Kurtis Bedford has acted in dozens of movies, TV shows and commercials. His first role was as a “bored teen” in the 1996 horror classic Scream, and he’s also known for his work in the HBO hospital comedy Getting On, which ran from 2013 to 2015.
These days, Bedford is playing his toughest and most rewarding role yet. He’s a dad of two boys and leader of a Cub Scout pack. Bedford is Cubmaster of Pack 226 of Chatsworth, Calif., part of the BSA’s Western Los Angeles County Council.
He wasn’t in Scouting as a kid, but Bedford has seen the way Scouting helps his sons — one a Boy Scout and the other a Wolf— learn and grow. As you’ll read below, he eventually signed up as a volunteer and — “bada-bing badda-bam” — found himself wearing the Cubmaster badge.
I caught up with Bedford by email to ask 5 Quick Questions about what got him interested in Scouting, how he juggles his time as a working actor and Scout leader, and whether he’s ever used his Hollywood connections to help his Cub Scouts.
Bryan on Scouting: You weren’t in Scouting as a youth. How and why did you get involved?
Kurtis Bedford: For years, my sister had been trying to get me involved in the pack my two nephews were in and where she was the Cubmaster.
I really had no interest, mostly because I didn’t like where the BSA was politically. Years later, after the BSA changed its stance on some important issues to my family, my wife decided that Cub Scouts would be a great program for our oldest, who was in the third grade at the time. She signed him up with my sister’s pack. After about a month of this, she wanted me to start taking him to the meetings. I felt a little hoodwinked ;).
For the first month or so, I was one of those parents who comes in with their child and spends the hour on my phone just waiting for it all to be over. But I also have a habit of being a fixer. I fix things that I see are broken; I do it all the time. The pack, at the time, was small. It had a Cubmaster who was a great guy but was too overworked.
Without a lot of parental involvement, he was trying to do it all himself, and it was simply too much for him to do alone. At first I volunteered to chair the float for a holiday parade we were in. Then I offered to build a website. Next thing I knew, I was donning the uniform and taking over the Webelos.
Bada-bing badda-bam, I was the next Cubmaster.
BOS: What advice would you give to families considering joining Scouting?
Kurtis Bedford: Do it. I guarantee that there is a unit out there with like-minded families just waiting for you to join. It might not be the first one you look at, but they are out there waiting for you.
One of the things I love the most about my pack is that I would hang out with any of the families outside of the pack activities. It makes campouts really enjoyable.
BOS: As a working actor, you must have an always-shifting schedule. How are you able to find time for meetings and outings?
Kurtis Bedford: The first year as Cubmaster was difficult as I was trying to build the pack back up. When I took over, we were down to, I believe, seven Cub Scouts.
By the end of that first year we were up to 27.
With the added Cub Scouts came active parents, including some who turned in an adult application along with their child’s.
I was really lucky not to have any conflict that first year. By the second year, I had a great group of adult leaders who have been able to step in at the last moment to cover for me.
What makes it most challenging is that an actor’s schedule changes at the last minute … always. I often don’t know where I will be tomorrow, and that makes it a difficult to plan in advance.
Deanna, one of my Wolf den leaders, recently said to me after I missed a meeting due to an audition, “Don’t worry, you weren’t needed.” That actually made me really happy.
BOS: Have you been able to use your industry connections to help your Cub Scouts? If so, how?
Kurtis Bedford: A few years ago, I took the pack to a live taping of the Nickelodeon show The Thundermans. It was a show that many of them watched. I had previously worked with one of the actors on the show and happened to know the entire writing staff.
After the taping, as the rest of the studio audience was leaving, we were ushered onto the set for photos with some of the cast. It was very exciting for them.
Recently I scheduled a hike through a movie set. I am planning a follow-up hike through the same area now that the production is over so that they get the idea that, in TV and movies, even the things that seem very real and permanent are not necessarily so.
I have also tapped many of my friends for pack meetings. Next month I have a friend coming to our pack who is not only an Eagle Scout but a professional circus clown. He will be teaching clowning to our Cub Scouts.
It is not lost on me that our geography in Southern California offers us opportunities most other units don’t have.
BOS: You and your friend and fellow Scouter started the ScoutCast LA podcast. How did that get started, and what have you learned?
Kurtis Bedford: Jonathan Watts and I went to high school together. We also hosted a (non-Scouting) podcast together for a number of years.
Our boys started Cub Scouts the same week, but since we just happened not to mention it to one another we ended up in different units. We are now the Cubmasters of those respective units.
I had heard from our council that they were interested in starting a podcast, and since I was looking for a Wood Badge ticket to fill, and had experience producing one, I thought it was a good fit.
Jonathan, luckily, came along for the ride (as he had already completed his Wood Badge).
It is very much a work in progress. The first few episodes took a tremendous amount of time. We had multiple interviews, comedy bits and lots of Scout news. The hourlong podcast took about five hours of editing. It was simply too much for me.
Our previous podcast, which I had done for nine years, was always live, because I didn’t want to spend the time editing. Lately our episodes have been more like an audio version of our newsletter, with witty banter thrown in. It is faster to produce but lacks some of the interesting segments and interviews.
I think the perfect podcast it is going to be something in the middle. We are still figuring that all out.