Duty Roster

As mentioned previously, the duty roster is a great tool that allows Scouts to learn new skills and teach those skills to another crew member the following day. It also allows Scouts to rotate through positions so that a single job does not become monotonous over the course of a 12-day period. The positions that should be included on a duty roster are: cooking, cleaning, bear bags, water/fire, and navigator. When set up appropriately, a crew member will go from being the assistant of a task one day to the leader of that task the following day then back to being an assistant of a new task, with the cycle continuing throughout the trek. Here is an example of an effective duty roster:

The duty roster should be written by the Crew Leader before the trek occurs. Here is a general guideline for each of the four positions:

  • Cooking – Responsible for setting up the cooking area, boiling water, sterilizing dishes, and re-hydrating and serving the food.
  • Cleaning – Responsible for boiling water for dishwashing, washing and rinsing dishes and utensils, stacking dishes by the sump, and emptying dirty wash water into the sump using the food strainer and “yum-yum bags” (yum-yum bags hold the dirty scrubby pad piece and leftover food particles from the cleaning process). The crew members responsible for cleaning also ensure the food strainer, scraper, yum-yum bags, and trash are hung in the oops bag at night.
  • Bear Bags – Responsible for dividing bear bags from oops bags (bear bags will stay hung until the following morning; oops bags hold the night’s dinner, personal toiletries, medications, the first aid kit, etc. and are accessible for dinner and in case of an emergency), throwing bear rope over the bear cable, hoisting the bags, and tying the ropes off to trees. The two crew members responsible for bear bags should get the rest of the crew to help with the lifting and lowering of the bags due to weight and safety concerns.
  • Water/Fire – Responsible for finding the closest water source, purifying, and bringing water back to camp. At some camps it will be a spring, well, or stream, all of which need to be purified. At other camps the water will already be purified and accessible from spigots. Water crew members should ask the rest of the crew to give them any of their empty bottles or bladders that need to be refilled. The crew members in charge of water retrieval can usually enlist the help of the advisors to help carry the water back to camp. Additionally, the crew members responsible for water retrieval will also be responsible for the building, lighting, supervision, and extinguishing of a campfire if there is no fire ban and your crew chooses to build one. Details for how to build a fire at Philmont can be found in the “Setting Up Camp” section of this guide.
  • Navigator – Sets pace and hikes at the front of the crew, carrying a map and compass. At any trail junctions, orients the map and confers with the rest of the crew on which way to go.
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6
Cooking Lead Eric Colin Caleb Matt Jason Katie
Assistant Colin Caleb Matt Jason Katie Kyle
Cleaning Lead Caleb Matt Jason Katie Kyle John
Assistant Matt Jason Katie Kyle John Baden
Lead Jason Katie Kyle John Baden Eric
Assistant Katie Kyle John Baden Eric Colin
Water/Fire Lead Kyle John Baden Eric Colin Caleb
Assistant John Baden Eric Colin Caleb Matt
Navigator Baden Eric Colin Caleb Matt Jason


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.