Baking for Philmont

I am not going to lie and say that the whole experience with sending three people to Philmont Scout Ranch has been an enjoyable one. I will actually be frank about it, it is very expensive and that kind of takes all of the fun out of it. It would not be so bad if it was just one boy going. That was what I thought the whole Philmont experience would be like when it came up. I knew that Ben would want to go with the child that went so we would likely send two people at one time.

Of course, then the experience actually appeared on the radar. The time for our “High Adventure” eligible Young Men at church to go to Philmont comes up the summer after Kyle turns 14. It will be the summer after Andrew turns 17. Both will be going on “High Adventure” next summer, hence both will be going to Philmont next summer. Of course Ben wants to go to Philmont with his boys. I definitely want him to have this experience. He missed his opportunity as a youth and he will get the opportunity to go with not one but two of his sons.

However, the experience times three quickly adds up (times three). Emphasis times three. You have to have certain gear. You have to have a backpack that is properly fit and a certain size. You have to have a certain temperature rated sleeping bag that is under a certain weight. This is all fine and dandy, but the truth of the matter is that I have GROWING BOYS and this gear is not cheap. Even if you factor in the fact that Ben is a full grown adult, the gear is not cheap. For longevity’s sake, you have to really take into consideration how much use they can get out of certain items IF they grow and heaven forbid they grow in the next six months. This alone limited us in the backpacks because we needed backpacks that would grow with the boys. They needed adjustable frames.

Fortunately, I have been blessed to find both of the packs that the boys selected (per fittings at REI) on sale for a decent amount of savings. The boys have purchased their own backpacks. We gave them a list of the items that they have to purchase themselves for the whole “Philmont Experience” because we are not made out of money and we also want them to take some responsibility and be somewhat invested in this experience. They are learning to do hard things to make the experience all the more important to them. For example they have to buy their backpacks and their sleeping bags. Both of these items are rather expensive items. The retail price on the backpacks were $199.99 and the retail price on the sleeping bags is $189.99. They have to invest nearly $400 into their own trip with just two items of their own gear. This was not the only items on their list of gear, but these were the major items. I was able to find them nearly $40 in savings on their backpacks so they did manage to get off there. I have so far found the sleeping bags as low as $130-135 so I am thinking we might need to purchase at that price because I am not sure we will find them any lower at this point.

All of this being said, there is still a large portion of the trip expenses that still need to be covered – times three. This is to cover the Philmont portions of the trip as well as their transportation costs and this times three is a rather hefty bill to look at. It actually causes me a great deal of stress. Remember I thought that I would be sending the boys to Philmont one at a time so this is all a shock to my “mom” system. So far I am handling it okay. The boys will be doing some fundraising for the trip with the Young Men at church but it will not be until early Spring. That does not cover the payments that have been (or will need to be) made between now and then.

So I started thinking. I sat down with the boys and we started brain storming about ways to come up with funds to help off-set the fees a little. Kyle’s brilliant idea was to sell pies. It was not a bad idea as seeing we were going into the Thanksgiving Holiday Season and lots of people would want pies. It was not a bad idea as seeing he knows that his mother can make a mighty mean Pecan Pie. Now in all fairness I cannot make this Pecan Pie without some help from his late-Great Grandmother Ivy Sansom. She lives on in this whole experience.

I sat down with Kyle and his idea and we built it out a little bit because we were going to have to sell A LOT of pies to come up with the money to cover either the Philmont fees or the funds to cover some of his gear. I had to point out that not “everyone” would want to a Pecan Pie because not everyone likes Pecan Pie even if my Pecan Pie really is that good. We came up with a list of items that we could cook and sell. Some of them were sweets, some of them were not. That is what I was impressed about. Not all of the items on his list that he helped come up with were completely “junk.”

Of course the amount of work that he was going to have to put into this whole experience versus what his mother was going to have to put into this was not exactly clear. I knew going into this that I was going to be putting in a lot of work in the kitchen. I knew that in order to get the goods out the door in a timely manner with the quality and and reputation that people “expect” I was going to have to put in some elbow grease in the kitchen. I was okay with that. In all fairness I invested 100% in seeing my boys go to Philmont next summer – as much as they are invested in going. The experience they have on that mountain is as much my experience, it is just as much my blood sweat and tears getting them there.

Now I am not saying that I am going to do ALL of the work for this because I am not. I might do the handiwork in the kitchen because I can, but those boys have to get out there and sell the goods. They have to put on the charm and sell the delicious goodies. They know how good it is, it is their job to make sure that everyone else knows how good it is and wants to buy it. When it comes down to it, I think I got the sweeter end of the deal. I just have to fulfill the orders, they actually have to get the orders. They have to get out there and approach the already stretched thin markets and ask people to buy what they have to sell. See at church they are not the only ones selling baked goods to help raise funds to help off-set the Philmont expenses. They have a competitive market to work in.

I do have to say, however, they have a cute little brother to help use the “cuteness” factor in the sales. See Lance is not afraid to go ask people to buy stuff and he will walk right up to people and ask them what he wants them to do. This he uses to his advantage right along with how cute he is. So he has been helpful in getting orders for his brothers. Andrew and Kyle are going to owe Lance a reward for being so helpful.

The best part about all this is that the boys are helping to get things sold. It is not going as fast as I would have liked, but getting the word out is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It is just hard.

It is hard to sell baked goods. People are afraid to spend a little more for stuff. People do not want to spend a little more for something that may not be better quality. It is risky. People do not like risk. People like comfortable when it comes to food. I like comfortable when it comes to food. The thing is that I also like my food to be simple and clear of all the extra additives when possible. That is a lot of what I can offer people that the store made products cannot offer. I make quality and very good tasting products that do not fail to deliver to the taste buds.

Still when it comes down to it, you have to convince people to buy. You have to convince people to part with their money and ultimately come back for more. I think I have found the right formula for doing that.

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