From the Archives, October 22, 2017

Half A Century, Part 2

We continue our look at some Council history this week with two more pages from the Council publication Half a Century, published in 1970. Ironically, the write up here on the 1930s has almost nothing to do with the Council. So, let’s see if we can fill in some holes.

Coach William Anderson served as Scout Executive and Leslie G. Boxwell served as Council president throughout the 1930s. The number of Scouts had risen from 277 in 1920 to 2040 by 1930. By 1940, the total number of Boy Scouts was up to 2941. 1938 was a particularly pivotal year as both Cub Scouts and black Scouting were added to the council roster. Wa-Hi-Nasa was also founded in 1938. Scouts also served as Governor and Mayor for a day and participated in an annual Field meet. Percy Warner Park was high traffic area for Scout camping and hiking. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Let’s not forget, the second Boxwell opened at the Narrows of the Harpeth in 1930. It would remain there throughout the decade. The group of small photos in the bottom middle are all of Narrows of the Harpeth and were in the possession of Council President Jimmy Stevens, who was a staff member there in the early 1940s.

Thirties, Century

“Thirties” from the Middle Tennessee Council publication _Half a Century_, published in 1970

From the Archives, October 18, 2017

Recollections from Terry Rodgers

We use to chase cows out around Akers lake on the front bumper of my old ’55 Chevy. If I remember correctly, Kerry [Parker] was on the right bumper and Charlie Ray Smith was on the left bumper of my old ’55 Chevy. We would drive out into the field in the dead of night and “herd” cattle with guys on the front doing the bulldogging. Not a real safe thing to do but when you’re “unsupervised” camp staff members your sense of judgment becomes a bit warped. This was in 1968 and the old car was pretty ragged but it got us where we wanted to go. We would make the run into Lebanon or Gallatin in those days on the sly because staff was only allowed to go to town on Wednesday nights. I can remember having seven or eight staff members in this car coming back from Gallatin on 109 and being stopped by the police because we were speeding but only down hill. My speedometer had broken years ago and I told the THP that I really didn’t think this old bucket of bolts could go that fast. He saw that we were camp staff members and let us off with a warning.

In those early ’60’s they would load us up on to take us in to Lebanon to the movies in a flatbed stake truck that had carried cows earlier. We were really smelling good when we hit the streets of Lebanon.

One year while I was teaching Pioneering merit badge, the Georgia Boot
Company came to camp to get us to build a raft so that they could take
pictures for a commercial. We built it out at Duck Head and had to stick Styrofoam underneath it to keep the kid’s boots dry. They got to keep the boots, we (the staff) got a hardy handshake.

Back in those days we had the typical Parnell and Stahlman rivalry with
campfire stacks in jeopardy each week. I can remember cutting up a black walnut tree with a 12″ diameter center of the prettiest walnut you ever say to make the base logs for a Friday night campfire.

From the Archives, October 15, 2017

Half A Century, Part 1

Over the next few weeks, we thought it might be nice to do a little review of the Council’s history.

The Council was officially formed on March 1, 1920, though Scouting had been going on in middle Tennessee for years before this. In 1970, the Council celebrated this half century with the publication of a glossy paper booklet titled “Half a Century.” The booklet broke down the Council’s history by decades and include historic photos and a brief write up of each period.

This week is the 1920s. As you may remember, on July 5, 1921 the first Boxwell opened at Linton.


“Twenties” from the Middle Tennessee Council publication _Half a Century_, published in 1970

From the Archives, October 11, 2017

The Boxwell News Field Report
July 2, 2001

MANY years ago now, before there was, there was a small newsletter I put out called “The Boxwell News.”  It served much the same purpose as these posts, but was an e-mail newsletter.  When summer 2001 rolled around, I tried to get “field reports” from people who were there that summer.  Aaron Patten participated and former staff member George Beaver did as well.  So too, did Bill Vest.  Vest, who was Craig’s Waterfront Director, had crowned himself “Camp Light Program Director” that summer and below is his report on his camp.  Remember, in 2001, Camp Light had COPE and the shotgun range and nothing else…

By Bill Vest, Camp Light Program Director

Week three was a great week for Camp Light. Sunday check-in went very smoothly, since most campers had reservations secured through quality travel agents. However there was some problem with O’Charley’s delivery of Sunday supper so they were promptly fired, and arrangements were made with Calhoun’s for the rest of the summer’s meals. I will be glad when Ruth’s Chris Steak House finishes construction of our new dining hall.

Sunday campfire was a great success. The Rolling Stones put on a terrific show and even let Will Pedigo, our Shooting Sports director, play drums on several tunes. He had to leave early to go ride in the Camp Light Limo to the airport to pick up this week’s guest rifle instructor, Charlton Heston, who has several interesting demonstrations planned for the week. I again want to apologize to everyone for the excess noise coming from the 12″ guns on the Rifle Range last week, but that is what Norman Swartzkopf wanted during his week of guest instruction.

We had a big uproar on Wednesday when the Secret Service swooped down on the camp preparing for a visit by the Bush girls. There was a lot of excitement from the staff about meeting these two fine Americans. Unfortunately, the girls tried to talk some of our boys into drinking with them and, since drinking is illegal on the reservation, our Camp Director Ben Houser promptly escorted them out of camp. (My apologies to W.).

Our Activity yard led by Danny Robinson finished construction of the rope bridge that they have been working on for the last two weeks. It spans the entire width of Old Hickory Lake and should be great for program.

Our Con Yard led by Bo Collier introduced several new animals to the Camp Light area including a heard of Giraffe, 4 pair of Hippos, a pride of lion, and several 20+ feet Boa Constrictors. Should make for an interesting Critter Crawl this week.

Our Waterfront continued to excel by being ranked as one of Travel magazines’ “Top Ten Beaches in the World.” John Paul Hancock was also promoted from Cabana boy to dock boy. Thank goodness we do not have any docks.

From the Archives, October 8, 2017

Brownsea 1980

Brownsea has existed on the reservation for quite some time, but it has taken different forms. This particular photos is mostly likely from 1980, though we aren’t entirely certain. Nevertheless, if you are familiar with Brownsea at all, this is a lot of adults!

As Russ Parham (far left) explains, “In 1971 with the introduction at camp of the Commissioner System also came some wide sweeping changes in the Scouting Program… {B}y the time Camp Craig was ready to open, in 1974, the overall membership in Scouting had dropped such that we could not maintain two camps, let alone attempt to open Camp Craig. As I recall, the emphasis had shifted from ‘Scout Skills’ to ‘Leadership Skills’ and I remember that Mr. Akers wanted to make ‘every scout a leader’…

“By 1976 through 1977 the National BSA introduced the ‘All Out For Scouting’ and returned Scouting to a Scout Skills emphasis. But by this time most adults had to be re-taught this approach. There were multiple events, Train the Trainer, Hit the Goal council Jamboree but the big emphasis was Brownsea Double II (I was told they knew better than to abbreviate this program as B.S.). Well in fall of 1977 there were enough scouts to have 3 separate troops participate in the Brownsea program. After that year, they reverted to just Brownsea and I would say the enthusiam was great enough that adults, such as myself, Steve Eubank, Perry Bruce, eventually Jerry Barnett and others) [wanted to participate]. As you can imagine, the newness wore off after 3 or 4 years and they found the only/best recruits for staff were older scouts, which is still the case today.”

Pictured here is Russ Parham on the far left, then Jerry Barnett, an unknown, Lee Preston, and Perry Bruce at the far right.


There was a lot of adult leadership at Brownsea in 1980!