Ed Carvell attended summer camp in the Pennsylvania Dutch Council for 34 consectuive years.
In 2004, he sustained injuries that ruled out camping, but his enduring interest in motorcycles inspired him to help start Ride For Camps. Proceeds from the annual event continue to fund improvement projects at J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation and Bashore Scout Reservation.
Carvell is trying to line up his calendar to attend the council's 50
anniversary celebration of Mack on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The open house will feature groundbreaking for a new swimming pool and burial of a time capsule.
His earliest experiences in Scouting include being a Cub Scout and visiting Camp Chiquetan the year it closed in 1968, he said, and being a Webelos Scout and riding in a rowboat at Camp Mack the year it opened in 1969.
As a Boy Scout camping at Mack, he witnessed the Order of the Arrow (OA) ceremony along the shoreline of Squire Lake. Leaders of the former Minqua Lodge, called Indians by Carvell, gave a signal for a flaming arrow to be shot across the water to Paul's Island and into a pile of wood awaiting a spark to erupt into a campfire. Lodge members then paddled OA inductees to the island for completion of the ceremony.
Carvell said the ceremony was relocated because of disruptive traffic along Route 501. The OA site shifted to beyond Tuscarora campsite at the northern edge of Mack property.
At Mack as a camper with New Holland Troop 48, Carvell learned patrol cooking tasks including two Scouts hiking to the commissary for perishables for meals. Ideally, the unit drafted a duty roster that assigned Scout buddies to cooking and others to cleaning chores.
He advocated patrol cooking, which is part of National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and Wood Badge leadership training for adult Scouts. He said it's a "great way to gel people together. If they don't work together, they don't eat."
He said Troop 48 cooked by patrol on monthly campouts and he "didn't know any different" when he was young.
He first experienced and said he liked meals in the dining hall at Bashore, where cheering and singing fed Scouting fellowship.
As a result of the merger that formed Lancaster-Lebanon Council in 1971, he said
the council "got another beautiful facility to use."
Without the merger, Carvell said, "We'd really be missing out on their enthusiasm and their leadership." Lebanon "had very strong Order of the Arrow" organization, he said.
In 1979. Carvell served on Bashore's staff, holding down jobs as director of handicraft, campcraft and nature/ecology. He said that was the year council's executive board decided Bashore "was going to be closed" because of health, safety and financial issues.
Because of deed restrictions, closing Bashore meant council would lose use of the property. Carvell liked Bashore more than for the dining hall experience. He liked Upper Camp's tentsites and Lower Camp's activity offerings plus the 5.5-acre lake ringed by the sharply rising, tree-covered Blue Mountains.
Donors and volunteers pooled efforts to improve Bashore, Carvell said, making construction of a shower house the first priority.
Twenty-five years later, Carvell's consecutive string of spending a week or more at summer camp ended when the motorcyle he operated was crushed in a head-on collission. He was returning from a Scout meeting the night of April 24, 2004, when the driver of a car blacked out and lost control, causing the accident.
His recovery took about nine months, and Carvell yearned to get back to motorcycle riding. He said he was recruited by Jim Landis of New Providence to help organize Ride For Camps starting in 2007.
The 11th Ride For Camps held Oct. 14, 2018, raised a record $3,200 after expenses, topping the previous best of $2,000.
Sponsored by Ephrata Elks Lodge 1933, the ride profits were split evenly for use by Ranger Gary Guare at Mack and Ranger Dave Matterness at Bashore, Carvell said. In the past, the money was used at the rangers' discretion to add a swimming pool chair lift, snow removal equipment and picnic tables.
The lastest ride attracted 105 people, or almost double the participants expected. The cost is $25 per individual rider and $35 per pair of riders.
The registration form asks if the participant is a first-time or repeat rider and their affiliation with a motorcycle club. Carvell said in 2018 the organizers were "very fortunate we had a lot of repeats."
The riders are welcomed at Bashore starting at 9 a.m. with fellowship. Scouter Charlie Kern displays World War II artifacts, and Scouts offer a demonstration. Departing at 11:20 a.m., the bikers are welcomed at Mack with a hot meal and Chinese Auction.
Carvell said the organizers currently have a full compliment of officers with the board led by Keith Myers of council's Harvest District.
Reported by Bill Hannegan