Scouters, troop restore favorite campsite at Pennsylvania council camp

Since 1981, Troop 117 of Coatesville, Pa., has been going to Camp Horseshoe, a Chester County Council camp, for summer camp. During that time, the troop has primarily stayed at the Rothrock campsite.

The Adirondack shelters there were built in the 1950s. In the 1990s, the Scouts of 117 replaced the shelters’ roofs and built a new Adirondack shelter at Rothrock. Another unit, Troop 37, also constructed a shelter at the campsite, bringing the total number to nine.

At more than a half-century old, the original shelters began to need more than new roofing. So, Chuck Coxson, Troop 117 committee chair, began looking into restoring the shelters for this favorite campsite. That started a nearly decade-long project, which concluded earlier this year.

Starting with one

Working with the council and local companies like A&A Lumber Supply, Troop 117 estimated that restoring one shelter would cost about $900. After raising $1,000, the troop and adult leaders first worked on replacing the cypress siding on a single shelter during summer camp in 2014.

After summer camp, fundraising continued, with friends, family and three other troops contributing. The next year, the troop restored a second shelter.

“It was much easier after working out the bugs we dealt with from doing the first one,” Coxson says.

In 2016, the troop and its adult leaders restored two more shelters, while power-washing and adding a protective stain to the first two. In 2017, they worked on another one, and the pavilion got new siding, roof braces and stain.

Through the storm

A winter storm blew through the camp in 2018, knocking a tree onto the first shelter the troop had restored. The troop offered to rebuild the smashed shelter, and the council provided the materials for the project.

That summer, the troop worked on restoring another shelter. As the group neared completing the restoration of all the shelters, some of them needed roof repairs.

Over the years, the troops raised more than $10,000. Outside companies helped, like J&L Building Supply, which donated 100 pounds of double-galvanized siding nails and 500 feet of aluminum drip edge for the roofing. A local Lowe’s hardware store also delivered supplies to camp.

Several years ago, the camp needed to remove several old trees around Rothrock, leaving the site with no shade. This past October, Troop 117 planted 13 trees native to Pennsylvania in and around the campsite, thanks to a Scouting parent who owns a tree farm.

“Teamwork truly does get the job done,” Coxson says.

A sentimental site

The final roofing project was completed earlier this year. The scope of the work included restoring all the Adirondack shelters and expanded to working on the pavilion and latrine building.

Back in the 1990s, Troop 117 installed a flagpole base at the camp. Over the years, the camp went through several different flagpoles, but none lasted long. Recently, the family of Troop 117 Eagle Scout Michael Costello, who died in 2017 from a heart condition, donated a 30-foot aluminum pole. The troop installed it in Michael’s honor.

With the projects now done, the Rothrock campsite has improved facilities to serve more generations of Scouts.

“This project has been a very extensive, intensive and expensive project,” Coxson says. “My sincere hope is that Rothrock Adirondacks will be used by Scouts and leaders for many years to come.”

About Michael Freeman 445 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.