Volume 3 | April 2019
Stories from Camp Mack
Each month we will be sending stories of the history of J Edward Mack Scout Reservation as we celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
Ed Carvell's camping spirit fuels Ride For Camps
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 th 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.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/rideforcamps

Reported by Bill Hannegan

Retiree in Tennessee recalls roots in Lancaster County
The 50-year-old sign and flag pole marking the entrance to J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation came up in conversation with Bob Denlinger in October 2018.
The Lancaster County native retraced his Scouting experiences starting almost a decade before Mack's first season in 1969. He recalled highlights of a 35-year career as a professional Scouter including contact with Matt Adams, Scout Executive/CEO of the Pennsylvania Dutch Council.
Denlinger said he is planning to attend the camp's 50 th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The open house will feature groundbreaking for a new swimming pool and burial of a time capsule.
As a youth, he lived along Oregon Pike with his parents in a "little tennant farmhouse." He began working on the farm at the age of 10, earning from 50 cents a week to a dollar a day during tobacco harvest season.
Denlinger earned his Eagle Scout Award with Brownstown Troop 82, which always camped the first week of the summer season at the former Camp Chiquetan. He was called out by the former Minqua Lodge of the Order and the Arrow, recognized as a Vigil member and elected vice chief.
When he was 16, Denlinger said he was "harassed" by Bill Dillard, then Chiquetan's program director, to become camp quartermaster.
Denlinger was offered $8 a week for the quartermaster job, but resisted until the pay was raised to $12 a week. He also negotiated a leave of absence with his long-term employer because he needed the money from that job to pay for school clothes and put gas in the car.
Denlinger remained on staff in 1968, the last for Chiquetan, then staffed Mack when it opened in 1969. He continued on staff at Mack until he graduated from college.
He witnessed the logging to create roads and clear sites at Mack for buildings, tents and the state-of-the-art aluminum swimming pool.
Also, at Mack's entrance, he observed the burial of a time capsule that was undisturbed until camp Ranger Gary Guare helped council volunteers retrieve it in 2017.
Hired as a full-time employee of the then Lancaster-Lebanon Council BSA in 1973, Denlinger was assigned by Scout Executive Tom Lehmier to focus on the Explorer program. Explorer membership grew to 1,250, up from 650, in the next three years with posts organized mostly around fire, police and medical career interests. He said support for posts came from then Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster Osteopathic Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital as well as "a couple of doctors' practices."
His leadership skills included organizing Explorers to call families and ask for donations in 1973. The campign raised almost $7,000 for the council's general fund.
In 1975, Denlinger helped lead 12 crews to Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico. He said the council chartered a Boeing 707, and the contingent filled the "plane (that) was at my command."
Denlinger said the crews followed treks he mapped out in the Philmont backcountry, and he got to hike the trail and spend a night with each unit.
He also served the council at Bashore Scout Reservation as camp director. He accompanied by his wife, Joan, camp nurse, and their daughter, Dana, who was 4-months old at the start of the summer season.
At subsequent BSA postings, he transferred to White Plains, N.Y.; Flint, Mich.; Framingham, Mass.; Portland, Maine; and Valley Forge, Pa. He became a council Scout Executive in 1984 and led the Valley Forge and Philadelphia councils through merger and creation of the Cradle of Liberty Council in 1996.
Denlinger said he then moved to the Central Region of National Council, where he served as deputy director and became acquainted with Adams.
He said Adams, whose previous post was serving as interim Scout executive in southern Michigan, was the "nicest, most productive DE that we had."
He said Adams, who was hired by the Pennsylvania Dutch Council in November 2015, "was so good, I was afraid we couldn't keep him in the profession."
Denlinger, now retired with his wife to Tennessee, said he got rid of 300 Boy Scout mugs and all patches, except for "the Lancaster stuff."
His collection includes staff neckerchiefs from the last season at Chiquetan and the first season at Mack. He said both items are signed by staff and J. Edward Mack.
Collectibles, memories and connections he's continuing to maintain are leading him back to the sign and flag pole at Camp Mack.

Reported by Bill Hannegan
Musser carved out roads, building sites at Mack
J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation occupies ground with a "high content of sand in the soil, which was in our favor, instead of clay," Titus Musser said in December 2018.
Sandy soil is "ideal if you want to make roads without putting crushed stones on everything," said Musser, who carved out the roads and Squire Lake at Mack.
A celebration of Mack's 50 th season will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The open house will feature groundbreaking for a new swimming pool and burial of a time capsule.
Musser, a long-time Scout leader in New Holland, recalled the Furnace Hills property was "logged off" around the 1930s and remained idle until Lancaster County Council, BSA, acquired it in 1963.
Musser operated a D6 Caterpillar bulldozer on remnants of logging roads leading to North Camp, and he cleared space for parking and the swimming pool.
He recalled opening Pool Road and "grading out" the ground for Blair Lodge.
He worked on Gen. Strickler Road that led west to the former archery and shooting ranges. He graded South Camp Road that began behind the current Training Center, intersected with Hoseshoe Trail and wound close to Eagle Rock.
Roads that met Musser's standards allowed "any pickup truck (to go) anywhere in camp. One of the challenges was to control (water) runoff," he said, so that roads "don't have washouts."
Over a more than 60-year career, he said he "had to learn the hard way ... to spot where the problems were." Before a project, he made a practice of viewing the ground contours in the fall after the leaves fell. He preferred to excavate in April "when there is moisture in the ground (and) you can work it."
And, he always reinspected projects after rainfall. He looked for problems revealed by soil erosion.
Spotting clues to improve his dozing work took him back to his childhood, when he scoured recently plowed land after a storm and found Native American arrowheads. As he became a young man, he recalled deciding to buy a bulldozer instead of farmland because he could pay for the machine in half the time.
He said he worked closely at Mack with Paul "Squire" Kutz.
Kutz conceived the plans late in 1963 to develop the property and the $350,000 capital campaign that required the approval of Lancaster County United Way, according to council and newspaper records.
After a year of recruiting, planning and promoting, the leadership of Kutz resulted in the blueprint to "build American Scouting's finest patrol feeding camp." The total raised in cash, pledges and gifts-in-kind was $430,000, according to records.
Kutz was credited with surveying and laying out more than 22 miles of hiking trails on the property.
Removal of trees and brush became the focus of teams of Scouts, Scouters and Order of the Arrow members. The volunteers cleared the way for Musser to plunge in with his bulldozer, followed by the builders who erected North Camp.
Musser said he and Kutz developed a mutual confidence, and he added Kutz "worked very well with people."
Musser said the lake, named in honor of Kutz, "was more of a challenge" than the roads.
He said "a smaller, shallow, mud-filled pond (existed) in the middle of the planned lakesite. We hired an earthmover designed to haul (scraped) material over a longer distance rather than pushing. I bought that dozer and earthmover a year later."
Musser excavated the one-acre lakebed to a depth of seven feet to minimize sunlight penetrating to the bottom. He said a lake that is less than three-feet deep leads to higher water temperature, algae growth and reduced oxygen.
Musser's skills as a bulldozer operator were in demand long before and after development of Mack.
"People would simply beg and twist my arm to do a job," he said. "I did my last job when I was 85-years old. I did a pretty sizeable job that summer, then I sold the machine (in 2008). They stopped asking me after that."
Musser, age 96, still owns his car.
While he limits himself to driving the few miles into New Holland for social activities and shopping for incidental household needs, he said, "Yesterday was the last day I drove. I'm still driving." With confidence, he said, "I'd take a test any day."

Reported by Bill Hannegan / hanneganb@gmail.com