When Kayla and James first met in 2012 at Beaver High Adventure Base, love was the furthest thing from their minds. They became friends but thought nothing of it. Now, almost six years later, they are a story of camp love, to be married in May.
Kayla and James
Kayla is a college student from Cedar City studying social work. She can speak French, Italian, and Greek. She is also a camp school certified COPE Director. Growing up, she did not have much involvement in Scouts besides being the occasional assistant for her Cubmaster father. When she got older, her uncle started working for the Utah National Parks Council. At this point, Kayla’s family started to get more involved with Scouting, specifically with Beaver High Adventure Base. After her older sister had spent summers working at Beaver, Kayla decided to apply there as well. Now, up until this year, she has worked there every summer creating a fierce loyalty to the Southern Utah camp. In 2015, she went to “camp school” to be a COPE Director. Now Kayla is an avid Scouter.
I love Scouting because it’s given me the best seven summers of my life. Being on camp staff has made me a better person—a lot farther away from the angry teenager I was, and closer to being a confident adult. Working with kids, teaching them new things, is amazing. I love working with COPE and Climbing specifically because so many kids are scared of heights, and we get to see the triumph of that moment when they step off the zip line tower, fall off the Trust Fall, or go down a rappel. Scouting teaches some great skills and provides kids with adventures they wouldn’t have the chance to experience otherwise.
James has been involved with Scouting since he was young. His dad was a leader and his older brother worked at Scout camp for years. When James was 16, his brother convinced him to get more involved with the High Adventure Bases. He loved it so much after that first year he went back five more times. It pushed him to his limits and taught him to be more outgoing. It was a lot of hard work, but the experiences and friendships he gained were unforgettable and well worth the sweat. During this time he also worked on and earned his Eagle Scout Award. He also had the opportunity to become an assistant climbing director and ATV instructor. James describes himself as an easy going person who enjoys hiking, shooting, rock climbing, and rappelling. He hopes to make a career in the tech support industry. He loves teaching people and helping them solve problems. He says if you need a buddy for an adventure, he is your guy. When asked why he loves Scouting James said:
It has taught me more lessons than I can count, introduced me to some of my closest friends, including my best friend, and fiancee. It also helped me realize how much I love teaching people, and helping them overcome their fears, like rappelling off of a 120′ cliff, and it furthered my love of the outdoors.
Love at Third Sight
James and Kayla met at Beaver in 2012. James had just finished working at Entrada and went to Beaver to help out. It was definitely not camp love at first sight. They did not see each other again until he came back in 2014 as full-time staff. It was this second meeting when they began to hit it off. Distance, among many reasons, was a factor that prevented them from officially dating. So, after a couple of dates, they stopped talking to each other.
Then, just this last year, he messaged Kayla on Facebook and told her he was thinking of applying at Beaver again. She was ready to say goodbye to being camp staff at that point, but that chance of seeing him again made her come back.
It was good that we met at a scout camp, where you’re expected to be dirty. That way, I know he’ll still love me when I’m looking (and smelling) my worst. It also took all the pressure away from the dating and getting-to-know-you stuff.
It was after this rekindling they started dating. However, Kayla had plans for a study abroad in Greece. Distance may have limited them before, but they were determined to make it work. After falling away and coming back together so many times, it seemed like it was meant to be.
The Next Step
This time doing a long distance relationship worked out just fine. Before Kayla left for Greece they had discussed the idea of marriage, but nothing definitive. During her time in Europe, she worked on a notebook for James. She returned just in time for Christmas. She used this notebook to propose to James. He, of course, said yes! I asked them what their next step was. They replied:
Right now, our future plans don’t extend far beyond the wedding. We’ve made a list of plans for many future adventures, but the only adventure on our minds right now is actually getting married so we can get on to bugging each other for the rest of our lives and more.
Scouting changes the lives of thousands of people every year, but for James and Kayla, it was even more than that. What started out as reluctant younger siblings starting new jobs turned into companionship and camp love.
We wish Kayla and James the best of luck in their future and a happy wedding!
Author: Julia Thompson | Marketing and Fund Development Associate, Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America