Directory History and Geography Camp Ware
General History

From it's early days as the Explorer Base, through the years as Camp Jubilee, Camp Ware has continued to provide the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Chester County Council with a valuable outdoor experience.

Edited by Andrew Coe  [Contribute Info]

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Camp John H. Ware 3rd Highlights

This article first appeared in Volume 7, Issue 1 of the HSRAA news letter, The Octoraro Loop.
Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Aerial View of Camp Ware

Contributed by John B. Rettew III

1932 - 1935
During this period, the Lewis Property acquired by Council as a buffer for Camp Horseshoe.

Council takes on future plans to handle bourgeoning Scout membership.

Early photo of the Camp Ware pavillion when the camp was used as the Explorer Base.
Contributed by Anonymous
Camp Expansion Fund was used to open up the Lewis property for camping. Pete Tobiessen joined the camp staff as Ernie Heegard's assistant. They were asked to develop and expand the Council's Explorer program. This program was to operate on the Lewis property, north of Flagpole Hill and across the Octoraro in Lancaster County. Heegard: "Pete and I built rope slides from trees on opposite sides of the Octoraro in order to ease access to the old farm, cleared and repaired the old springhouse located at the rear of what is now the rifle range at Camp Ware. We ran a long pipe to "Aunt Molly", a latrine and washstand we built as the first structure on the property.

Explorer Base was in high gear. A new headquarters building, Lawrence Lodge, was constructed and dedicated to E. Hibberd Lawrence, who had been a farmer on the Tudor farm in Avondale. Two permanent campsites were added to this developing Explorer Base. They were named Lewis and Clark, and Frontier. One was an Adirondack site, and the other a tent site. A large cook shelter in each site provided meeting and eating space.

1959 - 1960
Explorer Base offers a positive experience for older campers at Horseshoe. It became the base for canoe trips from the upper reaches of the Octoraro Creek to camp and for trips to the Susquehanna River. The Base offered a wide range of instructional and shakedown activities which included back-packing, hiking, trail food preparation, dutch oven baking, field sports (archery, 22 caliber skeet shooting), and bait casting, as well as canoeing and sailing instruction.

The Jubilee year of Scouting prompted the renaming of the Base to Camp Jubilee. A Jambo-style camping program was developed for troops who wanted to experience outdoor skills under their own leadership in contrast to Camp Horseshoe's structured programs. New campsites were added. Patrol tables were built and canoes and rowboats were acquired.

Jubilee offers a 6-day camping week experience at $16 per Scout.

Projects to improve the camp were proposed: a swimming pool with showers, a "low water" bridge to facilitate travel between the camps and a Ranger's home.

Concrete curing during construction of the Camp Jubilee pool.

1966 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III

Pool construction started and completed for use in1965. All were in the swim!

The Council's first Wood Badge course conducted at Camp Jubilee under "Pete" Peterson's leadership. Since then, almost all Wood Badge courses have been held there and the camp has become a training center for adults and youth in off season. Other types of training events used the facilities including Junior Leader Training courses, adult leader courses and training for National Jamboree Council troops and Crews for the Philmont Scout Ranch.

Sloan Lodge built for winter camping and summer staff use. Added advancement programs offered troops.

Webelos Scout camping developed as a part of the Cub Scouting program. In later years the Council would build upon its Cub programs using Jubilee/Ware offering "Parent and Pal" weekends, Webelos camping, etc.

Innovative programs of a Computer Camp and Energy Camp were first offered in Scouting at Camp Jubilee. This was later to be followed by Space and Energy camps and other off-shoots of specialty programs.

The 75th anniversary year of Scouting. Jubilee was renamed Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. Senator Ware, of Oxford, had played a prominent role in the Council as Council President from 1957 - 1961 and continued to serve on the Councils' Camping Committee thereafter. His sons attended Horseshoe; and, he with his family were benefactors of our Council. That summer, the US Army Corps of Engineers, thanks to Colonel David Pergrin, constructed a "Bailey Bridge" over the Octoraro between Ware and Horseshoe.

The bridge served us briefly but had to be demolished and parts used elsewhere by the military.

In 1988, the Polish Scouts in Exile Jamboree was held at Horseshoe Scout Reservation.
1988 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
In preparation for the International Jamboree of Polish Scouts in Exile, a new Dining Hall, with handicap access, was built. 1200 Girl and Boy Scouts from around the world come to Camp Ware and Horseshoe with our Council's volunteers and camp staffs playing a full service role throughout their encampment. The girls were camped at Ware while boys were at Horseshoe.

Handicapped Camporee weekends were initiated at Camp Ware during and continue to this day. Now referred to as Special Needs Camporee. Octoraro Lodge 22, Sue and Bob Fisher played prominent roles in these events as well as Ware staff.

Camp Ware over the years was used by outside organizations, including football practice teams, etc.. This summer 150 Scout members of the LDS Church used the facility supported by Ware staff.

An Open House for Cub Scouts held to attract parents and youth to Ware. Themed summer activities introduced at Ware for Cubbing programs.

The Irish Scouts demonstrate their acumen in marching during the retreat ceremony.

2000 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
"Irish Scouts 2000" from Ireland camp at Ware with support of Staff and Council volunteers. The Horseshoe Scout Reservation Alumni Association (HSRAA) formed to include any person camping at either Camp Ware or Horseshoe.

Health Lodge was built and an equipment storage facility was added.

 One of the early projects of the HSRAA was the construction of the Camp Ware Gateway.

2002 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Camp Ware gateway built by HSRAA funding greeted new campers. Council announces a capital campaign to raise funds to build Cubtown at Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. This major project was to enhance our Cub Scout programs and build upon our Scout membership. Venturing Scout program introduced.

Ground breaking for Ware's new facilities, including: Cubtown Lodge, Trading Post, expansion of Dining Hall, and construction of a Staff City and other related needs. Powderhorn Training for adult leaders began at Camp Ware.

Open House at Ware introduced new and improved facilities for Cubbing, Boy Scouts and Venturing Scouts.

HSRAA Reunion at Ware. HSRAA plans were made to fund a new major project to benefit the Ware camp and Scouts this summer.

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Camp Ware Leaders

1958 - Contributed by Andrew Coe  [Contribute Info] 

Explorer Base: 1958-1959; Camp Jubilee: 1960 - 1984; Camp John H. Ware 3rd: 1985 - Present


G. Ernest Heegard


Peter Tobiessen

1960 - 1968

Missing Detail

Matt Christenson - Horseshoe Program Director, Jubilee Camp Director, Octoraro Lodge 22 Chief and much more...

1981 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III

Dick Bennett (Former Council Scout Exec), Rob McCarter (center, 1980 Ware Camp Director) and J. B. Rettew (right)

1980 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III

Craig Wright


Frank Penrose


Nelson Wenner

1972 - 1979

Raymond Pauley


Robert McCarter

Steve McCall-Carter - Camp Ware Camp Director (1994-1995)

1994 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III

Paul Owen - Camp Ware Camp Director (1989 - 1991)

1989 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
1981 - 1982

Matthew Christenson

1983 - 1988

David Mellinger

1989 - 1991

Paul S. Owens


C. W. Bruton


Alfred Stoudt

1994 - 1995

Steve McCall-Carter

Camp Ware Director Meridith Barrett

2008 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III

From left to right - Dave Mellinger, Matt Christenson and Jim Montich meet at the HSRAA Reunion.

2006 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
1996 - 1997

Ben Bruton


Josh Bruton

1999 - 2002

Marjorie Prosock

2003 - 2007

Jim Montich

2008 - 2009

Meridith Barrett

2010 - 2011

Chris Wells

2012 - Present

Bill Hohl

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