2017 Volunteer Vacation

Last year, the very first PSA Volunteer Vacation sold out within 2 hours of opening registration. Those lucky participants experienced a fantastic week in the backcountry, hard physical work, and the ultimate satisfaction of giving back to Philmont.

Your Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in 2017. The dates are September 16 to 23, 2017. The cost is still only $210. Registration deadline is August 15th, 2017. Please see the Registration and Cancellation Policies at the end of this article.

Carrying On in 2017

The work in 2017 will continue what was started last year. Volunteers will proceed with the construction of a new spur trail off the Sawmill and Thunder Ridge trail connecting the new Whistle Punk trail camp to the top of Cimarroncito Peak. Eventually this trail will go to Cypher’s Mine, providing a route through a seldom used part of Philmont. There has never been a trail to Cito Peak. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.

The entire 2017 Volunteer Vacation program will be very similar to 2016’s, but only better, based on the feedback received from the first-year participants. If you missed the recent summary article in the December High Country magazine, you can read it here.

What did the 2016 participants have to say about Volunteer Vacation? “Extremely hard work!” “A very satisfying experience.” “Trail building at 10,000 feet was much more difficult and physically taxing than anticipated.” “Perhaps the best Philmont event ever.” “I hope to do it again next year.

This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements.

If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.

The full Philmont medical form will be required – the same seven-page form required for Trekkers. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. Volunteer Vacation requires hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot maintain a great attitude when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.

Volunteer Vacation Schedule

Saturday, September 16
Arrive at Philmont during the day. First meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear and packing advice, and general Q&A.
Sunday, September 17
Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point just above Sawmill. Next, a short hike to Whistle Punk trail camp, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.
Monday-Wednesday, September 18-20
Trail construction work (and more fun). There should be time to climb Cito Peak!
Thursday, September 21
Finish uncompleted trail construction work, break camp, clean-up the Whistle Punk campsite, and then hike to another campsite of the crew’s choosing to spend the night – rest and relaxation via traditional backpacking.
Friday, September 22
In the morning, hike to the pick-up point and return to Base Camp. You’ll have the option of climbing the Tooth of Time or just relaxing. Friday evening’s dinner will be a celebration of the week and recognition for what you have given back to Philmont. Participants will be awarded the coveted Volunteer Vacation patch.
Saturday, September 23
Depart Philmont after breakfast. Take a proud and satisfying look back at Cimarroncito Peak (and the Tooth, of course)!

Anticipated Questions

What will we eat?
Both trail food and large quantities of FRESH food to insure sufficient calories. This will be a much better menu than the standard trail food menu. Cooking, cleanup, and water crews will be established.
Will we need to carry a full back pack?
Yes & No. Philmont will pre-stage food, tools, and all crew equipment at Whistle Punk. However, the unused room in your pack will need to be filled with extra (and heavier) work clothes along with warm clothes (jackets, gloves, long underwear, headgear, etc). Extra gear can be shipped back to Base Camp after trail work is completed, but you will then be carrying traditional crew gear and food when hiking to your campsite on Thursday.
Will it be cold?
Probably. Whistle Punk is almost 10,000 feet, and by September 16th, Autumn will be setting in. You will need warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.
Where is Whistle Punk?

Whistle Punk is located south, and uphill, of the trail from Sawmill to Thunder Ridge. There is a spring nearby. This camp was first used in 2016.

What does Whistle Punk mean?
A Whistle Punk is the lumberjack who operated the signal wire running to a donkey engine whistle. The camp was given this name because it is near an old logging camp.
What happens if twenty persons register before me?
We will put you on a wait list. We did have several cancellations last year.

Day(s)

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Email us if you have further questions

9 + 15 =


Registration Policy

  1. Available slots (see below) will be filled in the order that registrations are received.
  2. The preferred method of registration is electronic at http://www.philstaff.org/.
  3. The slots will be filled according to the date and time an electronic registration is received. If registering by mail, the date and time of receipt by the PSA office. If you call in your credit card information, the date and time of that call.
  4. Postmarks or dial-in registrations prior to the opening date and time (see below) will not be accepted.

2017 Volunteer Vacation registration opens at noon Central Time on March 1, 2017. 20 slots will be available upon opening.


Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the post registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
  3. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of 2018 or can be contributed to the General Fund.
  4. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Registration deadline: August 15, 2017.

Volunteer Vacation: I Wanna Give Back to Philmont

iwgbtp sticker

The Tooth of Time Traders sells this sticker. We all know what the letters represent, right? If by some slight chance, the meaning has slipped by you, just Google it. Pages and pages of results will tell you: I Wanna Go Back To Philmont.

However, The new PSA Volunteer Vacation (September 17-24, 2016) will give these letters a whole new meaning:

I Wanna Give Back To Philmont

VolunteerVacationPatch_tree_smallThat’s right, this program offers a unique way to go back and give back to Philmont. You’ll also get dirty, work hard, and have a lot of fun. A true opportunity to give back to the Philmont you love.

The cost is only $210 and participation is limited to twenty persons. Registration begins at noon Central Time on March 1, 2016.

Click here for complete information.

Email us if you have further questions

3 + 7 =

PSA Volunteer Vacation: The Trail to Cito Peak

By Lee Huckstep and Phil Winegardner

For years you have requested an opportunity to get out to the Philmont backcountry, get dirty, and give back to Philmont in a lasting, meaningful way.

Your request has been granted.

VolunteerVacationPatch_tree_smallYour Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are excited to announce the PSA Volunteer Vacation. This is your long awaited opportunity to get out, get dirty, give back and have a lot of fun.
The PSA Volunteer Vacation will be an annual event of your PSA, and in 2016, will be limited to twenty lucky persons. In the first year, we will be building a new spur trail off the Sawmill and Thunder Ridge trail connecting the brand new Whistle Punk trail camp to the top of Cito Peak – where no trail has gone before. Eventually this trail will go to Cypher’s Mine, providing a route through a seldom used part of Philmont. When the first campers summit Cito Peak, and when they later go on to Cypher’s Mine, you will have the honor of having helped to make this happen.

In recognition of your efforts, you will receive a distinctive official Philmont issued award patch. Take a look at the High Country cover to see your reward. This will be one of the most difficult to acquire official Philmont issued patches.

The dates are September 17 to 24, 2016. The cost is $210. This includes a $25 non-refundable cancellation fee. (If you cancel, you get back $185).

The full Philmont medical form will be required – the same 7 page form required for Trekkers. Just because your doctor certifies you that does not mean this program is for you. This program involves hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not going to be leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot laugh when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.

This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of PSA member who meets the eligibility requirements above. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements.

If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.

Volunteer Vacation Schedule

Saturday, September 17

…you will arrive at Philmont after lunch. You will meet in the dining hall at 5 PM have dinner, and then do a shakedown.

Sunday, September 18

…you will have breakfast in Base Camp and then depart for your drop-off point, Sawmill. You will then hike to Whistle Punk trail camp, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.

Monday, September 19

…more trail construction work and fun.

Tuesday, September 20

…even more trail construction work and fun.

Wednesday, September 21

…even more trail construction work and fun. (The work gets easier after you get the hang of it.)

Thursday, September 22

…relief at last! You will tidy-up uncompleted trail construction work and clean-up the campsite, and then hike to another campsite of the crew’s choosing and spend the night.

Friday, September 23

…in the morning you will hike to the pick-up point and return to Base Camp. You will then have the option of climbing the Tooth of Time, and on Friday evening, you will enjoy a steak dinner and be recognized for what you have given back to Philmont.

Saturday, September 24

…depart Philmont, and when looking up towards Cito Peak, let your eyes mist over, and know that by your efforts, Cito Peak will soon be accessible to future generations of campers.

Anticipated Questions

What will we eat?

We will eat trail food supplemented by bulk food to insure sufficient calories. This will be a better menu than the standard trail food menu. The food will be prepared using the crew method.

Will we need to carry a full back pack?

No. You will carry a lighter pack. Philmont will pre-stage food, tools and crew equipment at Whistle Punk. The extra room in your pack can be filled with work clothes and warm clothes.

Will it be cold?

Probably. Whistle Punk is at 9,900 feet, and by the time of this event, autumn will be setting in. You will need warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.

Where is Whistle Punk?

Whistle Punk is located south, and uphill, of the trail from Sawmill to Thunder Ridge. There is a newly discovered spring at Whistle Punk. This camp will be first used in 2016.

whistle_punk_map

What does Whistle Punk mean?

A Whistle Punk is the lumberjack who operated the signal wire running to a donkey engine whistle. The camp was given this name because it is near an old logging camp.

What happens if twenty persons register before me?

We will put you on a wait list.

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Email us if you have further questions

15 + 13 =

* The twenty slots will be filled in the order that registrations are received. The preferred method of registration is electronic by using the “Register Now..” button near the top of this page. The slots will be filled according to the date and time an electronic registration is received or, if registering by mail, the date and time of receipt by the PSA office, or if you call in your credit card information, the date and time of that call. Postmarks earlier than March 1, 2016, or dial-in registrations prior to noon Central Time on March 1, 2016, will not be accepted.

Project Phoenix: Help Rebuild a Scout Camp

When: Saturday October 19th (make it a weekend!)
Where: Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch, Walsenburg, CO
Cost: None! The OA’s Arrow Bistro will be cooking.
Register: http://tahosalodge.org

Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch near Walsenburg (http://www.spanishpeaksscoutranch.com/) was nearly completely destroyed by wildfires this summer. Peaceful Valley was luckily spared, and it is time to help a fellow council get their camp closer to being ready for 2014 camp!

post_SpanishPeaksLandscapeOn Saturday, October 19, it is your troop’s and crew’s opportunity to help with the recovery effort. The challenge is a service project — we’ll be helping with erosion control as part of Phase One of the repairs. If you can use a rake or a shovel, you’re perfect for this project.

People are asked to bring their own tents and sleeping gear. Showers are available, and all food for the weekend will be provided courtesy of Tahosa Lodge’s Arrow Bistro!

The work is straigtforward and all can help! Please bring a sturdy garden rake, shovel, and work gloves. Also, wear heavy hiking boots because of the condition of the forest floor.

For people staying Saturday night, the host council is having door prize drawings for outdoor equipment and a special cracker barrel for participants.

We need a count so we buy enough food – register at http://tahosalodge.org. No cost to attend.

Contact:
Dana Smerchek at 303-902-3378, 928-203-0047 or cptmidnite640@gmail.com
Wade Selfridge at 620-623-0070 or wadeselfridge@yahoo.com

Photo courtesy of OpalMirror