then Eagle Scout so sweet.

 

To be an Eagle Scout is best,

And that’s the goal that we all seek.

We climb the trail and pass each test,

along our way to Eagle’s peak.

 

As Scouts we get to camp and hike,

The Scouts and leaders all are there.

We tromp thru snow, or ride our bike,

We hike the hills, camp everywhere.

 

We have grand times at camporees,

our weeks at summer camp are best.

If we’re lucky, to jamborees,

So much to do, no time to rest.

 

What can beat the smell of bacon,

as we’re camping on the trail.

And together we are making

the grub that we all love so well.

 

Dutch oven cobbler, biscuits too,

and our S’mores cooked on a stick.

The pancakes burning, what to do,

Use coals, not flames – now that’s the trick.

 

From boy to man we watch them grow,

that pers’nal growth brings us such joy.

No greater wonder could we know,

yet we saw power in that boy.

 

We move to adult up from youth,

At any age, Scouting is fun.

It seems we cannot get enough,

We cannot ever say we’re done.

 

We go for training, learning well,

so we can teach, help others grow.

I’m a beaver – or bear – we tell,

With Wood Badge spirit our faces glow.

 

Scout Oath and Law, we proudly say,

Together every time we can.

These are our guides, they light our way,

along our trails to be a man.

 

Scouting puts us on our honor,

and true to God and fellow men.

As we raise high the Scouting banner,

and strive to be the best of men.

 

They come and go, each Scouting year,

But with each year, our joy o’er flows.

The best of times, as Scouts we cheer,

This Scouting life, we’re glad we chose.

 

Yes, I’m grateful I’m in Scouting,

For the brotherhood I’ve shared.

I’ve enjoyed so much each outing,

and my quest to “Be Prepared”.

 

Written by Kevin Hunt on Thanksgiving Day – November 24th – 2016 and dedicated to all Scouts and Scouters everywhere.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

 

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

Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

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

 

 

 

A Fun Way to Remember a Legendary Scoutmaster

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

The morning (actually “today” – since I wrote it “today”) dawned clear skies and beautiful.  Gone was the hot Arizona heat (since it was the end of October and the weather had finally cooled down to just under 100 degrees).  It truly was a gorgeous day!   And it proved to be a glorious day.  And it was the perfect tribute to another of the greatest of Scoutmasters.  It was a fun way to remember a great Scouting legend.  For most of the group it was a trek in honor of their brother and Uncle Brian Bowles.  But it was more than that for me.

I knew Brian Bowles for many years.  We lived in the same church area and were friends.  Our daughter, Jackie, was their family baby sitter for a few years.  We served together in Scouting – me as Troop Committee Chairman alternating with Advancement Chairman and he was the troop’s Scoutmaster.  Brian was, in fact, the Scoutmaster to two of our sons, K.C. and Rusty – in troop 688.  And he was one of the truly great scoutmasters I have ever known.  Brian and I shared many wonderful outings together as I went along with the troop and my own son.

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Brian Bowles presents Eagle Scout Award to K.C. Hunt as parents Kevin and Lou look on

Sadly, Brian Ralph Bowles Died September 23, 2001 of cancer.  We lost a truly wonderful Scout leader that day.

A couple of years after Brian’s death, my daughter, Jackie, met and married Michael – a nephew to Brian Bowles.  Who would have thought of that one?  And so she joined the Bowles legend of “Uncle Brian”.  So, with this family connection, I have been even tighter with the family than before – and have felt a continuing bond with Brian as his family works to keep his memory alive.

So, Saturday … actually, it was yesterday!  I joined the Bowles family in a semi-annual excursion or trek up to mountains that Brian loved – and where I often went with him and the Scouts.  Soon after Brian’s death, his family signed up to “adopt a highway” – a mile of mountain freeway – in his honor.  With this adoption, they gather whatever of the clan that they can twice a year – in April and in October – to go up to clean up the mile stretch of highway together.  I have long heard of this activity but something has always come between me and the outing – some conflict or other.

But, this time, as Jackie mentioned the outing to me, I checked the calendar and found no conflicts.  Amazing!  So, I said, “Yeah, count me in!”

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Jackie and her boys

Jackie and Michael and their children (with Grandson Blake – a brand new Cub Scout) came this morning to pick me at 7:00 AM and I rode with them up to the event.  We headed up Highway 87 north from Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona – heading up toward the almost alpine community of Payson, Arizona.  We went to the village of Sunflower – located about 45 miles from my Mesa home.  (I’ve written about this Sunflower place in some of my Gnubie Scout blogs.  And as a Venturer years ago, my group had grandiose plans to go to Hawaii.  I’ve joked many times since that we “didn’t even make it to Sunflower.”)  Well, we made it there today.

We went through Sunflower and on up the mountain “on the new freeway” (that is about 15 years old) to the Highway marker 220.  And adjacent to the mile marker is a highway sign that honors Brian Bowles.

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Highway clean-up in honor of Scoutmaster, Brian Bowles

Along much of this highway there are no turn-arounds, but it is perfect (for us) at this 220 mile marker.  We were able to exit the road and park our cars.  And the dirt road kind of loops around under the freeway and allows us to also make a freeway exit when coming down from the other way.  And surprisingly, there is a freeway turn-around up a couple of miles.

We parked at the spot and many other members of the Bowles family were there – or soon came.  Michael’s Dad, Steven, was there with his wife, Shirley.  And two other Brian brothers – Don and Bruce were there. Michael’s brother, Mark was there – and two of Michael’s cousins – Lane and his sister.   So, there were about 13 of us there.  (I guess sometimes they have a lot more for this semi-annual outing – but they take whoever shows up at the current moment.)  I was decked out in my cowboy hat (a real “sombrero” as protection from the sun.

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Kevin Hunt ready for highway clean-up

The Arizona Department of Transportation (who sponsors the Adopt-a-Highway) program – had certain things that group leader, Don, needed us to follow.  He had each of us sign in.  He gave each of us an orange vest, and three large blue garbage cans.  He had a little safety meeting and discussed things that we could and should not do on the trek.  We were told to leave certain things (like bottles filled with unknown substances) there (called a “leave-r-right there”) and that we were to clean up the shoulder of the road – on both sides of the divided freeway – and not directly on the road.  Don also had some handy trash-picker-upper tools that were pretty nifty.  (And these sure beat bending over a hundred times or more to manually pick up the trash.) He issued each of us three giant blue garbage bags.

Don had this clean-up day and process down to a science.  He knew where he wanted each service worker and how much of the road they would cover.  He loaded Steven, Michael and his daughter – my granddaughter – into his vehicle and drove us up to Mile Marker 221 on the other side of the freeway.   The plan was for us to start picking up at the sign – and then to continue down to 220.bowles-marker-221

Actually, we let off Michael and daughter on the northbound side – and then Don drove Steven and I up and around to the 221 marker – to head south on the other side of the road.

Steven and I had our bags and picker-uppers ready for the service deed.  We spaced ourselves out a bit and headed out.  We quickly filled one of the blue bags.  We continued on and soon had filled five of our six bags as we headed South and down the mountain.  We didn’t go too far from the road in one spot where there was a deep drop-off going down the mountain.  There wasn’t much trash in that spot anyway – since most trash would have been “gone with the wind”.  As finished one bag, we would tie it at the top in a square knot and then would leave it alongside of the road for the AZ Dept of Transportation to pickup later.

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Steven and I had a good visit along the way – mostly about Scouting and recent program changes.  He knew that as a blogger, I would probably be up on those changes.  He told me that on their first time to do the trash detail years ago that he had almost immediately found a $50 bill.  So, since then, this has been a “tradition” with the family – to look for “treasure” along the way.  (And so intense is this tradition, that unbeknownst to the younger members of the family, that now Don and others kind of go ahead of the others to “plant” some money for the younger children to find along the way.  But, shhhh!  The kids are not supposed to know about that deal.  I was surprised and pleased that as we walked today, I found three bills – in separate places – and totaling $7.00.  (And I don’t really think that Don planted this money.)  Steven said, “I’ll have to put on my green screening glasses to find some money myself.”  And after he said this, he too found a dollar.  Abby later reported that she had found $30 – and I think that came as a gift from Uncle Don – who I guess has been known to let money float away out the window of his car as he goes up the mountain – knowing that the kids or others would be along soon.  Anyway, that all added to the fun and excitement.

The whole project didn’t take very long.  With all of us working different parts of the road, we were soon done.  And all of this while it was still relatively cool.  We picked up twenty bags or so of garbage – much of which we determined had just been thrown out by people speeding by in their cars along the freeway.  (Kind of hard to imagine with my Scouting training!)  Anyway, we made a major difference in the highway and it truly looked better after our work.

Several times during the morning “Uncle Brian” was mentioned by various people.  I was able to think again of this great Brian and some of my experiences with him.  I remembered his dying of cancer and how traumatic that was.  I thought of the outings that I had experienced with Brian.  I thought too, of how I had written of some of those experiences and feelings for Brian as he had his cancer and knew that his time was drawing close.  In that letter to Brian, I wrote:

“As with most people faced with “your situation”, I have a lot of things that I would like to tell you in conversation but then when the moment comes, I can’t seem to say it.  So, I have decided to write you a letter to express my appreciation and love for you.

“I have sincerely enjoyed the many wonderful times that we have shared together in Scouting and its many great activities.  I have learned much from you and have enjoyed the fellowship and brotherhood that has emanated from you.  You are truly one of the all-time greats in youth leadership.

“The memories will long remain of those special times shared with you.  I have enjoyed the places that you have introduced me to.  Fossil Springs is really a place of beauty and I have memory of you leading us to this great place.  I have since been there a couple of other times myself and each time think back to that first time that I went there with you.

“Then there was the trip to Salome Creek.  That hike down into the place is a bit treacherous but what a place when one finally gets down there.  Again, it was you who introduced me to this beautiful spot of creation.  Thanks too, to the introduction to the thrill of Bulldog Canyon and all that it has to offer.

“And who can forget the bike coast activities?  Just yesterday I drove past the Highway 60 tunnel and the surrounding area.  Again the memories came flooding back of that activity shared with you, the boys and my own sons.  On that same trip, I took six boys up to the Young Road to do the now traditional bike coast.  You always had great enthusiasm for this place and having once experienced it, boys want to do this one over and over again (to the challenge of some adult leaders – who have not enjoyed it as you have).  Anyway, these boys sped off on their bikes and did the 14 miles down the hill with great enthusiasm.

“Another special memory is of the special campfire program that you staged for the combined youth of the Acacia Ward atop of Crismon Hill east of town.  What a neat activity!  You made sure that all physical arrangements were “set to a T”.  In your usual style of perfection you added real class to the event.  I can still see your wonderful flag flying there on that beautiful night as we overlooked the city lights down below.

“And then there were the trips to Roosevelt Lake.  Again, your flag was there as a signal to all of us.  You, of course, were one of the first to arrive and you had the flag waving proudly as a beacon for us.  I think you even attached a light to it on these occasions.  (How I have come to love your flag pole and the flag high at its top.  What a neat thing you have created with it.)

“And how can anyone ever forget your fabulous scones.  (Only my own mother could compete with you in the delectable product that you could put out.)  Using the skills and the product that you taught us to make, we have many times enjoyed making scones at outings and at several Scout-O-Rama displays.

“I have always been impressed with the way that you have instilled scripture reading amongst your boys as you have taken them out.  I was pleased as a parent and leader to see how you copied scripture selections for each outing and then distributed them to each boy and man there.  Through your actions, the boys did not have to carry their bulky scriptures with them, yet you let them know that even though they were out in the woods, scripture reading was still important.  And then the reading of the scriptures around the campfire or the early morning cooking fire … what a neat spirit you invited to the outings.

“You will long have many who will laud your name when at Camp Geronimo.  The handy “gadget” that you invented to circumvent the water conservation efforts of the camp management was and will be forever appreciated.  You made those hot showers to grand!  (I’ll be there again this summer and the gadget will go with me.  Thanks!)

“Brian, I have appreciated the way that you have committed “your all” to each and every activity that you have done with the boys.  You have worked hard to make each outing or activity truly a “high adventure” experience for boys and leaders.  I am blessed that you were able to influence two of my own sons.  What a great thing for them to have been there at your side.

“My son K.C. still has the “sword” (so-called “knife”) that you helped him create in preparation for the Mountain Man Rendezvous.  He often takes it out to admire its workmanship.  Then there were the snowshoes, the hockey sticks, Etc.  All of these items added to the thrill and excitement of the moment and in the process created memories that will remain forever in the minds of the boys who got to experience each.

“I have appreciated the leadership skills that you saw in each of my boys and then the opportunities that you gave to each to develop those talents and skills (even when the youngest in your group).  You have helped them to get the vision of what the Lord sent them here to accomplish.

“Thanks for taking K.C. and Rusty on the Havasu Canyon trip.  This is a trip that I made twice as a boy and I am glad that you gave my boys the opportunity to also experience this piece of heaven’s grandeur.

“Though you and I did not always see “eye to eye” when it came to some administrative functions, I still always admired you greatly for your commitment to the cause, your desire for excellence and your desire to truly serve.  I noted that you were willing to sacrifice anything for the boys – in spite of administrative red-tape that sometimes went up against you.  You always found a way to make it happen for them.  You always kept the boys and their needs and wants as your focus and you worked feverishly for those results.  Through your commitment, focus and energy, you made each activity a special high adventure for the boys.  And it is those high adventure things that will long remain with them.

“I have been a Scout and boy leader for 30 years.  I have discovered, sadly, that it takes a boy about 25 years after the fact before he takes the time to reminisce and to feel gratitude to the selfless leaders who made his Scouting experience wonderful and exciting.  I wish that this was not the case but it is reality.  At the moment of the experience, the boys are too much into the here and now and the thrill of the activity.  They enjoy the event but never stop to think of all of the details that went into making the activity great.  I think that reality hits them when they suddenly years later find themselves as the Scout leader and see then how much effort the program really took in their behalf.  It is then that gratitude and a rehearsal of the memories come.

“Unfortunately, you are just passing or entering that 20-25 year mark and may not have the belated reward of boys coming back to you with gratitude for your selfless efforts, your enthusiasm, the sacrifice of time, vehicles and other resources.  But be assured that forever and into eternity, generations of boys will rise up to “call you blessed” for the legacy that you have left with them.  The legacy that you have given to all of us!  You will always and forever, be one of the truly “all-time greats”.

“We love you and appreciate all that you have blessed us with.  Our vision of our own capabilities, the wonders of the world around us and the high adventure that awaits each of us who make the effort will linger with each of us who have had the privilege of being there at your side.  Brian Bowles … a living legend.  Truly a “boys man”!  You will always be a part of our lives, our hearts, and our continuing experience because of what you have given us.

“Best wishes to you, Brian, as you prepare for other great high adventure activities and responsibilities that the Lord has in store for you.  I know that He has them waiting for you.  (I have enjoyed each “transfer” in my life and the great opportunities that each has given.)  Keep going for the high places, the places where Eagles soar, the lofty goals and challenges – the places where you have led us …  You have taken us all there in the past and we are all better for it.  Thanks … thanks for the good times, the special campfire moments, your quiet goodness, your enthusiasm and your ongoing inspiration to achieve all that is there in each of us.  We will always remember and love you!

“Faithfully your Scouting friend and brother,

Kevin V. Hunt

Such fond memories of a great Scouting legend!

And with that, back to today’s outing … Everyone finished up their parts.  We each walked until we met up with the next group and then congregated back together at the cars.  And there everyone exchanged notes – or brags – about “how much treasure” each one found.  I had to laugh at Uncle Don.  He said, “Sometimes I think I have to get some money from my wallet and put it for myself to find on the ground – just so that I don’t have to come back to admit that I didn’t find any.

The tradition does not end there.  I guess it is long family tradition to go to the town of Payson – another 30 miles – further away from home – for pizza together.  I am sure that we could have eaten in Mesa – with a lot more options … but it is tradition for the family to go to Payson together.  And they could not have picked a better place.  We went to the “Pizza Factory” – a little hole-in-the-wall place kind of hidden away between some bigger shops (though in this western mountain village – with log structures, statues of animals, pine trees, etc. there isn’t much that real big or exciting.  But, Payson has long been one of my all-time favorite places and so any excuse to go there is wonderful.

Don had called ahead to the place and even before they were officially open for the morning (at 11:00 AM) they were busy making our pizza.  As we arrived at the place I noted a sign on their door.  It read, “We toss ‘em … so they’re awesome!”  We looked in the window and saw them actually tossing the pizza dough high over their heads to create the perfect dough – in size and consistency.  This was truly a sight to behold.

All of the group came in their various cars and we went inside – within seconds of their opening for the day.  And I note that there were several other groups there at the door with us – all anxious to get the pizza from this place.  We picked up our large pizzas and headed to a group of tables – which when put together – could accommodate all of us.

I have not always been a great fan of pizza – finding they are a “bit cheesy” for me – but this pizza was absolutely fabulous!  Wow!  I don’t think that I have ever enjoyed pizza more.  It was truly exquisite.  And being together – in memory of Uncle Brian – the great Scoutmaster – was a great thing.  We all had a fun time together.

The Scouting memories just kept pouring on as we drove the 76 or so miles down the mountain toward our Mesa home.  We passed so many of the really great places that I went as a Gnubie Scout – and in all of the years since.  And each place had its own story – which I was able to share with Michael and Jackie.  It was fun because though I have told those stories a hundred times – with whatever Scout group I have had with me at the time of a trip to Payson, I now had a new audience with Michael – who had never heard my stories.  And Jackie too, acted as if every memory was new to her.

So, it truly was a great day and a fun way to honor Brian R. Bowles – one of the greatest leaders of young men and Scouts.  Thanks again Brian … and it was great to be with you again today … on that special mile between 220 and 221!  We received more treasure from you than we got on your hill today.  Your legend lives on – for me, your Scouting brother, and for all of your Bowles clan – of which I now feel a part – adopted in through my Jackie and your Michael.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

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

 Facebook:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

 

Farewell to one of the Greatest of Men – My Scoutmaster

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Kevin V. Hunt

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

It was a Saturday afternoon – just last week – and I had just come home after a busy day.  I was greeted with sad news.  “Jim Johnson has died”, my mother (age 84 and now living with us) told me.  Jim Johnson … now gone.   Wow!  (He had died the day before.)  I was sad and not ready to bid farewell to one the greatest of men – my Scoutmaster – Jim Johnson.

The news was not really a surprise – since Scoutmaster Jim had been in an assisted living center for three or four years.  And his wife, Margie Luniel Morris Johnson,  had died two years ago – almost exactly to the day – and at the identical age.  But yet, the news was hard and came with mixed emotions.  It was happy/sad that Jim and his “tweety” (that’s what she called him) were together again.  And it was sad to think that a legend and hero in my own life had passed on to the Eternal World and that we would no longer be able to enjoy earthly association together.

All Scoutmasters are believed to be immortal by their Scouts!  And they certainly do have forever hero status!  So, the immortal Jim lives on – but just in another place!

Jim’s Obituary reads like any other – not really doing full justice to the full measure of the real man.

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James Vernon “Jim” Johnson

“James Vernon Johnson passed away peacefully on October 14th, 2016. James celebrated his 80th birthday on July 2nd of this year.  He was born in Elbow Lake, Minnesota in 1936 to Emil Johnson and Celia Thomason and was the 2nd of 4 children and the only son (and it goes on …)

I am sure that all current and former Scouts from great Scouting troops could say that their Scoutmaster was the best Scoutmaster ever.  I am sure that they are – and were.  But, I can truly say that in my eyes, Scoutmaster Jim was one of the all-time greats – a true giant of a man!  And one of the greatest Scout men ever to be a part of the program.

Actually, I was blessed to have two fabulous Scoutmasters.  My Gnubie Scoutmaster (when I was a Gnubie Scout) was “Mister Nelson”

george-kimball-nelson-scoutmaster

G.K. Nelson

(as we called him – or officially George Kimball “G.K.” Nelson.  I have blogged about Mr. Nelson frequently on my blogs found on The Boy Scout.  He was a colorful and interesting person with a lot of personality.  He died in 2009 at the age of 91.  Mr. Nelson – also our science teacher – and a great photographer – was our Scoutmaster through much of my initial Scouting experience.  He truly made Troop 155 The Best Alive!  He later became the adviser for my younger brother – Dean’s Exploring Post – but that was after I was gone from that program.

After I turned 14, I “graduated up” to the older boy program and had a variety of leaders. We made a lot of grandiose plans for big events and outings but nothing ever came of any of those plans.  I soon became disenchanted with the constant drill of the basketball on Scout nights.  And being “the fat kid” and not at all good at sports, I wanted nothing to do with this routine.  So, I opted to go back to the troop – kind of unheard of then and now – and remained with the troop until I went on a Church mission at age 19.  I became a “Junior Assistant Scoutmaster” (aka: “The JASM”) which proved to be a great job – still kind of a kid – but very much in an adult leader mode too.

I don’t know exactly when Scoutmaster Jim Johnson came on the scene but I believe it was when I was about 16.  And as the Troop JASM, I took on the task of “training him” in his Scoutmaster duties.  Jim and I hit it off immediately and we soon developed a pattern for great things in the troop.  I can still remember those wonderful “Patrol Leader Council Meetings”(or were they “Green Bar meetings”?) – held in his living room – wherein we planned and created the troop meetings and outings.  I worked very closely with Scoutmaster Jim and in many ways he treated me as if I was an adult Assistant Scoutmaster.  I helped plan activities, hikes and other programs.

We worked together very closely for three years.   Those were great days and they bring back such great memories.

With Scoutmaster Jim, we had some grand adventures together.  We hiked and camped together.  We attended Camp Geronimo and participated in a variety of other great activities and programs – like Scout-O-Rama, camporees, and more together.

One outing really stands out in my memory.  It was a snow trip was especially noteworthy.  This trip occurred when I was a bit older and after Scoutmaster Jim had become the Scoutmaster.  We took a trip up around Payson (about 75 miles from our town of Mesa, Arizona).  Somehow we survived the freezing temperatures of the night but the next day was different.

Some of us (including me) were playing Rook in the tent and trying to get warmed up while the main group was out playing ice hockey with inner tubes.  Jim was with the “outside group”.  Jim was in the middle of the game and with one dramatic kick of the inner tube, he had found himself on the ground.  I guess he got a minor concussion. The buys brought him back to me at the tent since I was the JASM (Junior Assistant Scoutmaster) and the oldest leader under Jim.  (That was in the days before it was required to have two adult leaders on a trip – and this scenario was one reason why that rule was implemented.  And this trip made a believer of me relative to “two deep leadership”.)

Jim was really saying some humorous things and for a few minutes we all thought that he was just trying to be funny.  Finally, however, we realized that he really did have a problem.  We were out in the middle of nowhere and had no form of outside communication.  (No cell phones in those days.)  None of us knew what to do.

I got Jim to lie down for a while. He was all “muddled” and kept laughing and saying, “Well, what I can’t figure out is what in the heck we’re doing up here in all of this snow!”  We tried to reason with him, but to no avail.  His own son was crying and in a state of panic.  Finally though after prayers by all of us, he suddenly snapped back to normal reality. We were relieved and packed up for home while he was doing okay.  (And by another miracle, he was able to drive home safely – even in that condition!)

Soon after Jim became our Scoutmaster, I read in the Scouting magazine – that the upcoming 1973 National Scout Jamboree would offer a great new opportunity.  Always in the past, Scouts attended national Jamborees only with council contingencies – as they still do today.  And a trip to a National Jamboree included a full itinerary of exciting and wonderful activities across the country while traveling to and from the Jamboree.  But, this all came at a very high cost – so much so that I knew that my dream to attend a National Jamboree would never fit within my or my family’s very limited budget.  But now, suddenly, troops were invited to attend the upcoming Jamboree (to be held two years hence) with their own home-town troop – and for just $135 per person as the Jamboree fee.

I was elated!  I could not believe it.  I had always wanted to attend a National Jamboree – and now suddenly out of the blue – here was my chance.  I rode my bike over to see the new Scoutmaster Jim Johnson.  I said, “Hey, Jim (that is what I always called him) … look where we are going in two years!” (as I showed him the magazine).  He said, “We are????”  But, he was willing to talk about it.  I was ecstatic as I worked to persuade him and he soon bought off on the plan.  And this would be a very major sacrifice for him since the Jamboree was about a ten or twelve day affair and with travel to and from, it would be about nineteen days.   And Jim was a self-employed painting contractor.  So, if he didn’t work, he didn’t get paid.  Jim was soon as excited about the plan as I was.

We went to our Bishop – Max Killian – and presented the plan to him.  And he bought into it immediately.  He gave us the charge to earn as much of the money as we could over the next two years – and then gave us the promise that “whatever else you need, you will have”.

So we were then off and running.  The next two years were hectic and busy but glorious and wonderful.  Jim and I met often to talk about our plans and to put them into place with the Troop Leader’s Council.  There was so much to do.   We staged every fund-raising event possible.  (We could do those things in those days.)  slide-20-slide-show_page_022We planned and bought equipment.   We constructed patrol boxes.  We trained and re-trained our youth leaders.  We had shake-down meetings, activities and outings.  We made saguaro cacti men – four of them – to be our gate entry into our campsite.

Being from Arizona we wanted something representative of our area.  We decided to feature four Saquaro Cactus men with red Scout berets on their heads.  Their stickery arms had a friendly wave for everyone who passed by.  We had a lot of comments on our Saquaro men and everyone noticed our sign which told who we were and where we were from.  It hung from red ropes strung between the cactus men.

We recruited two other troops (from the nearby village of Lehi – and from our local Mesa, Arizona LDS Stake) to go on the outing with us.  Ultimately we chartered a 51-seater bus for the 52 of us and we were on our way.   Our Troop 155 had 13 Scouts plus Jim and me.  What a glorious and wonderful trip or adventure it was.  It was the grandest of adventures.  We all had a really great time.

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The group included Robert Wagner, DeLane Davidson, my brothers Kyle and Darcy, Don Carroll, Smith Skouson, Lance Gardner, Scott Johnson, Marvin Peterson, David Killian, Jim’s son – Markley Johnson, John Ray and Kenny Smith.  What a great crew!

We were to be gone for nineteen days!  I thought then, and have since, how few men would be willing to make a time commitment like that to Scouting and to boys.  But such was the commitment of Scoutmaster Jim Johnson!  I will always be grateful to Jim that he and his family were willing to make that sacrifice for us.  The trip was a dream-come-true for each one of us.

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We took our time getting up to the Jamboree.  We stopped for a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona.  I still chuckle at a photo I took of our thirteen boys with only their backsides to the camera as together they looked down – bent over – over the guard rail.  That photo was fun to show after we got home and at a parent’s meeting.  “There’s me!” each boy said proudly.  (I somehow lost that photo and I am so sad about that.  I keep hoping that it will show up somewhere.  It was truly a classic!)

Our second night was spent at Richfield, Utah.  We stayed in a church yard and did our cooking on our Jamboree charcoal stoves there on the parking lot.  The next two nights we stayed at a campground in Salt Lake City.

We stayed in Salt Lake City over Sunday so that we did not have to travel on that day.  That day also turned out to be a “fasting” day for our church.  The Scouts were less than thrilled when we reminded them of the 24-hour fast and our intent to observe it.

We spent Sunday morning at a church near Salt Lake’s LDS Temple Square and that turned out to be quite the experience.  The church congregation was almost entirely older people.  They all cried as the fifty two of us marched in – wearing our complete Scout uniforms.  Many of the folks who were shedding tears told us that they had not seen that many young people in years.

We spent the afternoon at the Temple Square visitor’s center and had a little church meeting of our own there – with the permission of the Center leaders.  Later we went to dinner at a nearby smorgasbord restaurant where we broke our fast and ate once again.

The boys all thought that they were going to die of hunger before the meal.  Then when they saw all of that food, they piled their plates up about six to eight inches high.  They immediately chomped own and plowed into the food.  Their eyes were bigger than their now shrunken stomachs, however.  Some of them literally turned green as they were so overstuffed and as they looked at the rest of the food that went uneaten.  It was really quite a comical scene.

The next day we again headed north.  We spent the night in Montana at a military base.  There were Scouts there from all parts of the country.  It was fun to see the operation there at the base.  The next day after that, we drove to Farragut State Park – located at the top of Idaho’s panhandle.  The whole area there was converted into one gigantic tent city of Scouts.

The first thing that we noticed as we entered the camp was an umbrella tent flying or whipping  around high in the air on one rope pegged to the ground. The wind was blowing hard and the tent was circling the sky on that one tether.  We later learned that the tent the was the KYBO (toilet) tent belonging to the Canadian Scouts who were camped near us.  I guess the wind had whipped the tent off – even as some poor Canadian Scout was in their doing his duty.

We were right on the western edge of the massive camp (of some 28,000 boys and leaders) so we saw all of the people … and huge amounts of  dust … coming into camp.  We also got the full force of the fierce winds which howled constantly all while we were there.  The area had not had rain there for over forty days and everything was very dry. That is what made the dust so horrible.

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We waited in line one day for a couple of hours just to be able to swim in the FREEZING Lake Pond Oriele.  What a mistake!  That has got to be the COLDEST water that I had ever experienced in my entire life (and I have been in some pretty cold water at summer camps).  It was SUPER COLD – to give a great understatement.  We got a headache just being in the water for a couple of minutes.

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That brings up the subject of the showers.  These were also extremely cold.  I am sure that they must have pumped the water straight from the bottom of that lake and into the showers. Then, to  make matters worse, we would be dustblown just trying to walk back to camp after the shower. We’d be dirtier when we got back to camp than when we got into the shower.

These showers were also the subject of many a humorous conversation by the hoards of Jamboree visitors (including mothers showing the silhouettes to their daughters).  The main frame of the apparatus was made of 2×4” boards.  A sheet of orange plastic was then rolled around and stapled onto the frame.  The plastic was placed above the shower platform about eighteen inches.

When I stood in the shower, my legs from the knees down showed through underneath the tight orange plastic sheeting.  And then my chest and above showed above the plastic. Add to this image that of a naked silhouette against the plastic and the scene was a total scream.  What a hoot! And to make matters worse, as we showered, we could see and hear some lady visitors pointing out the unique scene to their daughters as they passed by.  They really got a show that day.

One of the top leaders from our church was at the Jamboree for the entire week as a camp chaplain.  He made a point to go around to meet all of the Scouts belonging to the church.  One day he rolled into our camp on his bicycle.  The camp was a filthy mess from all of the dust and wind that kept the tents down more than up.

Scoutmaster Jim and I recognized the visiting authority and Camp Chaplain at once  – Elder Vaughn J Featherstone – and went into a state of shock because of our mess.  We did have a good visit with him but as he left, one of the boys asked, “Who was that man?”  …  “Uh, you mean that you don’t know?” we asked.  Anyway, we were horrified.  We hoped that the leader remembered the visit but not the state of affairs in which he found us in our dust bowl.

When the wind and dust were not killing us, we really did have a nice campsite.  I guess I’ll go ahead and admit that it was quite impressive.  I was Scoutmaster Jim’s Assistant Scoutmaster by this time and he and slept in a large white wall tent.  Our Scouts were camped as two patrols – in our new Baker tents – in a semicircle around us.

We had made little name tags which we posted on small poles in front of each tent and with these we could tell who occupied each of the spacious tents.  Our Saguaro cactus men looked great at our gate entry.  We had a lot of good comments about our Jamboree home.

Everyone at the Jamboree wore a complete Scout uniform consisting of a short sleeve shirt, red beret, and Scout shorts and knee socks (with those lovely garters and tabs).  There were about six inches of our legs that were not covered by either the sock or the shorts.  We really got sunburned there as we wore our uniforms through the Jamboree – and our 19-day trip.  Consequently, our legs were very sore.

My sunburn was so deep that I could still see the six-inch sunburned band for nearly two years after the Jamboree.  It was a funny reminder of the Jamboree, however, and it made for interesting conversations when I went swimming – and when with fellow missionaries.

A fun part of the Jamboree was a “wide game” involving all boys and leaders of the camp.  For this game, each participant was given a large letter from the Jamboree theme “GROWING TOGETHER”.  The object of the game was to find other people with the rest of the letters.  Once a new letter was found, we linked arms and set out to find the rest of the letters needed for the words.  The game made us think about the theme of the Jamboree, Scouting brotherhood and all of that.  It was a lot of fun.

The famous actor, Bob Hope, conducted the opening campfire program.  (He died a few years ago at age 100.)  Those fireworks were really something.  I am quick to admit that it was better than any 4th of July celebration that I have ever seen.

The most impressive moment of the Jamboree was the final closing campwide campfire program.  The vision of those 28,000 Scouts and their leaders was really something.  I’ll never forget that scene.  As the ceremony started, the arena of 28,000 plus Scouts and leaders was pitch black as all lights were extinguished.

At the given signal, we each took a three-inch candle from our pockets.  As we were directed to do so, the Scoutmaster from each troop lit his candle.  He then lit the candle of his assistants and troop leaders. Together they then lit the candles of all of the boys in their troops.  Within moments the place was lit up as bright as if it were noonday.  It sure was impressive.

We then heard a little talk about the influence that just one person could and does have upon the world.  We were told that we each had something to contribute and we were challenged to “let our light shine” to the world.  The principle of Service was very beautifully portrayed.

In that beautiful moment, I reflected upon the many wonderful experiences that I had known over the past eight years of my Scouting days in the troop.  It had indeed been a glorious climb from Gnubie to Eagle Scout and beyond.  Tears came to my eyes as I recalled the service I had been privileged to give and to receive.  I realized that in the process, I had discovered me – Kevin Hunt.  I knew of my own potential and welcomed the opportunities for service and continued growth through the great Scouting game.  I realized that this is what Scouting is all about.

I reflected too, on the selfless service given to me by Scoutmasters Kimball Nelson and Jim Johnson and the many other adults.  I caught a small glimpse of the great blessing that Scouting had been in my life.

I counted my blessings and all that Scouting had given to me.  It had been such a big part of my life.  I was grateful for the experiences of “Growing Together” with my many friends in Scouting.

I stepped out of that campfire bowl with a renewed desire to serve the Lord and my fellowmen.  I thought:

“On my honor … I’ll do my best … to DO IT”

One more thought came to our minds as we silently made our way back to camp:  “Troop 155 … THE BEST ALIVE!”  We really felt that we were the best alive. What a grand experience.

The momentum that Jim and I created with the troop was astounding.  In those days, the LDS Church established criterion for and awarded recognition for the “Top 50 Troops in the Church”.  We applied after our first year of preparation for the Jamboree and were recognized as Troop #35 – in the entire Church.  (And we didn’t even apply the second Jamboree year – when we were really fabulous!)  And that momentum carried through for several more years in the troop.  My youngest brother, Ray, was a part of the troop some five or six years later – and he still felt the momentum of that Jamboree trip.  By then I had headed off on my church mission but “Johnson Jim” – as my brother called him – was still going strong as the Scoutmaster of good old Troop 155.

And Johnson Jim was still as great as ever.  He truly was amazing as a Scout leader.  My younger brothers loved Jim as much as I did.  What a great man!  Wow!  Nothing was too much for Jim.  He would give his heart and soul to do anything needed for his Scouts – often at too much of a personal sacrifice to him and to his family.  But that was Jim!

In 1979 – when Ray became our fifth brother to receive his Eagle Scout Award – I was then working as a professional with the Boy Scouts of America – in Ogden, Utah.  I had graduated from the BYU and was married and we were expecting our first baby.  My wife, Lou, and I made a trip down to Arizona from Utah to stage the Eagle court of honor for Ray.

As a part of the recognition of the evening, I thought it proper to recognize Scoutmaster Jim for his many years – so far – in Scouting service.  I created a plaque – which four of the five of us Eagle Scout brothers presented to Jim at the court of honor.  And with the plaque, I also wrote a poem dedicated to the service and sacrifice of Scoutmaster Jim.

For that occasion I penned these lines:

MY BROTHER’S HERO

Written to Scoutmaster, Jim Johnson – On the occasion of the Eagle court of honor held for Ray Hunt – May 6, 1979

My brother and I have a hero

we talk about him every day.

He says, “I’ll be like him, you know,

I’ll be like him in every way.”

 

This hero teaches by example,

in all he says and does and lives.

He helps his boys but doesn’t pull,

He suggests; encouragement he gives.

 

With boys this hero hikes the hills,

he’ll cook and hike and with us camp.

Too often he will pay the bills,

just so his boys, the hills can tramp.

 

He has the time to be a friend,

this hero gives the time it takes.

He’s got a list’ning ear to lend,

his love’s genuine, he’s no fake.

 

This hero leaves family, sweetheart,

home all alone while he is gone.

They lend support as he’ll depart,

his work for boys is never done.

 

Excuses we make to see the man,

we follow him where’er he goes.

He helps us say, “I think I can,”

by hearing, watching, all he does.

 

Brother’s hero, his Scoutmaster,

to him we’ll always be in debt.

In all ways this man’s the master,

and one to whom we give respect.

 

This man’s made us all the better,

than we’d ever be without him.

He’s pushed brother, to be greater,

this man, our hero, known as “JIM”.

— Kevin V. Hunt

Years later I was living in California but decided to stage a Troop 155 reunion.  It took some effort but I located the addresses for many of those friends I’ve known along the way and whom I hadn’t seen for many years. I decided that while I was at it, I might as well invite everyone whom I could remember being associated with the Troop over the past twenty five years.

Prior to the reunion I wrote to all the guys and invited them to come and share an evening of Scouting nostalgia. I urged everyone to send some of their own Scouting memories for inclusion in a troop history to be presented at the reunion.

There were some skeptics who didn’t think the evening would ever come off but with a little work it turned into a fun filled evening loaded with nostalgia. Over 75 people turned out for the grand affair. In the crowd were former Scouts, several of the troop’s Scoutmasters, parents, wives and friends.

Then on the appointed day, we met at the site of our former troop meetings for a grand reunion. The guys came from near and far to be a part of the action. As we arrived, we greeted each other with big bear hugs and even a few tears as we recalled the grand times that we had shared so long ago together.

And the cool thing was that we were still the best of buddies, even though we may not have seen each other for many years. A lot of water had gone under the bridge for some of us, but the feelings and memories were still there.

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Troop 155 Reunions 1984 and 1989

It was interesting to see how everyone had changed over the years. Some had put on a little weight and a few had lost their hair. For the most part though, we could recognize everyone. Some of the guys were a bit more mellow and refined than had been the case in previous years, but that mischievous spark was still evident in most of the gang.

It was fun also to have our wives there and to show them off to each other I was pleased that my wife really went all out to make herself gorgeous for the evening. I think some of the guys were somewhat surprised that a “fat kid” like me could do so well. (I really wasn’t fat … that was just how I had seen myself. Funny how we can talk ourselves into believing that negative stuff.) I think that all the guys present had done okay in the wife area. There were a few guys that were still bachelors and of course they got ribbed by the rest of us.

We started the evening’s festiviti­es with a dinner. We could have assigned the meal and had everyone involved but we decided that we would prepare it all so that no one would have excuse for not coming. We went all out with a delicious barbecue with all the trimmings. Like old times, our former Scoutmaster, Jim, was willing to give his all and volunteered to provide the meat for the occasion.

After the meal we had everyone stand up to introduce themselves. Each Scout or leader present also got a chance to share some Scouting memories with their introduction of themselves. Each one remembered some Gnubie experiences. Many remembered the National Scout Jamboree that we attended together. Many recalled fun times at Camp Geronimo. Without exception, each of the guys thanked each other and also our leaders for the great times, the lessons learned and all the rest.  We all knew again that we were “155!  The Best Alive”.

A lot of war stories were shared. The more stories shared the more fun that evening became.

Fun Times in Troop 155 – “The Best Alive”

I shared a printed troop history that I had prepared and this seemed to stimulate everyone to thinking of “those good ol’ days”. The passage of time had made even some of the challenging times seem jolly and exciting. Some of the war stories shared by the troops were a real hoot. Boy, we had some fun times back then in Troop 155.

Some of the wives and parents present learned a few things about their Scout that came as quite a revelation to them. That added to the excitement of the occasion and made for even more laughs.

The special thing about the evening was seeing the progress that each Scout had made in his life. As a leader working with boys it is sometimes difficult in the trauma of the moment to see beyond the rotten dirty-faced kid in green khakis to that same boy as a man.

That night at the reunion, it was evident that Scouting had made a lasting impression on all of us present. For those of us who had served as leaders, the evening became especially meaningful. It was a neat experience to see what Scouting had done in the lives of those rotten little kids of years ago. We finally saw some of the results of our efforts which we had thought at times were fruitless.

Scout after Scout stood and recited the effect that Scouting had had in his life. It was with sincere pride that we could realize our influence upon the men present. That’s when those long ago aims of character development, fitness, and citizenship training came together in a grand realization that perhaps we had accomplished something, after all. Suddenly all the effort back then was worth it.

With all the laughs and reminiscing of special moments shared, some of us shed a tear or two. After everyone except Scoutmaster Jim and I had gone, he and I had a quiet moment together. The dishes were done and the place was cleaned up. I tried to get him to divulge the amount of money that he had spent on the meat so that I could pay him and square away the budget.

Jim was his usual generous self and wouldn’t give me any monetary figure. (He hadn’t changed over all those years!) He always was a little on the emotional side (and he cried and blubbered over anything and everything), but it was evident that he’d been especially touched by the special evening we had just experienced.  “What about old Lance Gardner … or “What about old Charlie Crismon …”  (He always referred to everyone as “Old _____”  that was just a part of Jim!)  Tears really flowed as he blubbered, “How can you put a dollar figure on something like that?” I knew just what he meant. I felt the same way. I had to fight the tear in my own eye.

What a special experience we had enjoyed. All our work and toil and discouragement of the past now had paid off. It was a neat thing to realize our impact on many a boy. My feelings for this great man were even stronger as I realized and appreciated the sacrifice he and others had made for me.

And now I can use his same words:  “How can you put a dollar figure on all of that?”  That is true!  All of the money in the world could not equal the joy and brotherhood that we had shared together through the years.  One really cannot put a monetary value on such a man and a life.  What he gave to me is beyond words to even describe his contribution.  He very much made me what I am today.

Through the years, I often wondered if there might be any way that I might – in small measure – give back to him something to truly express my thanks to him.  But I could never come up with just the right thing.  I had given him plaques and stuff – but still that seemed inadequate.

Finally, however, that opportunity came just three or four years ago.  At the same time that I began my Scouting in Troop 155, I also became interested in family history development and research.  That, along with Scouting, has become my life-long passion.

I had a conversation with Jim and he expressed a wish that he knew more about his family roots.  That triggered a point with me.  I knew that I could do the research to help him in his quest.  I began in earnest.  I worked feverishly on the project.  Then after a couple of months, I had found a great many wonderful documents and facts about his family.   And in the process, I traced his family lines back a couple of hundred years – in Norway and in the U.S.  I compiled the material into a large notebook for Brother Jim.

It was a grand day when it came time to present the finished product to Jim.  I was happy and excited about presenting it to him.  We sat a date and he had his wife and children waiting there as I arrived.  It was such fun to present this book to him and to see his eyes light up as he began to realize all that was prepared for him.  I was elated … at long last!  I was able to provide a special service to this great man who had given so much for me.

And now, with all of the special times and memories, it is indeed hard to bid farewell to that great man – even my Scoutmaster – the “gentle giant” – Brother Jim.  But, with a strong belief in the life hereafter and the resurrection (made possible through Jesus Christ), I know that I will indeed see and have brotherhood again with Scoutmaster Jim.  Maybe we can do some more Scouting together up there.

But, for now, farewell, my kind and wonderful Scouting brother.  Thanks for all of the Scouting brotherhood and training that you gave to me.  You will remain forever in my heart and my whole being swells with joy and gratitude for you and our earthly association together.  I will always remember you, what you did for me … and the knowledge that together we were and are “TROOP 155 – THE BEST ALIVE”!  Thanks, Brother Jim!

Until our trails meet again …

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

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Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com