Philmont High Adventure Training Conference -- Long
John R. Carminati (CLANOF6@AOL.COM)
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 22:34:55 -0400
I have finally found a moment to write up my attendance at the Philmont
Training Center, Boy Scout Conference, High Adventure Training. This is a new
course and in my opinion they missed the mark.
My expectation was we would learn about program development for council high
adventure contingent crews not related to Boundary Waters, Seabase or
Philmont. I expected to address risk management and developing age
appropriate programs. The latter was only "winked at." Would you really want
to take a crew of 11-year olds to Big Bend National Park for a week of
backpacking in the desert? BTW, if you go you will likely only see another
living soul every couple of days when you stop at one of the campgrounds for
This is the course outline and my associated thoughts/experiences. The course
spent 2-1/2 days in the backcountry and I think the staff spent TOO much time
trying to expose the participants to "Philmont." We stayed at the Hunting
Lodge and did dayhikes to Clarks Fork and Cimarroncito.
Personal Equipment -- Handed out old backpacking lists, did the "this is
what's in my pack" routine and went over the "10 essentials."
Crew Equipment -- Field stripped an MSR water filter and Whisperlite stove
and handed out crew food. We did not discuss adult gear vs crew gear (stoves,
first aid, expensive tents), how to fund crew gear, tevas vs running shoes,
Trail and Campsite Tips -- Reviewed trail hiking rules. Reminded leaders to
look for advancement opportunities (yes Virginia, some boys are still working
on rank and merit badges). We did a scavenger hunt (used field guide to
identity birds and plants) and discussed how leaders should know something
about local lore, geology, or story telling to "get the crew talking." No
mention was made of Project WILD or braiding.
Menus and Food Preparation -- Related personal experiences with how to
"spice up" dehydrated foods. Discussed dehydrated foods found in grocery
stores, how Philmont handles trash (they do not remove excess packaging), and
sanitation (at last someone that recommended to use bleach water!). No
discussion on menu planning (caloric needs, variety, etc.).
Group Living -- Emphasis on COMMUNICATION. Discussion on stress factors
(weather, age, exertion, responsibility, etc.), conflict resolution (only
suggested humor to defuse situations) and youth leadership (watch adult
Stewardship of the Land -- Reviewed the low impact ethic and the poor image
of BSA using public lands (our high impact past).
Judgement -- Discussed how stress factors effected judgement, that we
should always stick by your decisions (even if "we are almost there") and
always try to maintain an "out". Then we had a long discussion on unusual
circumstances/stories at Philmont. They missed resource books by the ACA
(canoeing and camping) and mountioneering on bad judgement. Philmont examples
did not demonstrate how "small errors can mount into catastrophe".
Risk Management -- No mention of ACA training. Mainly dealt with using
Guide for Safe Scouting (very basic), Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat and
Highlights of Risk Management for Councils (which we did not get or see).
High Adventure Examples -- Brain dump from the group on what should be
considered in "planning", how to spread work among committee members (little
youth involvement) and then we split into groups to "plan one".
We closed out with a "how do you get a reservation for Philmont".
Handouts were good and filled a three ring binder. It consisted of mainly
freebies from NOLS and BSA taskgroup reports on high adventure and summer
ASM-Venture Troop 85
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City