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MAY 1985

One of the first scout camps was at the ghost town of New Hope. There was a church and a few other old buildings. Some of the local farmers found out what we were up to and told us about the area. They had heard talk in town that some of us at the camp were looking for a place to settle down. They started bringing us home canned things that were, "too old to eat and they needed the jars, so would we please use it and save the jars for them?". Then they brought a "road killed" deer that was field dressed but still warm.
We explored the old church and found most of the furniture stored in closets. Our preacher decided that it wouldn't take much to get it ready for a service. The roof was still good but the floor and walls needed a lot of work. He mentioned that to the locals who were now spending quite a bit of time at our camp. They told him to go right ahead if he wanted to. He gathered some volunteers and started cleaning. The locals donated paint and cleaning supplies and started helping him. When the scout camp moved on to the next site he and his crew stayed and started holding regular services. The last I heard they were the nucleus of the NEW New Hope
The final choice among several sites that the Forest Service had suggested for National Gathering was to be announced at the Spring Council, May 15th in those days. Logging contracts were dependent on our choice and timing. The final site announcment, though a little late, worked well.




The main circle site looks pretty bare at the beginning. The shade in the white oak forest draws most of the camps. We found a very nice space just off the main trail. We needed a large open space for the kitchen we planed.
The oven and cooking fire became the center of the camp with a long table defining the kitchen area. We packed in many loads of supplies and found water no too far away.
It wasn't long before we had the smell of bread baking and coffee perking. We always had enough for anyone who wandered into camp.
Anyone offering to help was shown empty water jugs and the trail to the spring. We woke up one morning to the sound of a piano concerto echoing through the woods. Someone, we never found out who, had carried a full sized piano into the Gathering.
Sometimes the water did rise a little too much, but we always had music and friends on the trail.