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York County Boy Scouts turn Vikings - abc27 WHTM

York County Boy Scouts turn Vikings

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At first glance, it had the makings of a typical boy scout camp, until you looked a little closer. For a group of York County Boy Scouts, it was a weekend in the Tenth century, courtesy of the Longship Company, a non-profit organization focused on the life and times of early northern European seafarers.

"Walking in the shoes of the past is one of the more interesting ways to learn about other people and other experiences," said Andy Mychalus of the Longship Company.

For 48 hours, these Dillsburg kids lived in a world where everything was made by hand, including the clothes on their back.

Alix Evans showed the scouts how animal fibers became clothing, centuries ago. "Until you've done it yourself from scratch, from the beginning," said Evans, "you just don't appreciate the work that used to go into it."

It was a time when tools and weapons were shaped using hammer, tong and anvil.

Blacksmith Bruce Blackistone demonstrated how weapons were made using fire and sweat. A skill, he says, that is still around. "Maybe the kids have gained an appreciation of just how much work goes into some of the beautiful work that people are still doing," said Blackistone after the boys witnessed his efforts.

Later, these "Viking" scouts saw first hand how battles were won or lost in the Middle Ages

"Putting some replica weapons in their hands, and showing them basically how to form a wall," said Mychalus, " and showing them how effective lines of shields and spears and swords were, putting them in helmets...now they're really there."

And then it was out to sea on an authentic replica Viking longship. Authentic, as in, no engine.

"Before the invention of the steam engine, if you were going anywhere, there were only a couple of different ways you could do it," said Blackistone. " And one of them was under sail, and the other was to break out the oars."

Unfortunately, on there weekend journey, threatening weather forced the ship back to port before they could try out their sailing skills. But, for these "Junior Vikings," it was still a great weekend for learning by living.

 

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