Nov. 11-12, 1994 Stake “Little Philmont”
(As recorded at the time in the personal journal of Kevin V. Hunt.)
November 11th – Friday
At long last, the day for the stake “little Philmont Conference” arrived. Our first session was held tonight at the Stake Center. It turned out to be a grand success. I personally had a real fun time with the experience and the 90 or so in people in attendance. This 90 represented almost exactly half of all who could or should have been in attendance.
We had participants check in at our registration table (run by Fred Smith and Allan Ricks). Each person got an envelope with a conference schedule, a nametag and their patrol name assignment. We then gathered to the chapel for a song, prayer and brief orientation by Pres. Stradling.
With the above mechanics complete, I opened the large folding doors to the cultural hall. I then took over as course Senior Patrol Leader. As everyone made their way to the hall, they stood in a large semi-circle wondering what would happen next. The whole group was staring at me.
I directed everyone to close their eyes. I then instructed them to start making their patrol name (animal) sound in order to find all of their other patrol members. This process was a real scream to watch. Brian Bowles, who was too twitterpated to make his call said that we should have filmed the whole hilarious scenario.
Once the patrols were established, I sent them to pre-assigned rooms to develop patrol name adjectives, yells and flags. I had previously selected patrols leaders (basically at random) based upon those few who pre-registered for the course and “their call” to serve and instructions were found in their registration envelopes. After the initial shock, these patrol leaders took over and accomplished the many tasks with their patrols. Quartermaster, Jim Morris, had plenty of basic flag making supplies available for patrol use.
After just 45 minutes or so, I conducted a general assembly for everyone back in the cultural hall. This was great fun. It was like old times when I was a Boy Scout Camp Director – some of the most glorious days of my life.
… I assembled the group in parallel line formation – using silent hand signals. This, in itself, was an interesting learning experience for the troop members. I loved it. … Great fun to do and to watch.
I led the group in the song, “If You’re Glad that You’re in Scouting” and my long time favorite song, “Waddleachee” – complete with all the hand actions. I had each of the thirteen patrols give a report to include their full patrol name, yell and flag presentation. Some of the patrols went all out. All were impressive and enthusiastic.
We talked of rainy day alternatives for tomorrow. … Our events tomorrow are scheduled for Papago Park in Phoenix. I still hope that we can meet over there – though rain is predicted, or forecast. At the end of the assembly tonight, I had the patrol of Bishops give a Scouter’s Minute and we closed with the “Scout Vesper” song.
December 12th – Saturday
As I awoke at 4:30 Am, I heard the pitter/patter of rain outside. I put off a decision about the event location until after I showered. I had faith that the rain could stop at 6:00 AM – but even if it did, the park would be drenched from the last couple of days. I called Dan Hawkins at 5:30 Am and we made the decision to move the event to the Stake Center. I called all of the Bishops and my staff members with the news.
I then worked on the agenda to see how things might be juggled to all be accomplished inside a building. It was a bit of a challenge but I was surprised at how everything fell into place. I managed to find space for all of the sessions and the game stations.
It was interesting that the guy running the blind tent pitching game already had planned to use free-standing tents that required no pegs – and thus could be set up on the cultural hall floor. The swing game was suspended from the top of the basketball standard/roof (provided by Richard Hale and Brian Bowles of the Acacia Ward) was free-standing without ground stakes. I loved the flag pole. It stood 20-30 feet tall on the floor of the cultural hall. It was real classy.
The conference was fabulous. Everything clicked together perfectly. I was very pleased with everything.
In our opening session, Mel Stout did a first person characterization of Lord Baden-Powell. Bishop Fleming talked of the origin of Scouting in the Church. Elder Gordon Porter, a Regional Representative for the Church, talked about the “Vision” or potential of Scouting in the Church.
We then moved from the chapel to the kitchen and cultural hall. Dan Hawkins and his wife served everyone breakfast of biscuits and gravy. The breakfast was a good addition to the program.
Next we had a troop assembly at the flag pole. We sang, “A Toottie Taw” and I had the staff come up to do “Alice the Camel”. This was a scream, as usual.
Each patrol gave a report and again presented their yell. The activity was enjoyed by all. Mel Stout presented Wood Badge beads to President Stradling. I then had all Woodbadgers come forward to sing a combined verse of the Woodbadge song. WE raised the flag to the tall upright pole.
I had the next part on the program for the entire group. I expounded on my “10 Keys to Successful Scouting”. Elder Otto Shill, also a Regional Representative, talked on the subject of using the full Scouting program to meet the needs of our youth. I remember Elder Shill from his days as Bishop and Stake Presidency in the Mesa North Stake. He was also involved with the 1973 Scout Jamboree. His boys were a part of our 3-ward group that traveled together from the stake to the Jamboree – so it was fun to see him again.
For our next session, we divided the group into patrol sessions. I kept the Ravens, Coyotes, Gorillas, Moose and Rooster patrols with me. I taught this group how to utilize the init committee. Wallace Haws taught the Bulls about Varsity Scouting, Dean Jensen (from the Mesa District) taught the Gaters about Exploring. Lonnie Stradling taught the Pigs and Ostriches (SM’s and Blazer Leaders) about Scouting. Colleen Root, Sister Haws and Mel Stout taught the donkeys and turkeys – the Cub Scout Leaders. My group included Bishopric members, committee members and Primary presidents.
Following the group sessions, the whole gang gathered once again to the chapel. I taught them all the concept and steps to creating an annual program calendar.
The fun part of the program was a bunch of “life” or team games. WE had a game for each patrol to engage in. After the games, the game leaders held a discussion with his group about the need to work together as a team to accomplish the task of Scouting in the ward. The groups rotated to a second game. The groups all seemed to have a great time with these games. I particularly enjoyed watching the Bishops on their games. They did a form of pyramid building and then the tent pitching (blind). Then, with an extra minute or two, they did the swing game – where they had to swing all members of the group into a small platform several feet away.
The closing “fireside” was especially impressive. Dan Hawkins talked about the ideals of Scouting. Elder W. Dea Montague (yet another Regional Representative) talked of Scouting and the Priesthood. Pres. Stradling was to speak but deferred to President Cooley. President Cooley, the Stake President, had planned not to be at the conference but his plans changed at the last minute and he was able to come. Thus, he became the final speaker. His talk was fabulous. I wish I had a tape of it.
I was real pleased with the entire conference. It could not have been better. Everything clicked in just the right way. The Spirit of the Lord was present in great abundance. It was, in all, a very wonderful experience. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day. I was particularly awed by it. I rejoiced that I was able to work in tandem with the Lord to stage the event. I did truly feel His direct guidance and revelation (from the Holy Ghost) throughout the entire planning preparation process. I know that it was not my plan – now my talents or abilities that made the program a success. What joy it has been as I’ve served in this great task and service opportunity.
Bishop Melvin Stradling took me home after the conference. It was great to see and visit with Melvin once again. He and his wife, Virginia, taught a genealogy class in our Mesa 10th Ward – as newlyweds – and when I was 12 or so. I was in their class – which lasted only about three months. I have not seen them since that time (until we moved recently to the Pueblo Stake). It was fun to tell them of the major impact that they’ve had on my life. I told them that their class got me hooked on genealogy to the point that it is still a major focus and interest even 28 years later. Melvin today found it interesting that he had taught me and now 28 years later, the role was reversed and I was teaching him about Sco7uting.
As I got home, I was emotionally and physically drained. I hardly had energy to do anything. The feeling was similar to that which I felt the two times after I completed my exhausting but super rewarding service as a Wood Badge counselor. I had a hard time doing anything this afternoon.
Before I leave the subject of the Little Philmont conference, I’ll record an interesting comment made to me from President Harold Stradling (brother to Melvin). He said, “There’s only one problem in staging such a successful program – as this was – and that is that it opens yourself up – and your talents are now known to all.”