scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Gettysburg Report
Bob Lazell (rlazell@QED.NET
Tue Aug 08 2000 - 18:07:11 CDT
Sounds like Troop 505 had a good trip. Before I talk about our experience
with quite a few Gettysburg trips, I'd like to ask a favor of the list:
Could you all give some indication of where you are from geographically
speaking,? (it's often very clear where you're from politically! <VBG>) I
had a heck of a time finding out that Roman drove his troop from Indiana.
Not even the troop's webpage says a thing about location (LaSalle Council
was a big clue, but, not definitive)
Anyways, Gettysburg is my favorite all time non-hiking/camping/ great
outdoors scout destinations! When I took over as SM the Gettysburg trip was
already a troop tradition. I had never been, and it was not a trip that I
had any enthusiasm for (a childhood of many summer vacations in Virginia
being taken from battlefield to battlefield had left me pretty cold to such
places) But, I agreed to the trip my first year so as not to upset the
old-timers with any new-guy departures from tradition (those would come
later). Well, to put it simply, I was deeply moved by our visit, as was, and
has been, every Scout or adult who took the trip then or has done so since!
There is no place I've been quite like it. To walk where so many fought and
died is an experience that will move even your most jaded, too-cool for
As I mentioned, we treat the trip as an educational excursion. We camp, of
course, but, we don't cook our own food. It will increase your cost, but,
we stay in a private campground in Gettysburg itself that I can highly
recommend: Artillery Ridge Campground 610 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA
The advantage is that you spend maximum time sight-seeing and minimum time
driving. We eat breakfasts and dinner at a one price, all-you-can-eat place
in town (there is at least 2 such places in Gettysburg) This not only saves
more time, but, is a big hit with the boys.
I think Roman had a good point about the younger boys. I would suggest that
only the older boys attempt both of the historical trails he mentioned (a
very nice three part patch is available for completion of both trails and
the Eisenhower farm, an order form is in the back of the trail guide)
One of the reasons we recommend the Artillery Ridge campground is that
housed on the grounds is an very large diorama of the battle with an
accompanying audio program that really will bring together all of what the
boys will or have seen. Again, it is an added cost, but, in our opinion
well worth it and far superior to anything in the visitors center.
One last recommendation that is practically cost free. Buy yourself one of
the small booklets available of Civil war soldiers' letters home (who knows,
maybe some are to be found free on the 'Net?) They are incredibly poignant.
I read a few to the boys in the evening. I point out that the writers of
these letter were not much older than some of the boys and the fact that
many did not return home. It gets them every time, as it does me.
Bob Lazell, SM
Valley Cottage, NY (about 20 miles north of THE city)