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BSA designates Philmont as a "No Adventure Base"

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Posted (edited)

First,

i did my first fifty miler in the San Fernando Valley Council when I was 12. It was called the Silver Knapsack Trail.

i repeated it when I was 13. 

When I was 14, I did a 60 mile segment of the John Muir (Pacific Crest) Trail.

Yes, Dad did the trail with me. He was deep in books studying for his undergrad degree after retiring from tha Army when my brother was a Scout, so he wanted the chance. 

BTW, I’m 62 now.

Second, before you bash the programs for youth of attendees at Philmont Training Center, maybe you ought to read their website or discuss with someone what they are about. If you’re interested in the weeklong Trek for PTC youth, message me. My boy did it. 

 

Edited by John-in-KC

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

"Family Scouting" creep is a major concern for me. Some folks do not care about boundaries.  I've seen what a 5 year old Lion can do to a patrol at camporee. Add in his helicopter parents, and life was miserable for the Scouts. Add to it that Dad was so focused on 5 year old Lion that he didn't honor the commitment he made to running an event ,affecting not just a patrol, but every single Scout attending the event, as well as the adults he had to ask to take over the event, which happened to be that morning.

Heck I've seen how an 11 y.o. "Family Scouting" Scout affected the entire patrol. Ignoring directions from SPL and PL, running off when work was to be done, hanging out with family instead of doing stuff with his patrol, abandoning his tentmate to sleep with parents.

So I am concerned.

I've always felt that this is where experienced leadership shines.  Those folks don't look at the latest marketing from national to guide their program.  They look at the source materials, understand how it works, and then implement a solid program.  When new folks show up, those experienced hands are there to provide some guidance.  Ideas like Family Scouting provide some new ideas sure - but in those units will never harm the program because those experienced leaders know what needs to get done.

I've read enough topics on this forum where packs or troops are facing problems.  Many of those problems seem to come result from a lack of leadership from experienced Scouters.  It's really a shame too - that's the true value-add of the chartered organization model in the BSA.

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 @John-in-KC should probably worry, because I'm totally aligned with him on his last comment.    It really would be good to understand what is being offered before you comment.   

My kiddos really enjoyed the training center family program, including the excursions into the backcountry and the living history of the area.     I would certainly recommend taking advantage of the Family Adventure Camp next summer if you and your family need to get away.  You don't have to take a class, you can just enjoy the programs offered.   

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9 minutes ago, RichardB said:

My kiddos really enjoyed the training center family program, including the excursions into the backcountry and the living history of the area.     I would certainly recommend taking advantage of the Family Adventure Camp next summer if you and your family need to get away.  You don't have to take a class, you can just enjoy the programs offered.   

Mr Bourleon, considering you probably stayed in the Villa itself, that’s a good thing. 

People need to understand PTC tents were always the large version... 11x14, with power and a GI metal rack with a decent mattress. Adding a front porch isn’t that much...

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I gotta admit.  If I were going to PTC for a course, staying in the deluxe tents doesn't sound so bad.  Nicer beds, better sheets - sounds good to me.

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12 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I've always felt that this is where experienced leadership shines.  Those folks don't look at the latest marketing from national to guide their program.  They look at the source materials, understand how it works, and then implement a solid program.  When new folks show up, those experienced hands are there to provide some guidance.  Ideas like Family Scouting provide some new ideas sure - but in those units will never harm the program because those experienced leaders know what needs to get done.

I've read enough topics on this forum where packs or troops are facing problems.  Many of those problems seem to come result from a lack of leadership from experienced Scouters.  It's really a shame too - that's the true value-add of the chartered organization model in the BSA.

My experience with the new BSA is that experienced scouters are being told to sit down and shut up.  A new day has dawned and our experience is no longer required.

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13 hours ago, John-in-KC said:

First,

i did my first fifty miler in the San Fernando Valley Council when I was 12. It was called the Silver Knapsack Trail.

i repeated it when I was 13. 

When I was 14, I did a 60 mile segment of the John Muir (Pacific Crest) Trail.

Yes, Dad did the trail with me. He was deep in books studying for his undergrad degree after retiring from tha Army when my brother was a Scout, so he wanted the chance. 

BTW, I’m 62 now.

Second, before you bash the programs for youth of attendees at Philmont Training Center, maybe you ought to read their website or discuss with someone what they are about. If you’re interested in the weeklong Trek for PTC youth, message me. My boy did it. 

 

 

11 hours ago, RichardB said:

 @John-in-KC should probably worry, because I'm totally aligned with him on his last comment.    It really would be good to understand what is being offered before you comment.   

My kiddos really enjoyed the training center family program, including the excursions into the backcountry and the living history of the area.     I would certainly recommend taking advantage of the Family Adventure Camp next summer if you and your family need to get away.  You don't have to take a class, you can just enjoy the programs offered.   

@John-in-KC and @RichardB While I agree with you that the PTC programs are great for families (my family also enjoyed them), that's not the question on the table.  The question on the table is whether or not the increased programs are going to impact those scouts and scouters on treks. Your responses don't address the question.

@John-in-KC those trips sound amazing and I'm glad you got to enjoy them with your father.  That said, doing them at 12 and 13 makes you the exception, not the rule.  If that wasn't the case I assume the G2SS wouldn't limit HA trips and wilderness/backcountry to those 14 and over in the age guidelines.

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57 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

My experience with the new BSA is that experienced scouters are being told to sit down and shut up.  A new day has dawned and our experience is no longer required.

I'm sorry you feel this way.  I've been fortunate to have served in a bunch of unit and district leadership roles in my time in Scouting.  There's a huge need for experienced, knowledgeable Scouters to provide leadership.  In fact, most problems I see in Scouting today are due to that lack of such leadership.  I'd LOVE to have more experienced Scouters involved in our troop and district taking on roles where their leadership can really make an impact.  Honestly, if I see problems in my little corner of Scouting it's often because there are not enough experienced Scouters engaged.

(I know this is off topic.  Sorry in advance)

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

 

@John-in-KC and @RichardB While I agree with you that the PTC programs are great for families (my family also enjoyed them), that's not the question on the table.  The question on the table is whether or not the increased programs are going to impact those scouts and scouters on treks. Your responses don't address the question.

@John-in-KC those trips sound amazing and I'm glad you got to enjoy them with your father.  That said, doing them at 12 and 13 makes you the exception, not the rule.  If that wasn't the case I assume the G2SS wouldn't limit HA trips and wilderness/backcountry to those 14 and over in the age guidelines.

You're question makes me want to ask another: Is it better for the youth of America to have Philmont going in this direction? 

On the one hand, it seems a good thing to increase access to the facilities at Philmont.  More families being inspired by the location seems a good thing.  That inspiration for kids can then lead to a greater involvement for them in the future.  I liken it to the National Parks.  My family goes to lots of national parks.  Those locations have I'm sure inspired my kids which I hope will lead to a life long love of these places.

On the other hand, when Philmont was a pinnacle location - the trip there made it sacred, special. If increased access detracts from that, is that increased access work the price?

While I've not been to Philmont - my 100+ trips to the national parks makes me think that it is worth it.  But, I'm not quite sure

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Posted (edited)

As mentioned earlier, the camping HQ side of Philmont hosted over 24,000 trek participants.   Here's a link and a quick sample of the summer of 2019:

" The most popular spot for Crews to pick up meals in the Backcountry was Baldy Town, which distributed nearly 60,000 meal bags to 12,335 Participants."

That was Baldy Town alone!  "Grand Central Station" comes to mind.

More data at https://www.philmontscoutranch.org/philmont-by-the-numbers/

While I don't have the PTC data, I've heard that the family adventure numbers were quite low.

So I ask again:  how are a dozen or so kids from the PTC going to ruin your Philmont experience?   If your experience is going to be sullied, it will more than likely be by another 12 or 7 day trek crew.  Ponil alone hosted 828 overnight crews this summer.

The PTC Mustangs are the age group that we should be welcoming to the backcountry. They are the future of the BSA.  

Edited by desertrat77
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19 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

... So I ask again:  how are a dozen or so kids from the PTC going to ruin your Philmont experience?

... The PTC Mustangs are the age group that we should be welcoming to the backcountry. They are the future of the BSA.   These are the youth you want in your crew.  Instead, in this particular thread, they are wrongly painted with the "family camping" brush and generally considered unwelcome.  Hardly a winning strategy. 

I'm inclined to agree with @desertrat77. When you grow up seeing the serious backpackers leaving for the deep woods, it makes you curious. On the cusp of qualifying to lead a patrol there yourself.

Not sure how much they'll be the future of the BSA. They're just as likely to tackle those (and other) hills five years from now independently with their mates. The BSA-required adult leaders will be left behind. Not being trusted to ASM young ones, they'll wind up as young adults serving other youth programs. A minority will come back to the BSA at age 21. Most will be doing good for this country and the world under other banners.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I'm inclined to agree with @desertrat77. When you grow up seeing the serious backpackers leaving for the deep woods, it makes you curious. On the cusp of qualifying to lead a patrol there yourself.

Not sure how much they'll be the future of the BSA. They're just as likely to tackle those (and other) hills five years from now independently with their mates. The BSA-required adult leaders will be left behind. Not being trusted to ASM young ones, they'll wind up as young adults serving other youth programs. A minority will come back to the BSA at age 21. Most will be doing good for this country and the world under other banners.

@qwazse, I'm tracking with you.  Hadn't thought of the situation in that light.  I figured the Mustangs would get a small sample of Philmont and then count down the days till they could come back as a crew member.  Or become a staff member. 

Given the dynamics you've mentioned, plus the unwelcoming tone that seems prevalent in the BSA today, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them leave the confines of the BSA for other trails.

Edited by desertrat77

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I don't have a problem with this in general, but I think the BSA could pay a little more attention to how people are going to perceive things.  The one thing that catches my eye is the "premium linens."  Really?  The whole setup is still reasonably rustic, I have no problem with a family opting for (and paying extra for) electricity, but "premium linens" seems kind of silly and unnecessary.  All it does is lend itself to sarcastic exaggerations like the ones in the original post.  (Plus I am not quite sure what would count as "premium linens."  I am going to guess the ones we use at home would not qualify, but they do the job in a reasonably comfortable manner.)

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Cheers to Philmont and National!  The upgraded tents for families sound great and are exactly what we need at this time.  We need more of this across the BSA property footprint where appropriate and soon.

The Philmont Training Base is not the back country, and never has been.  Wade Phillips built his magnificent mansion complete with its own small row of hotel rooms before the BSA was ever a factor.  It was used to bring in people from around the world to experience the American West who otherwise would not have ventured there.  The result?  The land and wildlife was experienced, preserved and eventually became the iconic and beloved place of youth.  And, most of those folks indeed experienced the rough wilderness as well.  

Some of the griping, in my view, is just plain silly.  Al Lerner and his staff engaged in extensive research to determine how to significantly increase awareness and usage of the high adventure bases — and by extension and example the equally-important larger council properties like Goshen, Ramsberg, Owasippe and Ten Mile.  I know it is true because many other current and front-line Scoutmasters like me received and responded to the surveys and asked for this in overwhelming numbers.

The rustic experience of youth crews trekking across Philmont will continue as always.  The fact that many more thousands of families with spouses and younger children will delight In the experiences of the training centers and associated natural beauty at Philmont, the Summitt and (hopefully) the Sea Base, canoe Base and (eventually) our best council properties will support the appropriate growth and upgrade of the BSA.

Count my family and me in.

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