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Unity in adversity: Crew 609-B's inspiring journey to Philmont

Updated: Aug 11, 2023


Crew 609-B-01 happily crosses under the Welcome Back sign, signifying the end of their trek, on June 20, 2023 at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M.

In Amarillo, Texas, two days before arriving at Philmont, Crew 609-B-01 woke up to find trailer lock had been cut and most of their crew gear stolen.


“We were all in shock for a minute. Our initial thought was that the trip was over,” said Chuck Williams, Lead Advisor.


Crew 609-B of New Iberia, Louisiana, had lost thousands of dollars worth of gear overnight. With less than 48 hours until their check-in date, the advisors were forced to juggle calls with the police, his local council, parents, and Philmont.


Williams called his charter organization representative, Michael Jenkins, and Jenkins Basked him how much he thought the missing gear was worth. Jenkins immediately deposited the estimated sum into the crew’s checking account.


“[I was worried] for a second. Then I thought, it's Mr. Chuck. He's just gonna call somebody,” said Jacob Cooper, participant.


When shopping for their replacement gear in Taos, the owner, Bill Gaydosh, offered the entire crew a 30% discount on any purchases made. During their shopping, Gaydosh introduced them to an anonymous customer who offered to pay for all the gear they were buying that day. Gaydosh is an Eagle Scout. He has been to Philmont three times himself, and describes his scouting experience as ‘life changing’.


“The one thing that stuck with me was doing a good deed daily. And I still try to do that to this day,” said Gaydosh.


When the crew arrived, there were three Philmont staffers waiting and ready for them. They took them directly to medical where their missing medications were filled and the cost covered. They were shown their packs, sleeping bags, and crew gear that they would use for the duration of their trek.


“I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from every direction.. they helped turn a catastrophic incident into a reminder that the principles of scouting are alive and well,” said Williams.


With the help of Philmont and scouts across the United States, the crew looked to have made a recovery. But just as scouts had done a good turn for the crew, it was the crew’s turn to help scouts in need.



A crew member from 609-B-01 learns to wrap a bear line around a tree from his ranger Jack Heineking on June 10, 2023 at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. Photo by Truman Attaway

The group sat outside of Logistics when they overheard a conversation. The advisors of crew 608-R-01 had not met height and weight requirements, forcing their crew to disband and get sent home, they sadly explained.


Williams gladly accepted the call to take on some extra crew members, two girls, bringing their total count to 13.


Crew member Ava Gomez was thankful to have the opportunity to join another crew. “I think it worked out perfectly. I feel like Philmont itself is its own beautiful little thing.. and the crew that you're with makes it even better. And I think that this Louisiana crew just really brought life to Philmont,” said Gomez.


With all odds stacked against them, Crew 609-B thrived in the backcountry. They sang songs, made snowmen on Comanche Peak, and faced adversity together. There were some hard days, but they never lost sight of the people that helped them along the way.


“Just knowing that we were able to come here and not just have to go home was really nice. And I'm reminded of that every day. Every time I'm like, ‘Oh, I wish I could go home.’ I'm just reminded that I have the chance to come here,” said participant Mason Williams.


On June 20th, crew 609-B hiked down from Tooth Ridge with all thirteen members of the crew.


Crew 609-B-01 hikes towards Arrowhead Camp from Webster Trailhead for their first night on the trail on June 10, 2023 at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. Photo by Truman Attaway


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