Greeting from Philmont Scout Ranch, and a somewhat wet north east New Mexico.
Rain is the order-of-the-day, and every drop is being welcomed and appreciated. The area around Philmont in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is still in a severe drought. However several inches of rain have fallen in the past 3-4 days, and things are greening up a bit, as the ground is finally able to soak up some needed moisture. At this elevation, lightening is always a threat, and I've driven through two hailstorms in the past week. Mornings are bright and beautiful, but afternoon rains are now a regular occurrence, and muchly needed.
My assignment this week is serving as the Camping Headquarters Chaplain. After breakfast, I take off on foot and try to visit as many staff members as I can, and also hang around the Welcome Center to greet arriving trail bound crews, as well as home bound crews. During lunch time, I head over to the Dining Hall and speak to as many crews as I have time for, finding out where they are from, inviting them to Chapel services, and offering to help however I can.
FYI - Philmont averages 300+ campers arriving daily, and 300+ campers departing daily, with several thousand campers on the property every day. I am amazed at how many staff people it takes to support all the crews who are here for their trek. I am also amazed at how logistics here runs so smoothly. There is a sense of expected efficiency here . . . and I am taking lots of notes.
I am also blown away by the servant spirits among all the staff here. Much effort goes into training all the staff in the principles of servant leadership. I cannot remember a time when I was surrounded with a large a number of people whose first response to advisors and campers is "how can I help you?"
In the afternoons, I visit the Staff Activities Center, as well as hanging out around the courtyard next to the Tooth of Time Traders Store here on site. At 5:45 PM, I meet with all the Chaplain Aides from every incoming trek crew, and train them on their responsibilities. Afterward, I step into the Crew Advisor meetings, and share with them the role of the Chaplain, and explain all the worship service opportunities.
This past Sunday, I led the 9 AM morning Protestant Worship for staff members, and both preached and led worship (with guitar) for the 7PM Protestant Chapel Service. My first day off is this coming Thursday, and I am looking forward to it. I hope to head into either Raton or over to Taos. The weather that day will determine which direction I go.
Tomorrow I have the honor of leading a short interfaith service for a group of Scouts and leaders who are members of the Order of the Arrow, before they depart Philmont. Since I have not been invited into this order as a member (which I hope happens one day) . . . I am taking it as an honor to be invited to be the Chaplain for the service.
I believe I am averaging about 14,000 steps a day this week. I believe 18.000+ steps has been my record so far. The exercise is needed. Now that I seem better acclimated to the elevation (6,500 feet here at Camping Headquarters), walking is not tiring me out near as much. I have hiked up to crew camps at altitudes near 9,000 - 10,000 feet . . . and SURVIVED!
More to come in the next few days. Prayers being sent my way are appreciated!
God's graces still amazes me . . . ><>