New book tells history of Delmarva scout camp

August 9, 2020

A new book chronicles the history of scouting on the Delmarva Peninsula at a beloved local scout camp that has been home to tens of thousands of people over the last 50 years.

The book, “Go Forth To Serve: A History of Henson Scout Reservation, Camp Nanticoke, 1965-2020,” features decade-by-decade highlights; stories about programs, pranks and progress; and a list of the hundreds of summer camp staff members who have served over the years.

It draws upon tales recounted by camp veterans, news articles and camp records to paint a rich portrait of the camp located at the junction of the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek in Maryland’s Dorchester County.

Since its founding 55 years ago, scouts from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and beyond have come to Henson for a wide range of activities - summer camp, Cub Scout camps, weekend camping, Klondike derbies, training conferences, service weekends and more.

Though there is no week-long camping there this summer due to coronavirus restrictions, the book offers campers and staff a chance to celebrate its past and support its future. To purchase the book, go to All net proceeds benefit the Del-Mar-Va Council, Boy Scouts of America, which published the book.

“Henson Scout Reservation is a rare gem - a rustic but modern camp surrounded by acres of wilderness, where Scouts can adventure, explore, and learn,” said Scout Executive Robert Nakamura, CEO of the Del-Mar-Va Council. “We are pleased to celebrate this part of Scouting history and the important role that Henson has played in the lives of local youth for generations.”

Camp Director Ryan Teat said the book will preserve the memories of the place and its people for campers in the decades to come.

“Scouts have grown up here, returned as Scouting leaders, and brought their children here to camp,” said Teat, who grew up at the camp as the son of longtime Resident Director Ray Teat who is now raising his son Luke at camp. “This is one of the most special places on earth to be a kid and explore in a safe, healthy outdoor environment,” he said.

The book was written by the late Dr. G. Kenneth Gerlach, a longtime principal in Dorchester County, and Delaware writer Dan Shortridge. Gerlach, who passed away in 2008, wrote an early history of the camp and the local Nanticoke and Choptank tribes in 1996. He was a former camp program director and local Scout leader whose troop helped clear many of the trails. Shortridge edited Gerlach’s manuscript and did additional research and writing, interviewing and gathering stories from nearly 50 people from all decades. He is a former camp staff member and current scouting volunteer.

The Del-Mar-Va Council serves boys and girls, supported by volunteers, across four traditional Scouting programs: Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting. It operates three camps - Henson Scout Reservation near Sharptown, Md.; Rodney Scout Reservation near North East, Md.; and Akridge Scout Reservation  near Dover.

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