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Transportation Museum hosting Rail Camp

SPENCER — Hundreds of Boy Scouts will spend a busy weekend at the N.C. Transportation Museum during Rail Camp today through Sunday. Troops will stay at the museum, the site of the former Spencer Shops steam locomotive repair facility.
This year, the museum will host a record number, with 23 troops and about 460 Boy Scouts and troop leaders.
As always, most of the attending troops are from North Carolina, from as close by as Salisbury, Concord and Lexington, but others are from Greer, Spartanburg, Simpsonville and Tega Cay in South Carolina. There is even a troop from Alta Vista, Va.
Scouts attending Rail Camp will earn their Railroading Merit Badge with the completion of several activities. After a scavenger hunt, the afternoon will be dedicated to learning 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 traveling by rail.
Brian Moffitt, educational programming coordinator at the N.C. Transportation Museum, heads up the event, which is close to his heart. Moffitt became an Eagle Scout in 1991, before the museum began offering such a program. “This is an experience I was never able to have, and it’s great to offer it to others who might also become Eagle Scouts some day,” Moffitt said.
He added, “Local councils and districts find out about what we do from the troops who have attended. They enjoy their experience and are more than willing to share.”
While troops typically do not attend the event every year, many repeat the experience every few years, when a new group is ready to earn Railroading Merit Badges.
Rail Camp is also a unique opportunity for camping out on the grounds of the museum and enjoying fellowship with others during campfire programs and flag raising and lowering ceremonies.
Moffitt says it’s great for Scouts and for the museum: “The troops benefit and this relates directly to our mission as a state historic site.”

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