Grady Eades, AY Director
Generally, I’ve made a deliberate effort to NOT include photos of myself on VirtualBoxwell.org. I want the site to be welcoming to everyone and to reflect the history of Boxwell for everyone. In short, I don’t want this to seem like a vanity project. However, after authoring this site since 2002 (15 years! Can you believe it?), perhaps it is finally time for a photo of your host!
This is me, Grady Eades, VirtualBoxwell.org’s webmaster, in 1994. I was Camp Craig’s AY Director that year. I started at Craig in 1990 as an AY Staff member, working for $20 a week for Jerry Barnett. I would continue as AY Director in 1994 and most of 1995 before I was “promoted” to Camp Commissioner halfway through the summer. 1996 was a full year as Commissioner and in 1997 I was Program Director at Camp Parnell. At the time, I was 22 and the second youngest Program Director to ever serve in the role (behind Russell Parham who was 21 when he took the position at Stahlman in 1976). Just like anyone who has served on camp staff, I have a favorite year (1992–the year I learned to drive the tractor and Gertie!), and hold those years on Boxwell Staff (1990-1997) as the most profound of my life.
1997 was my last summer at Boxwell in an official capacity. In 1998, I was in graduate school and, with several other “old timers,” began the VirtualBoxwell project. We began scanning photos, conducting interviews, and preserving the camp’s history–a project that continues to this day. The first version of the website went online in 2002 and I’ve been heading this project ever since, a role that eventually led to chairing the 2014 Staff Reunion, one of the highlights of my life. My experience with Boxwell has been unbelievably rewarding!
Over the years, I’ve either worked with, met, or interviewed some of the most incredible people. If I may be excused this small conceit, I can’t imagine my life without having met Kerry Parker, Russell Parham, Jerry Barnett, John Walker, John Estes, David Dotson, Mike Brown, Lance Ussery, Ron Bailey, Jason Bradford, Bo Collier, Robert Barnard, Jason Shumaker, John Neal, Tom Willhite and, literally, HOST of other individuals, far too many to mention in the brief posts I make here. To say that Boxwell has had an influence on my life would be the greatest understatement I can make! I hope that your camp staff experience was the same.
Am I done yet? Absolutely NOT! There is a formal written history of Boxwell in the works and another staff reunion on the horizon, as well as Boxwell’s Centennial. I have been a very small piece in a very large story, but I have been happy to do my part. Stay tuned–there’s SO much more to come!
This is me, Grady Eades, as Activity Yard Director at Camp Craig in 1994. Tom Willhite was still Reservation Director and he referred to the Activity Yard as the “AY Yard,” something we all laughed about!