Young Recruits Needed

Published: January 6, 2011

Young Recruits Needed at Valley Forge!
Kids Can "Join the Continental Army" First Saturdays, January to April

The Situation: General George Washington's ravaged Continental Army is encamped for the cold, harsh winter at Valley Forge. The valiant volunteer colonials have thus far been no match for the superiorly trained British regulars, now occupying warm Philadelphia quarters. If the battle for American Independence is to continue, Washington needs healthy young recruits to replenish his depleted ranks.

Four sessions of the popular "Join the Continental Army" program will return to Valley Forge National Historical Park on the first Saturdays of January through April for children ages 6-12.

"These young freedom fighters are the future of this emerging nation and, I fear, without their aid, all will be lost," confessed "Captain" Bill Troppman, who spearheads the trainings. "Willing children sign enlistment papers and agree to serve in the army for three years, or 'the duration' of the conflict."

They'll receive a month's pay and train like proper soldiers. During "Drill, Drill, Drill: Discipline is Key" January 8 and February 5 children will march as a company, armed with wooden dummy muskets, from the Visitor Center to Muhlenberg Brigade Hut area.

On March 5, the recruits will advance to the next training level during "Open Order and Skirmishing," practicing light infantry tactics in wooded and concealed positions.

After enduring three grueling sessions, the troops will progress to the fourth and final exercise, "Teamwork on the Big Guns," on April 2. Held at Artillery Park on Inner Line Drive, the children will form gun crews of five to learn the importance of each position, when working with the bronze cannon. Soldiers who have returned for all training sessions will be promoted.

All programs begin at 11 a.m. at the Visitor Center and advance to different areas in the Park. After each program, at 11:40 a.m., the children are invited to create crafts in the Park Education Center.

Learn more about "Join the Continental Army" and Valley Forge National Historical Park at And, to plan your weekend escape to Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, visit

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