Directory Summer Program Sights and Sounds
HSR Retreat Ceremony

Each evening, campers and staff assemble at the Horseshoe parade field in a unique ceremony that has been around since the opening of Camp Horseshoe.

Edited by Andrew Coe  [Contribute Info]

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Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony Photos

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Ware Retreat Ceremony Photos

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Horseshoe Parade Field Area

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Ernie Says - Retreat

This article by Ernie Heegard first appeared in Volume 6 Issue 1 of the HSRAA news letter HSRAA, The Octoraro Loop.

... Old Glory

2005 - Contributed by G. Ernest Heegard  [Contribute Info] 

The Flag Comes Up On Flag Pole Hill in the Loop of the Octoraro Bend!

1959 - Contributed by Anonymous
Duty to our country and the national flag has always been a part of Scouting and was an intriguing part of the Horseshoe program in the 1920's. The earliest Retreat ceremonies were held on the athletic field. A small camp marching band led the parade as the scouts and leaders saluted the central camp flag, atop Flagpole Hill.

During those early years, Flagpole Hill was almost devoid of trees, and the pole, flag, and small canon were easily visible from the lower field. Dinner was a welcome sight each evening after hiking down and back for the nightly retreat.

By the mid-thirties, the Retreat ceremony had been moved to its present location and was refined by a former military officer and staffer, "Dutch" Kerwin. It seems each summer questions arise about the Retreat ceremony's origins and some observers with military experience know that something is a-miss, but just can't put their finger on it. In fact they are correct and this is attributed to Mother Nature who isn't always right as her placement of the hill, valley, and slope of the field caused us to have a parade field in reverse.

It was understandable for the first campers to place the first flagpole on the highest spot in camp where it could be seen from all points in camp. When the ceremony was moved to the parade field just above the dining hall, the Flagpole Hill flag was still saluted and continued to dominate Retreats throughout the fifties. The trees surrounding the parade field and Flagpole Hill had not grown tall enough to block the view of the pole from the parade field. It was not until Don Simpson, Scout Executive from 1957-1966, was approached by a young Scout asking, "What are we saluting?" that he immediately had a new flagpole placed on the parade field. The leaders and staff from their side of the field were not aware that the Scouts could no longer see the flag as the trees had long since obscured their view.

Treeless Flagpole Hill
1928 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
The ceremony has always been with the Scouts entering the field from the road by the dining hall and facing the flagpole and staff on the right side as the flag is lowered. The council flag and the American flag lead the parade and come to rest at the top of the field. The first problem arises when the Adjutant / Program Director dresses the line with the command, "Dress left, Dress," from the head of the field. In military parlance, there is no "Dress left", only "Dress right." If we used "Dress right," it would cause us to straighten the line to the last man on the field instead of to the first Adjutant at the head of the field. As our field is reversed we invented the "Dress left, Dress". While incorrect, it accomplishes what is required.

After the colors are lowered, the order is given to, "Pass in review", and the Scouts march in a clock-wise direction, passing the reviewing line on their left. This, of course, is a complete reversal of a normal parade field. As the troops pass in review, their senior patrol leader gives them a command of, "Eyes left", and again in military lingo, only "Eyes right," is correct.

The Program Director salutes the Camp Director in the time-honored Camp Horseshoe tradition.

Contributed by Anonymous
Another serious problem occurs when the color guard is not properly instructed on how to carry the flags. It seems to make sense to have the American flag on the left, exposing it to the reviewing line, which is on their left. However, this is incorrect flag etiquette, as the American flag is always carried on the right. The remedy for this is easily accomplished by carrying the American flag in the correct position on the right, and dipping the council flag while passing in review, thus exposing the American flag to the salutes of the reviewing line as the color guard passes in review. It is also proper to dip the American flag that is carried by the color guard while the main flag is lowered.

We all should keep in mind that Horseshoe is not a military camp, rather we are a group of Scouts, learning proper flag respect while having fun building troop spirit, scout cooperation, and troop unity. This is best expressed in one of the verses in the song, "In the Loop of the Octoraro Bend":

"The sun comes up over Flagpole Hill, Where Old Glory flew and is flying proudly still, And we'll hike and camp in the old scout way, In the Loop of the Octoraro Bend".  

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Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony Videos

       
The traditional Camp Horseshoe evening retreat ceremony.
1992 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 

More video of the Staff, Scouts, and Leaders participating in Camp Horseshoe's evening retreat ceremony.

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

More Retreat Ceremony fun, from column turns to flanking turns, to pass and review, to parade rest. 

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

The flag lowering / folding are important aspects of reverence towards our country and have been integral parts of the Retreat Ceremony since it began in the early days of Camp Horseshoe.

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

A montage of great images and videos of the Camp Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony.

2011 - Contributed by Clarke A. Green  [Contribute Info] 

Here is a full retreat showing our finest reverance to the birth of the United States. 

1995 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Another retreat video, this one showing from several perspective what it's like to be a staff member or camper on the parade field.

1995 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Saturday Night Retreat, one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles during the week, when the call-out ceremony recognizes candidates for entry into the Order of the Arrow.

1995 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

The Saturday Evening Callout and retreat ceremony combined for one awesome video. 

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

Here is the "gathering" portion of the typical Saturday Evening Callout Ceremony.

2014 - Contributed by Andrew Coe  [Contribute Info] 

Here, the color guard marches during the first part of evening retreat.

2008 - Contributed by Anonymous  [Contribute Info] 

Troops march past the staff line during the evening retreat.

2009 - Contributed by Anonymous  [Contribute Info] 
A closeup video of the Flag Folding portion of the evening retreat ceremony.
2003 - Contributed by Anonymous  [Contribute Info] 

The Horseshoe web cam shows here, at 5 frames per second, the entirety of a Saturday night retreat ceremony.

2010 - Contributed by Andrew Keyes  [Contribute Info] 
Scouts march in front of their peers and pass and review in from of the Camp Director.
2001 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

From drumline, canon line, staff line and the leader line, the retreat ceremony is steeped in tradition.

2001 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

Here are some snippets of the Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony, focusing on SPL reports and flag lowering.

2001 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

Here is the full Camp Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony.

2001 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

Scouts march (mostly) in step for the evening Camp Horeseshoe Retreat Ceremony.

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 
Here is the crowd feverishly waiting for Saturday Evening retreat to start at Camp Horseshoe. 
2017 - Contributed by Andrew Coe  [Contribute Info] 
Scouts are looking snappy in the OA sashes - this video focuses on SPL reports and parade rest activities.
2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 
A glimpse at the entire Camp Horseshoe Retreat Ceremony.
2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 
Here at the KP Line, participants in the evening retreat await the festivities to start. 

2016 - Contributed by Mike Arles  [Contribute Info] 
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Panoramics

 

Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
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The Band

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Saturday Evening OA Callout

For more about Octoraro Lodge 22, visit the Octoraro 22 website
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Retreat Music

       
The week gets started right with a bit of American pride from John Phillip Sousa, the great march composer.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
Traditional marching music played before Evening Retreat.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
Traditional marches from Deutschland prior to Tuesday evening retreat.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
Typical marching music for evening retreat.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
More typical marching music for Thursday retreat.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
Marching music from the James Madison University Marching Band
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
Traditional Irish bagpipes sound before the Saturday evening retreat and OA Call Out ceremony.
1994 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
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Marching Trophies

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Miscellaneous Videos

       

Here is the tranquil parade field when it's lacking marchers.

1995 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

The camera is run up the flagpole for a unique view of the parade field.

1992 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 

Shot from the HQ Building, you can watch from dawn to afternoon how the parade field gets used.

2002 - Contributed by Andrew Smith  [Contribute Info] 
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