graphics by Doug Latimer

This is the sixth in a series of posts to get you revved-up, signed up and informed about the PSA Trek.

By Kevin Dowling

Northern Tier General Manager and 2009 PSA Trekker
…a program for boys, young men, and young women designed to encourage them to be faithful in their religious duties, build desirable qualities of character, train and involve them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develop in them personal fitness.

I have been asked to help dispel notions that High Adventure Base alumni treks cater only to adults, and not youth. I thought it would be great to start with the statement above. As members of the Boy Scouts of America, many of us recognize these words from the BSA’s Purpose, but please read deeper: just as the Purpose describes a program for all youth, the alumni treks at Philmont, Northern Tier and Sea Base are appropriate for all youth, not just youth in Scouting programs. I found this out first hand last summer as a member of crew 726 PSA-2. One of our younger crew members, who, while not a Scout, made contributions each night to ‘Thorns and Roses’ consistent with the Purpose. These contributions made it clear how much he appreciated his Philmont experience and how it related to his father’s love of the place as a Philmont staff member.

Yes, everyone will conclude that, as the General Manager at Northern Tier, it is my job to say it is all about the youth. Well, it truly is all about youth, and I was quite pleased with the warm reception the adults in our crew had for the five youth in our crew. I was apprehensive at first, but within the first 1/2 hour our adults, who had never met any of the youths, made it a point to ensure that the youths planned, implemented and set the course for our High Adventure experience. This carried throughout the trek for crew leader selection, daily duties, religious reflections, adjustments to our plans and social interaction. In simple terms, the youth made it Phun.

I was lucky to be able to share this adventure with two of my four children. The sincere interest of every crew member in recognizing Casey’s and Jacob’s ideas and concerns during the trek are memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. In fact, these adult/youth friendships will also last a lifetime. The excitement I saw in our home when Philmont pictures arrived by email stopped everything in the house and we all gathered around the computer to re-live Philmont once again.

There were many special moments on the trail. One of them was the interaction of our female adult with the two female youth on the trek. This interaction developed early in the trek and the bond between them was a magnificent boost to help make the summit of Mt. Phillips. At the top you could see the emotions of this difficult, yet successful, hike. I truly saw my daughter grow as a person and strongly believe that the above mentioned bond provided this moment. So yes, an alumni trek is suitable for youth. And not just youth with a Scouting background — there were three non-Scout youth in our crew and all did well.

A special mention to the adults on our crew: yes, we did hear some stories of old, but they were shared at the right time and enjoyed by everyone, even the youth.

SIGN UP NOW before these opportunities pass you in life. Excuses and roadblocks will rob you of an opportunity to spend time with your children in three of the most beautiful places on earth. It is well worth the time, money and friendships.


Contact your Phacilitators below:

Registration, $380 per person, can be done downloading the printable form or on-line at

Registration deadline is June 21, 2010.

Eligibility requirements: (1) Be a member of the PSA or Trek-eligible family member (2) Be a member of the BSA (3) Have a completed Philmont medical form (4) Be 14 years old by September 1, 2010.

Trek-eligible family members: Spouse, child or step child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of PSA member who meets eligibility requirements above.

Cancellation policy: (1) Cancellation prior to the registration deadline of June 21, 2010 will receive a full refund. (2) Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event (within one calendar year) or can be contributed to the General Fund. (3) In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.