Philbreak 2019: Spend your spring break helping Philmont recover from wildfires

A Scout’s promise “to help other people at all times” doesn’t take spring break off.

That’s why hundreds of Scouts, Venturers and adult volunteers will gather at Philmont Scout Ranch in March and early April for Philbreak 2019, a chance to help the legendary Scouting destination recover from the Ute Park Fire.

Ever since the fires at Philmont were extinguished, the Philmont Recovery Corps has been working hard both to prepare for crews in 2019 and to mitigate future fire risk. Philbreak will accelerate that process.

Philbreak 2019 volunteers, who must be 16 or older, will help with slope stabilization projects, revegetation efforts, campsite installation and forest thinning. The exact locations and projects won’t be pinpointed until March.

How is the Philmont recovery progressing?

The Philmont Recovery Corps has taken advantage of several snows to burn slash piles created during the summer and in previous years.

The Corps is staging campsite equipment and will soon begin moving into the backcountry to add more campsites, set up new staff camps and work on trails to support the 2019 itineraries.

To learn more about their progress, see the cool infographic at the end of this post. Even though the Philmont Recovery Corps is doing a great job, they can use your help. Speaking of …

When is Philbreak 2019?

There are four weeks available. The first is an initiative of the Philmont Staff Association, which was one of the first groups to step up with financial support after the fires broke out.

The remaining three sessions are put on by the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. Spring break service projects have become one of the OA’s signature efforts each year. In 2018, Arrowmen traveled to Puerto Rico and Florida to complete hurricane-recovery projects.

Philbreak sessions:

  1. Philmont Staff Association: March 2 to 9
  2. OA: March 16 to 23
  3. OA: March 23 to 30
  4. OA: March 30 to April 6

How many spaces are available?

  • Week 1 (Philmont Staff Association): 30 slots, filled in the order received
  • Weeks 2 to 4 (OA): 50 slots per week, filled in the order received

Once all the spots fill up, applicants will be put on a waiting list. (Only in Scouting would there be a waiting list of people eager to perform service for a week.)

Who is eligible?

Week 1 (Philmont Staff Association): PSA members and their eligible family members. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Don’t register anyone who does not meet these requirements. The minimum age is 16 by date of participation.

Weeks 2 to 4 (Order of the Arrow): Order of the Arrow members with current BSA registrations. The minimum age is 16 by date of participation.

Other requirements include:

  • Completion of the full high-adventure Annual Health and Medical Record
  • Desire to work hard over long hours with good crew spirit and a sense of humor
  • Ability to carry a 50-pound pack, dig, drag debris and move heavy loads

What is the cost?

  • Week 1 (Philmont Staff Association): $210, which includes meals, lodging in roofed housing at the Philmont Training Center and transportation to and from the worksite
  • Weeks 2 to 4 (OA): $100, which includes meals, lodging in roofed housing at the Philmont Training Center and transportation to and from the worksite

The fees do not include transportation to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. You’ll need to arrange your own trip there by plane, train or car.

Where can I register and learn more?

Where can I see an infographic about the Philmont Recovery Corps?

Right here! Thanks to Philmont’s marketing manager Dominic Baima for sending.

About Bryan Wendell 2855 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.