Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Valley Forge Boy Scouts seek shelter of King of Prussia Mall

Hundreds of Boy Scouts flocked to Valley Forge National Historical Park this past weekend for an annual camping trip to commemorate George Washington's birthday. The campers were to learn of Washington's encampment here during the harsh winter of 1777-1778. The conditions for the Continental Soldiers were brutal as many fell victim to the elements. "It's messed up…what they went through here," said Boy Scout Scott Higgins, 12, of Binghamton, NY. "Captain Frost Bite really made the rounds during their stay here." Reports of that long ago winter had night temperatures falling below zero with winds making it feel even further below zero.
The Scouts did not face temps near this especially with the mild winter the area has encountered this year. But that didn't comfort the campers. "Around 7:30PM a group of scouts came to me and said they had had enough," said Scout leader, Ed Corbin, of Franklin, NC. During the next hour word spread through the tent city and the hundreds of campers demanded to retreat to the comfort of indoors. Montgomery County officials were notified and reached an agreement with the director of the King of Prussia Mall, two miles away, to house the campers there for the duration of the weekend. During Saturday and Sunday shopping hours customers had to wind their way through hundreds of tents in the Mall's walkways. "I came for a new sweater and stayed for the s'mores," said shopper, Grace Ponslini, of Upper Merion, PA. The weekend was such a success that the group plans to camp at the mall annually during the President's Day holiday.

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