R.W. Hampton: 2018 Distinguished Staff Alumni Award Recipient



r w hamptonCimarron, N.Mex. – R.W. Hampton, nationally recognized Western singer, songwriter and entertainer, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Philmont Staff Association’s Distinguished Staff Alumni Award. Hampton, of Miami, NM, will receive the award and serve as the keynote speaker at the opening assembly for Philmont’s 1100 seasonal staff members on the evening of May 29 at Philmont.

Hampton, a 2011 inductee into the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame, was named by American Cowboy magazine in 2013 as one of the “50 Greatest Country & Western Singers,” alongside performers like George Strait, Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Gene Autry. He’s a four-time recipient of the Academy of Western Artists’ Male Vocalist of the Year award and the 2009 recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the American Cowboy Culture Association.

Hampton got his performing start playing the guitar and singing at cowboy campfires at Philmont Scout Ranch, where he worked as a wrangler in backcountry camps during the summers from 1974 through 1976. He went on to work as a cowboy on ranches all over the West, in New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming, but all the while continued his singing and songwriting. In 1988, he made the career leap to full-time entertaining, and has earned “a wagonload of awards” for his work since then.

Thirteen albums, including a Christmas collection and two gospel albums, bear his name. Austin to Boston, released in 2010, ranked as the number one most played western album in 2011. A 2008 album, Oklahoma . . . Where the West Remains, recorded with the Enid Symphony Orchestra, earned Traditional Western Album of the Year awards from both the Western Music Association and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Hampton’s resume’ includes performances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Hampton’s entertaining skills aren’t confined to singing and songwriting. R.W. has also appeared in more than a dozen movies alongside Western stars like Kenny Rogers, Ben Johnson, Richard Farnsworth and Kris Kristofferson, playing characters ranging from a quintessential frontier marshal to a hand known only as “Scar.” He also stars in a critically acclaimed one-man stage play, The Last Cowboy – His Journey, in which he plays an aging cowboy in 2025 recounting the history of the American cowboy through monologue and song.

The Distinguished Staff Alumni Award (DSAA) is presented annually by the Philmont Staff Association (PSA) to recognize “distinguished or exceptional personal success or achievement on a national or international level by a current or former Philmont staff member, in any field of human endeavor, that brings honor and credit to the legacy of the Philmont staff.”

Hampton is the seventh recipient of this award. Previous recipients include Wally Berg, internationally known mountaineer and explorer; the late Steve Fossett, world record aviator and adventurer, and Rick Searfoss, former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander.

The Philmont Staff Association is the alumni organization for current and former members of the staff of Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s national high adventure backpacking base in northern New Mexico and largest private camp in the world.

For more information, contact:
Mark Stinnett, PSA Awards & Recognition Chair, 719-244-3560, mstinnett@stmmlaw.com
Dollie O’Neill, PSA Executive Director, 575-376-1138, psadirector@philstaff.org


Introducing Cassandra Robinson, PSA Office Manager

Join the PSA Board of Directors in welcoming Cassandra Robinson as our next PSA Office Manager!

Cassandra joins The Philmont Staff Association as the new full-time PSA Office Manager. She will be working with the Executive Director and be in charge of coordinating the day-to-day business of the PSA. She will take the lead with membership services and merchandise sales.

Cassandra started working at Philmont as a PTC Group Leader in 2007. She went on to work at Philmont for ten more years…2008: PC Urraca; 2009: PC French Henry; 2010: PC Crooked Creek; 2011: CD Hunting Lodge; 2012: CD Miners Park, 2013: Assistant Logistics Communication Manager; 2014–2016: CHQ Registrar; 2017: PSA Office Summer Staff.

Cassandra earned her bachelor’s degree in History in 2013 from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Most recently Cassandra worked for Cimarron High School as the Student Office Secretary from 2013–2018. Cassandra resides in Ute Park, NM with her husband Ross.

2017 Annual Fund – Mary Stuever

  • 2017 Annual Fund 107.76%

In early summer and early fall, my guest room often has strangers staying there. They are generally good people—hikers on the Continental Divide Trail. My neighbors think I am nuts. Why do you let people you don’t know in your home? My answer: to pay off a karmic debt. Thirty-six years ago, while I was hiking the Divide, I was shown so much kindness by strangers that I’ll always keep paying it forward. It’s something I have learned about how I live in this world.

Most folks get that. They understand how walking across our country for months and months can be so transformative that you always want to honor where you came from.

I was thirteen when I first considered hiking the Divide. I was hiking in the mountains of northern New Mexico. It is no surprise that in the following years I discovered the nearby Philmont Scout Ranch as an excellent place to hone my backpacking skills to get me ready for this epic cross-country adventure. I spent two summers as a Rayado Woman and a summer as a Philmont Ranger before my hike. Those experiences served me well.

Yet a funny thing happened while I was hiking the Divide. I realized that, more than anything else, I wanted to go back to Philmont. It wasn’t so much that Philmont was my training ground to prepare me for a transformative adventure—Philmont was a transformative experience. Philmont had shaped who I was. Summers at Philmont were ever much as important to me as through-hiking long trails. After the divide hike, I spent two more summers at Philmont.

Today I live in northern New Mexico, about a three-hour drive west of Philmont in the San Juan Mountains. I work as a forester; I have great friends who share a love for the land; I play hard year around in the mountains I love. I have a good life.

I try to pay off my karmic debts to the mountain gods that fill my life with so many blessings. My guest room also hosts many Philmont folks but usually these are friends rather than strangers. I volunteer 6-10 days a year at Philmont to enrich forestry education there.

I also give the small amounts that I can afford to the Philmont Staff Association. I’m not a lucrative donor. My $25 bucks here and there isn’t buying me bricks and Yeti cups. Yet I do what I can because, in truth, if I have a karmic debt to the universe for experiences that have shaped me into who I am, it is first to Philmont. I’m sure I am not alone in this realization.

…or call Dollie in the PSA Office at 575-376-1138.

Mary Stuever, PSA Member and Forester

Note from the PSA: To echo Mary’s sentiments, you don’t have to give a lot to the PSA to be appreciated! Every donation helps, and the size of the donation isn’t as important as your continued support and involvement in the PSA. We just want to make sure you will always be able to go back to Philmont!

Annual Fund Stories So Far

Alex Ave | Sarah Burgess | Mariah Hughes | Denice Toney | Tom Munch | Tom Guigni | Mary Steuver | John Murphy

In 2017 we exceeded our $75,000 goal by $5,820.


2018 PSA Summer Trek: Don’t Wait So Long

Hitting the trail in...








Every year, when coming off the trail, new PSA Trek participants universally make the same statement:

“Why did I wait so long to go on a trek, I should have done this sooner!”

The normal excuses are cited: school, new job, kids, work, and so on. All real and valid reasons to postpone your dream trek. However, all too often, new excuses keep appearing.

“Next year…” you say to yourself.


Next year is now! Get out of your rut – break the habit!

The PSA Trek is open to all PSA members and their eligible family members. Share first-hand with your loved ones the experience you have talked about for years and let them meet the other people who helped make those memories so special. Reunite with past staff friends during your custom designed trek.

Registration and Cost

Start planning now! Registration opens on January 1st, 2018

The cost is $575 per person. ($560 for cash or checks). There is a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee for each person registered.


The Trek dates are July 28th – August 5th, 2018.

The 2018 Trek schedule is as follows:

  • Spend the night of Saturday, July 28 in the Philmont area
  • Report to the Welcome Center at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 29
  • Hit the trail on Monday, July 30
  • Come off the trail on Saturday, August 4
  • Depart Philmont Sunday, August 5

Lodging for the nights of July 28th and 29th will be in tents at Camping Headquarters. The first Philmont provided meal will be dinner on the 28th at the Staff Dining Hall. The last Philmont meal will be breakfast on August 5th.

Eligibility and Fitness

The Trek eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Be physically and mentally fit
  • Be a member of the PSA or a Trek-eligible family member
  • Be a member of the BSA
  • Have a current completed Philmont medical form
  • Be 14 years old OR completed 8th grade and be at least 13 years of age prior to participation

Your doctor’s signature on your medical form, by itself, is not sufficient for Trek participation. Ask yourself several questions. Am I really ready to trek at Philmont? Am I really in shape? Am I really ready to work and be a team crew member? You’re not 21 years old anymore. If you are not physically and mentally fit and willing to be a team player, you will not enjoy the Trek. There will be negative impacts on your crew members, as well.

Please take a moment and read this article: Are You Really Ready To Trek?

You are encouraged to bring your Trek-eligible family members. 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.

You and your family members should share Philmont and Scouting values. This includes dressing appropriately for a Scouting environment and behaving in such manner which does not have a negative impact on the experience of your crewmates and others with whom they come into contact. The PSA Trek is not the appropriate place to work out family issues: the issues will not likely be resolved and may impact negatively on your crewmates.

If this is the first trek for your family member, you should conduct shake-down overnight hikes at home before your trek – just like a regular Scout crew. Don’t delay and burden your other crew members as you teach basic camping skills.

Itinerary Planning

As always, your crew will be free to design its own itinerary, subject to Philmont’s itinerary planning guidelines. By registering early, you can form your own crew or join the crew you want and be a part of the itinerary planning fun. A crew will consist of up to 12 persons and open spaces in crews will be available to any registrant until the crew is filled. If you have a group with which you want to trek, get them to sign up early so there will be space for all of you in the same crew.

Space and Payment

There are 60 Trekker slots – approximately 5 crews. Sign up ASAP and begin the crew and itinerary planning process now.
You can register on-line, beginning January 1st, by clicking here. You can also register by sending your check to: PSA, 17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, NM 87714.

If you register by mail, please include information with the names, ages and gender of your eligible family members. This helps identify Youth Protection and tenting issues early-on. Also, if you or your eligible family members have not done the PSA Trek in the past five years, please include a description of each person’s backpacking or other strenuous activity experience during the past five years. This will assist us in getting you crewed-up with persons of similar experience and ability.

If you register on-line, we will contact you via email for the information described above.

Questions about the PSA Summer Trek?

6 + 6 =

Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the posted 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 2019 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

June 15, 2018