No crew? No problem with Philmont’s individual programs

Pretty much everyone knows about Philmont’s epic treks. You form a crew of seven to 12 people and hike Philmont’s challenging and exciting backcountry. They’re so popular there’s often a waiting list to snag a spot.

Fewer people, though, know about Philmont individual programs.

These are perfect for a young man or young woman who wants to experience Philmont as an individual or with a smaller group. And good news: 2015 spaces are available.

I’ve heard from some Philmont individual program participants who couldn’t get together enough Scouts and Venturers to form a crew, so they went solo and had an amazing time. In other instances, the unit was sending a crew, but the Scout or Venturer couldn’t make it because of a scheduling conflict and went another time.

That’s what the Philmont individual programs are for. Don’t worry, parents. “Individual” doesn’t refer to teenagers hiking around Philmont Scout Ranch alone. All programs at Philmont are crew experiences, but individual trek crews are formed by Philmont from applicants spread across the nation.

Most of the participants of these 12- to 21-day individual treks develop lifelong friendships with people from across the country. And participation in these programs typically gives people a leg up if they choose to apply for Philmont seasonal employment down the road.

Rayado, NAYLE and Ranch Hands have been the most popular historically, but all are great. Here are the offerings:

Philmont individual programs

  • Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (OATC)
    • This program is a 14-day experience for Arrowmen to join together in cheerful service and the formation of lasting brotherhood on the trails at Philmont. Under the direction of the Philmont conservation department, experienced Philmont staff members with strong Order of the Arrow backgrounds will lead participants. Arrowmen must be at least 16 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.
  • Trail Crew Trek (Coed non-OA version of OATC)
    • The Trail Crew Trek Program (TCT) is an exciting new program at Philmont Scout Ranch. This 14-day experience will help prepare participants to develop a path that will help them achieve the William T. Hornaday Silver Award upon return to their homes. Scouts and Venturers must be at least 16 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.
  • Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS)
    • The Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) is an exciting program for Scouts and Venturers who have an interest in conservation and natural resource management. Each crew will participate in activities in some of the following areas: forestry, fire ecology, fisheries management, wildlife management, geology, watershed management, and range management. Scouts and Venturers must be at least 16 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.
  • Ranch Hands
    • Ranch Hands is a program for Scouts and Venturers who have knowledge of horsemanship and horse care and want to expand their skills and experience. After an eight-day work session, the Ranch Hands crew embarks on an eight-day Cavalcade under the leadership of a horseman and wrangler. Scouts and Venturers must be at least 16 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.
  • Rayado
    • Older Scouts and Venturers who have mastered basic outdoor skills should consider applying for the challenging and selective Rayado Trek program. Rayado is unparalleled for developing outdoor leadership, group dynamics, wilderness problem-solving, and advanced outdoor skills. Participants will experience more of Philmont’s backcountry and will have program opportunities not available to expedition campers. Scouts and Venturers must be at least 15 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.
  • STEM
  • NAYLE (National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience)
    • The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is the ultimate in training experiences for youth leaders. It is conducted for older Scouts and Venturers who have the potential for being on the staff of the council junior leader training or youth leader training conference. Scouts and Venturers must be at least 14 by the program start date but not 21 by its conclusion.

Learn more about how to sign up for Philmont individual programs here.

About Bryan Wendell 2869 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.