Troop 868 in Action
CAMP BUCK TOMS
(Summer Camp -- June 11~25, 2011)

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On Tuesday we toured the TVA generating station at Raccoon Mountain.  This is a really cool hydroelectric plant located 16 stories deep inside a mountain!  The facility was closed to public tours following 911, so we had to call in advance to arrange a tour.  The folks at TVA could not have been nicer.  Two TVA retirees and a TVA Police Officer met us to conduct the tour.  The police officer was an Eagle Scout and took a special interest in our group.  

After we left the power plant, we drove a short distance to the Chicamauga National Military Park.  The park visitor center held the largest collection of Civil War firearms in the country --- rows and rows of muskets and rifles in cases filled an entire room.  Out in front of the building was an impressive display of Civil War artillery.  One of the rangers even gave us a musket firing demonstration.

We had two scouts celebrating birthdays during the trip, so after breakfast on Tuesday morning, we surprised them both with a chocolate cupcake and a birthday candle.  And, of course, we sang to them!  Preston is at left; John at right.
Then we were off to tour the TVA Stored Water Generating Station at Raccoon Mountain.  The station generates hydroelectric power by draining water from a reservoir on top of the mountain.  The unique thing about this facility is that during non-peak periods, water is pumped from a reservoir at the bottom of the mountain up to the reservoir at the top by reversing the turbines for the generators.  The whole thing is a closed system with the same water being repeatedly recycled.  When extra power is needed, the station can be brought on-line almost immediately and then shut down when the demand eases.
An officer with the TVA Police escorted us 16 stories deep into the heart of the mountain. Half our group poses for a photo in an observation room overlooking the giant turbines and generators.
After our tour, one of our scouts asked the officer if he could talk with him about his job in order to fulfill a requirement for the Law Merit Badge?  It turned out that the officer was an Eagle Scout and offered to speak with the entire group so that all the boys could complete the requirement together.  Not only did he share some of his experiences working in law enforcement, but he also related his personal testimony how Scouting and becoming an Eagle has influenced his life.  
Our next stop was at Chickamauga Battlefield where a large collection of Civil War cannons were on display outside the Visitors Center. As we looked at the artillery, a gentleman who was very knowledgeable about them walked up and gave an impromptu talk about the various pieces.  We're always amazed at how many people are willing to assist a group of well-mannered, well-behaved scouts and frequently make this point to the boys.
The inside of the Visitors Center featured hundreds of artifacts and dozens of displays that captured the boys' attention.   The center also held the largest collection of Civil War firearms in the country.  Hundreds of muskets and rifles were on display.
One of the park rangers, in period dress as a Union soldier, gave a talk and demonstration of loading and shooting a Civil War era musket that the scouts enjoyed.

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