HSRAA ALUMNI OF EVERY DECADE AT 2ND ANNUAL REUNION
From the Fall 2001 Octoraro Loop.
On July 21, 2001, the second annual Reunion of the Horseshoe Scout Reservation Alumni Association (HSRAA) saw over 70 Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware III alumni/ae at Camp Horseshoe. There was laughter, stories and great fellowship as alums from every decade convened in the Goodman Pavilion from all over the United States.
Pioneer campers were there. Link Rice, who claimed considering his father-in-law Albert Smith, that he was one of five generations of Horseshoe campers from his family! Link had come to Camp Horseshoe as a camper, the first year it had opened in 1928. He was there with other generations of his family to enjoy the fellowship and festivities. His great grandson Josh Hughes was serving on the Horseshoe staff. -
From the 1930's decade was Merce Sloan '30 and J. Edgar "Gumps" McComsey '32 followed by those of the 1940's that included: Fred Gates '44, John Rettew '44, Ernie Heegard '46 and Bill "Curley" Trowill '46. Each of the subsequent decades was well represented. Bill Jackson '53, Herb Warner '57, Gerald Kevis, Jim Dukovic '54 and E. Gary Marshall '55 re p resented the 1950's. Matt Christenson '67 came one of the longest distances - Boise, Idaho. Other members of the 60's did not trek as far - Frank Rodgers '67, Steve Brun '63, Frank DiMarzio '68 and Eric Lorgus. The 1970's had 14 back; the 1980's 18; the 1990's and the 2000's were well represented with 17. Along with Dr. Dave Mellinger, were many Horseshoe Staffers of 2001 and Ray Hayden, new Camp Ranger and his wife, Donna. Also, 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. Specially designed HSRAA "T" shirts had been presented to the Horseshoe and Ware staff members and were available for the Reunion attendees. Interesting Scouting memorabilia of early camp days was enjoyed as were the old photos, videos of camp and the July '01 Reunion Issue of "The Octoraro Loop" Association newsletter. Decade photos were taken. The evening Retreat Ceremony including an Order of the Arrow "call-out" of candidates was memorable, as our alumni/ae stood "tall" at Retreat. Following the fine barbecue supper arranged for by Biff Davis, Clarke Greene served as Master of Ceremonies and Ernie Heegard 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 from Roanoke, VA and would be giving the Sermon at the Horseshoe Chapel on Sunday; Jeff Balmat came from Louisiana, Matt Christenson from Idaho, Joe Eagan from Massachusetts. Link Rice was the earliest camper.
Bob Matje, Chairman of the HSRAA, greeted 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. Bob spoke of the success of the HSRAA that now boasts over 300 members - a credit to the strong values of the Horseshoe Reservation ties and programs. Council Executive Doug Dillow then spoke of his appreciation for 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 funded by the Association was the "Harris Poll' for the Council - a study of Scouting vitality in our Council in cooperation with the National BSA. Dick Bensing, Projects Leader of the HSRAA, spoke of the near completion of the Camp Horseshoe gate project and plans for special gateway for Camp John H. Ware III.
Elections were held for the new HSRAA Executive Committee to serve from September 1, 2001 until August 31, 2002. Elected were: Dick Bensing, Hab Butler, Neil Chippendale, Bill Davis, Joe Eagan, Ron Fish, J.B. Fischer, Rich Foot, Eric Lorgus, Bob Matje, Jim Matthews, III, Lee McIlvaine, John 'JB' Rettew, Bruce Robertson and Andy Smith.
The meeting was concluded with the reminder: the Third Annual Reunion will be Saturday, July 13, 2002.
Following the meeting, the group adjourned to the Horseshoe Camp Road where the new gateway, funded by the HSRAA, had been constructed. The imposing structure was erected prior to the opening of summer camp. The stone work in which the uprights had been placed was impressive as well as the beam to support the camp sign. A ribbon marked the gateway entrance. While the throng of HSRAA members gathered about, Council Executive Doug Dillow, Board Member Bill Taylor and HSRAA Chairman Bob Matje presented appropriate remarks followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony.