Tag Archives: philmont

WG10 – Hiking Boot Guidelines

Picking the right boot for Philmont can be one of the most important decisions you will make.  Nothing is more miserable and painful than a long backpacking trip with boots that do not fit correctly or provide support.  There are no specific rules on what boot you should choose but here are a few guidelines that should serve you well.

  1. Buy your boots at an outfitter that specializes in camping and hiking equipment. Places like REI, Campmor, and Ramsey Outdoors come to mind.  They have staff that can help guide you into boots that fit properly.
  1. Some newer boots are being made with a combination of leather and synthetic materials to cut down on weight and usually take less time to break in. These boots are an excellent choice for most.  Should you need extra support, look for full-grain leather boots.  They provide maximum support and durability.
  1. High-top boots provide the best ankle support when backpacking. Low-top hiking shoes and boots might work for some people but are better suited for day hikes.  The vast majority of Philmont participants wear high-tops.
  1. Fewer seams in the boot mean fewer places for water to leak in.
  1. A pair of boots that weighs more than 4 pounds probably weighs too much.
  1. Don’t choose a boot because of looks or price but based on fit. If it does not fit properly you are wasting your money.  Always try on boots with the inner and outer socks you plan to use on the trail.  Most outfitters have socks to loan for this purpose.  Be sure to wear the boots around in the store to check for feel.  With the boot unlaced, push your foot to the front of the boot and then see if you can get two fingers in the boot behind your heel.  All boots should have a little room for you foot to move but not too much.  Check out the Boots and Socks video in the Equipment section of the Training Videos page of the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) for additional pointers on selecting the best fit for your feet.
  1. After choosing your boot, wear them in your home for several days to be absolutely sure they fit well. Most stores will take them back if not worn outside.
  1. When lacing, kick your heel back against the heel of the boot so that when laced your toes have plenty of room for those tough downhill trails.
  1. Finally, waterproof your boots using the manufacturer’s instructions and start walking in them to complete the break-in process. All-leather boots can take a month or two of regular use to be fully broken in.  See Waterproofing Your Boots in the Equipment section of the Training Videos page of the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) for an example of how to care for your boots.

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Tip: Check into www.localhikes.com for some ideas on super adventures right near home – enter your zip code for a list of hikes within 100 miles, or use the “advanced search” to further narrow down the results.

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Are all the advisors in your crew receiving Watchu Grams?  We are aware that several addresses are bouncing.  Please make sure all advisors in your crew get this message.  As discussed in WG02, registering a secondary e-mail address with the Watchu Webmaster can help assure that all messages are delivered.

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Phil Fact:  Charles Bent was the first governor of the New Mexico Territory after it became a part of the United States and a friend of Carlos Beaubien.  He was assassinated during the Taos Revolt of 1847.

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I want to hike the canyon floor once more,

Charles Bent
Taos, New Mexico Territory

WG09 – The Watchu Mountain Outfitters

The Watchu Mountain Outfitters (WMO) provide quality Base Camp and backcountry/rafting gear to the members of Patriots’ Path Council Philmont expeditions.  Check out what is available in the Trading Post on the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org).  Available products will also be on display at all Advisor Briefings and during the Watchu Mountain Adventure in May.  Every purchase of merchandise from the Watchu Mountain Outfitters helps to contain costs for all Patriots’ Path contingent crews.  All profits go directly into the Watchu program; strictly for the benefit of the Watchu/Philmont participants.

In the past popular products have included the moisture wicking rafting and backcountry T-shirt ($20.00), the headlamp ($9.00), and the water bottle ($14.00).  The new-in-2013 lightweight adjustable ‘booney’-style hat has been a hit.  Check them, and all the WMO products, out!  Recall your Patriots’ Path Philmont fee includes one Expedition Base Camp T-shirt, suitable for use both during the day in Base Camp and on the trail, two Patriots’ Path Expedition Patches for your uniforms, one WMO slingback daypack and one Expedition Tour (Carry-on) Bag.

Merchandise can be ordered either as an individual or as a crew, using the Order Form on the Trading Post page of the Web site.  If ordering as a crew before the deadline of the January Advisor Briefing, the Hikers’ Dozen discount is available on any Watchu Mountain Outfitters item – buy 11 and get one free!

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How many shirts do you need? – In addition to your official uniform shirt(s) you need three T-shirts during the Colorado Tour, which can then be used during your trek.  They need to be Scout-related (suitable for a “class B” uniform).  Wear one under your official uniform shirt during the tour and you can quickly switch from “class A” to “class B” as required.  One is the expedition T-shirt included in your fee.  A second should be moisture-wicking, either from the WMO or other (this shirt would be suitable for whitewater rafting).  We suggest the third be a crew-designed shirt, and the WMO have made arrangements with a local supplier (http://www.am-embroidery.com) for moisture-wicking shirts at a great price!

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Product Input Wanted – the Watchu Mountain Outfitters are always on the outlook for quality products that can be offered to participants in Patriots’ Path Council’s Philmont contingents.  If you have an idea of a product that might be provided, please e-mail your suggestion to ChiefWatchu@watchu.org.

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Wilderness First Aid voucher – once you have registered for a Patriots’ Path Council Wilderness First Aid course (or completed a course offered by another organization) you can use one of the three vouchers given to each crew for merchandize from the Watchu Mountain Outfitters Trading Post.

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Advisor Question:  Can a Wilderness First Aid voucher be used to train a youth member of the crew?

Answer:  Absolutely!  The Watchu recommendation that three crew members be Wilderness First Aid trained is not limited to the advisors.  Note that you must be at least 14 years old to be certified – all but the youngest members of your crew are candidates for training.

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Phil Fact:  Mountain man and guide Kit Carson established a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail at Rayado for his partner, Lucien Maxwell, next to the house Maxwell built there.  The trading post was rebuilt by Scouts in the 1950s and is now operated as a museum.  Crews on treks that start or end at Rayado have the opportunity to tour the museum, and other crews can arrange to visit it after coming off the trail – there is scheduled bus service from Base Camp.

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Philmont, where the old Rayado flows,

Christopher “Kit” Carson
Rayado, New Mexico Territory

WG08 – Wilderness First Aid

Staying healthy and safe in the backcountry is the primary responsibility of all advisors.  The Philmont CPR and Wilderness First Aid (WFA) requirements are a necessary first step.  At least two, and preferably three, crew members must be certified in both CPR and WFA and be with the crew at all times in the backcountry.  Current WFA and CPR certification cards will be reviewed by Philmont at check-in.  Certification must be by a Philmont-approved organization – check the Wilderness First Aid requirements (from the Council and Unit Planning Guide) posted in the Medical section of the Trek Preparation page of the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) for details.

The Watchu recommendation is that at least three crew members be certified in Philmont-approved CPR and WFA programs.  Further, it is recommended ALL crew members be certified in Standard First Aid and CPR from the Red Cross, ECSI, or the equivalent.  Experience suggests the Watchu recommendations are by far the best and safest policy.

The Watchu Tribe under the guidance of Medicine Man Tom has created a Philmont-approved WFA and CPR training team and program.  They have scheduled weekend WFA courses normally delivered at Camp Allamuchy Scout Reservation.  For details, registration, and dates check the Wilderness First Aid page in the Training section of the Crew Development page of the Watchu Experience Web site.  Sign up for the course that is convenient for you.  You are free to take a WFA course from any of the Philmont-approved providers, but expect their fee to be three or four times more expensive than the WFA course being offered by Patriots’ Path Council, BSA.

NOTE:  A current CPR certification is a pre-requisite for attending a Wilderness First Aid course – cards will be checked upon arrival and anyone without a valid CPR certification will not be allowed to take the course.

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50-Miler Award Tip: Successful completion of your Philmont trek will qualify all in your crew for the BSA 50-Miler Award, with the exception of 7 additional hours of conservation work per participant (all crews will do 3 hours at Philmont.)  Some crews integrate 7 hours of conservation work into their Watchu crew development plan.  In that way they return from New Mexico having completed all the 50-Miler Award requirements.  Check with the Patriots’ Path camp rangers and staff – they will certainly have suggestions for your crew conservation project.  Go to the Resources section of the Crew Development page of the Watchu Experience Web site for a 50-Miler Award application and a Service Hours Tracking Form for use at Patriots’ Path camps.

Check out the Recognitions and Awards page on the Web site to see all that are available to participants in Patriots’ Path Council’s Philmont expeditions!

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Phil Fact:  Head of Dean Camp is the crossroads of Philmont’s North Country.  Crews heading to or returning from Baldy Mountain almost “have” to pass through.  The program offered is Challenge Events – a combination of low COPE and other crew building exercises.

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The wind whispers in the pines at Head of Dean camp!

Bob Dean
Cattle foreman in the Dean Canyon area

WG07 – Physically Fit

By now we expect you have created a Watchu Family e-mail network to share Watchu Grams and other messages with all crew members and their families.

Trekking at Philmont can be physically and mentally very tough.  Everyone must be fit if a crew is to have a great experience.  One “out of shape” crew member can ruin it for all.  Or as noted in the Scout Oath, everyone must be “physically strong and mentally awake”.

A few tough hikes will not do it!!!

Advisors need to know it is not possible for a crew to be fit and ready just by taking a few tough hikes in New Jersey, New York, and/or Pennsylvania.  Every member of the crew must map out their personal training program and get to work on it now.  Your training will depend on your age and your current physical condition.  Adults are going to require more work, but the scouts will need to do considerable training also.  No one escapes the need to “Be Prepared” physically and mentally.

First, everyone must be at fighting weight.  Endurance and aerobic training is essential.  Increasing lung capacity is a must.  Get your blood pressure in shape with exercise, and medication if necessary.  Check in with your doctor now for help.  And most important, you must know how to keep yourself hydrated.

The “Watchu 55” Training Plan: Time and Pack Weight

Walking can make all of this happen.  Beginning now, we recommend you power walk three miles a day in 55 minutes or less, four or five times a week.  In January add a 25 pound pack to your back.  Gradually increase the pack weight to 55 pounds (or 1/3 of your body weight if you weigh less than 165 pounds) by the first of June.  You should not carry anything near 55 pounds on the trail, but it is helpful to train at that level – extra weight in New Jersey partially compensates for altitude at Philmont.  Adding weight is easy.  Pack you pack with your personal gear then simply add plastic soda or milk bottles filed with water in your pack to simulate more and more crew gear.

Since this is a good plan for keeping healthy in general, it is a good idea for all.  55 minutes a day can be worked into most of our schedules, for instance with your spouse in the evening after work, rain or shine.  Walk to nearby shops rather than jumping in the car, or park at the far end of the parking lot.  At work or the mall, take the stairs rather than the elevator.  Start now drinking extra water to stay hydrated.

Working on the Watchu 55 training plan, eating properly, and being hydrated will help guarantee an outstanding experience.  And when your neighbors see you out hiking  with your pack, we know from experience that you will be the talk of the town.

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Hydration: How do you know if you are hydrated?  As the Rangers at Philmont will tell you, keep your urine “Clear and Copious.”  That is, drink water until your urine is clear.  And “copious” means “lots.”  In New Mexico’s very low relative humidity, 6 to 8 liters of water a day should do it, about one liter spread out over an hour while involved in physical activity.  Start now to observe your hydration and give your body the water it needs.  It is important to share these ideas with your crew now, and in coming Watchu Grams we will have more to say about hydration.

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Important: In the summer of 2010, the latest data available, 14 participants were not allowed on the trail because they did not meet the height/weight and blood pressure requirements; in 2009 the numbers were 37 participants (28 Advisors and 9 youth).  These participants were sent home on Day Two at their own expense.  Get your physical exam as soon as possible – the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record is available online.  Know your weight and blood pressure status.  Work with your doctor on a plan to meet all Philmont requirements.  You can do it!

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Are you and your crew Clear and Copious?

Gene Hayward
Hawkeye (later to become Philmont) Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico
Ranch Manager

WG06 – Philmont Medical Form and Requirements

In 2011 Philmont began using the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record, which is now only available online.  Philmont takes the health and safety of everyone entering the backcountry very seriously, as outlined in a memo that accompanied the 2011 forms.  In particular, note that crew members MUST satisfy physical requirements, without exception – individuals not satisfying requirements WILL be sent home.  To learn more and get a head start on these absolute requirements, check into the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) and then choose Philmont Medical Form in the Medical section of the Trek Preparation page.

All Philmont treks are physically challenging adventures and a rigorous conditioning program is absolutely important.  Each crew member must be in excellent physical condition.  Body weight and blood pressure must be under control and well within the recommended ranges (not just below the limits).

Advisors must know the health and medical status of each member of the crew before embarking on any rigorous training such as day hikes, COPE, camping, and backpacking.  Parts A and B of the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record are to be completed by the participant and family.  Copies of those two parts and a prior physical (summer camp, sports, etc.) will give you that health status information until Part C (the physical exam) is completed.  .  Part D includes a series of participation advisories that each crew member and his doctor should review.

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Tip: Now is NOT the time for the youth members of your crew to select their youth leaders or designate crew responsibilities.  We will have many helpful suggestions concerning crew leadership selection and crew member responsibilities in future Watchu Grams.

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Have a Question?  You probably will find the answer on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page of the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org).  If you don’t succeed, try the super search engine on the Search page or check the Site Map for appropriate areas of interest.  If all else fails, e-mail your questions to Chief Watchu at chiefwatchu@watchu.org.

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Phil Fact:  Jacob Fowler (1765-1850) was an early trapper and trader in the area that is now Philmont who kept a detailed journal of his adventures.

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See ya on Fowler Mesa,

Jacob Fowler
Northern Mexico

WG05 – All Crews Must Have 12 Members

There are individual openings in the 2015 contingents and more can be expected due to dropouts.  These openings MUST be filled.  Consider the following suggestions:

  • Recruit friends and relatives of crew members
    • In your troop or venturing crew
    • In other local troops or venturing crews
    • In other troops or venturing crews in the tri-state area
    • Who are not members of the BSA but are interested in the outdoors and joining up for a Philmont adventure
  • Advertise your openings
    • To other troops and venturing crews in your town or nearby
    • At roundtable gatherings and district events

There are many important reasons for recruiting a full crew of twelve.  A few were touched on at the September Conference.  The most important has to do with the need to deliver Philmont’s mountaintop experience to as many Scouts, Venturers, and Scouters as possible.  In addition, Philmont’s procedures have been built around a full crew of 12.  It is unacceptable to leave any of our allotment unfilled.

There are plenty of teenagers out there just waiting to be asked to go.  And because of our benefactor, Warren Wheeler*, Patriots’ Path Council can close the financial gap for any youngster in need.  There are very few BSA councils, if any, able to make that claim.  So the barriers are removed and it is up to us to “Deliver the Promise”.  We guarantee a full crew of twelve will result in a best-in-class experience at the lowest cost.  Encourage all members of your crew to get to work recruiting some lucky youngsters to fill these openings.  They are waiting for your invitation.  The rewards will be many.

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An ideal crew has 9 youth and 3 adults.  While 2 adults meets both Philmont’s minimum and Scouting’s 2-deep requirements, every crew should have 3 adults.  A crew with only 2 adults runs the risk that a physical problem or personal situation that forces one adult to drop out at the last minute will jeopardize the entire crew’s trek, wasting both months of preparation and the financial commitment.  Don’t take that chance – if your crew only has 2 adults, recruit a third.

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Reminder:  A Philmont crew can have no more than four adults aged 21-years or older.

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Full Crew Recognition:  Philmont has instituted the La Docena Adventurado  (The Adventurous Dozen) Award for all crews of 12.  We expect all our crews to qualify for this recognition.  If you don’t have 12 members in your crew, set the entire crew into recruiting mode.

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Scouts Pay Their Way:  We hope all will take advantage of the falling leaves and the upcoming winter snows.  A few evenings out raking leaves or working with snow shovels can put a big dent in the Philmont fee.

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Phil Fact:  Lucien Maxwell acquired all the Beaubien Miranda Mexican land grant through marriage to Luz Beaubien, one of Carlos Beaubien’s daughters, and eventually buying out the interests of other Beaubien heirs and Guadalupe Miranda.  At its peak the Maxwell Land Grant included 1,714,765 acres of New Mexico and Colorado, more than twice the size of Rhode Island, and was the largest single tract ever in the history of the United States.  Ted Turner is the present record holder when it comes to ownership of land in the United States.  Among his more than two million acres of holdings is the Vermejo Park Ranch, directly east of Philmont, which at 590,823 acres is the largest single tract today (the King Ranch in Texas is larger but is not contiguous.)  You will drive through Vermejo Park on your way from Raton to Cimarron – look for Turner’s buffalo.  The Turner family is kind enough to let Philmont hikers use some of their trails and Rich Cabins camp on the Vermejo property.  During the Turner/Philmont trail discussions, the former Mrs. Turner (Jane Fonda) was very happy and proud to remind that her father, Henry Fonda, was (is) a distinguished Eagle.

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The eagles are soaring high over Maxwell turnaround!

Lucian Bonaparte Maxwell
Cimarron, New Mexico Territory

* Need Financial Help?  Get a “Wheeler Adventureship Application” at

http://watchu.org/Docs/Warren_Wheeler_Adventureship_form.pdf

 

WG04 – What Makes a Good Crew?

One of our far away Philmont friends, Wally Feurtado, sent us this note.  We think it is worth sharing.

I believe that the most important factor is that each crew member WANTS to go to Philmont (his/her choice).  This WANT must be derived from inside and not influenced by others (parents or peers).  When the crew member wants to go to Philmont, they are willing to do the following:

  1. Be physically fit, including, if necessary, to lose weight.
  2. Hike together as a crew and not try to split the crew.
  3. Attend monthly sessions for training, etc.

The second factor is that each crew member has reached a certain level of maturity, to the extent that they are aware of cause and effect.  While goofing off is fun, if you are five miles from help and somebody gets hurt or sick, who carries them out?  Maturity additionally reveals itself by being:

  1. Willing to drink the water and stay hydrated.
  2. Willing to eat the food and stay healthy.
  3. Willing to stay clean and sanitary (washing body and clothes daily).
  4. Able to self-medicate.

The third factor is that each crew member must be willing to work as a member of the crew or as the leader.  Taking Scouts that have to be constantly prodded to do their chores indicates that while they would like to go to Philmont, they are not ready to participate in the Philmont experience.

Finally, each parent must be willing to discuss any and all medical issues with the advisors.  This type of information is required for the advisors to best know how to work with each crew member.  It is not for general crew knowledge, just for advisors.

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Phil Fact:  Charles Beaubien, a Canadian and also known as Carlos, received a grant of land with Guadalupe Miranda from Mexico in 1841, which was later known as the Maxwell Land Grant.

Beaubien Camp is the crossroads of the Philmont South Country.  Most crews who stay there have a layover to get in all the activities available – Western Lore, Horseback Riding, Branding, Chuckwagon Dinner, Campfire, and hiking Trail Peak.

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The silver is on the sage in the meadow at Beaubien camp,

Charles Beaubien
Taos, Mexico

WG03 – Our Historic Council Philmont Shoulder Emblem

Our Philmont expeditions are often composed of Scouts and Scouters from several different councils.  However, the contingents are sponsored by Patriots’ Path Council, BSA, National #358, of Cedar Knolls, NJ.  Hence, Philmont will recognize all Scouts and Scouters in our contingents as being from Patriots’ Path Council, BSA.

All members of the contingents are entitled to wear the Patriots’ Path Philmont shoulder emblem (patch).  Two patches for each member of your crew will be issued at the January Advisor Briefing.  We encourage all to sew them on their uniforms as soon as received.  We know your crew will be proud to wear this historic design throughout the Watchu Experience, during travel to and within Colorado, and when at Philmont.

The patch design has historic New Mexican and Philmont significance.  First, the colors are Philmont colors as well as the colors of the state of New Mexico; red, yellow, and black.  Philmont appears in bold red block letters across the black background of the emblem (patch).  The “O” in Philmont is replaced by a “Zia” in yellow.  This graphic is typical of designs used in the early years of Philmont, the late 1930s through the 1960s.  The Zia is an ancient Native New Mexican icon which represents all those things in nature that come in fours; the four winds, the four seasons, the four directions (north, east, south, west), etc.  The Zia is also the singular graphic on the prize-winning design of the state flag of New Mexico, which has been voted the nation’s best flag design.  Our council, state, and the current year are shown in bright New Mexican yellow.

Everyone needs a bunch for collecting and trading – you can be certain it will be a very hot trading item at Philmont.  The 2010 and 2011 editions had a silver border in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts, and the 2013 edition had a yellow border in honor of the 75th anniversary of Philmont Scout Ranch.  Additional patches (and other items) may be purchased at the Watchu Mountain Outfitters Trading Post, using the online Order Form.  Patches and all items are eligible for the Hikers’ Dozen discount – buy 11 and get 1 free!  The deadline for ordering a Hikers’ Dozen is the evening of the January Advisor Briefing; but don’t wait until then – you can get your order in anytime before the deadline.  Our Watchu Administrator, Warrior Wickham, will be happy to help should you have any questions.

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Tip:  Watchu Grams will be signed by historical figures connected to Philmont or the Cimarron area.  Their connection will be explained in “Phil Facts” with the messages.  You are encouraged to learn more about them to enhance your experience.

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Phil Fact:  Waite Phillips was a Tulsa, Oklahoma oilman who acquired what ultimately was a 300,000 acre ranch, including extensive mountain backcountry for the hunting and fishing he loved.  He shared it with friends and acquaintances, and between 1939 and 1941 he gave a large portion of it to the Boy Scouts of America so that the youth of America could enjoy it as well.  In 1959, Clear Creek Mountain was re-named Mount Phillips in his honor and in recognition of his contribution.

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The only things we keep are those we give away,

Waite Phillips
Hawkeye (later Philmont) Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico

 

WG02 – The Watchu Network

Chief Watchu communicates with all Patriots’ Path contingent crew advisors (adult members of the crew) by e-mail, using the Watchu Network.  Each crew, in turn, should create its own Family network so that each crew member and his or her family can be kept informed with information about the Watchu Experience and Philmont, as well as crew-specific messages about meetings, shakedowns, or other crew activities.

Messages are either Watchu Grams (information about crew development, equipment, trek selection, May’s Watchu Mountain Adventure, and traveling with the contingent), Reminders of up-coming events, Alerts (changes to previously issued information), or of a general nature.  Alerts require immediate attention from the crew advisors.  Watchu Grams should be distributed to all crew members and their families by the Family Network – they will answer many of the questions that are asked year after year.  Watchu Grams will also be posted on the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) – to see all sent to date, go to the Quick Links and select Watchu Grams.  In addition, there will be a limited number of general messages containing information that may be of interest to advisors and crew members though not necessarily related to Watchu or Philmont.

The Watchu Network has proved to be an efficient means of providing information.  However, at times there are issues with Internet Service Providers (especially Comcast) either bouncing messages as suspected ‘spam’ or failing to deliver them in timely manner.  It is suggested that each advisor provide a secondary e-mail address, using a different service, to assure that all Watchu Alerts and Watchu Grams are received.

The secondary address can be one you already have, or one created just for Watchu.  Internet services like Yahoo, MSN’s Hotmail, or Google’s Gmail are good choices.  Gmail has the added benefit that many e-mail programs, such as Outlook, can be configured to link to your account, and messages will be delivered to your regular Inbox exactly the same as those sent to your normal address.  Instructions on how to do that are on the Google Web site, or e-mail the Watchu Webmaster (Webmaster@watchu.org) if you need help.

An advisor who regularly checks e-mail should be designated to forward all appropriate messages to all crew members and families via the Family Network.  The responsibility for the various kinds of messages – equipment, crew development, etc. – should be shared among the crew members in order that no one person is overwhelmed by the wealth of information that will be sent.

Each crew should verify that every advisor is receiving messages sent by Chief Watchu – if not, please advise the Watchu Webmaster.

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Family e-mail networks:  The Watchu team can setup an e-mail list manager for your crew.  Once created and e-mail addresses are subscribed, a message from any of your crew members sent to yourcrew@watchu.org will be delivered to all crew members.  Contact the Watchu Webmaster (webmaster@watchu.org) with your crew number to begin the process of creating an e-mail alias for your crew.

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Advisor Guide is printed!  Copies of the Advisor Guide for the Watchu Experience and Philmont Expeditions will be given to each crew’s Lead Advisor at the upcoming Lead Advisor Conference for distribution to the crew’s other adult advisors.  That booklet (which is also available as a Quick Link from the Watchu Experience Web site, www.watchu.org) is jam-packed with information you will need throughout the Watchu Experience.  Keep it handy and refer to it often.

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Tip: All Watchu Grams will include an MS Word copy as an attachment.  Printing the copy will provide cleaner reproduction for sharing and filing.

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The Philmont spirit lives on!

Chief Watchu

WG01 – Welcome to the 18th Watchu Experience and your 2015 Philmont Adventure

The Crew Member and Parent Guide for the Watchu Experience and Patriots’ Path Council Philmont Expeditions was distributed to each crew’s adult advisors at February’s Orientation.  Please check with the members of your crew to guarantee all receive their copy.  We have also posted the Guide on the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org.)  Should additional copies be required, please download and print them.

We expect all crew members and their parents or guardians will read the Guide thoroughly and carefully.  It contains critical information concerning the Watchu Experience.  Each family should keep their copy in a handy place for easy reference.  We believe you will find many valuable tips and answers to most of your questions in the Guide and on the Watchu Experience Web site.

The Advisor Guide for the Watchu Experience and Patriots’ Path Council Philmont Expeditions will be distributed to each crew’s Lead Advisors at the upcoming Lead Advisor Conference on September 9.  This guide outlines the duties and responsibilities of the adult members of the crew for training the youth to lead the crew and perform the duties necessary for a successful Philmont trek.

The second phase of your Watchu adventure is about to begin.  Please make note of the following schedule.

  • Lead Advisor Conference:  Tuesday, September 9, 7:00pm, Calvary Presbyterian Church, 144 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park, with check-in starting at 6:30pm.  The conference must be attended by one advisor from each crew – preferably the Lead Advisor.
  • First Advisor Briefing:  Tuesday, November 11, 7:30 to 9:55pm, Calvary Presbyterian Church, 144 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park.  All advisors are expected to attend all briefings in official BSA uniform.  At the November briefing a group picture of the entire advisor corps will be taken for posting on the Watchu Experience Web site – you will want to look sharp!  A complete briefing schedule is posted on the Calendar of Events page of the Web site and will be included in your Advisor Guide.
  • Watchu Reminders and Alerts:  Reminders of upcoming events as well as alerts with changes to previously issued information from Chief Watchu or Philmont will be sent by e-mail through the Watchu Network to all crew advisors.  Alerts require your immediate attention.
  • Watchu Grams:  Crew advisors also will receive Watchu Grams by e-mail.  These summarize all the information provided on the Web site, keyed to the calendar and the things crews should be doing to prepare for their trek.  They represent more than 60 years of Philmont experience and are provided to assist the advisors in their effort to guarantee an outstanding Philmont experience.  Watchu Grams also contain historical background and other information crews in prior years have found interesting and useful, and enhanced their Philmont adventure.  Watchu Grams are also posted on the Watchu Experience Web site shortly after they are sent.
  • Crew Member Family Network:  September is a good time to set up an e-mail network for sharing information with your crew members and their families.  Create a single group within your e-mail address book so you can easily forward all Watchu Grams as well as your own crew-specific messages regarding meetings, shakedowns, and other crew activities.  You can also contact the Watchu Webmaster to set up an e-mail alias for your crew, similar to the one Chief Watchu uses for messages to all advisors.
  • Watchu Mountain Adventure:  5:00pm, May 1 to 2:00pm, May 3, 2015, Camp Wheeler, Mount Allamuchy Scout Reservation.  All crew members are expected to attend this fun and information-filled weekend.

This is the 18th year of the Watchu Experience.  Each year has been better than the last.  With your help we expect to uphold that tradition and deliver the best-ever ten months of teenage excitement and adventure.  We look forward to meeting and working with you.

Good luck and happy trails,

The Watchu Training Tribe
Watchu Mountain, Mount Allamuchy Scout Reservation