Upcoming Masons benefit aids Scouts’ Camp Mack

By on April 11, 2012

By: ROCHELLE A. SHENK Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Families are shown enjoying a round of mini golf at last year's popular Scout Day outing, put on by the Ephrata Masons.

Scout Day at High Sports on April 28 not only promotes family fun activities, but it will benefit nearby Camp Mack.

The event, which is in its second year, is being coordinated by Ephrata Lodge #665 Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. Jack Harley, a member of the Ephrata Lodge and one of the organizers of the event, said that admission to High Sports complex will be $15, however it’s a "play all day" event.

"People can literally play all day. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there’s unlimited play of mini-golf, driving range, go-carts and batting cages," he said. (High Sports is located at 727 Furnace Hills Pike, Route 501, Lititz. Rain date is Sunday, April 29, noon to 5 p.m.)

In addition to the sports fun, a free Child ID program will be available as well as a food stand.

"It should be a blast for the whole family," Harley said.

Proceeds will be donated directly to the Pennsylvania Dutch Council of the Boy Scouts of America and earmarked for Camp J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation, Newmanstown. Camp Mack was opened by the Pennsylvania Dutch Council in 1969 as a Boy/Cub Scout camp. However in 1999 the focus of the camp shifted, and now it’s a Cub Scout only program. (Cub Scouts are boys ages 7 to 10.)

And although it benefits the Boy Scout program, Gary Guare, Camp Mack camp ranger and Ephrata lodge member, stressed that Scout Day at High Sports is open to all members of the community, and in fact, he said that last year’s event was well-supported by the community.

Harley said that several members of the lodge are involved in Scouting, and the event originated last year when the lodge learned of a project to improve camp sites at Camp Mack.

"The members of our lodge are proud to support scouting, and especially the memory of our brother, J.Edward Mack, and the legacy he left. We wanted to organize a fund-raiser to support the project, but we wanted to do something different –something that would involve the very kids who might benefit from it. We approached High Sports with the idea of a mini-golf tournament, and they suggested a day-long Scout Day, which worked very well," Harley explained.

Guare said that last year Scout Day at High Sports raised $3,000, which was used to build a new-style camp site.

"The new Cub pod site has a different layout than the other sites," he said.

The traditional camp sites have tent platforms that are more spread out — 10- to 15-feet apart. The new pod site contains a 12 x 16 central deck that connects to three tent platforms. The central deck contains a picnic table and is covered by a canvas, which provides shelter from the rain.

"By having tent platforms closer together, the boys can talk to the other campers sharing that pod when they’re in their tents. They don’t feel so alone, which helps alleviate homesickness," Guare explained.

He and camp staff have earmarked funds raised from this year’s event to purchasing supplies to update some of the camp’s areas. For instance, telescopes in the nature area would be used for astronomy, and microscopes could be used to closely examine a leaf or to view the small organisms in a drop of water.

"We do have a budget that covers day-to-day operations, but a fund-raiser like this one can help us purchase those ‘extras’ that can attract the kids’ attention," Guare said.

On Scout Day at High Sports, Guare, Harley and other members of the Masonic Lodge who are involved in Scouting as well as other Camp Mack staff members will be on-hand, not only as volunteer coordinators, but to also answer any questions boys and their families may have about Scouting.

"The Scouting program is a great character-building program for boys of all ages. I’ve been involved in Scouts as a youth and as an adult as a Scout leader, as well as working at Camp Mack," Guare said.

For further information, contact Jack Harley at harley@dejazzd.com. More CAMP MACK, page A18

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