Directory History and Geography Spirit of the Horseshoe

1988 - 1993

Edited by David B. Woodward  [Contribute Info]

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

Camp Horseshoe was ready for the Scouts on Sunday for the first week of the new camping season with our new Camp Director, Vance Hein. Bill Hess and "JB" Rettew were busy recruiting Scouts and Scouters to provide Staff for the approaching Polish Jamboree.

Camp this summer offered a unique opportunity. An "Outrider" Camp had been added to the other specialty camps. We had secured the use of a number of horses and had erected a corral near the Lane Farmhouse. For the first time we hired a young lady to handle the equestrian program. This camp and those for Science & Energy, Ecology/Conservation, Aquatics and Eagle Trail were designed with the older Scout in mind. They were well received.

Camp Horseshoe and Jubilee programs were well-received by the Scouts. Pete Lesley, Kyle Kuhn, Rich Foot, Mike McKinney, Tom Ott and Chris Pilko were among the members of the Staff at Horseshoe. That summer the camp conducted its first "outrider" program for a select number of Scouts. Horses were acquired and a corral set up next to the Lane Farm. From this spot trail rides were taken to various locations in and around the camp. Meanwhile, Dave Mellimger was back again as Camp Director at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. 


The summer was a challenge for all the Staff because not only was camp full, but preparations had to be made for the approaching Jamboree. Following the regular season most of the Staff at both Camps remained to set-up and provide program and related support to the Polish Jamboree participants. In addition, a service corps of 110 volunteer Scouters and Scouts from the Chester County Council had been recruited and trained to assist in the tremendous undertaking August 14th to the 28th.

"CZU WAJ" echoed through the woods of Camp Horseshoe and Ware in August as 1100 Scouts and leaders of the Polish Scouts in Exile from around the World filled both of our Camps for their 4th International Jamboree for that organization. The term Czu Waj is the Polish equivalent of our Scout Motto and is literally translated to mean "Be Alert." The purpose of the Polish Scouting organization was to keep alive Polish Scouting traditions. Poland during those years was controlled by the Communist party which did not accept the precepts of World Scouting. 

The selection of the Horseshoe Reservation was, in part, attributed to its connection with Rising Sun. Their Jamboree song included the mention of Rising Sun and therefore was considered a good omen for them. The female contingents camped at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd and the young men at Horseshoe.

As reported in the Trail Blazer - 

"Included in the agenda for the Jamboree (or Zlot in Polish) were olympic sporting events, campwide field games, orienteering, a talent show, bazaar, stamp and patch trading, an American Indian Show and many evening campfire programs. They were a close-knit group with a great esprit de corps...lots of fine singing...many speeches.

For many of our 110 volunteers and 50 Reservation staff members, this was a truly 'unforgettable experience.' The sights and sounds of the 'Zlot' were memorable and, at times emotional. Few will forget the opening march onto the Horseshoe Parade Field when over 1000 Scouts marched onto the field to the sound of drums, bugles and whistles. Leading the way, the many multi-colored flags of the various international Polish scout groups - the first singing of the Polish Scouting song - the tearful reunion of past jamboree groups on the Horseshoe field. The haunting melodies of the evening campfires and Catholic masses in the pine grove - and finally, that special moment on closing day when each Scouting unit marched passed and saluted the President of the Polish government in exile."

Bill Hess did an exceptional job in coordinating the event and devoting many long hours both in preparation for the Jamboree and at Camp to insure its success. He officially greeted the Jamboree at the Opening Ceremonies and was joined by Council President Rettew. The Commissioners Staff, under Hab Butler's leadership, was always prepared and willing to serve. Many friendships between our service crews and the Polish Scouters were made during the encampment. Even serving for several days at the hectic Trading Post was the Council President's wife, Ellie Rettew along with Sue Crouch and Sue Fisher. Ellie had a great time conversing in Polish with many of the Scouts.

There was a brief problem that had been unanticipated. The weather was hot as only Horseshoe can be in August. The Polish organization had delayed qualifying all their Scouts - boys and girls - for their swim tests. The result was that the showers were in continuous use for the first several days! As Bill Moffet on the service Staff put it: "Oh! Oh! No Water!" Well, thanks to some quick thinking and help from Camp Ranger Roy Cole, Bill and others, a water line was run to a remote well and we soon were filling the tanks at both camps. In the meantime, some restrictions had to be enforced... paper plates for meals and the ladies' hair washing had to be halted briefly. 

Rich Johnson, who had arranged for American Indian dancers to perform for the Polish Scouts in the new Campfire Circle, recalls some of the challenges faced by our Staff and the Camp relating to the pool:

"Certain things had been agreed to in advance - the Polish Scouts had to be familiar with the BSA's Safe Swim Defense Plan, they had to have a properly completed medical form and they had to pass swim classification requirements to use the pool. The first two items were problems, they were deficient. It became necessary for the camp doctor to give physicals to most of the 1100 campers. The language barrier created added confusion. It was hot! I was helping at the pool with swim classification. We had wave after wave of Scouts descending upon was tough keeping up! Then, coming down the trail for their swim were elderly senior members of the Polish Scouting group ready to jump in the pool due to the intense summer heat. Of course, they did not have medicals nor were they at all accustomed to needing a swim test. And...they had no intention of lining up for any sort of a check. Through a translator, we were told that they would not swim...and, they turned as a group and began to make their way back up the hill in the exhaustive heat. The Polish doctor asked the lifeguard staff to reconsider in light of the fact that most of these people were wearing tatoo identification numbers from World War II Nazi Germany concentration camps. They would not ever line up for anyone ever again, no matter what the circumstances!...And the rest of the story: a compromise was reached and they were allowed to wade in the shallow end of the pool."

The addition of the new Dining Hall to Camp John H. Ware, 3rd contributed to the success of the event and helped to better serve the female contingents there. Also, the temporary limited access bridge Roy Cole erected was highly successful in transporting supplies and allowing people to hike between the two camps. The Staff performed well considering that they were worn out from regular Scout camp and still had to shut down Camp Horseshoe and Ware after the Jamboree was over.

As an aside, in looking back on what had transpired during that encampment - what was said by these people and how these young men and women conducted themselves at the event and reacted to what was happening in Poland - one, now, wonders if that Jamboree helped spark the overthrow of Communism in Poland a number of years later.


The Wood Badge training Course went well at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd under Hab Butler's fine guidance. Even the Council President was a candidate this year and was elected at the conclusion of the session as the Senior Patrol Leader of the NE-V-105 Course.

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1989 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

There was much time and talent invested in getting Camp ready this spring. We had the new Dining Center at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd that needed attention; and, much work needed to be done at Horseshoe to get ready for the summer. Vance Hein was again Camp Director at Horseshoe and taking over for Dave Mellinger , who had gone off to medical school, was Paul Owens at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. Paul was to continue the fine work that Matt Christenson and Dave Mellinger had done in creating an interesting program of advancement and camping in more rustic conditions than at Horseshoe. Also, he was to provide excellent program for the Cub Scouts as their initial introduction to camp life by having special theme camps to lend excitement.


Summer plans again reflected the excitement of Scouting in the Council. Horseshoe was again brimming with our own troops as well as many from distant spots outside our Council. They continued to enjoy the fine facilities and camp spirit combined with traditional style of summer camping that was retained by Vance Hein and his Staff. There were 2100 Scouts in the Council who had a long term camping experience during that summer and 325 at short-term Cub Adventure Camp. We had much success with the Cub Scout "Mom and Me" and the "Dad and Lad" programs at Ware that summer. We were number one in the Northeast Region in camping.

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1990 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

The first Scouting for the Handicapped Camporee was held at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd this year. More than 100 handicapped Scouts enjoyed the weekend long event. Susan Crouch, who was Assistant Council Commissioner for Handicapped Scouting, worked hard along with other Scout volunteers, including Bob Fisher and Herb Wittmaier to insure a good time for the boys. Much credit goes to the Order of the Arrow and Jamie Iorio who helped in the organization of the Camporee and assisting in the events that the boys enjoyed.

This was Vance Hein's third year as Camp Director. Serving as Assistant Camp Director was Mark Hammond who carried out much of the Director's commands. Mark Cool served as the popular Program Director, assisted by Jeff Matthews. Chris Pilko of Devon 50 was Business Manager and Eddie Kellogg was the Trading Post Manager. Jamie Iorio of Devon 50 was the Nature Director assisted by the spirited Pete Mendez of Middletown, Maryland. Pete Lesley was back as the Aquatics Director and Glenn Runyon was the Boating Director. Jim Sunderland of Phoenixville was the Campcraft Director and Tom Ott of West Chester was the Handicraft Director. Camp Doctor was Pete Motel and Staff Helpers this year included Karl "Moose" Winsch and Harold "Webb" Weber along with Bill "Biff" Davis.

"Super Lizard" and the "Cat Came Back" were popular songs of the day in the Camp Dining Hall following the meals.


Hab Butler recognized the exceptional service Bill Hess had done for Camp and presented him with the Horseshoe Award. Hab also announced a new award was being established at Camp. "The purpose of it is to recognize the consistent and positive contributions individually and as a member of the Camp Staff to the overall experiences of youth and adult summer campers. The award is unique in that it will be awarded to one member of the Camp Staff each year. The award will be called "The J.B. Rettew Award" in recognition of the special level of dedication to Camp Horseshoe which has been demonstrated by John Rettew."

After a fine summer at Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, 3rd this summer the Camp Staff held their final dinner. The first "J.B. Rettew Award" was presented to Pete Mendez of Maryland. Horseshoe and Ware enjoyed another record summer of participation of Scouts from our Council and others. Cub Adventure Camp at Ware this summer had as its theme "Sea Adventures." While many Council camps were witnessing a decline in their camps' use our program flourished.

At Camp John H. Ware, 3rd in addition to the regular summer camp, over 150 Scouts of the LDS Church were encamped there under the leadership and support of our Ware Staff. At the end of the summer at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd, Wood Badge Course NE-IV-51 was conducted under the leadership of Hab Butler. Taking the course were a number of our Council "top guns." Council Commissioner Grahame Richards, Vice President Tom Darlington along with Scout Executive Paul Beauregard and his wife, Betty Ann, were members of the three weekend Course. 

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1991 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Plans were set by Council Commissioner Grahame Richards to have Commissioners serve at summer Camp to compliment the Camp Staff. It was anticipated that the Commissioners' service would resolve concerns expressed by some Scouters about the Camp Program and administration. History indicates this concept was used on earlier occasions to provide enhance the Camp's programs.


On another front, both Tom Darlington (in his connection with Troop 105 of Exton) and Tom Myles, Scoutmaster of Troop 105 were working on various improvement projects at Camp Horseshoe. Among the recommendations of a Camp Provider Committee, it had been proposed that special opportunities be developed at Horseshoe using the vast amount of land at the Reservation. Both gentlemen set forth and developed the first of several trail systems at Camp. The first trail was the 'yellow trail'. Hikers of the trail would receive a special patch. 

In addition, thanks to Tom Myles and many others from his Troop 105, there were three new Adirondack shelters at the Roberts Campsite for use this summer. Not only had they provided the manpower for the project but also the lumber. Latrine upgrades were also started at Horseshoe during this year time.


Our Scouts were also kept busy with the approaching Section 4B Conclave being held at Camp Horseshoe this year. Mark Morris, who had attended many Conclaves and NOAC (National Order of the Arrow Conference) events over the years was helping to organize the Conclave for that spring. Under Ernie Heegard's and Jim Gawthrop's guidance, we provided an exceptional event for all the nine Lodges. There were 400 delegates who attended the Conclave representing Lodges in our Section encompassing the Pennsylvania and New Jersey areas.


The talk of a bridge across the Octoraro between Horseshoe and Ware was again a topic in that spring. A detailed engineering report was made along with cost estimates. Jim Smith of the Lenni-Lenape District and other members of the committee provided the report. However, because of the financial commitment and environmental concerns, the project was again tabled for a future date.


The Council Board Dinner Meeting at Camp was held in July with President Hab Butler presiding. Vice President Darlington called upon Camp Director Vance Hein for his report. Vance reported that camp was going well especially with the support of the Commissioners. He shared some positive remarks that the leaders had made in their end of the week reports on the program. Mark Cool who was leader at Horseshoe and Paul Owens at Ware were also introduced. Tom Darlington, with his association with unit leaders at Camp, indicated that things were going more smoothly than in the prior year. The awards for service to Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, 3rd were made this year to Harold Weber, of the Green Lane Troop, and Chuck Kelly of Unionville Troop 22. President Butler also recognized the fine work that Susan and Bob Fisher had done with the Handicapped Scout Camporee which had nearly 150 participants that year.


Camp attendance during the summer again showed an increase. There had been a dramatic increase in the attendance at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd as a result of the expansion of the LDS Scout camping program and the Council's Cub Scout Programs. We again were in top place in the Northeast Region for long term camping. Philmont and other High Adventure activities moved along this summer with fine support of Scouts in the Council. We again were recognized Regionally for our camping programs. Jake Carrigan was winner of the "JB" Rettew award at the Horseshoe Camp Staff's final Banquet in August.

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1992 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Paul Owens was announced as the Camp Director of Horseshoe for the coming summer. For three years he had served as Camp Director of Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. He was instrumental in developing the Cub Adventure Camps, Mom & Me and Dad & Lad Cub programs and directing the Mormon Scout encampment. Charles "C.W." Bruton would be serving as Camp John H. Ware, 3rd Director for the coming summer.


Camp opened that summer with Paul Owens at the helm. His experiences at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd and knowledge of the Camp Horseshoe traditions and programs served to make this an excellent camping season for our Scouts. C.W. Bruton at Ware held forth with excellent programs for Scout Troops and for the Cub Scout encampments. From the standpoint of the Council Staff, Frank Rissel was the manager. This year Allen Forssmark was honored with the Horseshoe Award for his exceptional service to the Camp. Following the Camp season and closing down of Camp, the traditional Staff Banquet was held. This year the "JB" Rettew award was presented to Mike Berkheiser for his service to the troops in camp. As a part of the celebration there was the traditional reading of the Staff's Will of items and instructions to those of the future camp year.


The Wood Badge Training Course NE-IV-59 was held at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd this summer. Brian Bennett was the Course Director and "JB" Rettew was the Troop Committee Chairman. Hab Butler and Steve Baldwin were the Course Advisors. Staff members included Lyn Ziegler, Russ Neubauer, Joan Caracappa, Herb Wittmaier, Tom Myles, Bill Iorio, Butch Briskey, Drew McCausland, Neil Chippendale, Rich Johnson and Jim Klucar. There were 48 Scouters who took the Course, one of the largest held in the Council. There was a brief moment that was cause for concern. Brian had climbed atop of a pioneer project remaining from summer camp to dismantle it. It collapsed on top of Brian. There were anxious moments and Brian was sent to the hospital where he was pronounced OK with instructions to go home and rest. He showed up at the next weekend in good shape. He was read a "message" from his wife(?) instructing us to take care of him!


Wood Badge candidates that year, along with the Staff, will recall the haunting refrain of "Tom The Toad" ("O Tom the Toad, O Tom the Toad, why are you lying in the road?") introduced by Hab Butler and members of the Staff at the opening campfire. It also was presented at the final dinner of the Course...this time with a transparent toad that obviously had been lying in the road. A memorable skit was also provided by the Staff entitled "The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" for the learners' benefit.

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1993 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

On another front this spring, an "Open House" for Cub Scouts and their families was held at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd to introduce them to Camp and promote their attendance. The Order of the Arrow members along with Rich Johnson took an active part in this project. The results of this effort were realized when we had to add an extra week for Webelos Camp this summer.

Before Camp opened, the Handicapped Camporee was held at Camp Horseshoe again under the leadership of Sue and Bob Fisher. This project was also helped by the Octoraro Lodge 22 members. Camp Horseshoe had a new Director this summer who was Glen Runyon. At Camp John H. Ware, 3rd, Alfred Stoudt was the new Camp Director.

A better way to handle the administration of the Horseshoe operation that year. Because of the inherent complexities when checking campers into Camp on Sunday as the prior week's campers were departing, the popular noon-time Sunday turkey feast was shifted to an earlier time in the morning. In addition, for the first time in the Camp's history, the Council contracted with an outside food service to prepare and supply the meals. As a result of the many concerns registered by troop leaders, it was decided to do away with this arrangement in future years.

In spite of those happenings, Camp had another fine summer under the fine leadership of Glenn Runyon. Glenn had been a member of the Camp Horseshoe Staff for a number of years. He also had been a camper there when he was a Scout in West Chester Troop 14. "Moose" Winsch who was leader of out of Council Troop 108 of Green Lane and who spent 32 other days of his spare time at Camp this summer, made these recent observations -

"I got to be at Camp with my troop and another 32 days last summer (93). ..and see Glenn Runyon restore the traditions and values back to the way they once were...legend ruled the Camp. I just hope that I have become a piece of the Horseshoe history and that I have had a positive influence on the young staff members."

"Moose" and many other leaders like him from within the Chester County Council and from without, have made a difference in the quality of the Horseshoe experience for the boys and Staff over the years. They are a part of the intricate fabric that makes up the history of our Camp and the "Spirit of the Horseshoe."

In all, it was a good summer at the Reservation with top attendance at both Camps. Ware witnessed more campers, thanks to the Cub Scout promotional efforts and the success of the programs offered the Scouts. The "JB" Rettew award this summer went to Pete Horvath at Horseshoe. Announced later this year, was the appointment of Bill Hess as Reservation Manager to oversee operations at Horseshoe and Ware in the coming year. This move was well received by the Scouters having known the work Bill had done as a member of the Council Board on the Camping Committee.

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