2018 Volunteer Vacation

The Trail to Cito peak—Year 3

Simple Question—What’s the very best deal today that allows you to spend 7 days at Philmont and, at the same time, truly give back to Philmont?

Obvious Answer—The PSA Volunteer Vacation!

The Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in 2018. This will be the 3rd year for the very exciting and tremendously rewarding Volunteer Vacation. This program has sold out every year. Past participants have experienced a fantastic week in the backcountry, hard physical work, and the ultimate satisfaction of giving back to Philmont.

The dates are September 15 to 22, 2018. The cost is still only $210. Registration opens March 1, 2018 at noon, Central Time. Registration deadline is August 15th, 2018. Please see the registration and cancellation policies at the end of this article.

Carrying On in 2018

The Volunteer Vacation in 2018 will continue with the construction of a new spur trail to the top of Cimarroncito Peak. Workers will push closer to the summit. This spur trail connects to the new Cyphers Mine/Thunder Ridge Trail, also being constructed in the area. These trails are helping to open a little used part of Philmont and also aid the popular 7-day treks. There has never been a trail to Cito Peak. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.

This year’s program will be very similar to 2016 and 2017. Here’s a detailed article from 2016 providing a full explanation of everything that takes place. Both years, participant feedback has been excellent. “Hard work” “Pride” “Satisfaction” “Best ever” “Very physical” “Will return” are continually repeated in the evaluations.

This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements.

If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.

The full Philmont medical form is required – the same seven page form required for summer Trekkers. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. Volunteer Vacation requires hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot maintain a great attitude when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.

Download the High Country article…

Volunteer Vacation Schedule

Saturday, September 15

Arrive at Philmont during the day. First meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear and packing advice, and general Q&A.

Sunday, September 16

Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point just above Sawmill. Next, a short hike to Whistle Punk trail camp, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.

Monday-Wednesday, September 17-19

Trail construction work (and more fun). There should be time to climb Cito Peak!

Thursday, September 20

Final wrap-up of trail construction work, break camp, clean up the Whistle Punk campsite, and then hike or ride to another campsite. The final campsite will depend on the number of participants, availability of transportation vehicles, weather, etc. Volunteers will spend the night at this new location, relaxing and enjoying traditional Philmont camping.

Friday, September 21

In the morning, possible side-hikes based on the location. By midday or early afternoon, Volunteers will be transported back to Base Camp. Friday evening’s dinner will be a celebration of the week and recognition for what you have given back to Philmont. Participants will be awarded the coveted Volunteer Vacation patch.

Saturday, September 22

Depart Philmont after breakfast. Take a proud and satisfying look back at Cimarroncito Peak (and the Tooth, of course)!

Anticipated Questions

What will we eat?

Both trail food and large quantities of FRESH food to insure sufficient calories. This will be a much better menu than the standard trail food menu. Cooking, cleanup, and water crews will be established.

Will we need to carry a full back pack?

Yes and no.

Philmont will pre-stage food, tools, and all crew equipment at Whistle Punk. However, the unused room in your pack will need to be filled with extra (and heavier) work clothes along with warm clothes (jackets, gloves, long underwear, headgear, etc). Extra gear can be shipped back to Base Camp after trail work is completed, but you will then be carrying traditional crew gear and food when hiking to your campsite on Thursday.

Philmont backpacks are available at no charge if needed.

Do we need a tent?

Yes.

You will be sleeping in normal backpacking tents for 5 of your 7 nights at Philmont. You can bring your own tent or use the standard issue Philmont Thunder Ridge 2-person tent (no charge). Tent pairings and partners will be discussed as the participant list is completed.

Will it be cold?

Probably. Whistle Punk is almost 10,032 feet, and by September 15th, autumn will be setting in. You will need warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.

Where is Whistle Punk?

Whistle Punk is located south, and uphill, of the trail from Sawmill to Thunder Ridge. There is a spring nearby. This camp was first used in 2016.

What does Whistle Punk mean?

A Whistle Punk is the lumberjack who operated the signal wire running to a donkey engine whistle. The camp was given this name because it is near an old logging camp.

What happens if 24 persons register before me?

We will put you on a wait list. We did have several cancellations last year.

Email us if you have further questions

6 + 4 =


Registration Policy

  1. Available slots (see below) will be filled in the order that registrations are received.
  2. The preferred method of registration is electronic at https://www.philstaff.org/.
  3. The slots will be filled according to the date and time an electronic registration is received. If registering by mail, the date and time of receipt by the PSA office. If you call in your credit card information, the date and time of that call.
  4. Postmarks or dial-in registrations prior to the opening date and time (see below) will not be accepted.

2018 Volunteer Vacation registration opens at noon Central Time on March 1, 2018. 24 slots will be available upon opening.


Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the posted registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
  3. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of 2019 or can be contributed to the General Fund.
  4. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Registration deadline: August 15, 2018.

2018 PSA Summer Trek: Don’t Wait So Long

Hitting the trail in...

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Every year, when coming off the trail, new PSA Trek participants universally make the same statement:

“Why did I wait so long to go on a trek, I should have done this sooner!”

The normal excuses are cited: school, new job, kids, work, and so on. All real and valid reasons to postpone your dream trek. However, all too often, new excuses keep appearing.

“Next year…” you say to yourself.

Stop!

Next year is now! Get out of your rut – break the habit!

The PSA Trek is open to all PSA members and their eligible family members. Share first-hand with your loved ones the experience you have talked about for years and let them meet the other people who helped make those memories so special. Reunite with past staff friends during your custom designed trek.

Registration and Cost

Start planning now! Registration opens on January 1st, 2018

The cost is $575 per person. ($560 for cash or checks). There is a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee for each person registered.

Schedule

The Trek dates are July 28th – August 5th, 2018.

The 2018 Trek schedule is as follows:

  • Spend the night of Saturday, July 28 in the Philmont area
  • Report to the Welcome Center at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 29
  • Hit the trail on Monday, July 30
  • Come off the trail on Saturday, August 4
  • Depart Philmont Sunday, August 5

Lodging for the nights of July 28th and 29th will be in tents at Camping Headquarters. The first Philmont provided meal will be dinner on the 28th at the Staff Dining Hall. The last Philmont meal will be breakfast on August 5th.

Eligibility and Fitness

The Trek eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Be physically and mentally fit
  • Be a member of the PSA or a Trek-eligible family member
  • Be a member of the BSA
  • Have a current completed Philmont medical form
  • Be 14 years old OR completed 8th grade and be at least 13 years of age prior to participation

Your doctor’s signature on your medical form, by itself, is not sufficient for Trek participation. Ask yourself several questions. Am I really ready to trek at Philmont? Am I really in shape? Am I really ready to work and be a team crew member? You’re not 21 years old anymore. If you are not physically and mentally fit and willing to be a team player, you will not enjoy the Trek. There will be negative impacts on your crew members, as well.

Please take a moment and read this article: Are You Really Ready To Trek?

You are encouraged to bring your Trek-eligible family members. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of PSA member who meets the eligibility requirements above.

You and your family members should share Philmont and Scouting values. This includes dressing appropriately for a Scouting environment and behaving in such manner which does not have a negative impact on the experience of your crewmates and others with whom they come into contact. The PSA Trek is not the appropriate place to work out family issues: the issues will not likely be resolved and may impact negatively on your crewmates.

If this is the first trek for your family member, you should conduct shake-down overnight hikes at home before your trek – just like a regular Scout crew. Don’t delay and burden your other crew members as you teach basic camping skills.

Itinerary Planning

As always, your crew will be free to design its own itinerary, subject to Philmont’s itinerary planning guidelines. By registering early, you can form your own crew or join the crew you want and be a part of the itinerary planning fun. A crew will consist of up to 12 persons and open spaces in crews will be available to any registrant until the crew is filled. If you have a group with which you want to trek, get them to sign up early so there will be space for all of you in the same crew.

Space and Payment

There are 60 Trekker slots – approximately 5 crews. Sign up ASAP and begin the crew and itinerary planning process now.
You can register on-line, beginning January 1st, by clicking here. You can also register by sending your check to: PSA, 17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, NM 87714.

If you register by mail, please include information with the names, ages and gender of your eligible family members. This helps identify Youth Protection and tenting issues early-on. Also, if you or your eligible family members have not done the PSA Trek in the past five years, please include a description of each person’s backpacking or other strenuous activity experience during the past five years. This will assist us in getting you crewed-up with persons of similar experience and ability.

If you register on-line, we will contact you via email for the information described above.

Questions about the PSA Summer Trek?

7 + 10 =


Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the posted registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
  3. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of 2019 or can be contributed to the General Fund.
  4. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Registration Deadline

June 15, 2018

2017 Volunteer Vacation

Last year, the very first PSA Volunteer Vacation sold out within 2 hours of opening registration. Those lucky participants experienced a fantastic week in the backcountry, hard physical work, and the ultimate satisfaction of giving back to Philmont.

Your Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in 2017. The dates are September 16 to 23, 2017. The cost is still only $210. Registration deadline is August 15th, 2017. Please see the Registration and Cancellation Policies at the end of this article.

Carrying On in 2017

The work in 2017 will continue what was started last year. Volunteers will proceed with the construction of a new spur trail off the Sawmill and Thunder Ridge trail connecting the new Whistle Punk trail camp to the top of Cimarroncito Peak. Eventually this trail will go to Cypher’s Mine, providing a route through a seldom used part of Philmont. There has never been a trail to Cito Peak. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.

The entire 2017 Volunteer Vacation program will be very similar to 2016’s, but only better, based on the feedback received from the first-year participants. If you missed the recent summary article in the December High Country magazine, you can read it here.

What did the 2016 participants have to say about Volunteer Vacation? “Extremely hard work!” “A very satisfying experience.” “Trail building at 10,000 feet was much more difficult and physically taxing than anticipated.” “Perhaps the best Philmont event ever.” “I hope to do it again next year.

This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements.

If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.

The full Philmont medical form will be required – the same seven-page form required for Trekkers. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. Volunteer Vacation requires hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot maintain a great attitude when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.

Volunteer Vacation Schedule

Saturday, September 16
Arrive at Philmont during the day. First meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear and packing advice, and general Q&A.
Sunday, September 17
Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point just above Sawmill. Next, a short hike to Whistle Punk trail camp, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.
Monday-Wednesday, September 18-20
Trail construction work (and more fun). There should be time to climb Cito Peak!
Thursday, September 21
Finish uncompleted trail construction work, break camp, clean-up the Whistle Punk campsite, and then hike to another campsite of the crew’s choosing to spend the night – rest and relaxation via traditional backpacking.
Friday, September 22
In the morning, hike to the pick-up point and return to Base Camp. You’ll have the option of climbing the Tooth of Time or just relaxing. Friday evening’s dinner will be a celebration of the week and recognition for what you have given back to Philmont. Participants will be awarded the coveted Volunteer Vacation patch.
Saturday, September 23
Depart Philmont after breakfast. Take a proud and satisfying look back at Cimarroncito Peak (and the Tooth, of course)!

Anticipated Questions

What will we eat?
Both trail food and large quantities of FRESH food to insure sufficient calories. This will be a much better menu than the standard trail food menu. Cooking, cleanup, and water crews will be established.
Will we need to carry a full back pack?
Yes & No. Philmont will pre-stage food, tools, and all crew equipment at Whistle Punk. However, the unused room in your pack will need to be filled with extra (and heavier) work clothes along with warm clothes (jackets, gloves, long underwear, headgear, etc). Extra gear can be shipped back to Base Camp after trail work is completed, but you will then be carrying traditional crew gear and food when hiking to your campsite on Thursday.
Will it be cold?
Probably. Whistle Punk is almost 10,000 feet, and by September 16th, Autumn will be setting in. You will need warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.
Where is Whistle Punk?

Whistle Punk is located south, and uphill, of the trail from Sawmill to Thunder Ridge. There is a spring nearby. This camp was first used in 2016.

What does Whistle Punk mean?
A Whistle Punk is the lumberjack who operated the signal wire running to a donkey engine whistle. The camp was given this name because it is near an old logging camp.
What happens if twenty persons register before me?
We will put you on a wait list. We did have several cancellations last year.

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Email us if you have further questions

1 + 7 =


Registration Policy

  1. Available slots (see below) will be filled in the order that registrations are received.
  2. The preferred method of registration is electronic at https://www.philstaff.org/.
  3. The slots will be filled according to the date and time an electronic registration is received. If registering by mail, the date and time of receipt by the PSA office. If you call in your credit card information, the date and time of that call.
  4. Postmarks or dial-in registrations prior to the opening date and time (see below) will not be accepted.

2018 Volunteer Vacation registration opens at noon Central Time on March 1, 2018. 24 slots will be available upon opening.


Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the posted registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
  3. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of 2019 or can be contributed to the General Fund.
  4. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Registration deadline: August 15, 2018.

2018 PSA Winter Adventure

PSA members have asked to participate in Philmont’s winter program – just as we’ve done with the Summer Trek and Autumn Adventure. Now we can!

Our second annual PSA Winter Adventure is set for February 16-20, 2018.

Originally known as “Kanik”, the program began in 1990 and was renamed Winter Adventure in 2011. The program provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy Philmont’s winter beauty, learn new skills and, most importantly, have fun. Your PSA crew will participate in a variety of activities, including cross country skiing, snow shoeing, building snow shelters, sledding, snow tubing, avalanche safety & snow science and learn cold weather camping skills. The final day is a trip to Red River where everyone can downhill ski, tube or just enjoy the town.

Trained guides are provided for the crew, along with specialized equipment, plenty of food and great PSA fellowship!

Registration Deadline

Wednesday February 1, 2018. Roughly 2 weeks prior to Winter Adventure start date.

Adventure Schedule

2/16 – Arrival Day
(Arrive by 3:00 PM for check-in, medical screening)
5:00 – Supper @ PTC Dining Hall
6:30 – Orientation Slide Show @ PTC Classroom TBA
8:00 – Gear Issue & Shakedown

2/17 – Backcountry Day
7:00 AM – Breakfast
8:00 AM – Finish Packing & Load Vehicles
9:00 AM – Depart for Backcountry
10:00 AM – Arrive at Drop Off & Snowshoe to campsite
Rest of day: Set up camp, build snow shelters, cross country ski, sled, tube, etc.

2/18 – Backcountry Day
Continue Winter Activities
12:00 – Lunch in Backcountry
1:00 – Break camp, snowshoe to pick up point
2:00 – Arrive to Base, clean up, relax
3:00 – Travel to Ski Rental Shop to pickup ski gear
5:00 – Supper in Base Camp

2/19 – Ski Day @ Red River Resort
6:45 – Continental Breakfast
7:15 – Depart for Red River
8:45 – Lessons begin or hit the slopes
Enjoy rest of day at Red River. Sack Lunches provided
4:00 – Depart for Philmont (Optional: Enjoy a meal in Red River as a group. Each person covers their costs.)

2/20 – Departure Day
7:00 – Breakfast at PTC
8:00 – Checkout and depart

Questions about the PSA Winter Adventure?

14 + 5 =


Cancellation Policy

  1. All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
  2. Cancellations prior to the posted registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
  3. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of 2019 or can be contributed to the General Fund.
  4. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Registration Deadline

Wednesday February 1, 2018. Roughly 2 weeks prior to Winter Adventure start date.