High-Adventure Week: Enter Philmont’s 2016 lottery and then cross your fingers

HAW-TuesdayFeeling lucky? Only one lottery on earth can claim this as its prize: a spot at Philmont Scout Ranch.

Philmont Scout Ranch, the second of four national high-adventure bases I’m covering this week, is the BSA’s top hiking destination.

Fortunately, your odds of being selected in Philmont’s lottery are much better than your chances of winning a number-picking game. That said, Philmont has more Scouts and Venturers interested in hiking its New Mexico trails each summer than available slots. So a lottery makes sure everyone gets a fair shake.

The lottery for seven- and 12-day treks in summer 2016 will be open from Oct. 29 to Nov. 19. So what I’m saying is mark your calendars now.

Here’s how to make sure you’re in the running: 

First, begin to form your crew and complete the registration worksheet

You can find the worksheet online at this link. Go ahead and fill this out now. Why wait?

Crew sizes may range from seven to 12 individuals, and each crew must have a minimum of two adults but no more than four. Adults must be 21 years of age or older, and the majority of the crew must be youth.

Venturers, you’re invited, too. Coed crews must have at least one female adult and one male adult.

Once the worksheet is done, select a representative who will go online during the lottery window. Speaking of …

Next, register during the lottery window

Some time between Oct. 29 and Nov. 19, 2014, point your browser to registerphilmont.org/2016.

Note: This is a lottery, not a race. You don’t improve your chances by being the first to enter.

The automated system creates a jumbled list of entries and then goes down the list in order and fits people in as it goes. There’s really no reason not to enter if people think they want to go on a Philmont trek, I’m told.

Then, cross your fingers and wait

Lottery winners are notified after the first week in December.

One of the main reasons people end up on the waiting list is that there are some dates that are more popular than others, but Philmont can only allow so many people to arrive each day.

If you aren’t selected, not all hope is lost

First off, know that crews cancel, so Philmont fills that vacancy with the next crew on the list.

If you still aren’t selected, Scouts/Venturers can contact their local council and ask to join a contingent crew.

Philmont offers an array of awesome individual programs. Learn more about those individual programs here.

New this year: You may attend in consecutive summers

This time around, Philmont is allowing units to attend consecutive summers.

In the past, they had to sit a summer out. Priority still will be given to those who have not yet attended, but Philmont will allow units to attend for consecutive years.

“I frequently speak to people that sound as though they’d never even bother registering for Philmont because it’s so full that there is no point,” says Bryan Hayek, Philmont’s marketing manager. “This is a rumor that Philmont really needs to move past.”

Want more info?

Philmont has you covered on its official website.

Don’t forget about Philmont’s Training Center

Philmont’s national volunteer training center offers world-class leadership training for adults.

I can tell you you’ll finish your week at PTC a changed man or woman.

Take a look at all it has to offer at the official site.

4 Comments

  1. I’ve been told that if you get selected in the lottery, but cancel or fail to complete the registration, then you’ll have a disadvantage in future years. Is there any truth to that? Or was that just a side effect of not being able to attend in consecutive years? (Basically, getting selected one year meant that you couldn’t be selected again the next year even if you didn’t complete the registration.)

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