I just finished my first set of days off, after having Scattered on June 5th and working until June 17th. Scatter went fairly well, with my camp being the first to leave Philmont base camp for the backcountry. We got all of our important supplies for the first week or so, so we were able to clean out the cabin. The main threat is haunta virus, but after bleaching and sweeping everything in the cabin we were good to go.
The first few days in the backcountry were mainly training days, going over program activities with my staff and making sure they were comfortable with Philmont procedures. Especially interesting is the fact that my final staffer is from Zambia, Africa, as an international scouter. He missed the whole week of training in base camp, so I have spent a while getting him up to speed with the program activities.
The first crew through Dan Beard for the summer was from Mississippi. I had actually met this crew while hiking on the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama several months ago, and we recognized each other, which was pretty cool. Even more exciting was the fact that one of their adult advisers was my boss's boss back in 2006. Cliff was the head of the conservation office during my first summer at Philmont, while I was on a conservation work crew.
Right before I left camp we were getting 8-9 crews per day, so each staffer is running 2 crews through program each day on average. The main program we have is a Challenge course, which is similar to a COPE course, but more focused on teambuilding and communication, rather than problem solving and out of the box thinking. It can be fun and rewarding to see the scouts working on the events together, especially if they improves over the course of the 2 hour program. It is designed to address crew dynamics and any specific problems the crew might be having together, so it can really help to improve their overall trek.
On my days off I visited Dean Cow, a rock climbing camp, for the first night. We played volleyball against the campers and advisers, and of course the staff won. The next day I took care of laundry and shower in base camp, and then headed back out to Urraca, where I worked last year. It was nice to see the camp again, especially some of my personal projects that I worked on the past summer. My last day I spent visiting Ute Gulch, Sawmill, and Cyphers Mine with a commissary driver before heading back to base to get ready to head back to Dan Beard.