The most important part of the Boxwell experience is program. "Program" is a broad term. Certainly it includes merit badge sessions and campfires, but when the staff talks about program, they usually mean something else.
Program are the activities that make camp unique. These could be games in the afternoon or evening, campfires, camp-wide activities or songs. Often program refers to dining hall activities - skits and songs put on by the staff during meal time to enhance the camp experience.
One of the most popular aspects of program is the camp-wide activity. For several decades, Boxwell has engaged in week-long, sometimes afternoon long festivities for Scouts. Sometimes this is a water carnival, where the whole camp comes down to the waterfront to cook hot dogs, swim and play games. Other times the camp wide activity is competitive, setting up a series of challenges that troops and patrols must overcome to earn points in the shortest amount of time, thus reenforcing Scout skills. Camp wide activities might also be camp scavenger hunts or special events. Boxwell has even had a parade to celebrate Mardi Gras when a Louisiana troop visited one year!
While the advancement aspect is important, it is a fundamental concept of the staff to make sure the Scout has "an adventure," an overall good experience, something that cannot be received at a troop meeting or in school. The staff works hard to put on good program, to make camp camp.
Troops that have never been to Boxwell before are often shocked, amazed and intrigued by the dining hall program. Meal time is the only point during the day when the entire camp (or at least sizable portions of it!) can get together. Thus, it is important to make each meal special.
Part of this approach involves songs and skits. In addition to inner camp communications (you are not allowed to say "announcements" in the dining hall), the staff will break out into song. These songs are sometimes spontaneous and other times part of a more organized program. The songs are also varied nature, ranging from television theme songs ("Gilligan's Island", "The Brady Bunch") to more conventional camp songs ("The Prune Song," "Bananas, Coconuts and Grapes"). The staff will also utilize skits. It is not uncommon to see a version of the "Dating Game" with staff members dressed as women during a week of camp.
All dining hall program is aimed at making meal time unique from experiences at school. Again, Boxwell is a Boy Scout camp, not summer school!
A staple of any Boy Scout camp is the campfire program. Often the most remembered part of the camp experience, the campfire is certainly the one aspect of camp that is most associated with Scouting. Thus, Boxwell makes an effort to put on strong campfires.
Campfires are held on Sunday and Friday nights. Sunday night campfires are opening campfires and are generally festive events, trying to get Scouts excited about being at camp. A series of skits and songs get people involved in the program. The end of the Sunday Night campfire is generally more solemn, often making note of leaders who volunteer their time to make Scouting possible. The campfire also reminds the week's attendants that a Scout is Reverent and that many missed religious services to come to camp. Thus, spiritual songs often conclude the campfire.
The Friday night campfire is generally an awards campfire. Used to hand out a plethora of awards earned during the week and to honor troops and Scouts for their hard work, the Friday night campfire has a very different feel to it. In part because so many parents attend, the Friday night campfire honors achievements and focuses especially hard on the principles of Scouting. An underlying message of the Friday night campfire is always that Scouting is a way of life - that one is a Scout once they leave camp just as much as they are inside camp. In short, the Friday night campfire concludes the week of camp and helps prepare Scouts for the transition back into "the real world."