We all know that Boxwell is about developing Scouts and, as a result of that, developing leadership. Many people don’t know that there are parts of Boxwell that are explicitly focused on developing leadership!
For many years, immediately at summer camp ended, Boxwell hosted Brownsea. Brownsea was the youth version of Woodbadge. It covered many of the same skills and topics as Woodbadge, but was scaled to conform to a youth audience.
Pictured here is John Neal of the 1993 Brownsea Staff. Brownsea in the early 1990s was held in Craig Athletic Field. Here, Neal (center, red hat) teaches Leadership skills to a group of Scouts.
John Neal (center, sitting, red hat) leads a session on leadership at Brownsea, 1993, located in Craig Athletic Field.
A New Office
Generally speaking we try to stick to Boxwell photos here. Those photos could be of any of the four Boxwells, but that’s usually the focus. This week, just for the sake of shaking things up, we’re doing something a little different.
This week’s photo is of the construction of Council Office at Hillsboro Road. Previously, the Scout Office had been as 207 24th Avenue North, right near Centennial Park. Given that Coach Anderson, the first Council Executive, was strongly connected to Vanderbilt University, having the office location close to the campus shouldn’t be a surprise. However, as we all know, Ward Akers was a builder and Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory was only part of his legacy.
Funding for the new council office was part of the 1972 Capital Development Campaign and his family gave $600,000 for creation of a new center. Ground was broken in 1975 and the staff moved in to their new residence in September 1976, with an official dedication in November. Sadly, Akers had been forced to resign by this point and Hershel Tolbert became the first Council Executive to reside in the new offices.
Pictured here is the creation of the center’s foundation, shortly after ground-breaking in 1975. Clearly visible in the background is Woodmont Baptist Church, still a fixture across the street from 3414 Hillsboro Road.
Building the Jet Potter Center, shortly after ground-breaking, 1975.
Rowing Merit Badge
The more things change, the more they stay the same! And wow, a lot has changed since this photo of Stahlman’s waterfront in 1978!
Take a look at the background. The trees on Explorer Island are still young so you can see the field in the third portion of the island. Take a look at the rowboats. These are hardly the metal doreys that are still in use today! Even the boat dock, while still there today, looks quite a bit more… rugged here.
Of course, Rowing Merit Badge is still taught and dumping a swamped boat is still part of the skills here. Nevertheless, this is an interesting look into how things have transformed over the last 30 years!
Rowing Merit Badge at Camp Stahlman, 1978. Photo by then Program Director Russell Parham
The Earliest Photos of Boxwell
Camp Boxwell–not Boxwell Reservation–at Linton, TN (between Bellevue and Fairview, around HWY 100) was the very first summer camp to bear the name “Boxwell.” Part of the Nashville Council (Middle Tennessee Council did not yet exist), Linton opened in 1921. According to Boys Will Be Men, the camp was located on the Harpeth River and used military surplus tents from the First World War. Council Executive “Coach” William Anderson himself headed up the camp (a feat he continued for 26 more years!). A former Vanderbilt track coach, Anderson “recruited local high school athletes and members of his track team to assist at the camps” (51).
Scouts (not Scoutmasters!) met at a central location and were ferried out to camp by truck. Every day consisted of a morning tent inspection followed by morning sessions (about two hours) and a swim before lunch. If an afternoon snack was desired, a Scout had to kill 50 flies and would then receive a candy bar. The camp was self-governed with each tent getting one representative to a camp council. Afternoon activities are unknown, but we do know that meals were cooked by Walter Whittaker, an African American cook who became something of a camp celebrity during his tenure because of his meals. While Linton was eventually replaced by the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell in 1930, for a few years, it was the hub of summer Scouting activity.
Pictured here are two photos from an August 28, 1921. They are from a full page spread in the Nashville Banner (the same paper that was later run by E. B. Stahlman). The first is a photo of a camp-wide cross-country jog. The second is an image of a Linton Campsite, complete with surplus tents, which are quite a bit different from the two-man tents used today.
As has been noted before, the 2014 Reunion brought forth a variety of fascinating material. It is hard to beat this sample from Greg Tucker–photos of the FIRST Boxwell in it’s FIRST summer. It doesn’t get much more historical than this!
From _The Nashville Banner_ August 28, 1921. “A Cross-Country Jog Participated in By All.”
From _The Nashville Banner_ August 28, 1921. The caption reads: “The Scout Camp and One of the Troops which occupied it.”