This is obvious. Philmont can be hard but it’s a ton of fun. All the kids become your kids. I have been on a trek in which a parent did not embrace this concept. It doesn’t happen very often but it does happen. Instead, a parent is there only for their child. The other youth can feel it and they do resent it. The kid who is the focus of all this parental love can feel it too and it makes them very uncomfortable as well.
There is also the very real possibility that one of the kids themselves is super annoying. As I explain to the kids, “just go with it.” Do not let other people’s annoying habits interfere with your enjoyment. You can’t control other people but you can control your own attitude. Have Fun!
On my first trek, I had a group of nine girls, three boys and three adults. One of the adults, Mr. Kaplan came with his two sons. He doesn’t have any daughters. He later confessed that he was terrified of the idea of being on a trek with such a large number of girls. However, he went in with a great attitude and a positive vibe. He wanted to do Philmont very badly and lost 70 pounds to do it. He made an effort to get to know all the kids. I could hear him happily talking to whatever girl was with him in line on the horses. The girls loved him for it and they gave him the honor of becoming one of the girls. His name was changed to “Jessica.” Be that parent. Have Fun!
For the second trek, my male adult leader was my 22 year old son. His enthusiasm, attitude and sense of humor also made for a great trek. The kids loved him because he rolled with the program and wanted everyone to learn and have a great time. Be that adult. Have Fun!
Last but not least, relax a little. On our day after it rained on us so much, we had a layover at Clark’s Fork. The kids were wet and muddy. Instead of hiking up to the rock climbing area, the kids voted to do nothing…. Yes nothing. They were wiped out and I let the crew make their decision. There is a balancing act between doing as much program as possible and letting the kids decide what they needed to do. Their decision making process is almost always good and I love watching the kids discuss and debate their decisions. It was a lot of fun!
The other thing that shouldn’t need to be mentioned, but I will anyway, based on stories I have heard from Cavalcades and treks – remember, adults, you are there for the kids. This is not a vacation for you. I promise you will have fun, but you have to remember, if there isn’t time for everyone, let the kids go first. Remember, it’s all about the youth (IAATY). Oh, and have fun!