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Aquila

Philmont - cost vs. value

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We live on the east coast and the council runs a contingent to Philmont every summer. Cost is around $1800 but, I can''t tell you what it includes. Having been there as a youth I can say a trip to Philmont is a life changing experience. It truly is priceless.

 

Having said that, I''ve been associated with the Troop I serve for six years now and not one scout has participated in the council contingent to Philmont. We live in a middle class town south of Boston, a basic 3-4 bedroom home will go for $400-$500K. Famlies that can afford to live here find the $1800 a little rich for a scouting trip. I think I do OK but even knowing the value of a Philmont trip I could not justify the $1800 for my son to go to Philmont. Not with college tuition staring me in the face for another son.

 

Every family has to make their own choices but I have to say if you can swing it, go for Philmont. With some effort, a 14 yo should be able to help earn a good portion of the trip if he really wants to.

 

I looked into alternatives and helped the unit set up a trip to High Knoll, 5 days backpacking in the Blueridge Mts with programs at each camp similar to Philmont. We did the trip for less than $300 per person. It wasn''t Philmont, but it is still the trip the boys compare all others to.

 

$300 seems to be about the maximum we can charge for a week trip or camp. We tried to guage interest in attending Seabase and priced that trip out at about $1000, but got no takers.

 

Just adding another point of reference.

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We only live about 10 hours from Philmont, so please excuse my ignorance, but may I ask what cost so much? We do travel to treks that require an over night stop and we usually find a place to stay for free. If you look, there are churches, military installations, BSA hostels and BSA camps who will take you in. $5 is usually plenty for breakfast and lunch each and $10 to $15 for a dinner. I understand you have to fly from as far as NJ, but Ill bet a troop could work out some reasonable transportation from Albuquerque to Philmont during the same day. So Im trying to understand the $1500 cost. That would be a killer for our troop.

 

Barry

 

 

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Hi Eagledad,

 

FYI.....Here is an average per person cost breakdown from our trip in the summer of 2007. We took 2 crews of 11 scouts and scouters from Dayton, Ohio to Philmont and back via AMTRAK:

 

Transportation - $ 271.00

Expedition - $ 540.00

Meals - $ 135.00

Souvenirs - $ 18.00

Crew Equipment - $ 26.00

Other - $ 13.00

 

Total - $1,003.00

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Yes, that is pretty close to us except our transportation cost are a little less then half yours. That extra $500 is a big difference.

 

Another thing we do is give a budget that figures the $5 for breakfast and lunches, but we tell the families the scouts can add more if they need. That way we can set the baseline lower for those scouts who don''t need three burgers for lunch.

 

There should also be another discussion along with this one of how to get equipped on a budget. Boots, pack and sleeping bag can really add up too just looking at it from the outside.

 

Barry

 

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We just got info on our council''s 2008 Philmont contingent. Cost will be $1250 which includes Amtrak. I don''t know for sure but given that we''re in MI and a long way from NM, I suspect that transportation is the largest portion of the cost.

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Lisa,

 

Granted, Amtrak uses a "fare bucket system" similar to the airlines, but $400 RT on Amtrak Detroit-Raton is a pretty good planning factor... before your Council asks for a group discount!

 

Assuming they leave from Detroit, the train leaves 723AM, arriving Chicago Noon. TRUST ME: Munchies on Amtrak are DEAR. Ask your Council if they send a sack lunch, if you send a sack lunch, or if they find a local fast food joint near Union Station Chicago (I mod an Amtrak board and am asking what''s easy walking distance now).

 

Trains 3/4, the Southwest Chief, are scheduled out of Chicago at 3:15 PM arriving Raton 1056AM the next day. That means dinner and breakfast for certain on the train. I''ll try to get prices from my friends; both for the dining car and for mini-pizzas etc on the lounge car. Please note: Lounge car attendant will not let you nuke any food you bring yourself.

 

For the back-haul: Train scheduled out of Raton at 5:17PM, arriving Chigago 320PM the next day. That means dinner, breakfast and lunch onboard. Train to Detroit leaves 6PM and arrives 1232AM next morning...

 

More will follow...

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John, thanks for the info. I''ll have to ask for a break down of the $1250 next time I get a chance. My son won''t be going this time though - he doesn''t turn 14 until summer and he''s probably not physically (or mentally) ready for a Philmont trek just yet. Maybe in another couple of years, and in the meantime he can start saving his pennies. I was just thinking about this thread when I saw our council contingent info, that''s all.

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We caught Amtrak in Illinois. Individuals packed food for lunch and breakfast. On the return run, our bus left Philmont with sufficient time for a stop at a grocery store in Raton before dropping us at the train station. Everyone bought deli sandwiches, muncies, beef jerky, crackers, cheese, etc. for the return train ride.

 

 

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UPDATE:

 

Chicago Union Station has a food court, I am told "everything from Mickey D''s to raw sushi!"

 

Still working the menus.

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We flew into Colorado Springs, spent two nights in hotels, rented a van for the drive which sat at Philmont for 10 days, and paid for meals. The cost? $1300 per participant.

 

Careful shopping and some good wheeling and dealing can result in low prices.

 

Was it worth it? For me, yes. It was a grand adventure. Our SM and one ASM are serious hikers and have done things like hike the AT and Grand Canyon and they thought that it was worth it as well.

 

Can you do things own your own that are similar to Philmont? Yes and you ought to do them but, in my mind, Philmont is special.

 

 

 

 

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This is not to say that anyone on this board is making the claim but let's look at this in a differnt light.

 

I'm always amazed at how people who claim to be poor and broke always have money for cigarettes and beer. I don't smoke but I think that the cost of a pack of smokes is around $5. Stop smoking and that's $1800 a year for a pack a day smoker. I drink about six beers a year but I bet that cutting out those weekly visits to Billy-bob's Bar would save a similar amount.

 

I work with a fellow who tells me that he can't afford a computer or internet access. I was going to give him a computer until he revealed that he spends over $100 a month for cable TV with all the extras.

 

I can't afford a Scout uniform is the cry of the fellow who owns a Harley and wears a Harley jacket, Harley boots and a harley helmet and carries a harley wallet and pocket watch.

 

Going to Philmont put a good sized hit on my savings account but $1300 isn't going to make that much of a difference in four years of college. What's that today? One class?

 

It's always a matter of priorities.

 

No, I'm not perfect but I keep working at it.

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This is for a 2009 Trek, right? That's still at least 18 months away, and even if $1800 is the actual cost, saving $100 a month for the next 18 months should be attainable for most families, and while $3600 apiece in popcorn is probably a stretch, there's lots of time for doing some year round fundraising.

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