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.
Crater Lake staff have earned the nickname of ‘Crater Boys’ for their upbeat campfire and unbeatable enthusiasm.
This year, the Crater Boys are already proving themselves worthy of the name. Staff members have built an amazing program complete with spar pole climbing and historical acting. They’ve also reached a new milestone: three new female staff members.
“The way we see it, we’re just as much Crater Boys as the Crater Boys of the past have been,” Program Counselor Cassandra Carl said. “Doesn’t matter if we’re girls, we’re still the Crater Men. It’s really dang cool.”
Carl and fellow Program Counselor Wren Stiner were supposed to work at Crater Lake in the summer of 2018. Both were thrilled at the opportunity, and they were even more excited to return this year to put on the program.
“It was fun last year, telling people, ‘I’m at Crater Lake,’ and people got so excited for it,” Stiner said. “And then this year, actually being here, I’m like, ‘Wow. We’re making an impact.’”
Above: Wren Stiner climbs up the spar pole at Crater Lake at Philmont Scout Ranch. Photographed by Monica Dunn.
Now, along with Program Counselor Mary LaBenne, the three spend their days teaching Scouts to split wood, use crosscut saws and climb up 30-feet plus spar poles. The staff at Crater Lake portray characters from 1918, around the time the U.S. entered World War I and sent troops to fight in Europe.
“The importance of [having women here] is the historical significance,” LaBenne explained. “The war left all those open jobs and no one to do the work. The fact is that women did go in and do the jobs.”
For these women, working at Crater Lake is a dream come true. The entire staff becomes a family during the summer, and together they can face anything that comes their way.
“You start to heavily rely on each other but it’s really nice because you start to build each other up and you get stronger every day,” Carl said.