1944 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
C. C. "Coley" Cole, who had faithfully served the Council as Ranger for 15 years announced his retirement in 1944 due to ill health. The Board regretted his resignation in accepting it. They recognized him with a special statuette for his exceptional service.
Scouts Bill Tyson
and Johnny Rettew
hoist the colors on Flagpole Hill
Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Camp Horseshoe beckoned again in the spring and the Scouts heeded the call. Experiences the Scouts had at Horseshoe influenced the lives of many. It is not uncommon in 1994 to see former campers at Order of the Arrow events, at the Council Dinner or serving as members of the Council leadership...as Scoutmasters, commissioners or on the Executive Board. A number of Council Presidents were campers at Horseshoe. The comments of one such person follows:
1994 Reflections by John "JB" Rettew (Horseshoe camper and Staff member 1944 - 1949; Scout leader 1966 to present):
"50 years ago this summer I first set eyes on Camp Horseshoe and although I went through a period of "adjustment", I have had a strong feeling towards Camp. It became my "home away from home" over the years as it did for many young men like me. Each time I set foot in camp since that first year, I sense a renewal, a rejuvenation and fond affection for Horseshoe, the Scouts and Leaders and the memories of so many wonderful experiences!
Memories of those first days as a camper have been indelibly set in my mind and undoubtedly play a strong role in the feelings and commitments that I have had towards my involvement in Scouting to this day. I tell of those experiences because I believe that others like myself shared similar ones when they arrived at Camp, whether it was in the "20's, 30's or the 90's".
There are first times for everything, and this was the first time for me. I was on my way to Camp Horseshoe!
Scouting was new to me. A few days prior to going to camp, I attended my first troop meeting, having just passed my Tenderfoot test with the Troop Committee Chairman, "JB" Chesnutt. It was just enough learning the Scout Oath and Law along with the Tenderfoot Knots, let alone to think of being away from home for the first time!
My brief introduction to the troop was followed by my parents telling me that I was going to camp...for six weeks! What a surprise!...What a shock!...especially since I never spent a night away from home until then! All sorts of things come to one's mind at a time like that. But, never mind... my parents did a good job of packing my trunk for that inevitable trip to far away Rising Sun, Maryland and to face new adventures.
These were World War II days when gas rationing made it difficult (darn near impossible) to motor to camp. In those days, the Council arranged for the Shortline bus to meet the boys in West Chester, in front of the Scout Office on High Street. Here, Council leaders greeted the boys and their families as they waited to embark on the long journey.
The arrival of the bus was accompanied by nervous laughter by some and by muffled last minute instructions from the parents to their off-spring as they were about to leave. At last the bus was enroute...to Horseshoe. For some, it was the re-kindling of similar trips they made in years past. For me and others, it was a time to wonder what adventures were we really in for.
The trip was long (much more so than today's, which is over modern roads and more direct) and hot, especially since there was no air conditioning on the bus in those days. We knew we were really going far away as we passed open fields, woodlands and small towns along the way. As time passed, the anticipation of our arrival grew. Finally, we were making a turn off Route 1 on to Horseshoe Road. As we twisted around a bend, the bus was forced to a stop by a narrow bridge near a farmhouse. After several back-ups and turns, the bus navigated the bridge and we were once more on our way. We were paralleling the (Octoraro) creek now and soon came to an iron bridge. At this point, the bus lurched over a small hump in the road to the right and entered upon a rutted dirt road. There were wooded hills on one side and the swift running creek on the other. The trip along this road held a special beauty and feeling of tranquillity the memory of which lingers to this day. To an impressionable young boy, visions of Indians paddling along the creek and teepees with smoke curling towards the sky were called to mind.
As we bumped along, the spirits of many of the old timers soared. Soon, we were caught up in their enthusiasm.
Out the window, as we started climbing a hill, I caught sight of a sign ..."Trustworthy"...followed by another..."Loyal"... and then others which formed the twelve points of the Scout Law that I had memorized days before. Then, ahead, hanging on a cedar post was another sign welcoming us to "Camp Horseshoe". Finally, we were here!
The bus wound its way past several wooden structures and past a white house where we could see some activity of other scouts and leaders in uniform. After passing Allen Memorial, we turned onto an open field where the bus parked. All of us seemed to arise at the same time and try to squeeze to the door. Upon disembarking, came the wait to haul the packs, duffel bags and trunks from storage. As we waited, we were directed to get our medical forms, in hand, to report to the headquarters building...the White House we had passed earlier. In the newness and excitement of the situation, you trusted those directions and followed them to the letter.
The line of boys outside the headquarters was long. Nervously, I asked the boy ahead of me what was happening next, and his reply indicated he was just as nervous and unsure as I. The processing took a while as we had to check in and make sure we were registered and had our medical forms. After the medical check, we were sent on our way to our stockade, which sounded more like a lock-up than a home.
I was assigned to Boonesboro Stockade and was helped along with my camping gear by one of the older staff members. How I got there, I am still uncertain, but I did. As I walked through the gate, I found there a semi-circular arrangement of open sided houses that contained bunks and Stockade Leader Eric Corkhill, who directed me to one near the leader's cabin. There were no mattresses, only bed springs, and I felt that it would be a pretty uncomfortable spot to get some rest.
My next instruction was ' get my "tick" and get ready to head for the "straw hut."' Now "tick" to me meant an insect and not what I then was shown that was the muslin bag that my mother had sewn together for me before I left for camp. After sorting things out and asking some questions, I pulled my "tick" from my trunk and was soon on my way.
Now the heat on this late June day was pretty oppressive, especially since I still had on my Scout uniform with my neckerchief in place. With my "tick" in hand, I joined other scouts in entering a dark and dusty small building, obviously, the straw hut. Straw and dust was flying all over the place. It seemed that my clothes were saturated with perspiration and the dust and the straw particles soon were attracted to my face, hair, neck, clothes and other uncovered extremities of my body. I felt as if there was as much straw on me as there was in the "tick" that was to become the mattress I was to sleep upon in the six weeks that lay ahead. It seemed like the inside of an oven in that hut and so I quickly filled the bag with as much straw as I could before getting outside for fresh air. Now...back to my bunkhouse in Boonesboro!
It was then off to the pool for a refreshing dip...but no, it was the swim test and...I had never seen a pool this big! Well in I went and after a time I qualified for "red, white and blue" swimmer (and even gotten cooled off in the process).
Note the extremely high life guard stand at the far end of the pool in this picture from the early 1930's.
1930 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
I won't go in to the next happenings since they were pretty much routine...setting up the bunk, getting the uniform back on for marching ... geee! Even playing soldier!
Well the days went by and I really did not feel that good about being in camp for a day let alone six weeks. I became quite a letter writer to my mother at this time (in fact she saved all those cards and letters for me to read at another future time) describing how I missed all those things at home...like mowing the yard, pulling weeds, digging in the garden, raking and you name it! I really was not too happy! Well, I got word that my parents wanted me to stick it out for another week after which time they would come to pick me up. Well this set my mind at ease for a while....but something else happened!
It seemed that the message of my Home sickness had gotten to members of the Staff. It was not long before Chief Lester would spot me in the Dining Hall and inquire as to my well being; Frank Beam on other occasions would do likewise and so did a staff member named Fred Gates. Fred put me under his wing as did other staff members and soon I was into the swing of camp life. Also, playing a large role in my sticking with it was Camp Ranger George Cole (George was the new Ranger this summer filling the shoes of hid dad, "Coley") with his twisty stick cane and great personality.
By the time my parents arrived on that Sunday visiting day, I had no interest in going home...I was at Horseshoe to stay! And, for the following two years, I was a six week camper and ended up on the staff part way through the third year!
In retrospect the fact that there were other men and boys who practiced the point of the Scout Law, a Scout is Friendly, made all the difference in one person's life!
Staff members in 1944 included J. Holland Heck, Al Weeks, Eric Corkhill, Frank Seaboldt, Larry Phelan, Aquatics Director and Fred Gates. And, of course, there was Chief Lester and Camp Director Frank Beam. Camp Horseshoe was and continues to be an important part of a Scout's life. The opportunities to learn, to associate with one's peers on a day in and day out basis, to grow in strength and knowledge is valuable as one becomes a responsible citizen and contributor to society.
Owen J. Roberts
addresses the crowd at the Health Lodge dedication.
1944 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Frank Beam, who had experienced the 1942 flood, commented this year that the weather was exceptionally good for camping. For the first time in the Council's history it was necessary to say "the Camp is full!" In reviewing the season, he spoke of the fine turn out for the dedication of the new Health Lodge on July 22 at which time Justice Owen J. Roberts spoke to the boys and visitors. The health Lodge was dedicated to Bentley R. Morrison. Attending were Council guests Dr. E. K. Fretwell, Chief Scout Executive of the National Council, Paul H. Love, Regional Executive of Region Three and Associate Justice Roberts. The impressive Tap-out ceremony was held at Retreat that evening at which time Chief Executive Dr. Elbert K. Fretwell was honored by being tapped out for the W.W.W. by our Ceremonial team. ...