The swimming pool fabricated from aluminum panels and the property's namesake are unique features of J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation.
Installed for use during the first season at Mack in 1969, the "aluminum pool paid for itself time and time again," Thomas Williams III recalled in a conversation Oct. 1, 2018. It's "amazing it stayed like it is," but he noted after 50 years the concrete deck and pipes are failing.
Groundbreaking for a new swimming pool and burial of a time capsule will be featured at Pennsylvania Dutch Council's 50
anniversary celebration of Mack on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.
Williams said he is planning to attend the open house on the property where he witnessed clearing of timber for roads, buildings, tent sites and the state-of-the-art pool.
Remembering Tuscarora, the tent site on the north end of Mack, he closed his eyes and imagined "walking" south past Espenshade Lodge, Seneca campsite, the Health Lodge and the Trading Post to the pool.
The pool was among "lots of challenges" during Mack's first season, said Williams, who was employed from 1968-76 by Lancaster County Council and then by the Lancaster-Lebanon Council formed from the merger in 1971.
The pool's original diving well wasn't deep enough to meet state standards, so the bottom had to be cut and lowered 18 inches, he said.
Also, he remembered the time four teenagers helped themselves to use of the pool without permission and had to be made to leave.
Access to the pool was a perk for staff, but Williams said one time he turned down a direct invitation.
His camp duties involved running the commissary, and he reported to Bill Dillard, Mack's first director.
Williams said Dillard wanted a breakdown on the cost of meals per scouter.
Williams said he had no calculator and that he had to do long division by hand.
Before he completed the time-consuming report, Williams heard Dillard say, "Why don't you come down to the pool?"
Williams recalled telling Dillard, "I can't get out of the office."
Two more stories by Williams have to be shared.
He said Council Executive Tom Lehmier made policy that Mack would be a patrol-cooking camp. From the commissary, Williams dispensed bulk food items to Scouts to carry back to their patrol sites. Campers in Mohawk, Susquehanna and Chippewa tent sites, for example, worked the basic ingredients into a hot meal, scrubbed and stored the cookware for the next meal and secured the trash for pickup.
Scouts, from time to time, invited Williams and he accepted opportunities to eat as a guest of a patrol.
"I ate so many sticks and stones," he said. "It's a wonder I'm still alive."
Williams also recalled being acquainted with J. Edward Mack, the Lancaster businessman whose products were branded Mack the Coffee Man and whose generous support was honored with his name bestowed on the Scout property.
Williams recalled he was getting lunch ready for the staff and Ed Mack, who was visiting for the day.
He was surprised when Mack stepped into the commissary, took a competitor's cocoa mix off the shelf and packed it in the trunk of his car.
Williams was surprised even more when Mack returned later that day and restocked the shelf with his unique brand.