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Scramble - Be Flexible
The title is the Philmont Ranger motto, and the way of life for everyone associated with Philmont this season. Whether Philmont staff, youth participant, or volunteer adult, many people have had their summer plans turned on end by the closure of the Philmont backcountry due to extreme wildfire danger. Some have tried to be flexible and scrambled to arrange replacement adventures, others have postponed their treks to next year or 2020, while a very few have just vented their frustration to the online abyss.
This is an historic event, being the first time Philmont has closed its backcountry. So, how do you handle a catastrophy that completely shuts down your $20million/year business for an entire season? Philmont appears to be doing everything the best way possible, and making the vast majority of effected clients as happy as possible.
By making the decision to cancel their entire season, Philmont put the safety of participants and the quality of their experience far above the sunk costs by participants and loss of revenue to their business. Once that decision came about, figuring out who would bear the financial burdens was needed. Philmont offered refunds, alternate treks at other BSA high adventure bases, or replacement treks in 2020. Some cancelled crews are also able to slip a year to open 2019 dates, but only if there are open treks. Those options really should cover nearly everyone and demonstrate a high sense of responsibility on behalf of Philmont.
Depending on where the crew resides, the actual Philmont fee of a trek can be just half (or less) of the total cost. Many cancelled crews are on the hook for payments made to transportation companies, whether airlines, trains, buses, or shuttles. Many people are happily reporting that SouthWest Airlines and Frontier Airlines have been great about refunding fees. Leading the Way Tours appears to be refunding nicely, while BlueSky Adventures is getting some bad online exposure from folks saying they will not refund, or have given 50% refunds. Hopefully, that will change.
Some things to learn from this situation:
- Understand that, as a leader, your highest priority is safety of participants. The decision to cancel or alter an event due to any perceived danger is the right choice, whether it is a fire, blizzard, flood warning, high winds, or any other potential situation.
- Know the refund policy of companies you deal with for transportation or recreation, especially with regards to natural events.
- Consider travel cancellation insurance - and know what it really covers and how to file a claim.
Read the official Philmont Announcement about their closure.
If you're looking for an alternate High Adventure for this summer (or just to consider for future treks), here is a List of some cool adventures.
Many scouts and adults will probably be reciting the famous Philmont saying "I Wanna Go Back To Philmont" for the next year, just without the "Back" part.
Were you scheduled for Philmont this summer? What did your crew decide to do instead?
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Posted: 13:25 07-05-2018 1343
Alt Dot Philmont
Due to fire, many Philmont treks have been cancelled and the crew advisors contacted. In case you're still thinking of alternative adventures, or just to be aware for future treks, here's some other cool places to Scout around the country. Most of these have expressly mentioned they have room to take on cancelled Philmont trek participants. Scout On!
- Purchase surplus Philmont meals so your entire troop can experience Phil-food on any upcoming campout - Video
- Some of the Philmont staff have been dispersed to the other BSA national high adventure bases - Northern Tier, Sea Base, Summit - and all those locations might have openings for your trek.
- MOHAB (Montana High Adventure Base) - wilderness expeditions including backpacking and packrafting in wild habitat for elk, deer, bear, and cougar.
- Tahosah High Adventure Base - Denver area
- Texas High Adventure Base - Chisholm Trail, canoeing, kayaking
- High Knoll - Philmont of the East? in Virginia on Blue Ridge Scout Reservation with backpacking, horseback, rock climbing, ...
- SwampBase - Atchafalaya swamp in Louisiana
- Adirondack Trek Center - Seneca Waterways council
- Lost Pines - Capitol area council in Texas
- Yellowstone High Adventure Base - Camp Buffalo Bill in Casper, WY
If your council has a high adventure base, feel free to add it in the comments.
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Posted: 7:01 06-12-2018 1342
In an official statement released today, the BSA and LDS announce a dissolution of their relationship. LDS will "discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA" effective at the end of 2019. A layperson's interpretation of that is "Game Over" between LDS and BSA.
On top of the other major changes to the BSA this year, this is yet another disruptor for us all to prepare for. In my small part of the world, it will have no impact at the unit level, little at the district level, but some at the council level. After all, of the religious in Minnesota, they are about 35% Lutheran and .35% LDS.
Other councils will certainly find significant membership drops.
At the national level, I expect there to be a major drop in membership and philanthropic income which will trickle down through the councils. Maybe opening the membership requirements will help counter the effects. Maybe there are other plans being made at the top. The next year will be interesting to discover how it plays out.
How do you expect this split to affect Scouting where you live? What steps are you taking to prepare for it?
Read the announcement HERE.
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Posted: 21:22 05-08-2018 1341
Get ready to recruit youth of all genders.
The BSA announced a new recruiting campaign to attract all youth. It's called "Scout Me In" and is aimed at reaching girls to join Cub Scouts.
I don't think it's really so "historic" as the BSA news releases are saying since the BSA churns out marketing campaigns often enough. But, I expect we'll see the number of participating girls explode from the current 3,000+ girl Cub Scouts in the early adopter dens to 300,000+ next year.
Bigger news, I think, is the official name change of Boy Scouts to "Scouts BSA" in 2019. The youngest program is still Cub Scouts and Venturing is still Venturing, but the 12-18 year old program is changing to Scouts BSA to remove the obvious "Boy" in the name.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes the country to recognize Scouts BSA as Boy Scouts and not ask, "Is that another competing group to Boy Scouts?"
So, buckle up for another exciting year ahead in the ongoing evolution of Scouting in America!
PS: Read More
Posted: 7:14 05-02-2018 1340
World Challenge Help
I think the 29th Burscough Scout group would be a fun bunch of scouts to visit some day! They have come up with an energetic request to contact other scouts around the world by making a video on Facebook.
This scout group has an active FB page that you might scan through to see some of their recent campouts, cooking, hikes, and such that they have done this spring.
They are located HERE on google maps - if you zoom out a bit, you can see why they used a Beatles song. :-)
If your scouts are interested in connecting with other scouts around the world, check out the Boy Scout Trail PenPals and Postcards features to find scout groups doing the same.
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Posted: 5:44 04-30-2018 1339
Leggings, Capris, Skorts, and Scarves - these are some of the new girl gear items coming to Scouting this year.
With girls joining Cub Scouts, BSA National Supply has been making some clothing updates for the new scouts. You will probably be seeing these items (and more) in your Scout Shop in the not too distant future, and being aware of them might help you recruit more youth into your local program.
- Skorts - skirt and shorts combined, so they look like a skirt but provide coverage during active scouting.
- Scarf - I am interested to see how this fits into the uniform.
- Capris - shorter than long pants, longer than shorts.
- Leggings - tight fitting stretch pants.
It is obvious these new clothing options are intended to make scouting more attractive to girls. Sounds like a good marketing plan to me, especially if there has been feedback that the pants just do not cut it. It will be interesting to see what other "female fashion" accessories show up this year.
Updates to other Scout Shop items are coming, too. #5 in the picture is new colors for Pinewood Derby car wheels. Personally, I do not understand the value in this one, but maybe they go faster than black? Will more colors be available? White wheels would have looked better on my Marshmallow-themed car I made years ago. :-)
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Posted: 12:26 04-27-2018 1338
Webelos Super Achiever
The new Webelos Super Achiever patches have arrived and are available now. A hundred have already been shipped out to folks that pre-ordered them so they will have them well before their Blue Gold event.
Read more about the Webelos Super Achiever award, or buy your super achiever patches before this batch is gone, too.
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Posted: 9:18 01-11-2018 1337Previous Posts
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