From the Archives, May 25, 2014

Camp Craig, 40th Anniversary, Part IV

It would be impossible to conclude a series on Camp Craig’s creation without at least a brief discussion of Ward Akers.  Akers, the Council Executive from the mid-1950s to 1976, was the man single most responsible for Boxwell at Old Hickory.  Indeed, anyone truly familiar with the history of the camp knows that Akers had the foresight to lay down concrete slabs in Craig’s waterfront area when Boxwell was built in 1959, even though Craig itself did not arrive for another 15 years.  This is what we call vision!

Of course, we should also note on this 40th anniversary that with the possible exception of Camp Murrey–now Gaylord Cubworld–Camp Craig has undergone more change than just about any other camp on the Reservation.  It starts with just 13 sites.  What became site Thirteen was added later and for many years was simply known as “the Outpost” as it was off the upper loop and difficult to get to.  The camp itself used chemical toilets when it began and then moved to pit toilets.  Troops had to dump lye into the pit toilets well into the 1990s to cut down on the smell! New showerhouses were built in the 1980s.  Sites 15 and 16 were added in 1990.  In the 1994 capital development campaign, a new road was added and the Waterfront moved to Duck Head, an area previously out of bounds to program.  By the early 2000s, the washstands were removed and new showerhouses were built.  Sites 17, 18, and 19 were added as well. Craig has had quite the career of change from Akers’ original vision!

Pictured here is Ward Akers himself (left), speaking with patrons at the dedication ceremony on Craig Dining Hall’s veranda.  At the time, the Veranda gave a wonderful view down to the Craig Waterfront and the lake beyond.

Akers, 1974

Here is the visionary behind Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake: Ward Akers. Council Executive for approximately 20 years, Akers was oversaw Boxwell at Rock Island and was the driving force behind building a new camp at the newly created Old Hickory Lake.

The Passing of Morris Smiley

The VirtualBoxwell Team is sad to announce the passing of Morris Smiley.  Smiley was one of those unique staff members whose careers spanned two Boxwells.  Smiley worked as a youth Kitchen Staff member at Rock Island in 1953 and later served as an Assistant Cook at the current Boxwell on Old Hickory Lake from 1996-1998.

Below is an edited obituary.  You may read the full version here.

Morris Smiley (1935 – 2014)

Ridgetop, TN

Passed away Wednesday, May 14, 2014 surrounded by his loving family.

A Celebration of his life will be held Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 2 p.m., at Austin & Bell Greenbrier Chapel, with Bro. Jon Briggs officiating.

He was preceded in death by parents, Turner Pat & Inez Smiley; son-in-law, Terry Worden; great-grandson, Jordan Matthew Starnes; brother-in-law, Bill Hand.

He retired from Ford Glass Plant after 39 yrs. & was a member of BSA Troop 151 for 65 yrs.

He is survived by wife of 51 yrs., Betty Smiley; daughters, Jeanine Smiley (Cecil Jordan), Sandra Worden, Ellan Brooks (Michael), Donna Smiley; brother, Leo Smiley (Joyce); sisters, Patricia Ralph (Kenneth) & Jeannine Hand; 3 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.

Friends may visit Saturday, 2-8 p.m. & Sunday, 12-2 p.m. prior to the service. Interment with military honors Spring Hill Robertson County.

Donations may be made “In Memory of Morris Smiley” to Highland Chapel Union Church Bldg. Fund or Middle TN Council of Boy Scouts of America, c/o Austin & Bell Funeral Home, 2619 Hwy. 41 S., Greenbrier, TN 37073; (615) 643-4000. Full obit:

From the Archives, May 18, 2014

Camp Craig, 40th Anniversary, Part III

After viewing the multiple Scout displays around Camp Craig, the activities for Craig’s Dedication moved to the Dining Hall.  There were multiple “big wigs” at this event: Ward Akers, Ed Human, Ken Connelly, Tom Willhite, Jimmy Stevens, and many others.  The dedication ceremonies included awards given to different contributors, such as HCA (Health Corporation of America), as well as a meal for attendees.

In the two photos here, we see some of Middle Tennessee Council’s movers and shakers.  The first photo shows us three of Middle Tennessee Council’s significant figures, though one less so than the others.  With his back to the camera on the left is Ed Human, the Reservation Director at the time. The two facing the camera are Ken Connelly (L) and Tom Willhite (R).  Within two years of this even, Tom Willhite would become Reservation Director, a post he would hold for 19 years, from 1976-1995.

The second photo shows us Ken Connelly (L) and Ed Human (R) leaving the kitchen.  At the time, Ed Human was the Director of Camping and Activities (today’s Director of Support Services).  Ken Connelly would go on to be Middle Tennessee Council’s Scout Executive in 1993 and 1994.

Ken & Tom

Craig Dedication at Craig Dining Hall. From Left to right, Ed Human, Ken Connelly, and Tom Willhite.

Ken & Ed

Craig Dedication at Craig Dining Hall. Ken Connelly and Ed Human. Human is carrying a plaque for HCA.

From the Archives, May 11, 2014

Camp Craig, 40th Anniversary, Part II

While Craig ran a week of campers at the end of July 1974, the official dedication of the new camp did not come until August 1974.  This was a big even, including troops putting up different Scout Skills displays and an official ceremony at the dining hall. Presented here are two photos from the display portion of the event.  The displays lined Craig Road, which, as you will note, was not yet paved, but still gravel.

The first display is Troop 339 out of Smyrna, TN.  The display is a knot-tying demonstration by the Scouts.  The location appears to be at the spur off of Craig Road leading up to the Chapel.

The second display here is an unknown troop, demonstrating either fire making or cooking skills.  The locations appears to be Site 1 on the Upper Loop. Notice the “Trash” barrel.  Until the late 1980s, these metal 50 gallon drums were the trash barrels at Boxwell–and they did not use trash bags!

Knot Displays

One of several Scout Skills display at Craig’s Dedication, August 1974.

Fire Display

Another Camp Craig Dedication dedication. This one appears to be on fire or cooking.

From the Archives, May 4, 2014

Camp Craig, 40th Anniversary, Part I

You may not have realized it, but 2014 is Camp Craig’s 40th Anniversary.  The camp was opened for one week of campers from June 23-29, 1974.  Steve Eubank was the Program Director for this one week of camp.

In commemoration of Camp Craig’s 40th Anniversary, will be exploring the dedication of Camp Craig.  While there was a week of campers present at Craig in June 1974, Craig received official dedication ceremonies in August 1974.  This event included Scout displays as well as official administrative recognition.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing photos of this event.  This may even necessitate multiple photos with each posting!

For this week, we begin with a very simple Camp Craig icon. Located in Craig Dining Hall’s first floor (affectionately known as “the Basement”), the buoy shown here was made to commemorate Craig’s first week of Scouts.  While the official dedication would not be until August, this dedication buoy is a marker of Craig’s first (and only) week of campers in 1974.  Thus began the brief period (1974-1976), when ALL THREE Scout resident camps (Stahlman, Parnell, and Craig) at Boxwell were open at the same time!

Craig Bouy, 1974

Camp Craig was open for one week of campers in June 1974. The Dedication Buoy lists the troops that attended Craig’s first (and only) week in 1974.