Please accept my apology for being the source of yet another holiday season annual fund solicitation – on the one hand. However, on the other hand, allow me to relate a little personal history on the matter of charitable giving. My parents, who gave to Scouting at the local troop and council levels, sent a small gift to nearly each of the very, very many sources that sent a solicitation their way. My mother, who was always a great Philmont booster, established an annual, council level youth trek scholarship, but that was really her only major, annual donation. She really believed in what the Ranch could do – for youth and staff alike.

My wife, who is no stranger to the Ranch, and I have taken a different approach to our donations to good causes. With a few exceptions, such as minor donations to the Red Cross and Paralyzed Veterans or one-time only gifts as was the case with the World War Two Memorial, we tend to give larger gifts to a very limited number of institutions on the basis that we would prefer to make a major difference to a smaller number of organizations.

Yet either approach, or even a combination of the two, has a lot of merit. I suppose what it comes down to is the importance we attach to the work of the various deserving organizations.

Many biographers say that a certain event was the “defining moment” in the lives of their subjects. I tend to look at that as more of a “defining era,” and suspect that your Philmont days, as well as mine, fall into the category of what had a major impact on shaping us into the people that we have become. Naturally, there have been other major events and eras in your life and mine, but the Philmont days are among the very most significant – especially in terms of opportunities for adventure, developing skills so valuable in the workaday world, forming life-long friendships, and repaying the debt we all owe Scouting.

So, naturally, I want to help enrich that source of so much satisfaction. That’s why the Philmont Staff Association is quite high on my very short list of worthy recipients for my charitable dollar. I hope you feel the same way.

If your gift to the Annual Fund has already been sent, please accept the sincere thanks of all of us on the Development Committee. If that solicitation letter is somewhere on your desk, please retrieve it and send in your donation right now. We are currently in the last few days of the Annual Fund, and you can be assured, if it is a minor donation like most of my parents’ gifts were, or a significant one, in the magnitude of Mom’s Philmont campership for some deserving youth, that your donation is truly welcomed and will be put to very good use.

Thank you.

Yours in Scouting and High Adventure,
William F. Cass