Video by Zoe Hambley.
Editor’s Note: Philmont’s busiest season ever is in full swing. A record number of participants and seasonal staff are coming to the ranch this summer and new milestones are being reached. Three staff camps have female Program Counselors for the first time ever this year: Metcalf Station, Crater Lake and Pueblano. As part of our series Women of Philmont, we will be interviewing groundbreaking female staff members as they return HOmE for the summer.
At Metcalf Station, staff tell stories about the old railroad that ran from Cimarron to Ponil Park. The stories aren’t just for show, either – the Scouts they host will actually help build a working railroad similar to the one that was there in 1907.
Railroading is hard work, but it’s work the staff embraces, especially the new female staff.
“I think anyone who is willing to do hard work should be able to be a part of this,” Program Counselor Grace Taylor said. “If you’re willing to do the hard work, and you want to be out there, and you want to help, go ahead.”
When Taylor and her fellow female program counselors, Montana Ludlow and Kim Merry, applied to work at Metcalf they didn’t know they would be the camp’s first female staff members. When they found out they were thrilled.
Kim Merry watches as a Scout twists a piece of metal during morning programming at Metcalf Station. Photographed by Monica Dunn.
“I was super happy,” Taylor said. “I like trains, I like history. It’s awesome. It’s something I’ve never done before, so it’s a learning experience and that’s always fun.”
Now that she and the other program counselors are at Metcalf their excitement is constant. They love their camp and their program wholeheartedly. Plus, there’s an added bonus in interacting with female participants, who they hope will come back on more treks and maybe even as staff someday.
“Now that women are at Crater Lake and Pueblano and Metcalf, female participants will come through, see us and go, ‘I can do this because they’re doing it,’” Merry said.
For the women of Metcalf, working at this camp is a special opportunity to help run a unique historic program while changing lives. Their passion for working at Philmont runs deep, stemming from their own treks and previous experiences.
“My favorite thing about Philmont is bringing in people that don’t know Scouting, because Philmont is the best representation of the Scouting program,” Merry said. “This is what Scouting is all about. It’s about the challenges and the growth and the understanding of each other in the community, and we have all of that here.”
A Scout hammers a piece of metal as Kim Merry helps hold it down during morning programming at Metcalf Station. Photographed by Monica Dunn.