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  • Jarod Contreras

Philmont's Ranch Committee meets to discuss the year's challenges, the path forward

Updated: Sep 22

Philmont is driven forward by passionate people. Seasonal staff who touch the lives of Scouts and full-time staff who lead the Ranch all year round make Philmont what it is. But, an additional layer of passion that not many may know about is Philmont’s Ranch Committee. The Ranch Committee is an advisory board that convenes twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, to be updated on the goings-on of the Ranch and to guide the Ranch’s continued progress.

Ranch Committee and full-time staff members enjoy a banquet on September 15, 2022.

This past week the Committee met to learn of the tumultuous year that Philmont experienced and how the Ranch handled it. Committee members were informed on winter windstorms, major wildfires during the spring, COVID concerns throughout the summer, and many more interesting challenges. This information helped the Committee focus on how to best advise Philmont moving forward.

Originally, Ranch Committee was formed to be a properties committee. Waite Phillips asked the Boy Scouts to form such a committee to help guide the organization’s running of a ranch. At that time, and for many years after, the Committee consisted of only a handful of people and assisted in advising on the management of the property. Now, the Committee has grown to include dozens of people and advises the Ranch on all aspects of operations. Functionally, it brings in outside perspectives from various trades and industries to help Philmont operate to the best of its ability.

“We bring our resources together to help the Ranch management,” said Julie Puckett, a member of Ranch Committee and granddaughter of Waite Phillips.

Puckett explained that Ranch Committee brings an outside business perspective that is important for improving Philmont’s operations. Puckett also explained that Ranch Committee serves as a resource for fundraising and connections. Allowing Philmont to raise money for new projects and equipment.

Chuck Walneck, who has been on Ranch Committee since the 1980s, said that being a part of the Committee is inspiring to him. He describes himself as a businessman and, “a nuts-and-bolts guy”. Walneck said that with a mindset like that Ranch Committee is able to get a lot done. Walneck said that the Committee’s influence, whether it be through money raised or the contacts in their networks, allows for things to get done and allows them to help the Ranch succeed.

The importance of success was driven home for the Committee members as they spent time on property. As Dave Kenneke, Director of Ranching and Conservation, said before the Committee’s backcountry tour, “Philmont is more than Basecamp, it’s thousands of acres of wonderland in the backcountry.”

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