2010 Valley Forge Pilgrimage

The 97th annual Valley Forge Pilgrimage and Encampment was held over President's weekend Feb 12-14, 2010 at Valley Forge National Park, Valley Forge, Pa. This year, the snow was knee-deep in some fields, far deeper than what we left behind in Nashua.

Recent record snowfalls of over 3 feet in Maryland and Pennsylvania kept some scout troops away. The scheduled Pennsylvania National Guard unit also cancelled as they were called to emergency storm duty bt the Governor. Still, over 2000 scouts from 85 troops attended. They came from Texas, Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even one troop from New Hampshire - Luke and his Dad from Troop 19, Nashua.

The Valley Forge Pilgrimage (hike) and Encampment was first held when the Boy Scouts of America was just three years old and is the oldest annual scouting event in the United States.

It was started by Valley Forge Council to let Scouts and Explorers have the experience of camping outside in February, like Washington's soldiers did. Now the Cradle of Liberty Council holds this event over President's weekend and it is divided into two parts - Pilgrimage and Encampment, each with a separate patch. Leaders from participating units must take cold weather training in January. Click here for Cold Weather Seminar handout and here for Cold Weather Camping Handout, both provided by the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia.

Scouts participating in the Saturday-only Pilgrimage hike hear volunteer interpreters from the National Park Service tell how the Continentals lived. Replicas of the original huts provide a glimpse of daily life. Encampment Scouts winter camp over the weekend in addition top participating in the Pilgrimage hike.

The theme is always an historical prespective of the American Revolution and Washington's winter Troop Encampment at Valley Forge. This year, Captain Robert Kirkwood was honored.

Robert Kirkwood was commissioned as a lieutenant of the 1st Delaware Regiment in 1775. In 1776 as a Captain, he was under the command of General Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania. By 1777 he was under the command of General Washington. He survived the Revolutionary war having fought in 32 military actions, many with General George Washington. After the war, he continued his military service until he was killed in a battle with the Native American Miami Tribe near Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This 2010 Pilgrimage explored his role in the Revolutionary War under George Washington and featured soldier musket drilling, artillery, musket and rifle demonstrations, and Native American roles in the war as explained by present day members of the Oneida Nation. There were also enactors through out the park demonstrating many skills of living during the Revolutionary period.

Valley Forge National Park was also the site of the BSA National Jamborees in 1950, 1957 and 1964.

For photos of a troop Encampment from that weekend. Click here for Troop 16 from Coatesville,PA. The 85 attending scout troops were divided by numerical order into equal sized color hike groups. So Troop 16 and Troop 19 travelled together in Green group. Photos from Troop 19's Pilgrimage hike appear below.



























Gallery created with Mihov Gallery Creator.