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The summer’s first crews bring excitement to base camp

June 9, 2023 — First Crews started the 2023 Summer Season on June 7th with the arrival of 20 crews. By June 8th, base camp was booming with Scouts, advisors, and staff. By the end of the day on the 8th, were 47 crews on base camp preparing to hit the trails.

Among the many crews, was 608-E-02, an energetic Vero Beach, Florida crew affiliated with Troop 567 in the Gulf Stream Council. Comprised of ten members, this crew also has a sister crew from their same troop, 608-E-01, further strengthening their trek.

Troop 567 has long held a special connection to Philmont, with one advisor boasting an impressive record of five previous treks. Philmont’s legendary status among their Scouts had remained unwavering, as attested by Emily Leonard, a scout from Troop 567, who expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “Everybody was talking about it when they got back in my scout troop, so, you know, I wanted to go. I just liked every experience with Philmont and just like how much fun they had bonding.”

Philmont holds a big place in the hearts of these Scouts, inspiring them from their Cub Scout days until they ascend to Eagle. One of the crew’s advisors, Chad Leonard shared his journey, saying, “I’d always heard about it when my kids were in Cub Scouts, and so I’d always heard about Philmont. It sounded so legendary. Over time, as I saw other groups venture to Philmont and listened to their tales, it became an undeniable choice when my children had the right age and experience to embark on this incredible adventure.”

Crew 608 E 02, one of the very first crews of the 2023 season, sets off on the adventure of a lifetime at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron N.M. on June 8, 2023. Photo by Aspen Adams.

When people come to Philmont, they hear the many stories told of it over time. The Philmont Backcountry stands as a test of Scouts’ abilities, an opportunity to showcase the lessons they have acquired through-out their Scouting journey before they transition into adulthood. For many Scouts, this is a final experience in scouting that amplifies its significance. One of the crew members, Gracie Strader, expressed her excitement stating, “This is like a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. I wanted to go and experience the ultimate scout camp with everyone I’m close to.”

Notably, this crew embarked on their adventure as one of the first to tread upon the backcountry trails this summer. The realization dawned upon them upon their arrival at Philmont, as the advisors strategically planned their trip during a less busy period, aiming for the first days of the season. The intention was twofold: to avoid the crowds and to minimize the chances of rain, although recent weather conditions proved them wrong.

Chad Leonard remarked, “It is special! I’ve heard that the red roof inns will be cleaner. And also, it might be a little less crowded on the trails, hopefully.”

Many Scouts shared a similar sentiment, relishing being trailblazers, exploring landscapes unseen by many since last summer. Much of the Philmont backcountry had remained untouched throughout the fall, winter, and spring, heightening the awe and excitement among the crews. Gracie Strader added, “I feel like it’s so cool because we get to see everything for the first time, like everything that people haven’t touched in a


“It’s as if we’re pioneers, venturing forth to witness the trails anew in the new year,” proclaimed Diego Magallanes. On June 9th, the crew embarked on their highly anticipated trek from Zastrow Trailhead, embarking on a remarkable ten-day expedition culminating with the ascent of the Tooth of Time. Their unforgettable journey would cover 60 miles of the awe-inspiring Philmont Wilderness, forging special memories into their Scout legacy.

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