From the Archives, August 30, 2020

Box Tops

This week we look at a little program game. Every week, single serve cereals were a common component of breakfast. And on top of those little plastic containers? Removable branded squares of aluminum back joy: box tops.

Box tops were an internal staff game that spilled into dining hall program. A staff member would stand up, present an incredible story of need or want, and explain that the only way that X staff member could achieve this goal was by collecting box tops.

For instance, Jason Shumaker would stand up and tell a tale of woe and opportunity. Jason Bradford needed to go to college. General Mills promised him a scholarship if he could collect 1000 box tops by the end of the summer. Before you know it, Jason Bradford is swarmed by young Scouts every morning with boxtops in hand. Usually, Jason Bradford did not know this was coming until he was too late. After a morning or two, he may retaliate with a box top challenge of his own.

As the summer wore on, the stipulations to the challenges may get more extravagant. Only Golden Grahams box tops could be accepted. Only box tops that were not ripped were accepted. The box tops were for helping someone buy a boat or maybe someone needed some new Scouts socks. Once, they were used to sponsor a cow. Don’t ask, we don’t understand either.

Quite prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, the box top may have existed earlier than the 1980s, but we haven’t found mention of it. It also may have continued beyond the 1990s, but again, we haven’t seen a mention of it. It seems to be a program experience unique to the Willhite years.

Seen here is a Golden Grahams self-serve container found on Sadly, we have no photos of this exquisite phenomenon.

From the Archives, August 23, 2020

The Baptist Lands

The Baptist Lands are one of the great forgotten–and now lost–parts of Boxwell Reservation. As used by the Scouts, the Baptist Lands were not a particular large area, just a small clearing down Spencer Creek toward Laguardo. However, it was used as an outpost camping area throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Sometimes Stahlman, but usually the Ski Dock (Boat Harbor) staff would take troops on overnighters at the site. There was a “Boxwell Reservation, Boy Scouts of America” sign at the site on the familiar cedar planks still used on the Reservation.

Owned by the Corps of Engineers, the area was originally 80 acres to be part of the Laguardo Recreation Area. According to the late Rev. Clifford Horne, the site was used by either the State Convention of the Southern Baptist or the Nashville Baptist Association, hence the name “Baptist Lands.” The Corps though never bought access rights to the property, so while there was a dirt road to the site off of Tyree Access, the road was on private property. Only with permission of the owner to traverse the property could the Scouts use the site.

For reasons that appear lost to history, the Scouts stopped using the Baptist Lands because of a loss of access over this private property. While the Corps remained open to use of the property, the private access for the Scouts was never again obtained.

In a fascinating twist, a group of former professional Scouters and staff members were able to secure access to the site. Thanks to former ranger Bobby Smith, who had a strong working relationship with the property owners, this group was allowed the site once a year. So, for several decades, from the late 1970s up to 2010, every Memorial Day this group camped on the Baptist Lands. A wide range of significant camp names visited the annual campout, including Tom Willhite after he retired, former program directors, and Billy Walker (of COPE fame). It was this group of ex-District Executives and former staff members that planned the first and second staff reunion sin 1983 and 1989. The group stopped attending because of 2010 flood and the area has since overgrown, now managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Refuge Association for hunting.

Seen here is the group of former professionals camping at the site on the weekend of the first Staff Reunion in 1983.

Camping at the Baptist Lands, 1983
Former District Executives and Staff Members camping at the Baptist Lands over the weekend of the first Reunion, July 1983.

From the Archives, August 16, 2020

Boxwell Greats: Larry Green

There is no single individual who has been as connected with Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory Lake as closely as Larry Green. His family lived close to the Reservation and thus had close ties to the property from the beginning. His mother often prepared the birds caught at the dog trails and his brother Punkin and his uncle Bill both served on the early ranger staff. At about 16 years of age, Green started working at Boxwell too, mowing the grass, working on vehicles, and helping with the farming operation, summer work he continued from 1966 to 1969.

After graduating college, Green joined the ranks of the Scouting professionals in August 1971. He was the District Executive for Central District, which is today mostly the Nashboro District. Green came on right as the 1972 Capital Development Campaign was gearing up and helped his district to raise their goal. He also got to serve for the first time as Camp Director in 1974 at Camp Parnell, working with Program Director Steve Eubank. It is important to note that Green was DE when not only a “papering troops” (making up false troops to inflate the membership numbers) scandal broke nation-wide, but when the Akers investigation exploding, leading to close scrutiny of the records. Green area’s was squeaky clean, but it was quite an introduction to professional Scouting! Still, looking to move up, Green left Middle Tennessee briefly for a joint Scouting-US Department of Human Relations opportunity in 1976 with the Twin Pines Council. Unfortunately, as this position did not pan out as planned, Green briefly left Scouting in September 1978.

But life has funny twists and turns and by 1980, he was back in the Middle Tennessee Council as the DE for what was now called the Nashboro District. During these years, Green served as Camp Director again… and again… and again. He was Camp Director at Parnell in 1981, this time with Jerry Barnett as Program Director. He was back in 1982 with Barnett, but now at Camp Craig. Then he served as Camp Director again at Stahlman in 1990 with Brent Limbaugh as Program Director. And then his FIFTH run as Camp Director came in 1992, also at Stahlman when Andy Whitt became Program Director. In the days when Camp Directors were ONLY professional staff, Green served in the role more than any other person… AND he wasn’t done yet!

When Tom Willhite retired in 1994, Green became the next Director of Support Services, which meant he became the next Reservation Director. He came as the 1994 Capital Campaign was wrapping up and thus oversaw the creation of CubWorld and its program as well as the other changes that came with 94 campaign. He also had the unfortunate responsibility of letting the Schleichers go, primarily over concerns with their health. Ranger Willie Claude retired as well, leading Green to hire Bill Freeman as the new Head Ranger. Despite these changes, Green was ready to go when camp started in 1995. Obviously, he had a wealth of experience he brought to the job.

A change in leadership at the top later that summer created great stress for Green. So much so in fact, that by the end of summer camp in 1996, Green had stepped down as Director of Support Service and went back to the district level, this time Dan Beard. He came back to Boxwell as Camp Director in 2002 and 2003 and finally retired permanently from Scouting in 2006, ready to never return.

And then in 2011, Carl Adkins, the Reservation Director at the time, gave Green a call. Adkins had asked Green to return to Boxwell on several occassion, but Green had always said no. But now, there was new leadership running the Council and Green felt he could be useful again. He returned to camp staff in 2011 as Cubworld’s Camp Commissioner and has been there ever since. In fact, most Thursday evenings during camp, you can find him cooking steaks for Scoutmasters. All told, Green’s camp career has touched every era of Old Hickory Boxwell from Akers all the way up to Flannery. He is a Boxwell institution.

Seen here is Stahlman Camp Director Larry Green (far right) in 2002 with Program Director Andy Verble (far left) and Camp Commissioner Alex Cox (center).

Stahlman's Key Three--Verble, Cox, and Green
Stahlman’s Key Three in 2002: Program Director Andy Verble, Camp Commissioner Alex Cox, and Camp Director Larry Green.

From the Archives, August 9, 2020

The Indoor Rifle Range

It’s time to discuss one of the great mysteries for the modern staff member: what in the world is that thing in Craig basement? We don’t have a photo of this particular location in its heyday, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Remove the chairs and the cots and the mattresses and you have Camp Craig’s original indoor rifle range.

The range was part of the original set up for Camp Craig. The structure remaining in the back of the basement was basically an “indoor berm.” The angled metal wall would deflect the bullets into a sandtrap below after the shooter had fired through the target, which was hung off the red wooden frame. The numbers denote the positions for the shooters: 8 Scouts could fire at a time. You’ll notice on the concrete blocks on the wall there are little round brown circles–the last remains of the sound proofing, which were essentially old cardboard egg cartons. Further back on the floor are the red lines denoting where the shooters would be positioned.

The indoor range was eventually replaced by the current Dan Maddox range in the mid-1980s. Tom Willhite got the new range built as part of an unofficial, quasi-capital campaign he quietly ran to upgrade facilities at Boxwell in the early 1980s. By Craig’s opening for 1986, the outdoor range was open and has been in use ever since.

Camp Craig's Indoor Rifle Range
The remains of Camp Craig’s Indoor Rifle Range, 2018

Remembering the Staff, 2010

A mere ten years ago brings us the staffs of 2010. Hugh Travis was Council Executive and Carl Adkins was the Reservation Director. The Reservation had just celebrated its 50th Anniversary and had grown quite a bit over the previous ten years, especially in Camp Light in what is now known as the High Adventure Area.

Camp Stahlman was led by Danny Waltman as Program Director and Steve Eubank as Camp Director. At Camp Craig, Ian Weir was Program Director and Tony Turner was Camp Director. CubWorld was led by co-Program Director Jake Jones and Jody Looper and Camp Directors Lee Kashdan and Lindsey Sublett. And there is a slew of reservation programs! COPE was led by Nic Jared, the Boat Harbor by Michael Allen, the Shotgun Range by James Bryant, the NRA Light Rifle Program by William Bridgers, and the Pool by John Kasper. Steve Belew was the head ranger.

We have staff photos for Craig, Stahlman, CubWorld, Administrative Staff, and the Pool staff. All by John Kasper.

Camp Craig Staff, 2010
Camp Craig Staff, 2010
Camp Stahlman Staff, 2010
Camp Stahlman Staff, 2010
CubWorld Staff, 2010
CubWorld Staff, 2010
Administration and Support Staff, 2010
Administration and Support Staff, 2010
Reservation Pool Staff, 2010
Reservation Pool Staff, 2010