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.”
Saturday, June 26, 2010
LITTLE PHILMONT CONFERENCE NOTES
Posted by Kevin and Lou Hunt at 2:21 PM No comments:
Labels: LITTLE PHILMONT CONFERENCE
Sunday, June 20, 2010
COMMISSIONER JOURNAL CAMP GERONIMO 2010
JUNE 12TH – SATURDAY 2010
(Excerpts from my Personal Journal - which I have kept EACH DAY since 1973!)
I got up at 5:15 this morning. ,,, I got our car packed. We had a lot of luggage – with a week’s supply of clothes, etc. for Lou and I, Larissa, Kaylea and the boys. We piled into the vehicle and all headed up to Camp Geronimo – where I will be a volunteer commissioner to several Scout troops this coming week. We had a nice trip. The weather and the green desert were absolutely wonderful.
In Payson, we ate breakfast at the Burger King joint. We made a stop also at Wal-Mart. We continued on to camp and arrived there at 9:45 Am. We went to our assigned Cabin #7 and were unable to enter the cabin. Two very strange lady commissioners – who roomed and served together (in a strange relationship) last week – were extremely slow in vacating the cabin. They certainly were not in any hurry. They were supposed to get out of the cabin by 10:00 AM – but it was 11:23 AM before they finally got out. This was quite frustrating to me – since my first commissioner meeting was to be at 11:30 in the dining hall. I had a hard time controlling my tongue.
I left the ladies to get our car unloaded and I headed up to the dining hall for the meeting. We first ate lunch and then had a brief orientation meeting about our commissioner duties and our assigned troops. I was assigned six troops in five different campsites – from sites 20 to 24.
Later Dad brought up Lana. She could not come up when the rest of us did. He could not walk up to eat at the dining hall.
I spent the afternoon checking in my troops. I had troops arrive individually and then the other four troops all arrived at one. I oriented them in one mass gathering.
I headed back to the cabin and was there for a few minutes. I had a meeting at 4:30 PM with the Senior Patrol Leaders of the camp. We first met in a general meeting and then I met with my six boys. At 5:15 PM, I was back up at the flag pole. My troop 285 conducted the first flag ceremony of the week. I gave the Scouts a welcome and an introduction to the process to be followed each meat at the flag ceremony. I went to dinner at 5:30 PM and met the family there.
I was then done for the night and went to the cabin to be with the family. I went on a walk with Bryson. We went to check out the new Nature Lodge. It is beautiful. It is located behind the Headquarters building – to the east of the former Nature Lodge – which I remember as the Craft Lodge when I was at Geronimo as a Scout. Kaylea and Larissa went to the trading post.
The weather was quite chilly tonight. Kaylea watched movies on her computer as Lana slept. I visited with Dad. Lou hovered real close to the heater that is in our cabin. I read my scriptures.
Camp Geronimo is one of my very favorite places in the world. I love it a great deal. So, it is very exciting to once again be at Geronimo for another week. It is a great blessing to be here. I will work as a commissioner and for my labors, the family is given a cabin to stay in – and we will have all food for the family for the week. It is a fabulous arrangement for a family vacation. Our only cost is the gas to get to the camp. Such a deal! It is a rough job – but someone has to do it. I am glad that the someone is us!
JUNE 13TH – SUNDAY
Another week begins and this one finds me and the family up at Camp Geronimo where I will be serving as a commissioner for the week.
I was up at 5:15 Am. I went to the dining hall at 6:00 AM to help serve the troops who would be doing KP duty. I ate breakfast with the other commissioners. The family came later. I went to the cabin for a little while and read my scriptures and then from the Matthew Cowley book.
All of us except Dad (who is “camped” in his van to the left of our cabin) walked up to the Pioneer Chapel for the LDS church services. I absolutely love church services up there. The Spirit is always so strong. Scott LeSueur – whom we know from home – was there and spoke in the meeting.
As Lou and I were walking out of the chapel, we met a Brother Bitter who is the Stake Young Men President in Maricopa. We told him that we have a son who lives in Maricopa. He was real interested and asked what ward Rusty and Fabriza are in. He asked what Rusty is doing in the ward and I told him that they both work in the nursery. He asked if Rusty would go to the adult leader Wood Badge training course. I told him of Rusty’s Scout experience and particularly his roles in the JLT courses. This Brother recently went to Wood Badge and as a part of his ticket committed the Stake President to having 20 people from the Maricopa Stake attend Wood Badge. So, maybe the conversation will get Rusty into Scouting again. That would be great.
I took the family – including the boys – back to the cabin. I then went to the Commissioner Shack. We prepared a BBQ dinner and served it to the Scoutmasters of the camp. We then conducted a meeting for them. I met with each of my troops. Scott Impecoven is the Camp Director this year. He has been my friend for many years. Doug Coleman is the Program Director and he does a fabulous job. Paul “Koop” Koopman is the lead commissioner – replacing Ed Schumann who has previously been a major fixture in camp. Actually, Koop and Dave Hall are splitting the season. Each will be in camp for five weeks.
I realized that I had forgotten my camp radio at the cabin and went back for it. Then for two hours I went to my various campsites and met individually with the Senior Patrol Leaders to discuss their programs for the coming week. I went back to the cabin for only a few minutes.
I was at the flagpole at 5:10 PM and did uniform inspections for each of my troops. They have to be in uniform – and have troop and patrol flags if they want to achieve the Big G Gold or Silver Awards for the week.
Lou came to the dining hall and I ate dinner with her. The rest of the family members went there also at their convenience. I returned to the cabin for a while and again read from the Matthew Cowley book. The girls went out on a photo shoot.
All of the family – except Dad – went to the campfire bowl for the opening campfire program. The program was enjoyable, as ever. I love the “If I were not a Boy Scout …” song. This is the greatest. We walked home via the main road – since we did not have a flashlight with us – and the camp was rather dark. We were glad that there were two boys with lights just ahead of us – who lit the way for us. We all marveled at the seemingly millions of stars visible in the heavens above us.
Back at the cabin, Lou made Rice Krispie treats for us. They didn’t turn out real marvelous.
JULY 14TH – MONDAY
Again I was at the dining hall at 6 AM. It was one of my days to conduct the morning flag ceremony. I got the flag out to the troop and gave them basic instructions and then called the troops to order for the ceremony – which consists of a history lesson on the historical flag of the day, a song and then a prayer. Again I also ate breakfast with the commissioners.
I forgot my radio again and had to go back to the cabin for it. I attended our every-morning commissioner staff meeting. Koop took photos of all of us for the photo board. Those of us who are “seasoned commissioner veterans” had a good laugh as we knew the mechanics of the table on which we sat. If there is not one or more people on the west end, and there are one or more on the east end, the table shoots upward – ejecting the unsuspecting down to the ground. Such was the case today. The experienced guys quickly got up for the photos and the other two gnubies found themselves sliding to the ground. One of them said, “You guys knew that the table would do that – didn’t you?” We are guilty – but it was sure hilarious.
I then went around to visit my troops and to inspect the various campsites. This is a major function of the commissioners and the troops really make a big deal of their scores. It is a big thing to bring troops together and to get boys working as a team toward a common goal. So, this is the best benefit of the inspection program – though it does also keep the camp very clean.
I was back at our cabin at 11 AM. I then walked to the parking lot to retrieve my Eagle walking stick that had been left in the car. I then went to lunch with the family.
All of the family – including even Dad and Lou – went up to the horse corral this morning. The kids all got to ride the horses and they were delighted about this. The boys are too young for an actual trail ride but they got to be led around the corral by staff members. Larissa, Lana and Kaylea got to ride out on the trail. Dad and Lou enjoyed being around the corrals and watching the boys.
Right after lunch I headed to Koop’s cabin with the other commissioners and together we planned our skit which we will perform for the closing campfire program on Friday night.
With my tasks done for a while, I went up to the handicraft lodge with Bryson and Larissa. A staffer helped Bryson make a small wooden airplane. Bryson was delighted with this. Larissa made two clay pots on the potter’s wheel. I worked on my Eagle stick. This is the one that Jenae and Paul gave to me as a gift. The stick has been real rough and was not sanded. I worked to sand the stick and then stained it with a real pretty reddish brown mahogany stain. This turned out beautiful. I was very pleased with the end result. I left the eagle head at the top unchanged. The stick is now very nice.
I again went to visit my camp sites. The troops were all surprised to see me make a visit in the afternoon and wondered why I was there – since my inspections were done.
Lou enjoyed a glorious day of painting throughout the day. She painted a beautiful painting of pink flowers. This is part of an ongoing project to paint a flower for each of the daughters and in-laws of the family.
I returned to the cabin about 4:15 PM and actually spent time carving on the Camp Bartlett stick – which I started in 1978 and have never finished. Wow! I have always wanted to take up the carving once again but haven’t ever made the time to do it. I very much enjoyed the carving activity. I love doing wood carving. I made some good progress.
I gave a troop another chance at the uniform inspection – since they were unprepared yesterday. Actually, they were probably prepared but were doing KP duty yesterday. I ate dinner with the family. Dad even made his body make the climb up the hill to the dining hall. It was fun to have him there. He was also at breakfast this morning. I am glad that he was out walking. He needs to do more of this.
There were no events this evening and I had no responsibilities. So, with a free evening, I spent the entire evening carving on the Bartlett stick. I made excellent progress. Larissa had her first “date” as she was invited by some boy to sit on a rock and talk with him. We all enjoyed teasing her after the experience. She was not overly jazzed about the “date” but kind of enjoyed the teasing.
Kaylea and Lana were very frustrated through the day and evening because their life line has been cut off. They can’t get cell telephone reception up at camp – and this really cramps their activities. Typically they spend hours each day on the phone and “texting” so they had to find some alternative activities to do today – though they certainly tried hard to find remote spots in camp where they might get a moment of reception and communication ability. I had to really laugh at them. It was a pretty funny scene to behold.
We cleaned the place up a bit tonight. We expected Keith and Kayla and Marinda to arrive and we wanted the cabin somewhat presentable for them. Dad went to the gate – in his van – to meet them at 10:00 and they arrived moments after he got to the gate. They could have walked – but with big bags, sleeping bags, etc., it was more convenient for them to get a ride with Dad up to the cabin. It was great to see them all. They, likewise, were pleased to be up at camp for a day or so. We were glad that they were able to come up to be with us.
This evening I read from the Book of Mormon and also from the Matthew Cowley book. It has been a great day here at Camp Geronimo. I have very much enjoyed it. This is the life …
JUNE 15TH – TUESDAY
I went to the dining hall at 6:30 AM. I hung out with the commissioners until the family arrived. It was fun to have our full family crowd there this morning. Keith and Kayla, Marinda, Kaylea and Boys, Dad, Lana, Larissa, Lou and I were all there. So, we had quite a presence – whether good or bad.
We had our usual 8 Am commissioner meeting with Koop, and Scott and Doug and all the commissioners.
I then went and visited my troop sites and did my inspections. I was finished with these by 10:30 AM. Back at the cabin, I sanded on the Bartlett stick – which I carved on last night. I attended a Scoutmaster meeting at 11 AM and then an SPL meeting at noon at the commissioner shack. One development at the Tuesday morning meeting for Scoutmasters is that they form themselves into patrols (based around their commissioner) and have to have a name, a yell, flag, etc. My guys had a great theme around “Hunt Season”.
Koop’s “Troop One” guys came dressed up as a variety of “super heroes” and were hilarious in their antics. They reminded me of my own “Boss Hogs” patrol (made up of camp directors) from years ago at camp school. After their song and dance and as the meeting was ending, I suggested that they go as a group to pay a visit to my five-year old grandson – at our cabin. They were willing to do so. Bryson was one shock boy when about fifteen of his favorite superheroes – batman, spiderman, etc, all showed up on the porch and asked for him. He was totally speechless. He loved the visit – though he got a bit shy with them. Brodey actually gave them a bit more attention than did Bryson. Anyway, it sounded like a really cool visit and I was excited to hear Bryson tell me of it at lunch. Kaylea said that it was a great deal.
Keith and Kayla went to the handicraft lodge and created some belts. I went to lunch with the family.
I went up to site 21 to inspect the site and to conduct another uniform inspection. I enjoyed talking to the Scouts. I take my walking sticks and this always generates discussion – as do the neckerchief slides. I wear a different slide and use a different stick each day. Boys find both of these deals quite interesting. I like the conversation and teaching opportunities that they generate. I also went to site 22 and did the same program.
Having some free time and wanting to spend time with the boys, I took them to the new Nature Lodge. I practically had to drag Bryson there. He did not want to go at all. Then once they had experienced it, Bryson did not want to leave. The nature staff – including Michael, Steve Munoz (a real big guy) and Austin all helped us. I have known this Austin guy for several years. He has been there on staff for seven years. The boys got to handle snakes, lizards and horned toads. These creatures crawled all over the boys They really enjoyed this “hands on” experience with the critters.
I went to the trading post and bought a small book which Doug Coleman wrote. This tells the legend of the Camp’s “Mongollon Monster” story. I was glad to get the booklet in print. I sat on the cabin porch and did the final sanding on the Bartlett stick. Commissioner (and professional Scouter) Mike Vangelov came along and we talked for a while.
While talking about commissioners, I might as well mention all of the commissioners who are serving this week. In addition to Mike and B.J already noted here, there is Koop, an international Scout (this year from Egypt) who is Sherif Said and “Uncle Walt” Moze. We also have [black] Joseph – also a District Executive. He and Mike are covering troops together. He doesn’t seem to really be into it, however. This is a pretty good team of guys.
I went to the dining hall and worked with fellow commissioner B.J. Barnes. We packed up boxes and checked them out to the troop representatives who came for them. Tuesday night is the night that the troops cook their dinner in their own campsites and they come to get a box of their food. This process kept us busy for a while.
While the troops and Scouts were doing their own things tonight, the staff got together for their own gathering. The handicraft staff directed the preparation of a meat loaf that was absolutely fabulous.
We had a big dinner family group. Marshall and his son, Grayson, came up to spend a day or two and all of the rest of the family was there at dinner. Keith and Kayla left this afternoon after dinner. He was to have a Temple Recommend meeting with his Stake President. Dad also left – taking with him Marinda and Lana. Marshall and his son, Grayson, came up.
This evening Lou painted my Bartlett stick – or the woodpecker which I carved on the top of the stick. It now looks colorful and very cool. I was very pleased.
Kaylea and Marshall, Larissa and the boys all played games outside tonight. They had a grand time.
Dad and I were out on the porch and Doug Coleman happened by on the way to his cabin (cabin #1 on the end). I had told dad of him and he has wanted to visit with him – since dad was the softball coach and Explorer leader for his older brother, Jack Coleman (now deceased). We talked of the old Mesa 1st Ward. We then got on the subject of Westwood High School. I said that I graduated with the class of 1972. He noted that he was in the class of 1974.
I said, “Oh, you probably knew my brother, Dean … Hunt!’ He about went into shock as he thought at that one. He got all choked up and was visibly moved as he thought of Dean. He could not talk for several moments and tears came to his eyes. He said that he had never put the connection together between Dean and I. He then said how Dean had worked with him to perform in some special way in the class play which Dean wrote and directed. It was really cool to see this type of reaction in someone as we talked of Dean 37 years after his death. Dean really did have a very major impact upon a great many people – students and otherwise in the entire community.
After Doug left, I read his story about the monster. I also read my scriptures.
JUNE 16TH – WEDNESDAY
Another wonderful day at Camp Geronimo!
I attended the 6:15 AM flag ceremony and enjoyed talking with the Scouts of my assigned troops. The family joined me for breakfast at 6:30 Am. Our numbers are now greatly diminished with the departure last night of many of the family.
The Waterfront Director was kind enough to take Bryson and Brodey on a little cruise of the lake with him in his boat. They were delighted.
I attended my usual 8 AM commissioner meeting. I then visited with my troops.
The camp hosted a rather significant historical occasion today. This was the formal dedication of the new Vogel Nature Lodge. I took Bryson up there so that he could be a part of history – and look back on this in future years as he returns to Camp Geronimo. He was the youngest participant there. He was actually pretty good through the program- and enjoyed playing with the critters again afterwards. This is actually the third nature lodge that I have known at Camp Geronimo. When I was a kid, the nature program was housed in what is now the a-framed Commissioner Shack. Then, after the handicraft lodge moved from the A-framed building just below our old Troop 155 Campsite at site 3 – to the former commissary building, the nature program was moved there. Now they have a brand new wonderful building.
At noon I went to lunch with the family. After lunch, I went to the cabin. Marshall and Kaylea and Larissa went horse back riding again. The boys remained at the cabin with Lou and I. I talked to Doug Coleman several times today and enjoyed each chat. He is an interesting guy. Lou and I went to the commissioner shack to hear commissioner Sherif tell of his native Egypt. This was in interesting and informative presentation.
I returned to the cabin and was there for an hour. I read my scriptures and other things.
I went early to the flag ceremony. I sat at a table alone at the health lodge as I waited for the program to begin. This proved to be a wonderful moment of historic reflection as I thought of my many years and memories at Camp Geronimo. I came here seven summers as a Scout. I have served several years as a commissioner. And in between, I have come up numerous times with troops.
This morning, I found myself on the road and down the hill from our old campsite 3. I stood there – walking stick (half-carved) in hand and for several moments, I thought back and remembered the good old days with Troop 155. Boy, were those great memories!
Then this afternoon as I sat on the picnic table bench at the new health lodge, I had full view of the camp, the multitude of majestic pine trees and the Mongollon rim high above me. I marveled and expressed gratitude to the Lord for His beautiful creations. It was indeed, a glorious time for reflection of many of the experiences I’ve had in Scouting in the 43 years since that first “Gnube” summer.
I performed the midweek inspection of my troops at the flag ceremony. The family then joined me for dinner at the dining hall. I met with Westin Whitmer – a very large LDS Scoutmaster about his troop. He is with troop 327. He and seem to have a connection – from the time that I first met him. He is a great guy. He and his SPL came to our cabin for our little meeting about their troop service project.
Tonight we had intertroop campfire programs and this meant that I had a program with just my six troops. We met – with other troops – at the road near the old climbing tower and showers and there formed 3 columns – one for each commissioner on the east side of camp. We were led by the “Indians” of the Order of the Arrow to the campfire bowl. We there witnessed the OA “call-out” of boys who have been elected to the brotherhood by their fellow scouts. I then led my own troops and my family up to Campsite 24 where we held our campfire program. And the camp even allowed us to have a real campfire there – something that has been forbidden the last few years. My six troops gathered for the program.
Our little Brodey stole the show. He saw Scouts performing and thought that he needed to also be in the spotlight. He said, “My turn!” and walked up there. He wanted to do the “Little Teapot” song. He was a real scream. He later went out a second time and stood there looking at the group – before getting a major case of stage fright. He collapsed there on the dirt stage.
I got up and tried to do my traditional, “If you get peanut butter stuck in your mouth …” run-on but twice forgot the words. I could not perform the task – and I was highly embarrassed. I did a Scouter’s Minute at the end of the program.
Back at the cabin, Larissa, Marshall and Grayson played a game of Risk. This was actually begun last night but continued on tonight.
JUNE 17TH – THURSDAY
I got up at 5:20 this morning and went to the dining hall to help serve the KP crew. I then ate breakfast with the commissioners before conducting the morning flag ceremony. I ate biscuits and gravy and loved this. I also ate oatmeal with the family after they came up to the dining hall.
After breakfast, we bid adieu to Kaylea and Marshall, Grayson, Bryson and Brodey. They are going to go to the town of Williams – where Marshall is a policeman – for a few days. It will be rather quite around here without them. This means that we will just have Larissa here with Lou and I through the rest of the week. This should be a major shock for her.
I attended the commissioner meeting at 8 Am. We planned the campfire program for Friday night – with Program Director, Doug Coleman. We each recommended troops who performed “well” (ha, ha!) at the intertroop campfire programs last night. Two of my troops will lead or perform songs. I then went to my troop sites and performed my inspections.
My morning rounds were completed by about 10:30 AM. I was walking back to the cabin when I saw a new bridge being constructed at the lake. I decided to sit there on a large rock to watch the construction efforts. I ended up being a radio liaison between the workers and the ranger staff – and tried to help them get their needed lumber and materials for the bridge.
I went back to the cabin and got my script for the commissioner Friday night skit. I went to lunch and it was very quiet with just three of us. After the meal, I headed to the campfire bowl for a skit practice with the commissioners. This skit has become traditional and was a big thing with commissioner Ed. Now Koop and Dave have to carry on the tradition.
Next I went up to visit my troops. In campsite 22, I met with five boys and we talked about leadership principles as taught in the Junior Leader Training Course (whatever it is currently named). We did this to fulfill a requirement for the Big G Gold award that the troops are working to achieve.
I went to the trading post and bought a small carving knife for Larissa. She has seen me carving my sticks and decided that this is a new thing that she needs to learn how to do. I went back to the cabin and found Lou outside painting a white calle lily painting – another one in her series. She loved the outside painting experience. That is where she should have been all along. She also got rave review from everyone who passed by and saw her painting. Koop said that he wished that she would repaint a picture located on the door of the commissioner shack.
I spent quite a bit of time carving on the bear stick – that I have been carving on sporadically for years. I was determined to make progress on it this year. (This seems to be my year to carve – since I worked on the Eagle stick and then the Bartlett stick – and now the bear stick.) it was a glorious afternoon and the weather was gorgeous. The view of the mountains – and particularly Roosevelt Peak, the pine trees, etc., was breath-taking and inspiring.
At 4:15 I again trudged back up the hill. I did another inspection for Troop 875 in Campsite 23. Then I staged another junior leader training talk with two boys at the dining hall.
Lou, Larissa, and I enjoyed dinner together. I really enjoy the food at Camp Geronimo – prepared by Sodexo, a Marriott Company. Tonight we had Mexican food, bean soup (fabulous) and an ice cream sundae buffet.
Back at the cabin, we had a visit from Alex Turner – of our home Dana Ward – and his friend, Jack Lang. later we were visited by Austin Clouse (one of the twin sons of Russ and Shelley Carroll Clouse, our friends). He brought with him a young good looking guy named Sion Freestone. This Sion is a son of Carl Freestone (cousin to my friend, David Cluff) and looks just like his father. He is a very handsome young man. We had a great visit and talked of their families – both of whom I have known for years, Nauvoo, and my times years ago as a Camp Director at Camp Bartlett. They listened with much attention as I told of the parties that I staged for staff at Bartlett.
As these boys left, I talked to Larissa. I suggested that Sion would be a great young man to latch onto – and commented that I thought that he was the best-looking camp staff member. I said, “You’ll have to look him up back at home” – though he is moving from the Mesa High area to Pinetop/Snowflake when he returns home. I was surprised at Larissa’s comment. She said, “Yeah, I noticed him too!” She asked for ideas on how she might later connect with him – since he is moving.
And again, I trudged back up the hill – this time to conduct another inspection of Troop 285 in campsite 22.
This evening, Lou and I and Larissa went together to hear the “old story teller” – now being Doug Coleman (since Howard Kumlin died a few years ago) – tell the store of legend of the “Mongollon Monster”. He made his appearance from the depths of the old bunkhouse/cabin that has been on the site for over 100 years. He made a great presentation of the story.
Larissa had a great choice of beds tonight – since all other family members have made their departures.
JUNE 18TH- FRIDAY
I slept in this morning to 5:45 Am. Wow! I went to breakfast with Lou and Larissa.
Lou and I then went to the commissioner shack. Yesterday, Koop had said that he would sure like to have Lou repaint a very old painting that has been on the inside of the door of the commissioner shack. We went to check it out. Larissa went to the handicraft lodge to pick up the pottery she created earlier in the week – and which she had left for firing.
I attended the 8 Am commissioner meeting and then went home to tell Lou that Joseph had gone AWOL and that she didn’t have to do his sunflower. She had actually She had planned to paint a sunflower today for commissioner Joseph – since he came by yesterday and raved about her work and said that he would pay her for doing a sunflower for him. He did not show up to the commissioner meeting today, however, and Mike said that Joseph had gone AWOL – and had suddenly gone home. She was so efficient that she had already penciled out the flower on a canvas board. She dropped this and will repaint over it.
Now being free, Lou gathered up her paints and I helped her move her “studio” over to the Commissioner Shack to work on the redo of the Roosevelt Peak painting. En route, we stopped for her to take some digital photos of the peak that looms over the camp to the northeast.
Lou spent the entire day painting the peak – and added the Geronimo lake at the bottom of the picture. All who came by were enthralled with her wonderful painting and marveled at her expertise. She really did a great job.
I did my final campsite inspections today. All of the sites were near perfect. I was proud of the Scouts and their leaders. I went to the shack after my inspections. Larissa also had said that I could meet her at the new climbing tower – located on the piece of ground where we had the Saturday night “horse” BBQ (or so we joked). Lou and I went to watch her. I think that she wanted to impress this Sion Freestone with her climbing prowess. She did a good climb. She climbed up – using the small toe-hold rocks – and then rappelled down the other side. We also watched Sion do a similar act. He noted that his record for an ascent up the side of the wall is 28 seconds.
At 11:00 Am, I attended our final meeting with the Scoutmasters. We received their evaluation forms and I did well in the evaluations. Many boys and leaders had good to say about me. Lou and I went to lunch.
Back at the shack, I – along with all of the commissioners – pulled patches and prepared ribbons for our troops. This was a bit of a chore – but not too bad. Lou continued to paint on her picture. She really wowed Koop. He was elated with the new look.
Larissa has spent a lot of time up at the rifle range this week. She continues to go back to try to score a perfect 50. She got a 49.
I worked all afternoon on the wood carving of my bear stick. It is looking good. I worked at the commissioner shack – as Lou was there painting. I talked to a lot of scouts about carving. Many boys and leaders have been following the evolution of the stick as I have carved on it and others this week. I decided to carve “Camp Geronimo” lettering on the stick. I deviated from previous practice of indented letters and today did raised lettering. This actually worked better than the other variety and was also much faster.
Larissa was desirous to participate in the camp’s Olympics – called “The Mighty Mogi Challenge” today. The openly problem is that she is a girl and had no one to participate with. Some of the guys from my “Troop One” patrol came by the shack and I persuaded them to let her join with them. This actually worked well for all. They needed another person and they were happy to have her along. They later said that she had kept them organized and moving from one event to the next. They received a blue ribbon for their efforts.
Lou was nearly done with her painting so she took time off so that we could go to the traditional “Scoutmaster Splash” (AKA the great belly flops). We both marveled at the majority of Scoutmasters who are carrying way too much extra beef around with them.
I was at the cabin for only a few minutes before heading off to the flag ceremony. I returned with Lou to the shack – after dinner – and she applied shellac over the painting – to preserve it. Koop gave her a hug and a camp mug for her efforts. The painting looks wonderful.
I went back to the cabin and changed into “Class A” uniform. We usually have to wear Class A’s at dinner each night but today the standard was relaxed – because of the schedule preceding it. We were back in A’s tonight, however for the campfire program. I went to the campfire bowl and hung out with the commissioners for a while. We performed the opening skit for the campfire program. We performed in traditional “Schu” style and did him proud. “Live from Geronimo … It’s Friday night …” Tonight we were all “old folks” and put on antics about our teeth, grandchildren, etc. Koop had created a photo package of “grandchildren” and it included very funny photos of commissioners – past and present – whom he had doctored up with funny wigs, hair styles, etc.
The troops performed skits and songs. And in between, the commissioners went up and awarded BIG G ribbons to their troops. I presented two Silver awards and four Gold recognition awards. I have really had some great troops this week.
Marinda was here at camp for only one day but while she was here, she went up to the rifle ranges. She shot a score of 30 of 30 on the muzzleloading range. She received an award tonight as one of three people who achieved that score through the week. Larissa went up to receive the award for her. It is a challenge for the boys on staff to have to admit that a girl was the top marksman of the week. Such a thing really sets them on edge.
We went to the trading post after the campfire program. I bought ice cream for Lou and Larissa and I. I got a hug from the big LDS guy – Westin Whitmer – as he thanked me for a great week of service to him and his troop. I have enjoyed him this week.
Marinda connected (too late in the week) with Doug Coleman’s daughter. They hung out tonight at the Coleman cabin. It is too bad that they didn’t become friends earlier in the week. Larissa and the girl were out until 11:45 PM.Larissa also received a love note from the staff boy who has been stalking her all week. She was kind of proud of it – though she doesn’t want anything to do with the guy.
Lou and I did some cabin cleaning tonight so that the task will be easier tomorrow. I also spent time sanding the half of the bear stick that I completed and carved this week. (The stick is reversible and has a bear on both ends – but I did not finish the Koala bear on the one end.). Lou then painted the bear and the Camp Geronimo lettering. It looked wonderful when it was completed. I also read my scriptures and some “Mormon Times” issues.
I have been pleased with my progress on sticks this week. I found time to carve and enjoyed it greatly. I made major progress on two stick projects that I have been wanting to get to for many years. It was exciting. I have tried to remember where I got the wood for the “three bears” stick – and can’t even remember what camp I got it in. But, since I finished it at Camp Geronimo, I made it my official “Camp Geronimo Stick”. I am a happy camper.
JUNE 19TH – SATURDAY
At 6 Am I was up at the main gate to the camp. I got our car and brought it up to our cabin so that we could pack our goods.
At the morning flag ceremony I showed my newly carved and painted bear stick to many boys and leaders. They all loved it. Some had had a hard time envisioning the bear as I was carving it but once it was painted, the bear was very obvious and they wondered why they hadn’t been able to see it earlier.
I went to our final camp breakfast with Lou and Larissa. They went back to the cabin and I went to the commissioner shack for site maps of each campsite.
I went up to my campsites and roamed from one to the next. I had appointments with each troop but if they were not ready, I moved on to the next appointment – and then came back around as I had time. I performed the check-out procedures with each troop and campsite. I worked with the troops until each troop was checked out – and I had reported such on the radio.
I went back to the cabin. Lou had done a lot of cleaning but wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I remembered that she had planned to go see Don Trapp and wife – from the horse corral staff. We have enjoyed connecting with them at the dining hall meals this week. They seem like a sharp family. I worked to pack the few things that Lou and Larissa had not completed. We got out of the cabin easily by the 10:00 time – unlike the folks from last week.
We could have left camp at that time but Lou was being worked over by an overwhelming urge to add a mini “Mongollon Monster” guy to her painting – since “he” is so much of Camp Geronimo tradition. I took her to the trading post to check out a drawing of the large red creature and she took a picture of this. Then for the next couple of hours, she worked to create the mini gorilla/man creature. When she got her half inch masterpiece done, we took this to the commissioner shack and she shellacked this onto the original painting – up on a cliff below Roosevelt Peak. This was a great addition to the painting. (We later learned that everyone who saw the addition – and especially Koop and Doug Coleman – were very pleased with it.) With the monster in place, Lou pronounced, “Now it is finished!”
We went to the kitchen and talked the staff out of their meatloaf recipe. We drove out of camp right at 11:30 AM. We have had a great week at camp. We have enjoyed the scenery, the relaxed atmosphere, the cabin and the porch, the beautiful trees, the staff and the cool weather. It has been glorious.
In Payson we stopped again at the Wal-Mart store. We bought a lantern to present to my dad for his birthday and Father’s Day – which is tomorrow. He saw a mini lantern that I had at camp and it was obvious that he would enjoy one like it. We stopped at Burger King for lunch. The ride home was pleasant. We arrived home to the hot town at 2:45 PM.
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