From the Archives, October 26, 2014

The Pig Farm

Long ago, Boxwell was a working farm.  There was tobacco farming and harvesting (sometimes done by the staff) and there was cattle.  Some may remember that there was also a pig farm!

The pig farm belonged to Clarence Mays, who was an assistant ranger.  Slop was picked up by Farmer Bush, another member of the Ranger staff (who remained well into the 1990s) from the discarded food from the camp kitchens.  The slop cans were then brought to feed the pigs. He also had a barn where old camp equipment was dumped.

As seen here, Clarence’s farm was adjacent to Akers Lake.  Clarence passed away in the 1970s, but his farm was eventually bought by the Council.  Today it is the Percy Dempsey Camporee Area.

Pig Farm

The Pig Farm at Clarence May’s farm. Today, this is the Percy Dempsey Camporee Area.

From the Archives, October 19, 2014

Raccoons in the trash!

If one is going to speak of Boxwell’s “other inhabitants,” there are a variety of options.  As we’ve mentioned, there are the deer.  Last week we showed the turkeys.  And, of course, in the “old days” were the cattle, roaming Explorer Island and sometimes leaving cowpies on dining hall stoops.

Regardless of your years, if you were a staff member, you remember the raccoons.  They were nowhere to be found during the day, but at night… oh, at night, you KNEW they were there.  Lurking.  Stalking.  Staring at you from the shadows. Waiting for their opportunity to steal whatever it was they wanted, usually your food!

So, this week we present an unbelievably mundane photo–a raccoon on a trash barrel.  This particular trash barrel was in the old COPE staff site, located at Camp Stahlman down by the Pump House.  If there ever was a common staff experience, this image is something we can all relate to!


A raccoon on the rim of a trash barrel in the COPE staff site at Camp Stahlman in the 1990s.

The Passing of Mike Semich

The VirtualBoxwell Team is sad to report the passing of Michael Semich on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  Michael was an Eagle Scout and a staff member at Camp Murrey and then CubWorld in the mid-1990s.

Visitation will be from 4pm to 7pm on Sunday, October 19.  A funeral Mass will be held Monday, October 20 at 11am.

Below is his obituary from the Woodfin Funeral Home in Mufreesboro, TN.


Michael Christopher Semich, 35, a life-long resident of Rutherford County, Tennessee, died unexpectedly on October 15, 2014.

Mike is survived by his wife Danielle Dean Semich; father, Deacon Peter Semich and mother Alice Blevins Semich; brother Brian Anthony Semich, sister-in-law Amanda Dirksen Semich and nephew Preston Joseph Semich; father- and mother-in-law Joe and Shirley Dean; sister- and brother-in-law Nichole Dean and John Paul Corley; brother-in-law Shawn Dean; nephew Max Dean and three nieces, Treasure, Eden and Summer Corley.

Mike was born in Murfreesboro on February 18, 1979. He went to Walter Hill Elementary and graduated from Oakland High School in 1997. One of his greatest accomplishments, other than wooing his wife Danielle, was earning the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop #538. He graduated from the Middle Tennessee State University in 2001 with a degree in computer science and has worked as a senior developer at NASBA since 2005. On April 6, 2013, he married Danielle, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Mike was a devoted husband and an avid homebrew master. He was president and founding member of the Mid-State Brew Crew. He was a spiritual man and involved in many church activities; he was a member in the 3rd Degree in the Knights of Columbus. Mike was filled with abounding energy, love, and concern for others. He will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him, but his memory will last a lifetime.

Visitation will be from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday October 19, 2014 at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Monday October 20, 2014 at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Tennessee Boulevard. Father Mark Sappenfield will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Rose of Lima Catholic School or Church, both organizations that Michael was committed to in time, talent, and treasure.

Online condolences to the family may be made at


The Departure of Hugh Travis

The VirtualBoxwell Team would like to pass on some important Council News.  Council Executive Hugh Travis will be leaving Middle Tennessee Council for another Executive position in California.

Hugh Travis worked on camp staff at Camp Craig as Camp Director in 1978.  Upon returning to MTC as Council Executive, he has overseen two Staff Reunions: 2009 and 2014.  And, of course, as we recently saw, the new Aquatics Maintenance Center is named for Hugh and Reservation Director Carl Adkins.

We would like to thank Hugh Travis for his service and wish him the best of luck in his new position.

Hugh Travis

Council Executive Hugh Travis speaking at the 2014 Staff Reunion. Photo by Cameron Grady.

From the Archives, October 12, 2014


Depending on when you worked on staff, you are well aware of Boxwell’s “other inhabitants.”  If you worked in the 1960s and early 1970s, you probably have very strong recollections of the cattle.  There were pigs too, but you probably remember the cattle.

If you worked in the late 1970s through the early 1990s, your great nemesis was the raccoon.  Indeed, there are legendary stories of “granddaddy” raccoons that not only broke into footlockers, but ate potato chips right on people’s chests!

And of course, everyone remembers the deer.  They’re everywhere.  So much so that they cease to be captivating after a week or two.

But in the last twenty years, Boxwell has had another visitor.  Beginning in the mid-1990s, turkeys began showing up at Boxwell and have grown ever since.  If you’re lucky, in the middle of the summer, you can catch a flock of turkeys, mainly a mother (a hen) and her children (poults).  Pictured this week is a mother and a poult down by the new Boat Harbor Maintenance area.

Turkey and baby

A mother turkey and her poult at the Travis/Adkins Aquatics Support Center. The hen had about six poults with her.