This summer Nick Bowler and his father, Dan, took a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. The ranch is a camp for boy scouts.
“The Philmont Scout Ranch is the major leagues of Boy Scouts,” said Bowler. “It’s like the Mt. Everest of hikes for scout camps.”
It was a one-hundred mile hike up 9 different summits and 10 mountains as high as 12,444 feet. They endured rain and hail storms, learned to saddle a burro, loading and shooting 50 caliber blackpowder rifles and 12 guage shotguns, gained mental and physical team building skills and more. They carried 3 days worth of food, traveling at a speed of 9 miles a day for 10 days.
Bowler recieved the Philmont Scout Ranch badge for being one of 1 million scouts to register at the camp over 76 years.
“I really liked being out in the wilderness for 10 days,” said Bowler, “without the luxuries of services.”
Bowler said hiking more than 12,000 feet is just one of many adventures that makes a boy scout one in a million.
Nick became a boy scout in the second grade and has earned 44 out of 100 merrit badges since then. He’s now 15 and is currently ranked as a Life Scout, the second highest rank, with Eagle Scout being the highest.
To become an Eagle Scout, a scout must create, set up and lead a project that helps the community in some way. Nick is close to this title and honor. He lead and completed his project and now has only his Eagle Scout Review before he gets the title.
His goal was to collect 1,000 pounds of food for F.I.S.H Thrift store as his Eagle Scout project. He said F.I.S.H. serves more than 300 families and its facility is running lower than usual, especially this time of year.
“I see a lot of homeless people on the streets who have nothing and have to beg for a meal,” he said. “I wanted to help.”
The food drive was held at both the North and South Carson Walmarts from Aug. 23 through Sept. 6. Nick exceeded his goal with more than 2,500 pounds of food for the community.
Along with the food drive, Nick has participated in other projects, including putting up signs for bike paths, creating planters for senior citizens to enjoy, and more community services.
“ I like the leadership skills it provides,” said Nick. “You are exposed to a lot of skills and get to learn them through practice and hands on.”
Nick’s father said being a boy scout opens more possibilities for young leaders and creates a life time of opportunities and memories. He also said many leaders today were scouts, including 181 members of NASA, U.S. Military, and 191 members of Congress.
“Boy Scouts are leaders,” he said, “and it’s global and well known.”
Nick and Dan Bowler said being a boy scout is a wonderful opportunity for young boys and men. It doesn’t just build leadership skills, but growth, opportunities, and memories.
Nick said the key to being a successful boy scout is to never give up.
“Always keep pushing forward and never stop,” he said.