• 72°

Scouts learn about railroad history, safety at N.C. Transportation Museum

By Hugh Fisher

hugh.fisher@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — This weekend, the grounds of the N.C. Transportation Museum transformed into a small tent city, with campfire smoke rising and flags flying in the breeze.

Boy Scouts, leaders and volunteers from 37 troops, plus a group from the Young Marines youth organization, took part in the annual Rail Camp on Friday and Saturday.

Over 600 young people took part in educational and fun activities designed to teach about the history and usefulness of railroads, as well as how to remain safe around trains, organizer Lucas Safrit said.

The event draws Scouts from throughout North Carolina as well as surrounding states. “Our award for the furthest traveled troop is the one from Mechanicsville, Va.” Safrit said.

In the spirit of the event, at least one Boy Scout troop – from Bath, N.C. – rode in Friday night on the Amtrak train, Safrit said.

A central part of the event is the opportunity for Boy Scouts to earn the Railroading merit badge.

By the time they finish the weekend, Safrit said, participants will have learned enough about railroad safety, history and operations to complete those requirements.

“They’re learning about the kinds of equipment railroads use,” Safrit said. “Not only that, but there’s some exposure to model railroading. So, this could be the start of a lifelong hobby.”

Other scheduled events included train rides, an evening campfire with skits, a scavenger hunt with clues about exhibits at the museum and a chance for some to operate a handcart on the rails.

“We try to have something new and fun each and every year,” Safrit said.

Taking a break before they headed back to classes, Boy Scouts from Troop 99 out of Washington, N.C., said they were enjoying the experience.

“This is their first exposure to backpack camping,” said Thom Edgerton, assistant scoutmaster.

With guidance from their patrol leader, younger Scouts learned to cook noodle soup and Spam on a camp stove.

The youths attending Rail Camp were divided into groups by organizers, with each group named after a railroad operating in North Carolina.

In addition to their classes, scouts in each group were challenged to learn something about the railway for which their group was named.

Scouts from Troop 63 out of Charlotte started their morning with a tour of the museum and a train ride around the grounds. “It’s good to see them in action,” Assistant Scoutmaster Larry Johnson said.

Taking part in the classes, campfire skits and activities gives the Scouts a chance to learn and meet other boys, Johnson said. “It helps break these boys out of their shell,” he said.

But the chance to see trains up close and in person was probably the most exciting part for many.

One of the Scouts from Troop 63, Ernest Johnson – no relation to Assistant Scoutmaster Larry Johnson — said he liked seeing the railroad cars and the museum exhibits, and really enjoyed getting to learn why trains were important.

“I like how it teaches you new things. I learned how trains transported fabrics, and how the Cone family transported (textiles) all across the country,” Ernest said.

He said he’d liked trains ever since he was little, but seeing them in person was even more fun.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

Comments

Coronavirus

Nearly 400 cases considered currently active in the county

Education

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College creates free course to help parents tackle virtual learning

Business

New unemployment claims down in August, could indicate positive trend for businesses

Crime

Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call

Crime

Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

Crime

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes