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7.15.14 ~ psa silver sage acceptance speech (philmont)

by | Jul 15, 2014 | Uncategorized

I am bowled over by the congratulations I’ve been receiving on FB and via email.  
Thank you—all of you—so very much.

A number of you have requested to read my acceptance speech for my Silver Sage Award, which was presented to me this past Saturday; I share it below. 

Silver Sage Acceptance Speech

There is no way that I would be here tonight if it not for Kathy Leach and Nancy Wells.
They led the way for me and all women working at Philmont on its trails and in its backcountry.
I owe so much to these two women, as well as the pantheon of inspiring, kick-ass women who followed them and further lead the way for me and countless others—women like Joyce Schroeder, Carol Fowler, Cathy Hubbard, Sioux Roberts, Mary Stuever, Laurie Hines, Kathy Makela, Peg VanValen.
To my eyes these women were goddesses, and they left me—and anyone they encountered—in awe. They were strong, they were smart, they were upbeat, they were more than competent, they could hike the pants off of anyone, and they each shone with their own light. 
These are the women whom I wanted to emulate. These are the women who, with so many others, represent the very best of Philmont.

And there are others— Others who, maybe weren’t pioneers, and who maybe haven’t held the “glamorous” jobs, but who have been just as dedicated, just as inspiring, just as kick-ass and just as crucial to not only my successes at Philmont, but to the success and operation of this entire Ranch. 
I’m talking about the women who—without much glory—do so much of the essential work of this place, from the Dining Hall to the Trading Post, from the Museum to the Health Lodge, from CHQ to PTC to Admin and all points in between and beyond. You women have helped me—and everyone. Every one of you is important. 
Every one of you has made a difference.
You sisters ROCK.

But of course it’s men—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, cool, incredible—men who make up the majority of the Philmont staff.
It’s the men of Philmont who hired me 31 years ago to be a Ranger.
It’s the men of Philmont who finally woke up from their stupor and decided to hire women in the backcountry.
It’s the men of Philmont who, 40 years ago, had the brilliant idea of the Philmont Staff Association.
And it’s largely those same men who, sometime later, decided to hire a waitress with an art degree to be their first executive director.
For three decades you men have supported, encouraged, inspired and befriended me.
To each and every one of you — I am grateful.

And yet, all of this talk of men, of women…. in the end we’re all simply people. We’re a family of people who, despite political, spiritual, educational, vocational, social or gender differences, share something elemental—something that may run even a little bit thicker than blood:
We share a passion for this extraordinary place;
a passion for this unique, quirky, wonderful community of souls;
and a passion for this land that haunts us in our dreams all the rest of our days.

I’m happy to be a part of this quirky, wonderful, passionate family.
And I’m honored—and deeply touched—to receive this award.

Thank you.

Dawn Chandler
12 July 2014