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What a Weekend: A Long Way From Home

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“What a Weekend!”

If you’ve uttered that
phrase after returning from another great Scouting adventure, you’re not alone.
Packs, troops, crews, and ships from across the country create unforgettable
memories for their members almost every weekend of the year. 

To celebrate these
classic moments, we present you with What a Weekend, a weekly feature that
highlights a recent Scouting adventure. You’ll find details about
how to submit your own story at the end of this post. But first, follow the jump to read about about Troop 1776’s recent trip to Valley Forge and see some more photos of their weekend.

Typically when the weather turns sour, inhabitants of frigid
climes dream of heading south for a long weekend—anything to get away from the cold
grasp of winter. But for this troop from Plano, Tex., it was just the
opposite—a President’s Day trip where the Scouts left behind tolerable Texas temps
for two nights in the 20-degree weather of Pennsylvania.

Their destination was the Valley Forge Pilgrimage, the
oldest Boy Scout event in the United States. There, more than 2,000 Scouts
learned about the hardships faced by the Continental Army that braved through
their own cold winter in 1777. The weekend included visits to makeshift cabins,
musket- and cannon-firing demonstrations, and chats with reenactors in period
costumes.

(Scouting magazine
covered the annual activity in 2003 for the event’s 90th
anniversary. Click here to read that in-depth story.)

Though experiencing history first-hand was the main
focus of the weekend, Troop 1776’s presence drew some attention as well. The
group from Texas was the only troop west of the Mississippi River at this
year’s event. But they didn’t feel like outcasts—more like celebrities, maybe.

Everyone wanted to meet members of the Texas troop, and the
host council made the long-distance visitors feel at home with the gift of five
large, steaming-hot pizzas.

The boys and leaders were even invited to use the warming
tents, which were large shelters set up to provide a brief respite from the
bitter cold. A warm welcome, indeed.

The hospitality from strangers symbolized that “the
brotherhood of Scouting is alive and well,” said Troop 1776 Assistant
Scoutmaster John Stone. Still, despite their celebrity status, there was one
aspect of the weekend that made the Scouts from Troop 1776 look like
foreigners: their wardrobe.

“Several of the boys from other troops wore short sleeves
and shorts,” Stone said. “Unbelievable! It was cold out there!”

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A battlefield reenactment (minus the real guns and violence) gave the boys a taste of the 18th century.

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Troop 1776 Assistant Scoutmaster John Stone (left
) and Scoutmaster Bill Hemenway felt right at home despite the 20-degree weather.

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The troop also made stops at several historic sites, including the U.S.S. New Jersey battleship.

To submit your own
story to What a Weekend, click here. 
Give us a brief
synopsis of your event, including where you went and when it took place. Tell
us what made your trip unique, and include two or three of your best photos. We’ll contact you if we’d like to learn more.
Now get back out there!

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