Directory History and Geography Spirit of the Horseshoe

1953 - 1957

Edited by David B. Woodward  [Contribute Info]

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1953 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Horseshoe Circle and Skull Gate
Contributed by John B. Rettew III
... The Order of the Arrow was very active in these years. In 1953 the Lodge scheduled an April weekend meeting at Horseshoe to prepare for the approaching camp season. Under the direction of Al Brawn work was completed on our Lodge Ceremonial Circle. Link Rice and John S. Harley took on the work of repairing the "Horseshoe Circle," including the totem pole for the Saturday night campfires. The planting of 500 Douglas Firs in our "Xmas tree grove was lead by Karl Woodward while Paul S. Carnathan staked out and started clearing the site for our Lodge building. Plans were also being made for a Lodge delegation to attend the Area OA meeting at the Seven Mountains Scout Camp at Lewistown, Pa.. Fred Gates was our Lodge Chief at that time and was to be followed by Clair Langham.

In the Arrow Bulletin issued to Lodge members that April, the following item appeared:

"Yes. We are making progress with our Lodge building. Our fund is now over the $500 mark...this will be your building. Let's all get behind the wheel and push it along."

Dr. B. Anton Hess introduced the new Camp Horseshoe Guide for leaders that spring. Also announced was the new program where troops were to come to Camp as a unit and provide their own leadership. Heretofore most of the camp's stockades were comprised of "provisional" units - Scouts from various troops. The new approach appeared to work well since it continues to the present day.

The death of Scout Robert G. Mackey at Camp this summer was mourned. The tragedy occurred during the evening Retreat and dinner period. An investigating Committee of the Council Board thoroughly reviewed the matter and concluded that the cause of the death was unable to be determined and that there was no negligence by the camp staff or Scout Mackey. 

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1954 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Pool Director, Ernie Heegard instructs a Scout (or staff member) in Lifesaving.
1954 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
... Horseshoe opened under the leadership of J. Holland Heck in 1954. He had assembled a spirited Staff including Ernie Heegard who had been a Staff member since 1949 (or before). Ernie had been Aquatics Director.  Another old-time Horseshoe Staff member that summer was Ed "Casey" Jones. Attendance neared record proportions. The decision to promote troop camping and providing their own leadership was a sound one. It added much to the Scout's fun and experience at Camp. This year, the Board had authorized the construction of two Adirondack style shelters for summer and winter camping use at Camp. Dr. Anton Hess commented after the camp season that this was one of the best seasons for the campers reflecting the fine facilities and the spirit of the Staff.

Representatives of Region III, who took part in the annual camp inspection of Horseshoe attended our summer Board meeting. Mr. William Poole, former President of the Delmarva Council and Region III representative, commented on the favorable impression he had of Camp and especially the Conservation Program implemented that year. He stated that our efforts were far above most Councils in the country. Mr. Poole urged that steps be taken to further develop the Explorer programs for our older Scouts.

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1955 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

George Cole and Camping Committeeman check out the pool filter.
Contributed by John B. Rettew III
As summer Camp approached, the Board directed the Camping Committee to do a thorough study of present facilities and anticipated needs for the Horseshoe Reservation. This was an important project that would have an impact on the camp to fit the burgeoning needs. In line with this, Horseshoe was "sold out" by the April Board Meeting. At that time the Council consulted with the Region concerning the possible expansion of our Horseshoe facilities. In July a representative of the National Scout Engineering Service visited Horseshoe to make appropriate studies.

For Horseshoe's 28th season, J. Holland Heck was Director. A seasoned Senior Staff was comprised of Arnold Daffin as Business Manager; Edward "Casey" Jones as Assistant Camp Director and Program Director; Al Weeks as Commissary Director; and Ernie Heegard as Waterfront Director. Almost all of these Staff members had been campers at Camp in their youth and had much staff experience from prior years. The Camps used this year included the Stockades; Sherwood Forest, Boonesboro, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett and Bayard Taylor; and, Dan Beard, Timberline and Nature Heart tent campsites.

J. Holland Heck, Camp Director, presented an interesting and factual report on the happenings at Camp to the Board members who were visiting Camp on Robert's Day. Mr. Heck was complimented on the appearance of Camp and the morale of the Scouts and Staff. The Board Meeting was held on the lawn of the "White House" in the cool of the evening. Chief Lester was presented with his 35 year Veteran Scouting award at the meeting that year.

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1956 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

... At a subsequent Council meeting, Dr. Hess presented a plan for the complete renovation of our camping facilities, construction of a complete new camp unit and the development of preliminary plans for a third unit for review in 1970. The Board gave its approval and authorized President McIlvain to make arrangements with professional fund raising services. A steering committee was formed as an oversight group for the project. Ketchum, Inc. was selected to handle the Capital Campaign. We were on our way!

As an aside to this matter, the Council was bequeathed a sum of $10,000 from the estate of E. Hibberd Lawrence, Dec'd with the stipulation that the money be used for some capital purpose in memory of the deceased. This money was set aside for a future project at Camp.

A Scout demonstrates propelling his canoe while riding on the canoe gunnels.
Contributed by John B. Rettew III

To handle the pressing need for Horseshoe's 1956 season, the Board authorized the purchase of 9' x 9' wall tents for use at Horseshoe in camping season. These were to be used for the creation of a new campsite to meet anticipated needs. The Deputy Executive of Region III, James O. Boyer, was one of the Camp Inspectors this summer. He spent a considerable amount of time with Chief Lester and John H. Ware, 3rd touring Camp and seeing the programs in operation. He was greatly impressed with Horseshoe, its Camp Director J. Holland Heck, Assistant Camp Director "Casey" Jones along with Ernie Heegard and the rest of the Camp Staff and the Camp operations.

The Camp report for this season reflected the spirit of the Camp and Staff. A Naval Corpsman from the Naval Station at Bainbridge had done an outstanding job at the Health Lodge. There was a successful program provided for Explorer Scouts that season under the leadership of Ernie Heegard. The Staff was re-distributed to new sleeping quarters which freed another tent campsite for six troops in the course of the summer. An electric motor-driven fire siren was installed and tested daily at noon, replacing the ringing of the bell. Tom Myers handled the Trading Post; William Smeader was Aquatics Director; Samuel Thorndike was in charge of Camp Craft; and Ted Gettings was Handicraft Director. Of course, George Cole continued his work as our Camp Ranger. The Silver Buckle Award ( Note: one honor camper is elected for this award each week from his own troop. It is presented at the final night's Campfire.) had been established several years earlier and continued to prove popular among the troops as did the Troop and Patrol Honor plaques presented to qualifying units.

Early Explorer Camp set-up with pavillion.  This photo was also reproduced and used as postcard.

Contributed by Anonymous
The post-camp report cited the selection of Ernie Heegard for the Explorer Program. "His leadership ability, natural acceptance by the boys and strong belief in the Exploring program made him outstanding for the directing of this new field." Activities had included: a Square Dance at Camp Tweedale; Canoe trips to Camp Rodney and up the Susquehanna River; hike to Broad Creek Scout Camp; Survival hike; and, a Mobilization Hike (midnight search for downed fliers). Quite a menu for our Senior Scouts!

There were nearly 800 individual campers from 56 different troops that summer. At the end of Camp the Staff had an elaborate banquet following which a surprise announcement was made that the Staff would go to Tweedale the next night for a Square Dance. The Staff went home in a great mood!

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