Born at the Confluence

A History of the Philmont Staff Association

In the 1840s, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the unique genius of Americans is their ability to form themselves into associations – associations that allow people to aggregate their resources and their talents for a common good.

The Philmont Staff Association is one such group. Formed in the 1970s, the PSA’s mission is to unite “the Philmont staff – past and present – for the purpose of serving the adventure, heritage and experience of Philmont Scout Ranch and the Boy Scouts of America.” Here in print for the first time is the story of the Philmont Staff Association, from its founding and early struggles to its recent successes.

A “confluence” – while it is certainly a place, and a very special place where the Rayado and Agua Fria creeks come together – it is also more than just a place. It is a coming together of many kinds. “Born At The Confluence” is the story of how people can come together to have significance and impact, but it is also – in microcosm – a glimpse into what makes Philmont, the Boy Scouts, and America itself great.

Ken Davis, a long-time Scouter and lover of Philmont, has a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia. After active duty service in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, he continued his Army career as a reservist, rising to the rank of colonel before retiring in 1999. He also had a 30-year career as a civil servant, working for the National Archives and other government agencies. Davis has also written “The Brotherhood of Cheerful Service: The History of the Order of the Arrow” and “A History of Woodbadge in the United States.

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