2017 Hershey After Action report

Posted: 9/14/2017


The RV Chapter’s National Come Around was held September 6-11, 2017 at the Hersheypark Camping Resort in Hershey, PA, under the direction of “Firsties” Walt & Chris Baskin ’59. Participants were: Gary & Margo Snyder ’55; Tom & Kay Powell ’58; Marion Conery, widow of Frank Conery’58; Walt & Chris Baskin’59; Jim & Marie Roberts ’59; John Schultz ’59 & Gail Kelly; Jim & Marty Henderson ’62; Charlie & Susan Norton ’62; Jack & Nita Parry’67; Jay & Patti Williams’67; Hank & Stevie Giffin ’67; Tom & Rose Wolfe ’70; Dale & Su Gange ’70; Tim & Vanessa Hallihan ‘72; Andy & Eva Wehrle ’72; John & Eileen Madaio’77; Kathy Shanebrook ’80 & Jerry Cribb; Tony Jiles ’80 & Rose Johnson; Joan ’81 & Tim Platz. This was the first Come Around for John Schultz ’59 and Tony Jiles ’80. We welcomed back long time members, Gary & Margo Snyder ’55, who commuted from Lancaster, PA and Marion Conery ’58 ( Frank’s widow) came with Tom & Kay Powell ’58.

Our campground facilities were excellent! We were provided with a large pavilion and a cabin, in addition to our camp sites to facilitate group activities.

The welcome dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 6 was moved from the campground to the Hershey Lodge due to rain. We had a terrific meal and were welcomed by Bill Simpson, CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R). Bill is also Walt & Chris’ son in law. He explained the connection between Hershey Corp., HE&R and the Milton Hershey Trust (established in the early 1900s to support the Milton Hershey School, now for underprivileged boys and girls). The Trust is majority stock holder of Hershey Corp. (candy). HE&R (consisting primarily of the Hershey Hotel, Lodge and Hershey Park- and also the Hershey Country Club, Gardens, Zoo, Campground, Arena and Hershey Bears hockey team, etc.) is owned by the Trust and its profits go to support the School.

On Thursday, Sept. 7, we had a trolley tour of the city of Hershey, followed by a tour of the Milton Hershey School. This was highlighted by a brief presentation and a long Q & A session with the School President. He was a former student there and explained how the School is close to its capacity of 2400 students (K-12), who live there full time, with all expenses paid. College cost for qualified students are also covered by the School. At our daily happy hour that afternoon, Tim Hallihan ’72 invited classmate Bill Boniface and his wife, Susan to meet our group. We found out that Bill and Susan had spent 5 years as House Parents for a group of Senior boys at the School. They said this was a very rewarding experience and they still regularly hear from students. At that Happy Hour, we also had a “personal zoo encounter”, courtesy of the Hershey Zoo. Kelly from the zoo showed us an owl, alligator, skunk and a falcon and told us about them.

Friday, Sept. 8, we toured the Hershey Hotel and had lunch. Then we enjoyed a pastry demonstration by the current “World Pastry Queen”, the Hotel’s top pastry chef, who impressed us with all the steps needed to create several pastries and then let us eat them!

Saturday, Sept.  9, Jim Roberts ’59 and his team provided breakfast, starring his special minced beef. At the Business Meeting, Dale Gange ’70 announced plans for a Come Around near Mount Dora, FL in the spring of 2018. Jim Roberts ’59 acted as auctioneer for a White Elephant Auction that raised $350 for the Chapter. Saturday afternoon we moved to a large cottage at the Hershey Hotel for a tailgate party and to watch the Navy-Tulane football game. There was plenty of enthusiasm and relief when Navy barely held on for a win!

Sunday, Sept. 10, we toured the Hershey Gardens and Butterfly Atrium-very impressive. That evening we attended “Bowser’s Rock & Roll Party” at the Hershey Park Music Box Theater. This turned out to be a real treat! Bowser was a classically trained pianist who turned to rock & roll in his teens, performing with Sha Na Na. They had a popular TV show for a few years and performed several songs in “Grease”. Also performing were the “Comets” (with 2 original members of “Bill Haley & the Comets”) and the “Tokens” (who performed several of their familiar songs, including “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”).

Monday morning the group went on their way after coffee and donuts.

Kudos to Holly Simpson, Walt & Chris’ daughter, who coordinated the planning and execution of the Come Around and the staff of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts who made this a “once in a lifetime” experience!