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By Mar k R ay WHAT I’VE LEARNED Shelley O’Neill

Cub Scouting in the shadow of the Tooth of Time.

FactSheet Shelley O’Neill

CURRENT POSITIONS: Den leader and advancement chair, Pack 68

DAY JOB: Manager, Tooth of Time Traders

FAVORITE CAMPS: Philmont Scout Ranch. “I grew up here and married my husband here and am raising my kids here. It’s an incredible place of passion and life- changing adventure.”

PROUDEST MOMENT IN SCOUTING: Watching her first Tiger den perform a flag ceremony for a BSA retiree reunion just six months after they’d joined Scouting. “It was so awesome in those six months to see the leadership skills those boys learned.”



SHELLEY O’NEILL FIRST visited Philmont at age 1 when her dad attended the Philmont Training Center. After her first year of college, she joined the seasonal staff — at her parents’ insistence. She’d wanted to spend the summer in New York City instead but quickly succumbed to the magic of Philmont. “I called them probably two or three days after I’d been here and thanked them,” she recalls. “I still have never made it to New York City.” After seven summers at

the ranch, O’Neill joined Philmont’s permanent staff as manager of what is now the Tooth of Time Traders, a posi- tion she’s held for 18 years. Six years ago, O’Neill and

her family enrolled in Pack 68 in Cimarron. She served as Tiger, Wolf and Bear leader with older son Cullen’s den and did the same thing with her younger son, Cameron. She now serves as the Bear leader while her husband, Tim, serves as Cubmaster.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DO SCOUTING IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOOTH OF TIME? It’s unbe- lievable. I think we’re spoiled. Our chartered organization rep is Mark Anderson, director of program. A lot of the den


meetings take place at the Philmont Training Center. We are able to use various Philmont resources to put on an excellent program.

DO YOU GET INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY? In recent years, we have gotten the pack out a lot. For example, we have gone to the Hunting Lodge and Zastrow for campouts. The best times are while Philmont is in season and we can climb Hart Peak or take the boys to the Ponil Cantina. They are able to see older Scouts out on the trail and be part of their adventures of a lifetime.

DO THE PARENTS GO? When we hiked the Tooth, a family went along that was born and raised here but wasn’t connected to Philmont. The mom was just in awe. She had seen that forever — that icon — and now she had the opportunity to share it with her child. Now she and her husband are even more involved.

HOW DO YOU RAISE MONEY IN A TOWN OF 900 PEOPLE? We sell a lot of popcorn — more than the Santa Fe, N.M., pack. We have 26 boys and sold almost $17,000 worth of popcorn this year, which is absolutely amazing.

That means people in this town are buying from more than one kid. There’s so much support for the pack. Whether they work at Philmont or not, a lot of their livelihood depends on what’s happening at the ranch in the summer, directly or indirectly.

SO MONEY’S NOT AN ISSUE? The pack pays the membership dues; the pack pays for all the advancements. If we go on an outing with our den, it’s com- pletely paid for. We used to give the boys all their uniforms, but we found that if they didn’t buy it themselves, they treated it differently.

WHAT ABOUT SERVICE OPPORTUNI- TIES? Philmont recently built a trail to Cimarron. Each den is responsible for cleaning a mile of that on either side of the road. Now we see random dens out there picking up stuff.


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