This past weekend a number of people gathered at the Villa Philmonte to participate in a countdown and turning on of the annual display of Christmas lights that illuminate every part of this magnificent symbol of the Ranch. During the evening we had the chance to share in an incredible sight as the full moon rose behind the Villa. It made me pause and think about one of the special things I have enjoyed at Philmont — the night skies.

Whether it is the moon in one of its phases traveling across the sky, or the full moon illuminating the Ranch to allow you to safely travel at night, or just some incredible display of stars so close you feel like reaching up and touching them each a special moment.

I know that everyone who has spent time at Philmont Scout Ranch has night sky memories.

  • My daughter and I have always enjoyed looking for the winter constellation, Orion.
  • Once we had a rare opportunity to view the Northern Lights, deep magenta bans in the north.
  • On Sunday there was a ring around the moon that according to folklore warns of changing weather patterns.
  • Lying on a blanket in a special dark spot watching the August shooting stars.
  • Looking through various telescopes that allowed me to observe objects in the sky that I had only seen in pictures before.
  • Standing in the pasture above Zastrow enjoying the Scouting Rededication Ceremony and thinking about how many people have used the North Star to guide their travels.

The list and the memories can go on and on.

The Philmont Staff Association is an important part of the Ranch. For each of us it provides connections for all of us who have shared a summer, the opportunity for special meetings and gatherings, it allows us to check up on various things through the many forms of communication and updates, and it makes available chances to return to the Ranch and enjoy once again the night skies.

One of the important ways to ensure that the PSA remains strong and meets your needs is through the financial resources that are raised by the Annual Fund.

Please take time during the remaining days of 2011 and make your contribution to the Philmont Staff Association Annual Fund. We all need to do our part to support the Association.

I would also encourage you over the Holidays to gaze at the night sky and enjoy a memory, be sure to share it with a friend.

Happy Holidays!

Mark Anderson
Director of Program

Please help us reach our Annual Fund goal by donating now, joining the 19.73 Club, or learning more…

Photo courtesy of Giuliano Maiolini.