From The Archives, November 30, 2014

Boxwell Greats: Steve Eubank

There are only a handful of people who have worked at Boxwell enough to span virtually the entire history of Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake.  Steve Eubank is such a person!

Steve began as staff member in 1970, just missing the first decade of the reservation.  He served as a Commissioner at Camp Parnell. Of course, it is important to note that “Commissioner” in the early 1970s meant something a bit different then, but that’s another story!  Steve stayed on at Parnell to eventually become Program Director in 1973, a position he maintained until 1976. Craig opened in this period for one week and Steve was Program Director there too–a unique distinction!

The next twenty-five years saw Steve connected to Boxwell in a rather unique position.  He was part of the group of former staff members who helped plan the first Staff Reunion in 1983, and then the second in 1989, and the third in 1999. Additionally, Steve was very involved in Woodbadge, serving at Woodbadge Scoutmaster more than once during this quarter century.  So, while not officially on camp staff, Steve still made valuable historical contributions!

In 2004, Steve returned to Camp Stahlman as a modern day Camp Commissioner.  In 2009, a fascinating change took place–District Executives no longer came to camp to serve as Camp Directors.  At each camp, staff took up that position, and Steve became Stahlman’s Camp Director.  Thus, Steve Eubank is the ONLY staff member in Reservation history to serve in all three of top camp positions–Program Director, Camp Director, and Camp Commissioner.

Eubank, 2008

Steve Eubank has many unique aspects to his Boxwell service. He is the only staff member to serve as program director at two camps simultaneously as well as the only staff member to serve in all three key positions. Not only that, but his wife Judi was Kitchen Director at Parnell with him in the 1970s!

From the Archives, November 23, 2014

Boxwell Greats: Lance Ussery

Lance Ussery joined the Craig staff in 1982.  He was part of a group that affectionately nicknamed themselves “Jerry’s Kids” after program Director Jerry Barnett.  Lance left staff in 1985 and returned for a brief run in ’86 and ’87.

Serving in the Activity Yard, Lance was known as a bit of wild child. A favorite story from 1986–the one year Barnett was absent–goes something like this (according to Lance himself): “I was known for wearing a bathrobe around the staff site and nothing else. I don’t remember the reason, but David Qualls and I begin wrestling on the ground. I have David pinned and my robe had become untied when that red headed little man [Kerry Parker] walked into the staff site of the activity yard. I don’t remember which week of camp it was but there were campers in camp. Henry Davis is the one who shouted, “Who the hell are you?” and got the response “I’m your program director!”

Lance moved to COPE in 1987, but left after that one summer.  However, it was when Lance returned for his third run that a new legend was born.

Hired on as COPE Director in 1992, Lance ran the COPE course for the next decade, expanding and developing Boxwell’s the High Adventure hub. It was during these years that not only did the physical COPE course expand, but the program expanded as well.  By the late 1990s, Corporate COPE now brought a variety of outside organizations to Boxwell to take part in leadership and group training. Indeed, Lance’s work became recognized around the nation! Lance became the COPE National Camp School Director in 1994 and 1998, served on the COPE National Task force from 1994-1996, and was the coordinator for the Southern Region Area 6’s COPE Inspectors from 1996 to 2002.  (This doesn’t even mention his work on Woodbadge and Brownsea staff, among other leadership trainings!).

Thus, Lance began his own COPE development company, building, inspecting, and maintaining COPE courses around the country, Upper Edge Adventures.  You can see Lance’s most recent contribution to Boxwell at the Boxwell Zipline.  There is undoubtedly more to come!

Ussery & Aldridge

COPE Director Lance Ussery (left) and COPE staff member Jeff Aldridge at a Scoutmaster’s Steak Supper in 1993.

From the Archives, November 16, 2014

Boxwell Greats: Wilbur Creighton

Wilbur F. Creighton, Sr. was Council President from 1951-1953.

In 1954, after his run as President, Creighton, along with then Council President Colonel Gilbert Dorland, Council Executive Ward Akers, and co-founder of the _Nashville Banner_ E. B. Stahlman, carried the idea of a “new” Boxwell to Congressman J. Carlton Loser. As a new TVA project—Old Hickory Dam—was being considered, Creighton and others petitioned Loser to get the federal government to permanently lease an area of land to the Middle Tennessee Council. With support from Congressmen Joe Evins and Clifford Davis as well as Senator Albert Gore, Sr., Creighton, et al., were able to secure a bill granting 500 acres off of Highway 109.

While never a staff member himself, Creighton’s impact on Boxwell is undeniable.  In fact, Creighton is also known to have said the Reservation’s office, during its construction, reminded him of a sexually excited turtle, thus leading to the name “Cripple Crab.” His son, Wilbur F. Creigthon, Jr. wrote the first and only history of Middle Tennessee Council, Boys Will Be Men in 1983. Today, “Creighton Lane” pays homage to father and son. Wilbur Creighton III has served on the Council’s Camping Committee for many years.

Shown here is Creighton, Sr.’s official portrait at the Council Office.  Text is adapted from Creighton, Jr.’s _Boys Will Be Men_, the only history of Middle Tennessee Council.

Creighton portrait

Official portrait of former Council President, Wilbur F. Creighton. Creighton is the first in a legacy of Scouters dedicated to Middle Tennessee Council.

From the Archives, November 9, 2014

Boxwell Greats: Jim Barr

A school teacher in Metro schools during his “real life,” James “Jim” Barr joined Stahlman Staff as Waterfront Director in 1975.  He continued as Stahlman Staff until 1977, moved to Craig for three years, and then completed his tenure at Stahlman’s Waterfront in 1987.

Of course, Jim Barr is generally known as part of the leadership team of Ernie Ragsdale and Jim Barr.  Ironically, while known as the heart and soul of Stahlman throughout the 1980s, Ragsdale and Barr began their time together at Camp Craig.  Among younger staff, the connection between the two men was always mysterious.  Were they close simply because they were both teachers? Had they served in Vietnam together?  Regardless, according to Web Webster, “The fact was that while the two were separate; the two did a very good job at playing of good cop/ bad cop although sometimes it would be bad cop/worse cop.”

While we don’t know for sure if this story is true, there is a fascinating (but terribly sad) story concerning Ragsdale and Barr.  The two men had dinner (or had gone out together) the night Ernie died.    During the outing, Ernie complained he wasn’t feeling well and went home, where sitting in his chair at home, he suffered a heart attack and died.  Much like when Tom Willhite passed away after visiting with former camp staff friends, Barr was with Ragsdale hours before his death.  Sometimes camp staff bonds seem to transcend into the supernatural…

Shown here is Ernie Ragsdale (left) and Jim Barr at the 1989 National Scout Jamboree.  Photo by Tom Willhite.

Ragsdale and Barr, 1989

Ernie Ragsdale (left) and Jim Barr (right) at the 1989 National Scout Jamboree. As Barr himself explained, he and Ragsdale would often leave for the Jamboree a week early, spending two weeks away from home. Ragsdale would sometimes travel with as little $30 for the whole trip!

From the Archives, November 2, 2014

Boxwell Greats: Pat Deugaw

Pat Deugaw is one of the most unique of Boxwell staff members.  A retired enlisted man, Pat joined the Boxwell staff at Camp Craig in 1987 as the Field Sports Director.  In addition to running Field Sports, which at the time included the shooting sports as well as the “athletic” merit badges now found in the Activity Yard, Pat also ran the Rifle Range.

In these first years, Pat made a name for himself for two things.  First, during Staff Week, Pat drove his yellow pick up truck, complete with camper top over the bed, all around the loops carrying Kool-Aid (or “bug juice”) to work crews.  He became known as “The Kool-Aid Man” and the sight of his truck meant relief and a welcome break!  Second, he was known for was Friday night packets.  Back when virtually all troops stayed through the campfire because packets were not available until afterward, Pat made sure all the troop packets were in order.  He was a taskmaster!

As time went on, Pat eventually gave up the Director’s position and focused solely on the rifle range.  By the early 2000s, Pat had established an NRA Light Rifle program that ran out Parnell’s Rifle Range.  As Parnell’s last year as a full running camp was 1998, Pat jokingly referred to himself as “Parnell’s Program Director.” By this point, others now knew him as “Old Soldier.”

Pat served on the camp staff from 1987 until 2009, with only one year off in 1996.  Indeed, so great was Pat’s influence that Craig held a “Patrick Deugaw Day” on July 6, 2009 and the whole reservation flew flags at half-mast upon news of his death in June 2011.

Shown here is Pat’s Staff ID photo from 2008.  Photo by “Big John” Kasper.

Pat, 2008

Pat Deugaw, aka The Kool Aid Man, aka Old Soldier. Pat served on camp staff for 21 years, one of the longest serving staff members ever on staff.