ALUMNI FROM EVERY DECADE AT FIRST HSRAA REUNION
From the October 2000 Octoraro Loop.
On July 8, 2000, the first annual Reunion of the Horseshoe Scout Reservation Alumni Association (HSRAA) brought together over 100 Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, III alumni/ae at Camp Horseshoe. It did not disappoint! Friendships were renewed, camp stories retold (with embellishments), pictures taken of young and old; and there was much laughter and a few tears as representatives of every decade of the Reservation convened in the newly constructed Goodman Pavilion.
Many pioneer campers were there. Link Rice, who is the first of four generations of Horseshoe campers and had attended Camp Horseshoe the first year it had opened in 1928, enjoyed the fellowship and festivities. From the 1930's decade were Roland Minshall '32 and Bob Lorgus '36 followed by those of the 1940's that included Jim Gawthrop '41, Fred Gates '44, John Rettew '44, Ernie Heegard '46 and Bill Trowill '48. Each of the subsequent decades was well represented. Along with Marjie Prosock, current Camp John H. Ware, III Director, former Ware Directors attending the Reunion were Dr. Dave Mellinger, C.W. Bruton and Paul Owens. Roy Cole, the third in a line of four generations of the Cole Family to serve as Camp Ranger, was on hand with his wife Matleen enjoying the activities.
The day's events included tours of both Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, III conducted by Alumni committee members. Interesting Scouting memorabilia of early camp days was enjoyed as were the old photos, videos of camp and the Reunion Issue of "The Octoraro Loop", HSRAA's newsletter. Decade photos were taken - and, oh my! how some of us had aged since those early days at camp! The evening Retreat Ceremony including an Order of the Arrow "call-out" of candidates was memorable. As our alumni/ae stood "tall" at Retreat, Camp Director Mike Berkeihiser ceremoniously turned over the review of the troops to Camp Director Emeritus Ernie Heegard.
Following a fine "Camp Ware-style chicken barbecue" supper, Ernie then stepped into his familiar role as song leader. Popular camp songs were sung leading up to the rousing "Green Grow The Rushes, Ho!" Then, former Horseshoe Camp Director Clarke Green spoke of Horseshoe and Camp Ware and recounted some of the returning alumni/ae statistics - Rev. Gary Marshall had come the longest distance from Roanoke, VA beating out Joe Eagan from Boston; Link Rice was the earliest camper, etc.
Bob Matje, Chairman of the HSRAA, greeted 120 alumni/ae, family, friends and current staff members and convened the business meeting. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to Bill "Biff" Davis, Reunion Chairman and organizer of the event, for his successful efforts as well as to the Bruton brothers and other Camp Ware alumni who prepared the fine meal. Council Executive Doug Dillow '97 spoke of his awe and appreciation of the rich and vital heritage that the HSRAA and the Reunion represented to Chester County Council and future generations of Scout campers.
Special projects undertaken by the HSRAA were discussed. The first one undertaken by the Association and nearing completion was that of the "Harris Poll' for the Council - a study of Scouting vitality in our Council in cooperation with the National BSA. Dick Bensing '57, Projects Leader of the HSRAA, presented plans for special gateways for both Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, III. It is felt that these projects will help to define our Association's mission that by providing capital improvements having significance for the Reservation and setting a high standard for the HSRAA.
Elections were held for the new HSRAA Executive Committee to serve from September 1, 2000 until August 31, 2001. Elected were: Dick Bensing, Mike Berkeihiser, Hab Butler, Neil Chippendale, Bill Davis, Joe Eagan, Ron Fish, Karen Griffin, Eric Lorgus, Bob Matje, Paul Owens, John 'JB' Rettew, Andy Smith, John Souder and Harold Weber, Sr.. These Scouters were unanimously elected. The meeting was concluded with the reminder that the next Reunion would be on the corresponding camp weekend in July 2001.