2017 Annual Fund – Denice Toney

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2017 Annual Fund – Denice Toney

As the year comes to a close, my family evaluates where we want to spend the remainder of our charitable giving. This involves reviewing what we have already donated to determine how much we still have to give. In this wide range of worthy causes, we always put the Philmont Staff Association (PSA) on the “must give” side of our charity list. For us, it is an important way to give back to a place that has given us so much.

I had hardly heard of Philmont before I showed up at registration for my first summer on staff over 20 years ago. My high school boyfriend at the time, Scott Toney, talked me into going to the middle of nowhere New Mexico before our first year of college. I must say that initially I was not enamored with Philmont when I found myself all alone in a new place, as I watched my boyfriend march into the wilderness for Ranger training; I had little experience being away from home for long periods.

That first week in the Trading Post was rough, but once I was able to come out of my shell a little, I discovered what an inspiring place Philmont really was. It started with meeting all of the wonderful people I was working with and really feeling like I was part of a family. When we started getting days off, I began discovering all of the amazing outdoor opportunities at Philmont. That first summer I was able to visit so many different camps and meet the staff out in the Backcountry. As the memories pour back, I feel so fortunate to have gotten those opportunities.

It was sad to leave all of my newfound friends at the end of that summer, but we knew there would be more summers and more adventures. When I look back, I can really see what a huge impact Philmont had on me and where I am today, and I am so grateful my boyfriend (now my husband) convinced me to spend that first summer at Philmont. Now Scott and I bring our two young daughters out to Philmont, which is possible because of the programs and opportunities offered through the Philmont Staff Association. We smile as we watch their love of Philmont grow too.

I wish every young adult could have the opportunities I had at Philmont, so giving to the PSA in many capacities is my way of facilitating these experiences for future generations. This year I implore you to think about what Philmont has given to you too, and consider giving back through the PSA.

…or call Dollie in the PSA Office at 575-376-1138.

Denice Toney, Member and Data Geek

Annual Fund Stories So Far

Alex Ave | Sarah Burgess | Mariah Hughes | Denice Toney | Tom Munch | Tom Guigni | Mary Steuver | John Murphy

In 2017 we exceeded our $75,000 goal by $5,820.

Thanks!

2017 Annual Fund – Sarah Burgess

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2017 Annual Fund – Sarah Burgess

My journey with the Philmont Staff Association came full circle several years ago. With some encouragement from a good friend, I volunteered for the Scholarship Committee and began reading youth participant scholarship applications for the ROCS program. It was surreal to make an awardee list with my fellow committee team member. As a teenager, my brother convinced me to apply for a new program called Roving Outdoor Conservation School, and assured me that a backpacking trek at Philmont would be a summer camp experience I wouldn’t regret. Thanks to a scholarship awarded by the PSA, I was able to take an unforgettable trek which influenced my life and work in unforgettable ways since. I think this particular full circle is only one of many more to come in my membership with the PSA.

When I was a Ranger for a PSA Trek in the summer of 2005, they gifted me my first PSA membership after the trek was over. Renewing this membership on my own wasn’t hard to do thanks to very affordable seasonal rates and conveniences like a payroll deduction. In one of my final seasons at the Ranch, I was blessed to receive an incredible, gifted PSA Life Membership. Paying this value forward to seasonal staff I worked with up until my last season felt like the least I could contribute back to an organization that has given me so much.

Trekking as a participant at the Ranch established a pathway for me that led to so many momentous occasions in my life. Working as a Philmont Staff member created tremendous opportunities for me to grow professionally and personally. Serving the PSA is a legacy that will continue to thrive for me and so many others after the treks and seasons worked have come to a close. Contributing to this legacy for the former, current, and future staff of Philmont helps me to feel part of something big, something valuable, something that Teddy Roosevelt would refer to as “work worth doing.”

When I reflect on the work done and yet to be done by the PSA, I think of a Waite Phillips quote: “The only things we keep permanently are those we give away.” The Philmont Staff Association gives away much that is tangible such as participant and staff scholarships, and leading fundraising for capital projects like the Silver Sage Staff Activities Center and the new PSA Office and Seton Memorial Library Building HOmE campaign. The intangible work the PSA does is immeasurable, yet it cannot reach the highest potential influence and impact that it does without your help. Give to the PSA’s Annual Fund today, and invite a friend to do the same – any amount is truly making a difference. Reach out to a fellow former staffer who doesn’t yet know about the impactful work that the PSA is doing. I hope you can continue your quest in your first, or next of many, full circle opportunities through the Philmont Staff Association.

…or call Dollie in the PSA Office at 575-376-1138.

Sarah Burgess, National Director – Philmont Staff Association
Philmont Staff 2003-2016

Annual Fund Stories So Far

Alex Ave | Sarah Burgess | Mariah Hughes | Denice Toney | Tom Munch | Tom Guigni | Mary Steuver | John Murphy

In 2017 we exceeded our $75,000 goal by $5,820.

Thanks!

2017 Annual Fund – Mariah Hughes

  • 2017 Annual Fund 107.76% 107.76%

2017 Annual Fund – Mariah Hughes

Next year in July, it will be my 40th Philmont anniversary. That’s right, 40 years have passed since I met one of the great loves of my life on a 10-day trek with my Explorer post.

I believe in certain circles, this would be our crystal anniversary, but under the circumstances, I’ll settle for an igneous intrusion of dacite porphyry formed in the tertiary period some 22-40 million years ago….today! Happy birthday Tooth of Time!

But I digress.

Anyway, what started as a 10-day trek with my Explorer post at Philmont Scout Ranch turned into a lifelong connection to a magical stretch of mountains, and to the other people who spent their summers walking those New Mexico trails. In fact, I counted the other day – over half of my social media contacts are people I know because of the time I spent as a member of the Philmont staff.

I bet this is true for many Philmont staff alumni. While each of the friendships and memories we made at Philmont are unique, they have one thing in common; Philmont provided the backdrop that made so much of what we value possible.

Try as we might to stay connected, we are scattered across the country…indeed, across the world. But the good news is that the Philmont Staff Association gives us a way to gather back together!

The Philmont Staff Association continues to provide opportunities and outreach that connects staff alumni to Philmont friends both old and new. Each year, the PSA makes it possible for former staff to return HOmE for a summer, fall or winter trek. Members can attend a PSA reunion either at Philmont or in another region of the country. Those wanting an experience that allows them to give back to Philmont can sign up for a volunteer vacation. Or you can simply connect by sitting back in a comfy chair at home and read about what’s happening at Philmont in the PSA’s award-winning High Country magazine.

The PSA operates on a very small budget, thanks to the many volunteers that help organize and operate the organization throughout the year.  However, in order to continue to provide so many wonderful opportunities, we rely on the support of our members to help fund the day-to-day operations of the PSA.

As you count your blessings this holiday season, I hope you’ll count the Philmont Staff Association as one of them. I also hope that you’ll add a gift to the PSA’s annual fund to your Christmas list so the PSA can continue to provide a way for us to stay together this year and for many years to come.

Please click on this link to make your gift today! After all, what better time to make your donation than on the Tooth of Time’s Birthday?

…or call Dollie in the PSA Office at 575-376-1138.

Best wishes for a blessed holiday season,

Mariah Hughes
VP Development – Philmont Staff Association

Annual Fund Stories So Far

Alex Ave | Sarah Burgess | Mariah Hughes | Denice Toney | Tom Munch | Tom Guigni | Mary Steuver | John Murphy

In 2017 we exceeded our $75,000 goal by $5,820.

Thanks!

2017 Annual Fund – Alex Ave

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2017 Annual Fund – Alex Ave

I’ll never forget my first time at Philmont. It was 1987 and I was a 14-year-old camper setting foot in dusty basecamp pondering my future in scouting and wondering what life had in store for me. Two weeks later, forever changed by what I had encountered, I staggered out of the van we used to drive home and all I could think about was how I was going to get back to that magical place.

Philmont, as I’ve heard many times, is as much about the land as it is about the people. Sure, coming to Philmont brought me in intimate touch with the beautiful mountains of northern New Mexico. But it also brought me in intimate touch with the many beautiful people who made HOmE a home. You learn as much from the people as from the place.

I’m writing this from my study in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since my final summer at the Ranch, life has taken me–quite literally–all over the world as a member of the United States Foreign Service. I’ve been to Caribbean beaches, Greek ruins, the deserts of the Middle East, the peaks of Afghanistan, the bustle of Hong Kong, and many places in between. It sounds like a crazy, wavy path, and it has been. But spiritually and emotionally, it’s all the same distance from

Philmont, which is where I learned the people skills, the emotional resilience, and the self-confidence to be able to live this crazy, stressful and wonderful life. In an inversion of the saying about ancient Rome, no matter where I wander, for me all roads lead from Philmont.

I think that those of us who have been touched by the Ranch carry it around with us in our hearts and souls. It’s there in how we interact with other people, how we interact with the natural world, and how we interact with our inner selves. Quite frankly, I owe more to the Ranch than I could hope to repay in a dozen lifetimes. But it’s important to me (and hopefully also to you) to try and give something back. And that is where the PSA comes into the picture, for while Philmont Scout Ranch belongs to the Boy Scouts of America, it also belongs to all of us, and the PSA is there to help us be responsible stewards of our mutual inheritance. Between the Capital Campaign, the Annual Fund, Staff Amigos, and scholarships, the PSA is there to help the Ranch improve, grow and evolve just as Philmont has done the same for us. It gives us some skin in the game, as they say, and it is absolutely worth your time.

One of the most tangible benefits the PSA has given me is the ability to connect with my brothers and sisters of the Philmont Staff from across the years. It led me to a Phil-reunion in Kabul, and to connections with artists, professors, musicians, you name it. Every time I move (which is every few years on account of my job) I make a point to send my new information to High Country and without fail I get emails from former staffers I’ve never met, deepening my web of Phil-connections.

In the end, I think it’s pretty simple. We’ve all had our time on the Ranch and moved on, physically if not spiritually. But Philmont remains, and it remains special. Time will always await us in those hills, as sure as the wind whispers, the eagles soar, and the mountains rise. Philmont will always be God’s Country; it will always be HOmE. We will always be moved by it. Wanting to repay the Ranch for all it has given us is only natural, and the PSA is our way to do it. Please consider donating.

…or call Dollie in the PSA Office at 575-376-1138.

Alex Ave, PSA Member

Annual Fund Stories So Far

Alex Ave | Sarah Burgess | Mariah Hughes | Denice Toney | Tom Munch | Tom Guigni | Mary Steuver | John Murphy

In 2017 we exceeded our $75,000 goal by $5,820.

Thanks!