Re: Washington D.C. Trip
Bruce Harper (bharper@VT.EDU)
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 10:29:06 -0400
On 11/12/96, Teresa Brewer wrote:
> My WEBELOS den and their families are going to Washington D.C. (by train)
> this weekend. Does anyone know if their is some special recognition that the
> boys can earn while visiting the city? Our current plans are to visit some
> of the Smithsonian Buildings. In the Tidewater area of VA there are patches
> that can be earned by visiting the Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown
The National Park Service publishes and sells a "National Park Passport"
that is pretty neat. It lists all the national parks, national historic
sites, and national recreation areas by districts. There are national
stamps and district stamps (postage stamp or sticker-type stamps) issued
each year featuring different sites, with places in these books to
collect the stamps. There are also blank pages to record by rubber
stamp a visit to individual sites. If you visit any of the monuments,
find the visitor's information desk staffed by the park rangers and
ask about the passport stamp (even if you don't buy the passport, you
can still collect the impressions if you bring your own paper). The
ranger will pull out the stamp and ink pad and stamp the page to record
the visit. Most of the impressions are round, with the name of the
site and the date of the visit. It is a fun way to record travels to
parks and monuments. The passport is about 4 inches by 3 inches, so it
is easy to stick in a pocket or fanny pack.
I am not aware of any Junior Ranger programs in Washington, D.C. (my
kids have patches from Williamsburg, Kitty Hawk, NC, and the Outer Banks).
You might ask at one of the ranger information booths.
While you are in Washington, try to get out and about instead of trying
to do to much in too little time at the Smithsonian. It is easy to get
museum burn-out, especially with Webelos-age kids.
A neat place to spend a few minutes, if you are over that way, is at the
Canadian Embassy at Constitution and Pennsylvania (someone correct me if
I have the wrong street corner). As you face the embassy building from
the street, there is a plaza with a gazebo to your right. Pile everyone
into the center of this area and have them be perfectly quiet (or as near
to that condition as possible). Go over to one side and whisper something
(and the effect will get the quiet quickly).
There is a Boy Scout monument in Washington, on the Ellipse near the
White House. The down side is that this area is also a popular place for
the less fortunate to gather and "live" under makeshift cardboard tents
on the park benches. It might generate some discussion and comment from
your den if you go there (or most any place in D.C., there is quite a
community of street people there).
I'm not sure where you are staying while you are in Washington. Your
arrival by train will give you an early opportunity to sightsee at
Union Station. It is an impressive building and has been restored as an
upscale shopping mall. Check out the Roman soldiers that line the upper
reaches of the main concourse. There is also a food court on one of the
lower levels. There is also a food court (and a visit to the clock tower
for a view of the city) in the old Post Office Building (Pennsylvania
Avenue, about halfway between the White House and the Capitol).
Enjoy the trip. I visit Washington once a year (sometime twice) to get
my "big city" fix, but am always glad to get back to the mountains of
Bruce in Blacksburg Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 56
Bruce B. Harper (540)231-4360 firstname.lastname@example.org
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