From the Archives, July 7, 2019

2014 Reunion: James Akers does the Ham-bone

This weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the last staff reunion, the one in 2014. The 2014 Staff Reunion was the fifth Reunion for Boxwell staff and the best attended. Though to be fair, the attendance likely had something to do with the set up of the Reunion.

Unlike the previous four Staff Reunions (1983, 1989, 1999, 2009), the 2014 Reunion was basically free. The Reunion Staff sought out donors to sponsor the event and were able to bring in enough donations to cover the primary costs of the event. The primary costs were mostly wrapped up in a dinner and a t-shirt. So, if you pre-registered for the event, dinner and a Reunion t-shirt were paid for by sponsors. If you just showed up… well, you had to pay a little.

The 2014 Reunion was slightly different in other ways too, though these differences were likely not all that important to most attendees. The Reunion had an “archiving” component: Danny Waltman manned a audio booth to record camp stories and Michael Seay had a scanning booth to scan old camp photos that people brought with them. The audio booth had a few takers, but the scanning booth quickly had more material to deal with than a one-person operation could handle!

In most important ways though, the 2014 Reunion was very similar to most of the other reunions. It occurred during camp so that old staff members could visit program areas and stomping grounds as well as take their families to camp activity areas, like the waterfront. There was a dining hall program and group photos. The Reunion also concluded with a meal, awards, and a campfire. In short, it was a lot like the camp experience, except condensed into a much smaller window!

This week’s photo is a highlight from the event. At the end of the dinner program, James Akers, son of the late Ward Akers, climbed up on a table and “ham-boned,” a skill he had learned from Ike Davis, the African-American cook at Rock Island Boxwell. You can’t make up those kind of moments.

[If you’re a former staff member, start tracking down your old staff friends. Work for 2021 Centennial Reunion is about to begin!]

James Akers

James Akers, son of Ward Akers, performs the ham-bone at Craig dining hall for the 2014 Reunion.

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