1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
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 us...it 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.