WINCHESTER, Va. (WHSV)-- Local Boy Scout troops have teamed up with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) to pursue scout projects on the Third Winchester battlefield. This particular battlefield is the site of the September 19, 1864, battle that saw 54,000 men clash in a back and forth struggle that changed the course of the war in the Valley.
The Battlefields Foundation has joined forces with Troops 3, 31, and 62 of the Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts of America to connect conservation-minded American youth to various preservation, merit badge, and Eagle Scout project opportunities on local Civil War battlefields.
To date, the partnership has allowed SVBF to host four Eagle Projects on the Third Winchester battlefield, including Star Fort. Eight more Eagle Projects are in the pipeline for 2014, projects that will provide enormous help to the Foundation’s efforts to restore and interpret the 567-acre battlefield preserve by the 150th Anniversary of the battle on September 19, 2014.
Eagle projects on Civil War battlefields provide a tangible cultural, environmental, and recreational benefit to the nation’s public, while at the same allowing a youth to learn, lead, and achieve a multitude of scouting award and rank goals.
“Scouts of today have grown up hearing words such as ecosystem, biodiversity, and climate change,” said Wilborn Roberson, Council President, Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts of America.
He also stressed that scouts, “...recognize the need for, and the benefits of, conserving natural resources. Scouts understand that we all must work together for the betterment of the land, forests, wildlife, air, water, and history. This partnership is a perfect example of how Scouting remains relevant with today’s youth while connecting to our past and serving the community."
Troop 62 immediately saw the merits of vast opportunities to achieve in addition to the eight various Eagle Projects at Third Winchester but also the conservation awards that other ranking Scouts could participate in and achieve including the Williams T. Hornaday Conservation Award, World Conversation Award, and finally the Good Turn Award.
“Troop 62 is very excited to be actively involved with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and we have asked the SVBF’s Chase Milner, Eagle Scout to also be the Merit Badge Counselor for all three Conservation Awards,” said Scoutmaster Jim Williams.