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Railroading Merit Badge 2009


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Railroading Merit Badge 2009.pdf

Rail Road Merit Badge Trip

To the Kennebunkport Seashore Trolley Museum

May 1-3, 2009


I ran across the Seashore Trolley Museum on the web about 2 years ago and read about their RR merit badge program. I did inquire and started to book a date. Unknown to me then was that it would take me two years to secure a date for the troop! 

Also unknown to me was the fact that our very own Josh Perkins is the nephew of Donna and Bob Perkins who run the merit badge program. With Josh and his dad; Jims; help, we finally booked a date Ė May 1-3, 2009.

We left Friday afternoon from the temple with 14 scouts and 6 adults. Actually 2 parents and their scouts came up separately later Friday night. So it was a convoy of 12 scouts in 4 vehicles.

The trip was 176 miles and about 3 hours. We stopped for bathroom breaks (badly needed) twice and made it to the very dark road that led to the museum around 8:30pm.

We set up camp in a field, had use of the rest rooms and potable water. Once camp was set up, everyone enjoyed the cracker barrel. It seems that the scouts are constantly hungry!

By 7am on Saturday, the smell of freshly cooked pancakes was in the air. The breakfast crew was hard at work making tasty pancakes and turkey snausages for all.

8:30 am and the scouts were in their class A uniforms and raised the flag. A quick change to class Bís and we met Donna and Bob Perkins for the start of the RR merit badge day.

The scouts were split into four groups. At least one adult with each group and one docent (tour guide). After a short introduction to all, we were off and walking around the grounds of the museum, closely following our docent.

Throughout the day each group would have some instructional learning, mini-class time, and discussions about each area of the museum. Plus everyone got to drive the plow train which the scouts really liked! We did break for a 50 minute lunch and then went back to learning about all aspects of railroading and safety as well as how the trolleys and trains were prepared to be put on display.

The day ended around 5pm with Donna saying that everyone had earned their merit badge. As a special treat, those that wanted to could stay and drive the 100 year old trolleys. Half the scouts chose this option as well as 3 adults. Those that didnít want to drive went back to camp and played football or relaxed.

Our group of five drove first. We were in the covered trolley (my choice, no dummy here as the temperature started to drop!) The scouts learned how to accelerate, brake and warn people that we were arriving. Each scout got to drive one leg of the one to two mile loop. When the scouts were finished, us adults got a chance.

I must say this was fun! The conductors let us go to full speed where as the scouts were kept to 60 to 80 percent. We got to drive both legs of the loop and it was a blast! Even though it was only around 30-40 mph, it felt much faster!

After we all drove, dinner was being prepared. Everyone was hungry after the busy day. The dinner crew made spaghetti and sauce with a delicious garlic bread and a salad to go along. In the past on other trips, Greg Major has made the garlic bread and it comes out yummy. But on this trip, Greg was not around and Mike Beauregard had the garlic bread duty. Mike did it his way and it was fantastic. It was soft, tasty and delicious. I think we need to have a garlic bread competition between Mike and Greg! But Mike will definitely have a following and we hope he makes his bread again on DU!

Shortly after dinner was done, the scouts had another cracker barrel and snacks came out of some parents cars. The scouts were busy with football and other games in the dark. By 10pm, the adults were very tired and quiet hour was called.

Sunday morning came after a chilly 36 degree night. We packed up the tents and cleaned up the campsite. Breakfast was consumed very quickly by the scouts once everything was clean.

Instead of going straight home, we decided to stop at the Kennebunk beach (Gooch Beach) and let the scouts burn off some excess energy and play beach football or enjoy the beach. Us adults that were left got our chairs and either read a book or snoozed. We did enjoy watching the beach football with the 5 foot waves breaking in the background. A little beach exploration took place also before we left for Kittery.

We stopped and had lunch in the Kittery Trading Post parking lot and then let everyone explore the store for an hour. Then it was finally time to get home. Luckily we did not experience any traffic slowdowns and were back to the temple by 6:30pm. A little later than planned, but everyone had a great time at the beach and at KTP instead of just going home.

All in all it was a fun and exciting trip and every scout earned their Rail Road Merit Badge!

ASM Larry Krainson