2020 Autumn Adventure Trek

2020 Autumn Adventure Trek

(registration opens April 1st at noon Mountain)

By Steven and Cynthia Truemper

See Philmont from a different perspective than the hustle and bustle of the summer that you experienced while being on staff, enjoy the stillness and serenity of the Philmont backcountry, backpack through the golden aspens and listen for bugling elk. Join the PSA this October for the Thirteenth Annual PSA Autumn Adventure Trek. The backcountry camps have already gathered so the program will consist of hiking, sightseeing and fellowship.

Trek dates are October 11–17, 2020, and the cost is $375 per person. Optional one-day early arrival for an additional $25. Payments are made directly to Philmont Scout Ranch (not the PSA) by check or money order. Canvas tents are provided for the night before and the night after the trek.

Register now.

  • Saturday – optional meet and greet, 7 PM
  • Sunday – report to the Welcome Center at 9 AM, Basecamp checkout and hit the trail or head to crew-choice backcountry base-camp
  • Friday – return from trail
  • Saturday – depart Philmont

Please note…

  • The base-camp session is still a backcountry experience and participants will be in the backcountry for the duration of their trip. All gear and medical forms must be within Philmont’s backcountry guidelines.
  • Although crews will set up at camp, the facilities and amenities of that camp will not be accessible. All water and gas lines are off for the season and cabins are locked.
Cost and Eligibility
  • $375 (with optional one-day early arrival fee of $25)
  • Be physically and mentally fit
  • Be a member of the PSA or trek-eligible family member
  • Be a member of the BSA; provide your BSA# during check-out or within 30 days of registration of this service project.
  • Have a completed Philmont medical form
  • Be 14 years old OR completed 8th grade and be at least 13 years of age prior to participation
  • The PSA Autumn Adventure Trek allows you to bring friends and family members who meet the eligibility requirements listed above
Trek Space and Base-camping

This year we’ll have three crews with up to 14 people each for a total of 42 slots. You can choose regular trek (2 crews) or to base-camp (1 crew) at a backcountry camp of the crew’s choice from either Clark’s Fork, Crater Lake, Miners’ Park, Carson Meadows, Urraca, Ponil, Pueblano, or Head of Dean.

Special Award Patch

Persons completing the Autumn Adventure Trek will receive a special award patch. It must be earned; it cannot be purchased.

Registration Cut-off

Registration cut-off is Monday September 7th, 2020.

Questions about the PSA Autumn Adventure?

PSA Registration; Philmont Payment and Refunds

Register here on the PSA website, but…

  1. Payment is made by check only directly to Philmont
  2. Philmont accepts checks, credit cards, and ACH bank transfers. (PayPal not accepted)
  3. Philmont’s policy: ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. THEY CANNOT BE APPLIED TO FUTURE PSA TREKS and EVENTS. Emergency situations will be handled by Philmont on an individual basis
  4. Make check payable to: “Philmont Scout Ranch”
  5. In the memo, please write: "PSA Summer Volunteer Vacation" or "PSA VV Fall 2021" as appropriate for your event.

Send check to this address:

Philmont Scout Ranch
17 Deer Run Road
Cimarron, NM 87714

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

Cancellation date: Monday, September 7th, 20209.

2020 PSA Summer Reunion at the PTC

Register an adult (18 and up) for $100 or a child (5-17) for $55 online. Children 4 and younger are free.
Deluxe tents available for $350 for two; contact the PSA Office for higher capacity costs.

The Philmont Staff Association’s 2020 Summer Reunion will be held on the weekend of July 17-19 at the Philmont Training Center (PTC). You and your family are invited to participate in a weekend of activities, service, fellowship, and sharing memories. The Philmont Training Center is the perfect venue for our reunion. The facilities at PTC are first class. Tents are large two-person wall canvas on wooden or concrete floors with electricity, lighting, a wardrobe, and two twin beds. Each tent city has restrooms and family shower houses with hot water. There is also a laundromat, so bring the family to the reunion as part of your summer vacation.

Some of the tentative activities for the weekend include: day hikes, a conservation service project, campfire programs, tours of the Villa Philmonte, and a silent auction. The National Scouting Museum will be open and a “must see” on your weekend agenda. The PSA’s Annual Business Meeting will be on the schedule during the weekend, too.

This schedule is subject to change as we get closer that weekend.

Friday, July 17th

*Set up for Silent Auction in Marchetti Room, National Scouting Museum Thursday and Friday; PSA staff and volunteers.

  • 1–5 pm Check-in at the Philmont Training Center; tent assignments will posted at the PTC and PSA Offices
  • 5:30–6:30 pm dinner at PTC Dining Hall
  • 7:00–7:45 pm Chapel Service
  • 8:00 pm “Palnick Porch Talk” Ice Cream Social, Murphy-Lynch Veranda at PTC Dining Hall
  • 8:00 pm Salsa Night and Open Mic Night at SSSAC

Saturday, July 18th

  • 6 am Lover’s Leap Hike ($15 charge and must sign up during registration) max 25 capacity
  • 7 am Breakfast at PTC Dining Hall
  • 8 am Meet at PTC parking lot for 8 am to 12 noon hikes; must sign up during registration
  • 8 am Silent Auction opens (4:30 pm close) in Marchetti Room, National Scouting Museum
  • 12–1 pm Lunch at PTC Dining Hall
  • 3–4 pm Annual Meeting at PTC Assembly Hall
  • 4:30 pm Silent Auction closes
  • 5:30–6:30 pm Dinner in PTC Dining Hall
  • 6:30 pm Group Photo Villa Lawn
  • 7:15 pm Silver Sage Awards in PTC Assembly Hall
  • Silver Sage Reception after the awards presentation; ice-ream on veranda of PTC Dining Hall

Sunday, July 19th

  • 7 am Breakfast at PTC Dining Hall
  • 8 am PSA Treks check–in at CHQ Welcome Center
  • 8–9 am PSA Reunion attendees move out PTC tents. Must be moved out by 9 am to allow time for staff to prepare for incoming PTC Participants
  • 10 am–12 noon PSA Reunion participants possible visit or schedule a tour with the Chase Ranch, Villa Philmonte, Rayado or National Scouting Museum
  • 12 noon Departure

2020 Silent Auction at the Reunion

2020 Silent Auction at the Reunion

Silent Auction Begins








The Biggest and Best Silent Auction!

Last year, the PSA raised over $7,000 in one day for the Silent Auction and 100% went to our Scholarship Fund. For the 2020 Reunion, we would like to have that same success!

The Biggest & Best PSA Silent Auction at the PSA Annual Reunion will be open on Saturday, July 18th, 2020 in the Marchetti Room at the National Scouting Museum.

To make it the biggest and best silent auction, we really need your help. PSA members always come through, so let’s do it once more. We need auction items. Search your drawers, your closets, and your garage. What items would really be desired by PSA members? And remember, they don’t have to be Philmont or Scouting related—anything that might interest PSAer is welcome.

Remember 100% of funds generated by Silent Auction go to the Staff Scholarship Fund. The more we raise, the more scholarships we can award.

To send in your items, you can mail them to the PSA office between now and July 1st. Our deadline for the 2020 Silent Auction is July 1st. Any items received after July 1st or on site during the Reunion we are happy to take and will be placed in the Silent Auction for the 2021 Conservation 50th Anniversary. All donated items qualify as a tax deduction and will be provided with a letter from the PSA listing items for your 2020 donations.

For information or to make donations, contact:
Dollie O’Neill [email protected]

Ship items to:
Philmont Staff Association, 17 Deer Run Rd, Cimarron, NM 87714

2020 Volunteer Vacation

2020 Volunteer Vacation

You arrive in...








The Trail to Cito peak—Year 5

We’re up on the side of the mountain now. The views are so spectacular – you won’t even notice the work. And, the price for an entire week at Philmont in the Backcountry has been cut in half! It can’t get much better.

The Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in 2020. This will be the 5th year for the very exciting and tremendously rewarding Volunteer Vacation. 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 12 to 19, 2020. The cost is only $105. Registration opens March 1, 2020 at noon, Mountain Time. Registration deadline is August 15th, 2020. Please see Registration, Payments, and Refunds at the end of this article.

Carrying On in 2020

The 2020 Volunteer Vacation continues the construction of a new spur trail to the top of Cimarroncito Peak. Completion is expected in 2021. There has never been a trail to Cito Peak. We’re almost to the summit. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.

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. All participants must be members of the Boy Scouts of America.

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 7 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.

Here’s the tentative schedule for the 2020 PSA Volunteer Vacation. Please note, this entire schedule could change dramatically based on Philmont’s needs. We’ll keep everyone informed as the year progresses.

Volunteer Vacation Schedule

Saturday, September 12

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 & packing advice, and general Q&A.

Sunday, September 13

Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point just above Sawmill. Next, a very 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 14-16

Trail construction work (and more fun). There should be time to climb Cito Peak! We’re close to the summit.

Thursday, September 17

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 18

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 19

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

Common Questions and Answers

What’s it like?

Download the detailed High Country article from 2016 providing a full explanation of everything that takes place.

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/riding to your campsite on Thursday.

Philmont backpacks are available at no charge if needed.

Do we need a tent?


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?


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.

How many people can sign up?

Philmont would like to work with a group of 24 to 30 volunteers. If we exceed that number, a wait list will be established.

Do I need to join the BSA?


Please provide your BSA# during check-out or within 30 days of purchase of this service project.

Email us if you have further questions

PSA Registration; Philmont Payment and Refunds

Register here on the PSA website, but…

  1. Payment is made by check only directly to Philmont
  2. Philmont accepts checks, credit cards, and ACH bank transfers. (PayPal not accepted)
  3. Philmont’s policy: ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. THEY CANNOT BE APPLIED TO FUTURE PSA TREKS and EVENTS. Emergency situations will be handled by Philmont on an individual basis
  4. Make check payable to: “Philmont Scout Ranch”
  5. In the memo, please write: "PSA Summer Volunteer Vacation" or "PSA VV Fall 2021" as appropriate for your event.

Send check to this address:

Philmont Scout Ranch
17 Deer Run Road
Cimarron, NM 87714

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

This session will have 30 slots available upon opening.

Registration deadline: July 1st, 2021.

Zachary Donahoe Joins the PSA Office

Join the PSA Board of Directors in welcoming Zachary Donahoe as our new full-time PSA Office Manager! Zachary joins the Philmont Staff Association in this position and will be working with the Executive Director coordinating day-to-day business with membership services and merchandise sales.

Zachary started working at Philmont Scout Ranch as a ranger in 2015. He then went on to work in the PSA Office in the summer of 2018 and Timber Stand Improvement that fall. In 2019, he was the OATC Foreman for Philmont Scout Ranch. Zachary earned his B.A. in Journalism and Technical Communications from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO. Zachary is an Eagle Scout from Albuquerque, NM.

A few words from Zachary:

“Scouting has been a big part of my life since I was young, but I never imagined the places it would take me. Scouting has given me the courage to chase my dreams, the discipline to accomplish the goals I set, and the perspective to see beyond myself and my own needs. In my life I have worked long days shearing sheep and alpaca, spent winters on the slopes teaching kids how to ski, and experienced life through a lens capturing photos and video for Colorado State University. However, I always find myself being drawn back to HOmE. Philmont has given me so much over the years, but its greatest lesson to me is that Scouting is all about giving back to others. I look forward to serving our staff and supporting the ranch as I take on this position with the PSA!”

Zachary begins working for the PSA in early February. Welcome Zach to the PSA Office!