PhilBreak 2020: An alternative spring break experience for Scouts and adult volunteers

In 2019, hundreds of Scouts, Venturers and adult volunteers spent their spring break at Philmont to help the high-adventure base recover from the fires of 2018. They called it PhilBreak.

This year’s sequel promises to be even better.

For the 2020 version, PhilBreak has broadened its eligibility requirements, making this alternative spring break experience open to any registered BSA member age 16 or older. (In 2019, PhilBreak was open only to members of the Order of the Arrow, the BSA’s national honor society.)

And because this is a week of service, the cost — just $105 per person — is a fraction of what you’d pay for a typical spring break trip.

Interested Scouts, Venturers and adult volunteers can choose from one of four separate PhilBreak weeks — selected to coincide with the majority of high school and college spring breaks.

You’ll spend most of the week working in Philmont’s backcountry as you help mitigate the risk of future fires. On Friday, you’ll get to hike in Philmont’s rugged and gorgeous backcountry.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is eligible for PhilBreak 2020?

PhilBreak is open to all registered members of the Boy Scouts of America who are at least 16 by the date the program begins.


  • If you’re over the age of 18, your Youth Protection training must be current.
  • You must be in good physical condition, meaning you’re able to hike 3 or more miles with a 20-pound backpack and able to lift and handle materials up to 50 pounds.
  • For the safety of all participants, Philmont’s height and weight guidelines will be strictly enforced.
  • You’ll need a current BSA Annual Health and Medical Record, available here.

When is PhilBreak 2020?

Choose from one of four weeks:

  • Feb. 29–March 7 (Session 1)
  • March 7–14 (Session 2)
  • March 14–21 (Session 3)
  • March 21–28 (Session 4)

What will PhilBreak participants do?

Volunteers will spend most of the week helping Philmont’s conservation staff work on timber-thinning projects in strategic areas of the ranch. These projects will help make Philmont even safer for the tens of thousands of participants who visit each summer. 

Through it all, you’ll meet incredible Scouts and Scouters from across the country who share your passion for service and stewardship.

As a reward for your selflessness, you’ll get to spend Friday hiking at Philmont — a truly magical experience that will make your hard work well worth it.

How much does PhilBreak 2020 cost?

The PhilBreak 2020 fee is $105 per person.

That fee includes roofed housing at Philmont Base Camp and all meals throughout the week, making this a very affordable spring break option.

What happens during PhilBreak?

Here’s an overview:

Saturday: Arrive at Philmont and spend the night in Base Camp.

Sunday to Thursday: Work on forestry projects alongside a crew of fellow volunteers, returning to Base Camp at the end of every day.

Friday: Go on a hike in Philmont’s legendary backcountry.

Saturday: Travel home.

What about transportation?

You are responsible for getting to and from Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M.

Shuttles are available for an additional fee:

  • From Raton, N.M. ($20 round trip): Shuttles will run in time with Greyhound and Amtrak schedules.
  • From the Albuquerque International Sunport ($100 round trip): Flights must arrive at the airport by noon on the first day and depart after 1 p.m. on the last day.

Where do I sign up?

Visit the official site.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.