Wednesday, August 8, 2012

RailCamp Northwest debut

Twelve RailCampers pose
with locomotive 1 in the
Train Shed.
August 2012 was the debut of the first-ever Northwest RailCamp.  Designed for youth, the intensive rail-oriented program was a week of operations, history, collections care, and fun.
James uses a cutoff saw
under the careful super-
vision of the Dan C.

The Northwest RailwayMuseum (NRM), in partnership with the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS), hosted two days of RailCamp. Over the course of one week, campers enjoyed hands-on activities at several area rail hubs including the NRM, Mt. Rainier ScenicRailroad, and Tacoma Rail. The twelve campers ranged in age from 14 to 19 years old and were from all over the United States. Railcamp is an established NRHS program but this was the first ever Northwest camp. NRHS holds an annual camp at Steamtown in Scranton, PA and up until recently at the NevadaNorthern in Ely, NV.

Melisa uses a drill press to prepare her
own project - a wood bookshelf with
a section of rail mounted on the end.
During their two days at NRM, campers participated in a variety of hands-on activities including maintenance of way, running trades, rehabilitation, and a special project completed in the Museum’s shop. Campers got to throw switches, hook and unhook air hoses, help perform brake tests, couple and uncouple cars and run locomotive 4012.  They also switched out railroad ties, stripped old shellac in the chapel car Messenger of Peace as part of the rehabilitation of that National Register-listed object, and built a small shelf for CDs or books (their take-home project).

Jessica learns about tap-
ping threads to accept a

The success of any program is partly dependent on the participants.  They were a pleasant group of enthusiastic young people with a strong interest in railroads, historic and contemporary. The Museum’s educator said, “It was especially rewarding to design programming for a motivated group of young people that already have a strong background in railway history. They eagerly tackled the tasks we set before them and it was a pleasure creating lifelong memories with them.”
John learns to use a drill press under
the watchful eye of fellow camper

The Museum was also pleased with how the program directly ties to the mission – this is just the type of program that the Museum wants to offer.  NRHS was pleased with the outcome of the camp overall and it is everyone’s hope Northwest Railcamp will become an annual program.


David said...

Spike, This Railcamp concept is great! I'd never heard of it before. We definitely need to get some young folks involved in railroading and preservation... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Leedo said...

My kids (now 10 and 8) would LOVE to do this sometime in the future! Please keep us informed of your plans!

Rebecca said...

And I know for a fact this is something your lead restoration man on the Chapel car would also LOVE to do.