Greetings! My name is Kevin Hunt –the “Scouting Trails” Blogger and I write about Scouting and you can view all my work at Scouting Trails. Recently I have been invited to become a regular author and contributor for the Voice of Scouting, a Scouting blogsite. I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to being a part of the team. I hope that the rest of you might feel the same about me after we have been together for a while. And since we’ll be spending time together, I’d like to introduce myself. I’d like to do that with a bit of background information about me. Maybe we can get through this part together.
Well, let’s see … where to start …
The moment should have been accompanied by a grand big band with fireworks and a lot of fanfare but I let it pass rather quietly. But, I do remember the greatness of the moment. I was then serving as the camp director of the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp – a resident Cub Scout camp located in beautiful northwest Colorado (near the little village of Red Feather Lakes). I was with David – one of the all-time greatest camp staff members I have known (and I have known a lot of them through my many years of directing Scout camps). We were at the main office of the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch of which we were a part. We were getting the mail, turning in reports, using the computer and all of that fun business stuff that camp directors typically do. David was working on the Cooking Merit Badge and I was his counselor. With our limited resources – and no internet at our camp, we needed to download some material for his badge.
While we were there at the Ranch office, we of course got the mail. (Mail call … one of the greatest moments of any day!) And there it was … a giant envelope from the Texas home office of the Boy Scouts of America. I had known that it would show up some time, but I didn’t know when or where it would catch up to me. I knew what it was and so was not really surprised by it. I decided to let David open it for me. I knew that he would get a charge out of it. He said, “What is it?” I said, “I dunno … just open it for me.” (I guess I should not lie!)
David opened the package and it took him a few moments to look over everything and to digest what it was. He kind of passed over the letter and looked generally at the contents of the envelope. Then he really got animated when he found a small gold card – that looked like a deluxe credit card or something. He began reading and then let out a loud, “Wow!” The card (see photo) had my name on it and said that I am a 50-year veteran of The Boy Scouts of America. (And I admit that it was pretty impressive!)
He was pretty jazzed and it was fun to see his youthful enthusiasm. He said, “We ought to tell everyone about this!” I said, “Well, I’ll let you spread the word for me.” Then he said, “Did you know about this?”
Well, I kinda did know about it … By the calendar, I have known that I’ve been in Scouting forever. I guess I can’t argue with that – though it is hard even for me to believe it. And with that milestone looming ahead of me, I’ve had opportunity to ponder what it all means and the many ways in which I have grown through my Scouting experience over that span of time. And that’s another “Wow!”
I recently wrote a similar article for THE BOY SCOUT – the blogsite of the Utah National Parks Council. In that article, “A Hundred Years of Scouting …” I shared some of the experiences of my lifetime in Scouting and I refer you to the full article.
Perhaps one of the most unique things about me is that I am also an avid journal writer. I started writing in my personal journal back in 1973 (seems like a hundred years ago now – but yet like yesterday). On that Sunday morning, May 20th, I attended a young adult Sunday school class taught by my long-time friend, J. Darwin Gunnell. (Darwin was the father of my best friend growing up, and one of my long-time church leaders. And he gave me my church baptism interview when I was eight years old. But, that is a story for another day … I’ll just tell you that the interview happened as I got to his home as I made my trick-or-treat rounds on my Halloween birthday – in my clown costume!)
On that May morning he quoted the words of Spencer W. Kimball about journal writing. He then gave us our own challenge. He said, “Go home TODAY and find a notebook to write in. And begin TODAY to write your own personal journal.” Well that challenge seemed rather simple at the time. So, I did what he said. I went home and found a little lined record book and wrote my first entry. (And that too, is a story for another time … but now its history – literally!)
As I look back and read that first entry once again, I find it kind of lame (not a lot of detail). Based on what I know and do now, it was kind of a measly effort. But, that was the beginning. I made an entry for the next day … and the next! And now 40-plus years later, I can say that I have an entry for EVERY DAY since that first entry so long ago. [And that equates to about 150 volumes each with 200 or more pages – so about 30,000 pages of journal entries. How is that for a mind blower?]
Well, you ask, how does that relate to the current moment and the writing and reading of this blog article? If you have done the math, then you can see that I have been a journalist for most of that 50 years that I have been in Scouting. So, having written more than a few pages, I have naturally captured a bunch of good stuff along the way as I have experienced the joy and wonder of the Scouting program. And that’s why I have chosen to join the team for this great website.
And it was the journals that helped me document my many opportunities for Scouting service through the years. I didn’t sit and read the whole package of journals all at once, but over some time, I browsed them – while on another research project – and documented all of the positions held and major service opportunities and logged them all into a major spreadsheet. And when I was done with my research, I decided to send it in to the local council office as documentation for my 50 year veteran award. I didn’t know what they would do with it. Well, months later, the letter quietly found me at Camp Nicol. I guess The Grand Canyon Council (in Arizona) had sent it to the National Office. So, yeah, it was not really a surprise … but still rather exciting.
David and I got back to our own Camp Nicol and I got about the business of the day. David, still excited for me, shared the special “gold card” with other staff members. They, too, got kind of excited about the gold card and the quiet excitement of the moment. I just smiled. I thought, “Yes, it really has been a great Scouting adventure!”
Late that night as things finally calmed down, I held that gold card in my hand. It was then that the memories began to flow into my mind. This is how I recalled them in The Boy Scout:
I joined the Boy Scouts as a Cub Scout when I was eight years old. That was in 1962 in Mesa, Arizona (in the old Mesa Tenth Ward of the local LDS Church). And I’ve been involved and registered as a Scout or Scouter ever since. (Another WOW!) In those 50 plus years of Scouting, I’ve experienced some grand adventures. It’s been a great life.
As a Cub Scout, I proudly wore the blue and gold uniform – even to school. (In those days, everyone else was a Cub Scout also – and being such was really cool! It’s still cool in 2016, but we’re a bit more reserved about some things.) Cub Scouting was, and is, a family-centered experience. It was mostly at home with my mom and my brothers (and my sister being the one tied up when we learned knot tying) that my first Scouting happened. It was there that we worked on our achievements toward our ranks and our electives for our arrow points.
It was a proud moment indeed when my dad turned me upside down and mom pinned my bobcat pin on my shirt (until I could do a good turn – and rotate the badge properly). That is a tradition that hasn’t changed in fifty years. I earned my Wolf, Bear, and even my Lion badge (and not many people can boast to that! Yes, I even remember when Webelos meant “Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout”!)
As I turned 11, I crossed the bridge as a Webelos (Code: We’ll Be Loyal Scouts) or Arrow of Light – and became a Boy Scout. The immortal Betty Ray was my 11-year old Scout Leader. And boy, was I ever proud of that new green uniform (even with those strange knee socks – and garters!). That opened up a whole new world to me. I was able to go camping and earn merit badges. …
I got to go to Camp Geronimo (located northeast of Payson, Arizona, and 80 miles north of my Mesa, Arizona home) I remember my “Gnubie” year (“New-bie”) and a sign at the lake about monsters that could/would eat a “gnubie”. At Camp Geronimo, we cooked our own troop food, hiked, camped, and had glorious times together in our own traditional Campsite 3 – Blackfoot.
Those were all such good times …
As I held that gold card, I thought too of a couple of other major milestones in my life. These were both major Scouting anniversaries. One of them is detailed in “The Boy Scout” article already referenced. That was a grand production held in The Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The other was a 50-year Jubilee celebration that I staged for myself – and all of my Scouting friends that I could round up.
Of course I held the event at my own backyard log cabin (and you’ll probably hear me talk more of that in the future. It has been a great venue for some super Scouting and family events.) I created a slide show that detailed my Scouting history and I presented it as part of the program for the evening. The whole evening was great fun and packed with Scouting nostalgia for me.
”Well now, a lot of water has gone over (or under) the bridge … A few things have changed, but much is still the same. We have a new “Scout Handbook” (the 13th Edition) but the Scouting skills are much the same as in the beginning. The Scout Oath and Law have become engrained in my mind and heart as I continue to strive to live each point daily in my life. I still proudly wear the Scout uniform and love all that it stands for. I also love my Bill Burch neckerchief slides – which have become my trademark (even when not in uniform).
I’ve since grown up and have enjoyed wonderful moments and great outings with yet another generation of Scouts. My own three sons have made their own treks from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout and beyond. And now I find myself with seven grandsons who are in Scouting – and I can’t wait to experience Scouting with them and the 11 or more behind them. That’s another WOW!”
Fifty years … That really makes me old! But, if you’re older than dirt, you might as well be proud of it. You can’t do much about it. So I guess that is where I am at in this moment …
The Gold Card … such great memories and good times. I have enjoyed all the special moments on my Scouting Trail. Wow!
Well, that is probably more about me than you really wanted to hear. But, now that this is over, let’s get on with it!
“Kevin Hunt the Scouting Trails Scout blogger.” I guess that is me! Check in when you can and let’s enjoy Scouting good times together.
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
(To read more of Kevin’s writing, see “Scouting Trails” Books at Scouting Trails)
© Kevin V. Hunt 2016