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HSRAA Museum - ACHGEKETUM
Directory History and Geography Spirit of the Horseshoe
ACHGEKETUM

1982 - 1988

Edited by David B. Woodward  [Contribute Info]

Exhibit Content

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1982

1982 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Penn State University provided a trailer of stuff for Scouts to see and try during the 1982 Science and Energy Camp.
1982 - Contributed by Richard D. Foot
Scout Executive Richard Bennett quickly developed a number of creative ideas for Camp this summer as a supplement to the regular Program. Plans were developed for a Computer Camp recognizing the interest of boys to learn more of computers and their applications. This camp was operated in conjunction with Penn State University and was the first camp of its kind, as later verified by Boy's Life magazine. In addition, there were plans made for the first Council Energy Camp. Each camp had a specialist in the field to work with the Scouts. Jubilee was selected as the site for these new opportunities.

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Ozzie Spellman at Schramm Lodge dedication
1982 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
It was a great summer for the Council at Camp Horseshoe, Camp Jubilee and at the Philmont High Adventure Camp in New Mexico! The first Computer Camp had 27 scouts while the Energy Camp had 41 participants. At Philmont, we had the largest contingent in the Council's history to that point with 124 Scouts and 16 leaders. Horseshoe Reservation's attendance exceeded the past year as 1785 Scouts were there. 

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Many Scouters gathered at Camp Horseshoe on November 6th to celebrate the dedication of the newly reconditioned winter camp lodge. It was dedicated to Henry Schramm a long time Scouter in West Chester. Bob Lorgus and "Ossie" Spellman took charge of the ceremonies.

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1983

1983 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

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JLT Staff (early 80's)

Back Row - Edgar 'Gumps' McComsey (2nd from right)

Second Row - John McGovern (far right)

Contributed by Anonymous
]Horseshoe during the summer was "bulging" at the seams with over 2000 campers from 127 different troops attending. The exceptional work of Ernie Heegard, Reservation Director along with that of David Mellinger at Jubilee was applauded when the Board Dinner was held at Camp. The dinner was served by the Camp Staff under the direction of this year's Program Director John Kemmerer. The waiters had special ties and vests for the occasion and the tables were gaily decorated. A meal fit for a king was served...from soup to nuts!

In fact an end-of-the-week Scoutmaster survey contained so many positive comments about the Staff, program, food and facilities that copies were made for the Board members. Comments like: "Staff worked after hours for our Scouts"; "I thought the food was very good (I gained 5 Pounds!)"; "Your Camp is really a role model!" We now were catering to numerous troops from outside our Council...from Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania Councils, as well as those from New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware just to name a few.

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At the November Board Meeting approval was given for the construction of a pavilion at Camp Jubilee by members of the Octoraro District as a memorial to Al Foard who had passed away that year. In addition, a new Rifle Range was being built at Jubilee...

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1984

1984 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Again, outstanding effort and support from the Order of the Arrow was provided troops coming to Camp Horseshoe for their winter camping activities. These OA members served as an assistant to the Campmasters Corps. Chief Robert Matje along with his Executive Committee arranged to have OA Lodge members at Camp each weekend to teach skills, support the individual troop's program as requested by the unit and to conduct Sunday Church services.

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While not specifically part of the Scout Program, but certainly one of interest to many Scouters, there was a special event worth noting that happened at Horseshoe in the spring. It took many Scouters by surprise. The site of the event was the Camp Horseshoe Chapel on a bright, sunny day. Confirmed bachelor Ernie Heegard, Scouter and Camp Director extraordinaire, wed Betsy Stelwagon! This was the first wedding conducted at Camp Horseshoe to our knowledge.

Officiating at the wedding was the Reverend Dan Bechtol, Ernie's brother-in-law and a Professor of Religion at Dickinson College. Dan had been a Scoutmaster at Horseshoe with his Troop. The Bechtol boys, Pete and Tim who had served on our Camp Staff, attended. Betsy's son, Fred Stelwagon, who had been on the Staff and daughter, Margie, were there as well as many of Ernie and Betsy's family and friends. Rob Hopkins, who had spent many years on the Horseshoe Staff and now was a Professor of Music at Hamilton College, played the Camp pump organ at the service. This was quite a fete since one had to pump air with his feet and play at the same time. (It is said that Rob could even play Bach on it).

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Ernie, following his wedding, continued his fine leadership at the Horseshoe Reservation during the summer. The Program Director at Horseshoe that year was John Kemmerer. To celebrate the year of the Olympics, he implemented programs related to the big event. Mike D'Antonio of Troop 78 served as Business Manager; Frank Edwards was the Camp Chaplain conducting services and taking 'homesick' Scouts under his wing; Pete Motel returned as the Health Lodge

Director; Mark Smith was Food Services Director, assisted by Bob Matje. Charlie Bradford of Glenmore was Head Cook and Web Mayfield was Headquarters Director. Hard-working Sam Dinsmore was the Maintenance Director and Jeff Hughes was the Campcraft Director. Nature Director was Ray Plante and serving with Kyle Kuhn at Field Sports were Marty Summers and Mark Hammond. Aquatics Director was Eric Longenecker of Reading, assisted by Fred Stelwagon of Troop 78, John Spencer and Tim Warram. Pete Lesley was the Boating Director. Mark Kline served as Handicraft Director and was assisted by Bill Davis of Coatesville, Eric Hanson of Parkesburg and Henry Hom of Port Deposit, Maryland.

The 1984 Camp Director at Jubilee was Dave Mellinger. He introduced two new Camping Programs at the Camp that summer. An Aquatics Camp and an Ecology Camp were added to attract older boys to return to Camp.

The July Board Dinner at Horseshoe was well- attended. Prior to the Meeting, a dedication ceremony was held at the Rifle Range at Camp Jubilee. Mrs. Mary Cross was on hand to help dedicate the new facility to the memory of Richard Cross. Mrs. Cross' gift was recognized at the Dinner as was that of Mrs. Emily Hopkins for her gift in memory of George H. Hopkins to renovate the McIlvaine Lodge and its kitchen addition. Roy Cole, Camp Ranger, and his wife Matleen were given a token of appreciation by President Jones for their work in behalf of the Reservation. 

Camp attendance exceeded 2500 this summer! A new record.

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1985

1985 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

The Council Board approved another action in celebration not only the Scouting Anniversary but the fine contributions that the Honorable John H. Ware, 3rd had made in his long time leadership in the Council. Jubilee Camp was renamed Camp John H. Ware, 3rd in his honor.

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A view of Heistand Pool after being refurbished in 1995. The entrance is now at the shallow end, metal and wood bleechers replace the concrete bleachers along the right side and a new structure encloses the pumps and filters.
1995 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Len Eaton this year had taken the initiative to Chair the Committee to raise the necessary major funds to replace the Camp Horseshoe pool filtration system and to replace the pad and move the entrance to the shallow end of the pool. Work was completed during the year. In June, a resolution was presented at the pool to Chief Charles M. Heistand to name the pool in his honor as he was the founder of Horseshoe and one of the key people behind having the pool built. Attending and participating in the ceremony were members of the Horseshoe Camp Staff, Joe Brinton and Francis Maule and others. It is interesting to note that this resolution was made 55 years to the date of the original opening of the pool.

Col. Dave Pergrin leads to help Camp. Bridge only lasted one year due to Army requirements and insurance.

1985 - Contributed by G. Ernest Heegard
There was much excitement at both Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, 3rd this summer. A bridge spanned the Octoraro Creek for the first time. Thanks to Colonel David Pergrin (He was the young commander of the Army Engineer battalion that built and held, under fire, the famous bridge at Remagen during the battle of the Bulge in World War II) and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the 114 soldiers from Ft. Meade in Maryland, a "Bailey" bridge had been erected in four days. While this was a temporary bridge, it served the purpose of tying both Camps together. It was planned that a permanent bridge would be built at a future date. The Army also improved the access road to the bridge site. 

Frank Rodgers, who was in Camp as a leader that summer talks about the Bailey Bridge construction:

Things begin to take shape as the army engineers assemble the modular bridge.
1985 - Contributed by Anonymous
"It was fascinating to watch as the Army Engineers worked on the bridge. It only took them several days to finish it. The men were all muscles and would be up at 6 am doing calisthenics and then it was to the job at hand. The bridge was built in sections on land on rollers. As one section was completed they would extend it by rolling it across the water and then continue to build on to it at the land end to counter-balance the piece extending over the water. Although there was a Captain and Lieutenant on site, the real leader was obviously the Top Sergeant."

Meanwhile, as Camp opened, we had added two other specialty camps to the program for that summer. A Field Sports and an Eagle Trail camp were introduced and supported by the Scouts. Many of the 1984 Staff returned that year. New Directors included Scott De Haven of West Chester at Headquarters; Bob Matje of Troop 78 at Campcraft; Jeff Hughes at Handicraft; and, John Muddy at Aquatics. 

It is interesting to note that Chapel continued to play a great role in the Camp Horseshoe program. Singing was one way one could feel at home in the Chapel. Ernie recalls the "Taberchapel Choir" that was formed in later years: 

"The choir was formed (informally) with anyone who was interested in singing at the Chapel Service. Rich Foot was instrumental in getting the choir recruited by promoting it in glowing terms with signs such as - 'Best Choir We Have Heard in Years! ... New York Times;' or 'This is where I got my start in music - Luciano Pavorotti.' The choir was usually no more than 20 people. They made a joyful noise."

Frank Edwards continued his fine service and conducted Vespers every Wednesday evening after dinner as has been the tradition in Camp since early days. He also attended to the spiritual needs of many of our homesick Scouts.

At the July Board dinner at Horseshoe, the leadership of Ernie Heegard and Dave Mellinger was recognized by our newly elected President, Joseph E. Boyd, Jr. Ernie had been Camp Director for 25 years and this was Dave Mellinger's third year at Ware. Order of the Arrow Chief Marty Summers, a member of the Camp Staff that summer, was called forward at the dinner for a special presentation by Randy Murrill of the Northeast Region, BSA. We had, for an unprecedented third time, won the E. Urner Goodman Award. No other Council in the nation had been so honored.

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The Army came back and had to remove the temporary bridge between Horseshoe and Ware that fall. (Oh well. It was great while we had it.)

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1986

1986 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

1986 Wood Badge training course directed by Steve Baldwin.

1986 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Having lost the bridge at Camp, Pete Ciorrocco and others were working with Colonel David Pergrin to arrange for a permanent structure to link the two camps. While Pete, Jim Smith of the Lenni-Lenape District, and other Board members tried that year and in the future years, the attempts proved futile. 

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A "Back to Basics" Scout Junior Leader Training was conducted this spring. Karen Morris was the Course Director. She was the first woman in the Council to hold this Training position. The course was conducted at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. 

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Again, another enthusiastic group of Scouts at summer Camp thanks to Ernie Heegard and his Staff. Ray Plante returned as Nature Director and Bob Matje as Campcraft Director, assisted by Mark Kiernan, Mark Cool and Dave Williamson. Health Director and Dining Hall Director was Mark Graham then with Troop 106. Iven Gerrity was Boating Director; Bob Rabe Field Sports Director; John Munday of Newark, Delaware was Aquatics Director assisted by Fred Stelwagon, Eric Swanson, and John Murphy. Pete Motel was part time on the Staff at Camp due to his medical schooling and military demands.

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Staff member Rich Foot, whose father, Don Foot, had been a camper at Horseshoe and whose Grandfather Bill Foot had been a Scoutmaster at Horseshoe, has many fond memories of his camping and Staff days. He recalls his days as a Patrol Leader:

"I remember one July day in 1986 when as a Patrol Leader of the Willistown Troop 78 Flying Eagle Patrol at Horseshoe, that I called the 'Most Amazing Day' in the Patrol's log. The patrol got up at 6:30 am and ran the Obstacle Course in record time. Following that, we did our 'Honor Patrol' project and after breakfast we finished up our merit badge work. Then at noon, it was off on a seven mile hike with the Troop to the cliffs of the Susquehanna River for our traditional troop cliff-diving and swimming adventure. Afterwards, we returned to Horseshoe only to get ready to go out on an overnight camping trip for Wilderness Survival merit badge. That's where the patrol had to make the best use of its skills to get along with a minimal amount of food and create their own shelter in the wildnerness. It was a cold night and seemed like we had frost, but I guess we really didn't. The next morning we made quick tracks back to Camp for breakfast. Boy! The french toast and rest of breakfast seemed like the best meal we had ever eaten! That was our most amazing adventure! We had been given all sorts of challenges and we made it!"

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We had 100% of our troops at camp that summer with a total of 2600 Scouts attending. 92.5% of our Scouts were involved in Long Term camping. This was the best among all councils in the nation. We were number one in the Region for the percentage of Cub Packs participating in Webelos Camp and Cub Day Camp.

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1987

1987 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Camp Horseshoe that summer was celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Camp. Ernie Heegard's fine leadership was recognized by the Board members at the Annual Board Dinner at Horseshoe. Many of our past Council Presidents were there to celebrate including: J. Frederic Wiese from the 1949 - 1953 period; William H. Mitman from 1970 - 1972 years; Donald Givler from the 1972 - 1975 years; and, Bob Lorgus from 1981 - 1983. The members were serenaded by Music Explorer Post 280 sponsored by the West Chester State University. Ernie Heegard gave a talk about Horseshoe and its founding which all enjoyed.

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Back Row - Karl 'Moose' Winsch, Mike McKinney, Mark Hammond, Mike Billings, Mark Keirnan, Brian Place, Pete Motel, Mark Graham, J. D. Monday, Bob Matje, G.E. Heegard, Scott DeHaven, Kyle Kuhn

Fourth Row - Bill Dunlap, Karis Watson, Brian Baugh, Mark Cool, Ivan Gerrity, David Strang, Scott Normancell, Dave Burgbacher, Tim Stoudt, Chris Reilly, _________

Third Row - Fred Stelwagon, Frank 'Father' Edwards, Devon Burt, Bill Prestin, Earle Test, Jim Doling, _________, _________, Eric Carlson, Ethan Bicking, Bill 'Biff' Davis, David Mugge, Norm Jones

Second Row - Tom Lucas, Mike Toner, Louis Mandich, Dave Williamson, Shawn Monday, John Murphy, Joe Badman, Jon Eggmore, _________, Steve Guldin, Kevin McCarraher, Jeff Grant

Front Row - Mike Conway, Steve Nash, Joe Lennon, Doug Ferrie, Curtis Fisher, Karl Fisher, Pat DiJoseph, William "Trip" Howell, Jeff Matthews

1987 - Contributed by Karl W. Winsch
The Staff Ernie assembled this year included Scott DeHaven, back as Business Director; Mark Graham as Health Lodge Director; Earle Test as Headquarters Director; Jeff Matthews as Trading Post Manager and Mike McKinney as the Head Cook. Mike was to make a great impact on food service at Camp. Bill Davis was the Handicraft Director this year and Bob Matje returned as the popular Campcraft Director. Mark Kiernan of Troop 106 was the Maintenance Director and Bill Prestia served as the Nature Director. 

Each year a number of younger Scouts would serve as Counselors in Training. These CIT's were at least 14 years of age and would serve for part of the summer. They would be given time off from their respective Department to take part in the Camp's Merit Program. Many of these boys would eventually work their way up to a summer Staff position.

This was the last Camp Staff before Ernie Heegard announced his retirement. And, next summer was to be the Polish Jamboree.

Bill Hess' camping report was glowing in terms of attendance and spirit that year. We again had a record number of Scouts and leaders in Camp during the summer.

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Ernie Heegard announced his retirement as Camp Director that fall. Vance Hein, having had experience at three other Scout Camps before coming to the Council was selected to replace Ernie that next summer.

In November, top priority was being given a dining hall facility for Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. This was now of prime concern not only for the approaching Jamboree but also was created out of our need to better serve Handicapped Scouting and to enhance the Ware facility for Cub and Scout camping.

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1988

1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

One of Ernie Heegard's many roles at camp in the '70s and '80s was that of Personal Fitness Merit Badge.
1979 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
For the first time in 29 years we were faced as a Council with filling a most challenging job at the Horseshoe Reservation with the retirement of Ernie Heegard as Camp Director. In addition, there was the challenging opportunity after the regular summer camp season of executing our Council's commitments for the Fourth International Polish Scouts in Exile Jamboree and making it a stellar affair for the expected 1200 participants. 

Ernie Heegard, Mahlon Rossiter and others pause briefly for a photo while adding the finishing touches to Achgeketum Circle.
1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
At Camp Horseshoe, the Horseshoe Campfire Circle had seen the ravages of 59 years of use for the Order of the Arrow's weekly Pageants. We had outgrown the site and it was difficult to maintain control over the hundreds of Scout families who would journey to Camp to picnic and enjoy the popular Ceremony and recognition of the campers. Thanks to the leadership of Ernie Heegard a new campfire site had been selected behind the Roberts winter Lodge (that serves as the Nature Lodge during the summer) and he had drawn up the plans for the new site. Members of the Lodge at past Lodge weekends had devoted much time to preparing the site. "Moose" Winsch and his Assistants, including Harold Weber, had taken the lead in building benches, foundations and in executing Ernie's plans. Work continued that year for its completion by the opening of Camp.

Camp John H. Ware, 3rd that summer was to expand its Webelos Camping Program. Three of the Camp's seven weeks of operation were to be devoted to the Webelos. Dave Mellinger continued as the Camp Director. In anticipation of the Polish Jamboree, Roy Cole was erecting a temporary structure over the Octoraro Creek to serve as a limited access bridge between Ware and Horseshoe. 

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Camp Ware's new Dining Hall was complete in 1988.

1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
In the spring a new Dining Hall was under construction at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. A new roof was planned for the Morrison Health Lodge at Horseshoe and many other projects were in the working stages. Also, "JB" Rettew was announced as Chairman of the Leadership Gifts Dinner to be held at SMS in June. It was also announced that a special day, June 25th, had been set aside to honor Ernie Heegard. Matt Christenson was the Special Event Chairman along with "JB" Rettew.

An unfortunate accident happened at Camp Horseshoe this spring when the OA Bridge partially collapsed with some leaders and Scouts on it following the Lodge Ceremony at the OA Circle. Quick action on the part of Bill Iorio and Ernie Heegard managed the situation in good fashion. Only minor injuries were sustained by a few people one of whom was Ernie. The occurrence made the local news. The Bridge was eventually examined, repaired and approved for use.

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1988 Agheketum Circle dedicated to Ernie Heegard
1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
"Ernie Heegard Day" invitations were extended to all unit leaders, Scouters, Order of the Arrow members, present and former Staff members, Council and District leaders as well as dignitaries and friends of Scouting. The "Day" arrived and Camp looked in great shape thanks to the Order of the Arrow, Camp Staff and Vance Hein. 

Visitors were welcomed at the Rossiter Lodge where tours of the Camp had been arranged. In the evening a Retreat Ceremony was held on the Parade Ground and Dinner followed in the Allen Memorial Dining Hall. Following dinner the 350 friends and well-wishers convened in the new Campfire Circle that Ernie had designed and which had just been completed in time for the ceremonies. Many fine tributes were paid to Ernie and his many years of service to the Council, the Order of the Arrow and Camp Horseshoe. Tributes came from Jim Gawthrop, Matt Christenson, "Moose" Winsch, Dick Bennett and many, many others who had camped or known Ernie. Citations were presented including the following by Council President Rettew:

"Tonight, we have the pleasure of honoring a man as well as a legend. In the annals of the history of Horseshoe, many have made significant marks but no one has made a greater contribution in terms of longevity, service or total dedication as Ernie Heegard. He has served the Camp for over 42 years as a camper, Staff member and as a Director. He has probably walked every foot of the property. But, the imprint of his footsteps are deeper than the worn trails and the cleared campsites.

His record is written in the hearts and minds of the 50,000 young men whom he touched. It is only fitting that we dedicate a portion of this hallowed ground in honor of Ernie... we dedicate this totem pole circle in his honor. Ernie was instrumental in choosing the site, designing the circle and its erection. Each summer the highlight of every camp week is the traditional closing campfire ceremony in this circle. Therefore, be it resolved that this totem pole circle shall be perpetually known as - 

The plaque at Achgeketum Circle dedicating the ceremonial campfire are to G. Ernest Heegard.
1988 - Contributed by David B. Woodward
'ACHGEKETUM CIRCLE'

Achgeketum is Ernie Heegard's Vigil Honor name... I am pleased that my first official act as Council President is the naming of this Circle in honor of a distinguished Scouter and dearest friend...my teacher...our teacher - Achgeketum- Ernie Heegard!

Following the citations and dedication, members of the Order of the Arrow put on a Pageant entitled "Achgeketum" specially written for the occasion. In addition a special rock monument had been constructed to hold the formal brass plaque to commemorate the dedication.

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