This summer, our Lodge Chief and Second Vice Chief had a chance to attend OA Trail Crew at Philmont Scout Ranch, as a part of the OA High Adventure Program! Below you can find a message from our Chief, Patrick Lynch about his experince! Learn more about OA High Adventure at oa-bsa.org/high-adventure
My experience at OATC (Order of the Arrow Trail Crew) was something that I will never forget and some of the best memories I have ever made at a scout function. The Order of the Arrow allows its membership to experience things that no other organization allows us to do and OATC is one of those programs. Arrowmen from all over come together to give service back to Philmont Scout Ranch for a week and then we get to experience all of what Philmont has to offer during a second week. OATC is broken up into two weeks, first week is work week and second week is trek week.
There are about 20 arrowmen in our crew, which then got broken up into two crews of 10. The 20 of us went there not knowing a single person, to leaving as brothers. Each night we sat around a fire ring and just talked about our experiences in and out of scouting. We got to know each other on a personal level. There were many things that we all shared in common and some things that we would have never thought of by just looking at the person.
Each day we woke up super early so we could get an early start to our work projects. We worked on the side of Mount Philips for a week building switchbacks, trails and removing lots of stumps and rocks. Once in a while normal crews would walk past us, and it was cool to talk to them and get to see where they were from. Once our work week was done we as a crew (10), got to pick where we wanted to go for our trek week. My crew wanted to summit Baldy and the Tooth of Time. Each day we were told where we would go the next day, so we really didn’t know where we were going until the day of. Our OA foremen stayed with us for the whole two weeks. We as a crew of 12, got to bond for two weeks and from those two weeks I made some of my closest friends, friends who I still talk to today.
There were some things that we did during our trek that I can’t talk about because the program is safe guarded. The reason behind this is, we don’t want to ruin or spoil what OATC has to offer. We were some of the smelliest boys out there, as there were no showers but that didn’t mind us one bit. My crew at the end of our trek week did 107 miles in 6 days. We summited 5 out of the 6 peaks at Philmont. Got to sunrise Baldy and sunset Tooth of Time with our packs on.
OATC taught me many things but the one I took away the most, was I am way more capable of things then I thought I was. OATC pushed me to do things that I thought I could never do and I am so grateful for that. I hope that every single arrowman in our lodge has an opportunity to attend OATC at Philmont Scout Ranch. There are many more things to OATC but these were just some of the things that I wanted to touch on. If you want to know more don’t hesitate to reach out to me, as I am always here to help.
Yours In Brotherhood,