Muslims go to Mecca. Mickey Mouse fans visit Disneyland or Disney World (or at least the Disney Store). The swallows return to Capistrano. And Scouters go to Philmont.
Okay, maybe I’m overstating the case, but I really think every Scouter ought to get a chance to spend some time at Philmont—either in the backcountry on a backpacking trek or in the classroom at a training conference. In fact, that’s just where I’ll be in August, facilitating one of this year’s “Building Stronger Troops” conferences.
Conferences like that are a great opportunity to recharge your batteries and learn best practices that you can take home to improve your troop. They cover everything from advancement and troop committee operations to geocaching and trek planning, all in the shadows of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Many give you sneak peeks of coming attractions (like the new Cub Scout advancement program) and access to national-level volunteers and professionals.
The Philmont Training Center is also a great place for a family vacation. There are full-day programs for every age from infant through adult, and schedules are carefully coordinated so that families get to enjoy meals and evening programs together.
Given the still-recovering economy, of course, vacations are out of the question for many families. But, depending on the size of your family and how close you live to New Mexico, a week at PTC can be a real bargain. Moreover, as a Scouting volunteer, you may be able to write off your portion of the trip.
To learn more about the Philmont Training Center, visit http://www.philmontscoutranch.org/PTC.aspx.