Trail Of Courage

The Trail of Courage program began in the summer of 2011. Read the pledge booklet Trail Of Courage.

Total Participants and Staff participating in the program = 12,899

2017 Philmont Participation (September 15, 2017)
Total Crews = 2,162 Total Crews taking the pledge = 1,312 % participating = 60.7%
Total Participants = 21,137 Total Participants taking the pledge = 12,118 % participating = 57.3%
Total Staff = 1,130 Total Staff taking the pledge = 781 % participating = 69.1%

The Trail of Courage – Right Decisions/Right Now Program was introduced to all backcountry participants and staff (21,137 participants and 1,130 staff). In addition, the program was introduced at the Philmont Training Center to 1,464 family participants and at Rayado Ridge Leadership Camp to an additional 500 participants. A total of 24,231 individuals were introduced to the program over the summer months of 2017.

Staff Participation

  • 781 staff members took the pledge.
  • The program was shared with each manager during the Leadership Conference on May 23rd. (120 Managers and Assistant Managers)
  • Ranger Leadership was briefed on the program. (40 members of Ranger Leadership)
  • All Staff Training – The program was introduced to all staff members during the All Staff training on May 29th (1000 staff members present)
  • 18 sessions of Aims and Methods and Philmont Brand training were conducted. The program was shared with all staff to indicate that each crew leadership position was responsible for guiding their crew in moments of conversation along the trail. (1130 staff)
    • Crew Leader – Trail of Courage – Right Decisions/Right Now – Be Tobacco Free
    • Chaplain Aide – Duty to God
    • Wilderness Pledge Guia – Wilderness Pledge Achievement Award
  • Detailed training was presented to each Ranger during the Ranger Rendezvous on June 4 and June 21. Discussion of each of the seven parts was provided. (250 Rangers and Ranger Leadership)
  • A copy of the brochure was given to each Ranger for them to study to understand how to guide the Crew Leader in implementing the program to their crew.
  • Each staff member has been provided a copy of the brochure with a special staff pledge form.
  • An article was included in the PhilNews staff newspaper.

Participant Participation

  • 12,118 participants took the pledge in 2017.
  • Information was included in the Philmont 2017 – Guidebook to Adventure. Each participant receives a copy of this booklet.
  • Each crew receives two copies of the brochure and pledge form during check-in by their Ranger.
  • A kiosk about the Trail of Courage Program was on display at the medical recheck pavilion. Rangers made a
    presentation about the program to their crew when they visited this location as part of their day of check-in.
  • Advisors are informed of the program during the Advisor’s Meeting. 67 meetings were conducted during the summer by a member of Ranch Leadership, during which the importance of being tobacco free was emphasized, and the increase in teenage tobacco use was shared.
  • Rangers worked with Crew Leaders to help them understand the program. 67 Crew Leader’s Meetings were conducted during the summer, led by a Ranger Trainer.
  • Information was included in the Crew Leader Field book.
  • Crew Leader and Advisor sign Ranger Training Card to indicate that the program was presented.
  • Pledge cards are submitted when crews check out and receive Philmont Arrowhead patches at Camping HQ. Special 2017 Patches and Boys’ Life pocket pledge cards are presented to Crew Leader to distribute to crew.
  • Reminder note and pledge card are presented to each crew who checks out without submitting pledge card.
  • The program was introduced to 363 NAYLE (National Advance Youth Leadership Experience) participants and 137 staff at the Rayado Ridge Leadership Camp.
  • The program was introduced to 1,464 family participants at the Philmont training Center.
  • A copy of the brochure, pledge form, and one patch were sent to each crew that did not submit a pledge form while at the Ranch, intended to be used to encourage the rest of the Troop of Crew to participate.
  • Crews that did submit a pledge card will be sent brochure, pledge form and one patch to be used to encourage the rest of the Troop or Venture Crew members who did not attend Philmont to participate.

Trail of Courage Statistics

Year TOC Participants Philmont Participants % # of Crews Total Crews % Staff Participants Total Participants
2011 1,018 23,132 4.4 214 2,166 9.9   1,018
(Partial Season)
2012 11,545 23,325 49.9 1,231 2,231 55.0 101 11,646
2013 13,482 21,712 62.1 1,490 2,135 69.8 203 13,685
2014 11,671 22,702 61.4 1,207 2,169 55.6 439 12,110
2015 11,404 21,992 51.9 1,096 2,098 52.2 669 12,073
2016 13,526 22,916 59.0 1,455 2,230 65.2 664 14,190
2017 12,118 22,034 55.0 1,312 2,162 60.7 780 12,898

2017 Youth Crew Leader Comments

  • Brought us closer together.
  • It made us respect Philmont.
  • It taught us to say no! and how.
  • We pledged to stay healthy and safe.
  • Helped us keep in mind issues. 
  •  It was nice to relate the Philmont experience to our outside live, and it showed us the purpose behind what we did.
  • Started conversations about a healthy lifestyle. 
  • It had us thinking about making good decisions while on the trail. 
  • My dad is now under vow to be tobacco free.
  • It enlightened us about the serious dangers of irresponsible life choices.
  • The Trail of Courage impacted us by helping us build confidence in talking about what we aren’t comfortable with. 
  • It was a good program that pointed out some important yet commonly missed healthy things to di in your life. 

2017 Adult Advisor Comments

  • The scouts took the pledge and it led to two good evening discussions on lifestyle choices.
  • It helped me realize the importance of healthy living.
  • It provides an always important reminder of the dangers and challenges that young adults face and the consequences of unsafe decisions.
  • On it’s surface it is not impactful. However, we engaged in deep heartfelt conversation that made the program very worthwhile.
  • Great program – it added weight to the Philmont message and spiritual growth.
  • It was very good. Very well structured. Having the advisors provide their experiences and made us more
    approachable. Brought in different perspectives. Provides positive peer pressure.
  • Our crew leader took this very seriously. He took time each day at camp and during trek 15 minute breaks to discuss the points of the Trail of Courage.
  • We were able to have a very heart to heart real world conversation one evening about many of the topics that they may not have had with their parents.
  • We were able to have open and honest dialog about living a healthy lifestyle.