Tell your Scouts about ROCS and TCT, two of Philmont’s best-kept secrets

I’ve blogged about Philmont’s individual programs before, but I wanted to highlight two of those programs that are especially cool — and still have spots available for summer 2015.

Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) and Trail Crew Trek (TCT) give young men and women a once-in-a-lifetime experience at one of the greatest places on earth.

ROCS is a three-week program that offers a hands-on environmental science experience in the coolest laboratory ever: Philmont. TCT is a 14-day educational program focused on conservation and leadership development.

Both treks are awesome. And both treks, like other Philmont individual programs, don’t require a crew. Instead, Scouts and Venturers in these programs show up solo and make new, lifelong friends from across the country.

So what are ROCS and TCT all about? Sarah Burgess, Associate Director of Conservation at Philmont, gave me the scoop. Take a look, and please share this opportunity with any Scouts and Venturers you know who are looking to make this the best summer ever.

Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS)

Who: Male and female Scouts and Venturers, ages 16-20; crews will be separated by gender and led by two Philmont Conservation Staff members.

What/Why: The Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) is an experience for individuals to explore natural resource management and conservation practices through hands-on environmental science lessons and work projects.

The crew will have the opportunity to interact with resource manager professionals from private lands, federal and state agencies. They’ll learn about botany, aquatic insects, mammals, forestry, habitat management and more.

During the three weeks, ROCS crews will practice “Leave No Trace” techniques while experiencing unique vistas and camping locations rarely visited by other crews at Philmont.

Throughout the three weeks, a ROCS crew will complete many conservation projects in many places; one day might be spent clipping back young trees encroaching on a meadow and stopping to study insects living in that meadow.

Another day you may join two sessions of conservation work going on at a permanent work site, working alongside other crews and with trained staff members who will teach you exciting techniques for designing and maintaining trails.

When: All sessions have spots available.

  • Session 1: June 16 to July 7
  • Session 2: June 23 to July 14
  • Session 3: June 30 to July 21 (Female Session)
  • Session 4: July 7 to 28
  • Session 5: July 14 to Aug. 4

Fee: $525. Scholarship assistance is still available; see application form.

Where to learn more and apply: At the official site.

Quotes from former ROCS participants:

“ROCS was the single-most importance experience of my youth that fueled my interest in natural resource management. Now I am pursuing a higher degree in conservation biology and I still think of my ROCS trek daily when I am in lecture or in the field.”

“ROCS was an awesome time with awesome people. I got to learn a lot about subjects like ecology and wildlife biology and do alongside 5 new friends and 2 encouraging and knowledgeable instructors.”

“ROCS really does ROCK! I had so much fun on the trail, I never wanted to leave the backcountry or the company of my crew when it was over. I will definitely be back for staff!”

Trail Crew Trek (TCT)

Who: Male and female Scouts and Venturers, ages 16-20; crews will be led by two Philmont Conservation staff members.

What/Why: Trail Crew Trek is a 14-day educational program focused on conservation and leadership development. TCT involves 7 days of building trail followed by a 7-day trek through Philmont with your crew and foremen.

Throughout both weeks there are incredible opportunities for hands-on experience in a variety of conservation project techniques and uses of tools as well as guest speakers involved in professional conservation and resource management fields.

TCT provides a strong foundation for participants to become involved in service through conservation. 

In addition, Trail Crew Trek participants will develop valuable conservation skills, hone their leadership abilities, and expand their backcountry knowledge.


  • Session 1 June 14 to 28
  • Session 2 July 26 to Aug. 9

Fee: $345. Scholarship assistance is still available; see application form.

Where to learn more and apply: At the official site.

Quotes from former TCT participants:

“Going on TCT helped me learn how to be a project manager for my troop at home. Now I can lead them in executing conservation work in our local parks.”

“TCT was very fun for me because I got to spend two weeks in the backcountry making new friends, learning lots and picking up some new skills using tools to maintain awesome mountain biking trail.”

About Bryan Wendell 3200 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.