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Rail Camp this weekend

SPENCER ń More than 400 Boy Scouts will spend a busy and fun-filled weekend at the N.C. Transportation Museum during Rail Camp, Nov. 6-8. Troops will spend Friday through Sunday at the museum, the site of the former Spencer Shops steam locomotive repair facility.
Most of the 28 troops attending this year’s Rail Camp come from North Carolina. However, troops will also be traveling from as far north as Danville, Va., and as far south as Anderson, S.C. All will learn about locomotive travel and rail transportation and earn their Railroading Merit Badge.
Many troops and their leaders have been attending Rail Camp for several years. Dwight Creason, who leads Troop 525 from Mocksville, has attended for the past eight years. Creason’s says the scouts are able to learn a lot in a few days. “Most of them, even though they’ve read this stuff in the history books, they really don’t have a concept of it until its hands on,” he said. Creason credits the location, the former Spencer Shops, as making those lessons more tangible. “Being there on site where thousands of men worked several years ago, that’s a pretty awesome experience in itself.”
Boy Scout troops will set up camp at the N.C. Transportation Museum Friday evening. Saturday morning, troops will tour the museum before taking a train ride around the museum’s 57 acre property. After a scavenger hunt, scouts will dedicate the afternoon to earning their Railroading Merit Badge. Troops will learn how a diesel-electric locomotive develops power, how to identify different types of railcars, the importance of railroad signals and railroad safety. Troops will also learn about modern railroad companies and planning a trip by rail.
Rail Camp is also a great opportunity for Boy Scouts to interact, camping alongside each other and working together to earn their Merit Badges. Flag raising and lowering ceremonies and a campfire program is also part of the fun. Creason describes it as “a real blast, a fun fellowship weekend.”
The N.C. Transportation Museum, located in historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway repair facility, is part of the Division of State Historic Sites, Department of Cultural Resources. The museum is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. Visit www.nctrans.org for more information. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is celebrating the 2009 theme of “Treasure N.C. Culture.” For information on the Department of Cultural Resources, call (919) 807-7385 or visit www.ncculture.com.

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