Troop 44 takes American History and culture tour

West Milford. A local Scout Troop made good use of days of of school to travel to historic sites in the region.

26 Nov 2019 | 01:00

Members of Boy Scout Troop 44 and Troop 44G used their days off from school in early November to travel to historic sites in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Scouts visited the New Jersey State House and Annex in Trenton, home to the executive and legislative branches of New Jersey government.

The tour included learning about their role as citizens in a representative democracy.

The Scouts then set up camp at Camp Delmont (formerly known as Camp Cedar) in the Musser Scout Reservation, which is part of the Valley Forge Council/Cradle of Liberty Council Camps.

The Reservation is part of protected lands in the largest contiguous forest in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The camp is recognized as one of the oldest Boy Scouts of America Camps in the United States with records showing a summer camp was first held there in 1916.

From there, the Scouts made their way to Valley Forge.

At Valley Forge National Historical Park, 3,500-acres of meadows, woodlands, statues, monuments, refurbished and replicated buildings, and authentic Revolutionary War artifacts are scattered throughout the park, which commemorates the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army, and represents the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation.

Rows of cannons and earthen fortifications surround the encampment area in Artillery Park.

It was here that in late 1777, with the British Army occupying Philadelphia, that Continental Army Commander George Washington decided to have his troops spend the winter on the naturally defensible plateau that was only a day’s march from Philadelphia.

About 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children marched into Valley Forge in December 1777, and began building 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications, and essentially becoming the fourth largest city in the United States at the time.

Though no military battle was fought there, the six months at Valley Forge were reportedly among the roughest for the Continental Army during the entire war.

Over 2,000 men died without a shot being fired, as the harsh winter and heavily- rationed supplies led to conditions of rampant hunger and disease throughout the encampment.

The Scouts also stopped at One Liberty Observation Deck in Philadelphia to see the 360 degree views of the region from the building's 57 story enclosed deck.

A visit to The Franklin Institute was the next attraction on the Scouts' itinerary, where they experienced the innovative hands-on exhibits, exploring science in disciplines ranging from sports to space.

"There's nothing more fulfilling and inspiring to our youth than to experience the events, places, and ideas that they hear about in school,” Troop 44 Scoutmaster Will Cytowicz said. “We toured our state capitol and learned about our legislature, saw the turning point of a Revolution at Valley Forge, and delved into the Cradle of Liberty during our visit to Philadelphia. I couldn't be more proud of watching them experience these things first hand."

The Scouts returned home with a greater knowledge and appreciation of their nation's history.