Wonderful advice from a good Philmont friend, Jim Thompson of Chester County Council, BSA, and developer of the PhilSearch (www.PhilSearch.org) Web site:
“Plenty of crews go to the ranch each year without knowing a lot about it and they get that mountain top experience. Plenty of crews go with lots of training and have a bad experience. I’ve seen both.
“In the end, my opinion is that it’s about the adults. The successful crews have adults who get it – they are behind boy-led, they ensure the right learning and coaching moments occur, they ask the probing questions, and they don’t drag the crew down being selfish, immature or out of shape. In short, they are part of the crew and understand their role. You have to remember that being boy-led does not absolve one of responsibility, it’s about leadership. There is a reason the roles are called ‘advisor’ and ‘Crew Leader’.”
Chief Watchu comments: Chester County Council has been our partner in the development of the Watchu Experience. In 1997, Patriots’ Path Council was invited by Bill Cass (another good Philmont friend from Chester County and author of Return to the Summit of Scouting) to participate in their Philmont Training. The Watchu Experience grew out of that opportunity. Bill’s paintings of the last flight of the B‑24 Liberator 41-1133 were hung in the back of the old Advisor Briefing room (are they in the new one?). What remains of the wreckage of that plane’s crash is still on Trail Peak. If your crew has the chance to see it, be respectful of the men who died there serving our country.
Tip: We know we are broadcasting much detailed information. We don’t expect any one person to be responsible for all of this knowledge. Put all members of your crew to work. Give each member an area of responsibility. And guess what? – in no time flat you will have developed your own set of Philmont camping experts. Don’t forget all Watchu Grams are posted on the Watchu Experience Web site, (www.watchu.org).
Phil Fact?: Local legend is that Buffalo Bill Cody was the manager of Lucien Maxwell’s goat ranch, met Annie Oakley at the St. James Hotel, and began his Wild West Show in Cimarron.
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody
Cimarron, New Mexico Territory