Having served in many Scout camps – and in various leadership positions, I have had the privilege to associate with some of the greatest young men (and women) of our age. These camp staffers are truly remarkable in their service and spirit. They continue to amaze me.
I could write about any camp and almost any staffer, but this summer I am serving at Camp Thunder Ridge – operated by the Utah National Parks Council. This camp is located at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet and is on Cedar Mountain – just below the Brian Head ski resort and southeast of Parowan, Utah. It truly is a wonderful place.
Our camp staff at Camp Thunder Ridge is kind of like any other camp staff. But there are some things that make them unique. Of course we have the usual camp director, program director, a great cook, and several adult staff who are “area directors” who direct the many different program areas of the camp. My wife and I came up from Mesa, Arizona to serve as camp commissioners. But the real stars are the young men who serve with us on the staff. So, one unique characteristic is that the group is comparatively small for the great number of program areas that we offer. There are only eighteen young men – and many camps with the programs that we have would have much bigger staffs. But, that doesn’t stop these guys. They are anxious to learn, serve, and to go the extra mile to get the job done. We are presently in our staff training week and it looks like these guys will be great.
Also, our staffers at Thunder Ridge are all pretty new at the job. Of the eighteen teen staffers, only three have been on a camp staff before. That creates some interesting training challenges – but they all have fresh spirits and are generally free from pre-conceived notions of what camp staffers are and do. They’re like a breath of fresh air!
I could mention or feature any of our young men but I’ll just mention one who appears most impressive (and he can represent the others). William (as he now wants to be known – now that he has grown a foot or two) is one of the three camp staffers who was here last year and is returning this year. Here is our interview …
William, why did you become a camp staffer last summer? Well, my Scout leader told me about working up here and I thought about it, and said, “Why the heck not?”
So, William, did you have a positive experience last summer? Great experience … one of the best experiences of my life … I met a lot of great people. I had a lot of fun with them. I got to teach boys a lot of new things.
What did you teach last summer? So, for the majority of the summer, I taught shotgun shooting. Then I taught in the survival area.
What do you think that you learned last summer on staff? That’s kind of a tough one … I did learn a lot more about Scouting, the values of Scouting, and how it benefits you.
How did camp staff make you different as you returned home after last summer? I was nicer … and I was more calm. I used to be kind of jumpy and high tempered … After I got home, I was closer to my family than before.
And here you are again … what made you want to come again? The experience that I had last year. Coming up here and teaching again. I hoped to be able to do shooting sports again … yeah, just the experience of getting to teach the younger boys.
Do you get rich on camp staff? Not really, but, you can make quite a bit of money – depending how long you have been working here, your work ethic … but, I didn’t get paid last year – since I was a CIT.
So, what really makes you want to be here? … Being able to meet new people … The weather is great … I love the weather – and the outdoors.
William, you are a Life Scout … are you planning to be an Eagle Scout? Yes … Why? All good things can come from being an eagle … better job resume … the opportunity to teach others and to help them become an eagle.
In summary now, what advice would you share with other Scouts who are thinking about being a camp staffer at Thunder Ridge or elsewhere? It’s all about your perspective. If you think you’re going to have a bad time, you will have a bad time. But, if you think you’re going to have a good time, you’ll have a good time.
Wow! William … you are amazing! Thank you!
There may be some negative aspects – usually revolving around young men not true to their ideals – and who don’t make the best choices. But that situation is rare when the young man comes with a focused life, a commitment to make good choices, and a determination to press forward and to make good things happen – for himself and others – to use his agency to choose good. Overall, the experiences are positive and most parents would welcome the strength and power that can come to their young men while in Scout camp service.
Well, there you have it. The Scout camp experience for young men is one of the greatest opportunities a young man can have. It gives preparation for being a great family man, a great student, a great church guy – and prepared for life – now and in the future. All things considered, summer camp staff is and can be a wonderful experience. Contact your local camp or Scouting council and see where you might serve – even this summer – and looking forward. We have a place and a need for you on staff!
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …
Author: Kevin Hunt |#thescoutblogger, Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director
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 Scout, The 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