At Camp Last Weekend

I meant to post a real, long, detailed post about my visit to camp last weekend, but of course, ran out of time.  Now, I’ve decided not to focus on all of the details and tell a story:

As I had posted previously, I was at camp this past weekend to help with Dad ‘N’ Lad, a program that the Greater St. Louis Area Council (GSLAC)  holds to get Cub Scouts – specifically 7 and 8 year olds – to come to camp and get excited about the outdoors program.  I helped run the aquatics area on Saturday afternoon with several other friends who were down visiting camp with me and a few younger staff members.  I administered swim tests so that dads and lads could swim and take out canoes.

For many lads, this was their first experience swimming in a lake.  Some were very excited.  Some were a bit timid.  Some were extremely scared.  I remember one lad who must have been about 7 years old.  His dad was having a hard time convincing him to get in the water.  He thought he would drown.  After talking to him for a few minutes, I thought that he might actually be able to pass the test, at least the beginner test, if not the swimmer test (swim in the second deepest water versus the deep water and take out a canoe).  I was able to convince him that he could swim to take the test if a lifeguard swam with him.  I asked another staff member to swim with him and he ended up passing.

Another similar story:  there was a lad who looked like he was ready to get in the water, but when he saw the lake, he did not think he wanted to any longer.  His dad tried to convince him to jump in and swim but he did not want to and started crying.  I bent over and got him to smile while convincing him to give the swim test a try.  He passed the beginner test and gave me a high five with a smile sneaking through his remaining sniffles.  About twenty minutes later, I looked over to the beginner area and he had a huge smile on his face as he was swimming with his dad! 🙂

It is experiences like these that make camp worthwhile.  I love the opportunity to touch the life of these Scouts in such a good way.  I always enjoyed making that connection on camp staff and I’m glad that I still have the ability to help others enjoy themselves at camp.  Pat Martchink, Director of Camping for GSLAC, used to say during camp staff training that you will have a positive influence on the Scouts – that after camp at any time during the year, a Scout will come up to you at Wal-Mart (or wherever) and say “Hey!  You taught me ______ merit badge!”  I’ve had that experience.  It truly is amazing.  I do not think that Pat shares that story anymore, but I wish he did.  The staff could certainly take something away from it.

I love going to camp to visit my friends, be in the outdoors, and experience a place I love so much.  Last weekend, I was able to encourage Scouts to both enjoy camp and return for another summer, as well as enjoy camaraderie.  I’m looking forward to the next time.

Troop 307

My Boy Scout Troop, Troop 310, spent several summers at Camp Famous Eagle sharing a campsite with Troop 307, a troop from the Grand Towers District that comprises the city of St. Louis.  While I never camped with them, I often visited since they camped at the camp I was working at.  As I got older, I (unfortunately) became more disconnected with my troop, but always enjoyed how the Scouts from both troops got along and interacted.

Jim Powers, a leader from the New Horizons District, volunteered to be the Scoutmaster for Troop 307 each summer at camp.  He also played American and camp songs on Thursday evenings outside of the trading post.  He is the example of the ideal Scouter.  I also had the privilege of working with his son, Sean, at camp in 2004.  Mr. Powers is a great example for the new staff members who could probably stand to learn about giving of one’s self and helping others even when you may not see personal gain – and he could teach a lot more.

I recently came across this video online of Troop 307 at camp in 2008.  You can also see several members of Troop 310 in the video, including Mike McCarty, our Scoutmaster.

DU News Release: New Dean for Josef Korbel School of International Studies

From the University of Denver:

News Release
For Release: July 1, 2010
Contact: Kim DeVigil
Phone: (303) 871-3172

University of Denver names U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Hill to lead one of the top international studies programs in the world

DENVER–Christopher Hill, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, has been chosen to lead the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, one of the top international studies schools in the world founded in 1964 by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s father. Hill’s appointment was announced today by DU Chancellor Robert Coombe.

Hill has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq since 2009. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with more than 30 years of service whose prior assignment was Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He has also served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

In April 2009, Foreign Policy magazine released a survey in its March-April issue that ranked the Josef Korbel School’s professional master’s program among the top-20 Ph.D., master’s and undergraduate programs in the world. In the master’s listing, the school tied for 12th with Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California-San Diego, and it ranked ahead of schools such as Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh.

“We are delighted that Ambassador Hill will be joining the DU community as the new dean of the Josef Korbel School,” says Chancellor Coombe. “If one considers his tremendous experience and great success as a Foreign Service officer and diplomat, it’s apparent that this is just the sort of career for which we are educating our students at the Korbel School. He’s going to be a great dean.”

In 2005, Hill was selected to lead the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Previously, he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999).  He also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southeast European Affairs in the National Security Council.

Earlier in his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Hill served tours in Belgrade, Warsaw, Seoul and Tirana, and on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff and in the Department’s Operation Center. While on a fellowship with the American Political Science Association he served as a staff member for Congressman Stephen Solarz working on Eastern European issues. He also served as the State Department’s Senior Country Officer for Poland.

Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

“I am delighted to be coming to the Korbel School this fall. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to work with such talented faculty and staff and to do my part in providing the finest education possible for graduate and undergraduate students alike. I also look forward to being a member of the broader University of Denver community, and to contributing in any way I can to the friendly and scholarly atmosphere of this extraordinary center of learning,” Hill says.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics.  He received a Master’s degree from the Naval War College in 1994.  He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian. His appointment is effective Sept. 1.

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

The Josef Korbel School of International Studies has offered degree programs in international affairs since its founding in 1964 as the Graduate School of International Studies by the scholar-diplomat Josef Korbel. Korbel is the father of Madeleine Albright, who was the first woman appointed to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State. In its earlier incarnation, the Department of International Relations at the University of Denver had a national reputation thanks to Ben M. Cherrington, a scholar, U.S. State Department diplomat and dynamic educator dedicated to providing his students with a global perspective.

The Graduate School of International Studies was renamed Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2008. The new name recognizes that Korbel’s life and work serve as the intellectual foundation of the school and that his spirit continues to inspire students and faculty.

The Korbel School has a number of distinguished alumni, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. and Heraldo Muñoz, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Development Programme and Director for its Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. DU ranks among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. For additional information, go to