Why 2015 is the year to take your family to Philmont Training Center

Spend a week in one of the most beautiful spots in the country.

Learn from Scouters who wrote the book — literally — on Scouting subjects that matter to you.

Oh, and bring the whole family because there’s something for infants, spouses, grandparents and everyone in between.

Consider this your formal invitation to spend a week next summer at Philmont Training Center, the national training center of the Boy Scouts of America. What you learn at the iconic New Mexico destination will improve the Scouting experience for the young men and young women of your pack, troop, crew, team, post or ship.

But don’t delay. Sign up for a summer 2015 conference by the end of 2014 and you’ll save some cash — you early bird, you.

I spoke with Andrea Watson, associate director of program at Philmont Training Center, to get the scoop on Philmont Training Center’s 2015 season. Here’s what I learned.

Who teaches Philmont Training Center conferences?

No less than the best volunteers and professionals from across the country.

These are the people who “wrote the book” — literally — on Scouting. I’m talking top-level trainers and Scouters, many giving up vacation time to share their knowledge with you.

For example, the people teaching the “Leading the NEW Cub Scout Adventure” course are the volunteers who wrote the new Cub Scout program.

The faculty for the commissioner conference are members of the National Commissioner Service Team who have been involved in the creation and rollout of Scouting Tools.

Who can attend Philmont Training Center?

Any registered Scouter; there’s no other prerequisite. PTC is suited for brand-new Scouters and seasoned veterans. There really is something for everyone.

Who else will be in my session?

One of the best parts of a Philmont conference, Watson says, is the opportunity for shared learning among the participants.

That means you will network with and learn from Scouters from across the country. And in today’s Facebook-connected world, the connections made at PTC will extend beyond the week spent in New Mexico.

What will my family do?

Never want to leave, that’s what. The family program component is unparalleled in or out of Scouting. My first exposure to Philmont was attending a family program while my dad took a training course. My sister, mom and I were inspired to return to Philmont again and again.

Scouts and non-Scouts of any age can experience the magic of Philmont.

Parents can bring children, grandparents can bring grandchildren, wives can bring husbands and husbands can bring wives. From 2-month-olds to 90-year-olds, there is something for everyone.

Learn more about the family programs here.

What’s the PTC like?

It offers world-class facilities, comfortable lodging with private hot showers, great food prepared by staff members, historic museums and southwestern history — all with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop.

The summer weather is perfect, with highs in the 70s and 80s and lows in the 40s.

To see what a typical week is like at PTC, go here.

When are these sessions held?

Every week, all summer long. Week 1 is June 7 to 13. Week 10, the final week of the summer season, is Aug. 9 to 15.

PTC offers one fall conference week: Sept. 13 to 19.

What sessions are offered?

Way more than I can list here. See the full 2015 conference schedule here.

I did want to draw your attention to these great conferences:

#Awesome!—STEM Explorations in Philmont’s Backcountry (14-20 age youth only)

Spend a week exploring the natural science world taking day trips into Philmont’s backcountry. Daily you will travel to and from locations across Philmont, exploring and experimenting in the New Mexico wild. Discover the mechanics of COPE adventures, chemistry of the prairies flora and fauna, and habitat of the Philmont water ways and eco systems. Climb to new heights as you challenge your skills with rock formations; climbing, rappelling and identifying the composition of the landscape. Sign up now for this intense five day adventure. (Week 3: June 21-27)

Creating Exciting Exploring and Learning for Life Programs: Best Practices and Strategies

Participants will learn how to identify and fill the needs of local schools and businesses by using the total package of in-school and Exploring programs. You’ll learn how to fund and sustain these programs to achieve the maximum benefit to both the youth and the organizations who serve youth. District and Council Key 3s, commissioners at all levels and district and council committee members with Exploring and Learning for Life responsibilities are encouraged to attend. Faculty will include National Learning for Life volunteers and professionals who will share best practices and strategies. (Week 3: June 21-27)

Disabilities Awareness: Building Council and District level Resources

Learn from members of the National Disabilities Awareness Committee how best to serve youth who have disabilities. The focus will be on building or strengthening council and district disabilities awareness committees that can address training, publications, program resources, and advancement issues, and also provide general support for units serving Scouts with disabilities. Unit volunteers will benefit from the course as well. All participants will come away better equipped to deal with the many questions and situations involved in working with Scouts who have special needs, and to provide support and education for Scouts, families, leaders, and council staff in delivering a quality Scouting experience. (Week 6: July 12-18)

Finding Your Way – Night or Day

Do you want all of your Scouts to be confident and competent in the outdoors? How do you team them abstract skills like reading terrain features and have fun while doing it? This is the conference for you! Learn new skills that you can take back to your unit, district or council. Warning—it’s not your father’s compass game! You will learn tips and tricks to get your Scouts excited about navigating in the outdoors. You will learn how to create programs and teach Scouts from Cub Scouts to Venturing, including how to teach the Orienteering and Geocaching merit badges. Over half the week will be spent outside of the classroom, so you will come away with new hands-on feet-on knowledge that you can apply directly to your program. Whether you are a seasoned woodsman or new to Scouting, you will find this conference valuable and exciting. (Week 7: July 19-25)

Mastering Advanced Skills That Build Programs That Rock

Aimed at Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing leaders, this new conference introduces participants to engaging program topics like geocaching, search and rescue, special cooking, and advanced pioneering. Try out the activities in a special round-robin format at sites around Philmont and learn how to take activities back to your troop, team, or crew. (Week 6: July 12-18, Week 7: July 19-25)

Strategic Analysis for Council Properties

This conference is provided for professionals and volunteers who have planning responsibilities for council properties. A companion to the NCAP Application for Authorization to Operate a camp, the course explores the many analytical tools that can be used to determine if a property is meeting it’s intended goals. This course will provide you with real time analysis of your home council properties. Topics include: stewardship, matching capital investment with strategic objectives, analytical methods, market analysis, value, financial sustainability, product development and channels of distribution. This is a hands on course and students are asked to bring real time data to the class from their own council for analysis. (Week 11: September 13-19)

STEM-tastic Scouting – Inspiration, Imagination and Innovation

This week-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) conference is designed to help you and your council integrate STEM programs and activities into your current programming. There will be many opportunities to experience hands-on activities to share with your units; these activities will be accompanied by discussion on how to implement, modify, and incorporated them in and for your programs. Excitement, roadblocks, funding, recruitment, training, resources, and tracking will be topics addressed by this conference. (Week 3: June 21-27, Week 11: September 13-19)

How much does it cost?

Less than your typical family vacation. And even less if you register by Dec. 31, 2014.

2015 Philmont Training Center Early Bird Fees (include conference materials, meals, lodging, and activities):

  • Conference, $515
  • Non-Conference Adult (20+), $365
  • Ages 14-20, $305
  • Ages 6-13, $195
  • Ages 5 and under, $95
  • Mountain Trek, $415
  • NAYLE, $395
  • STEM Youth Conference, $395

Registrations are accepted at any time throughout the year.

What if I still have questions?

Find more answers to FAQs here.

Still have a question? Contact the PTC’s helpful staff.



About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.