From the Archives, December 27, 2020

The Millenium Campaign: High Adventure! (Part 2)

We conclude our look at the Millennium Capital Campaign with the major capital project of the campaign: the Boxwell Pool. A pool had been an idea that had been floated (sorry) around since as early as 1960, but as the lakefront access was so fantastic, it was never a priority. By the early 2000s, things had changed.

A pool offered program opportunities not available in the lake. The dirtiness of Old Hickory simply made programs lik Snorkeling and Scuba unrealistic. A pool fixed those issues. A pool also served a “value added” for a High Adventure program. With a pool, either an outside group or a troop or a Venture crew could come in, stay at the Parish building, utilize COPE, the shotgun range, and practice a range of skills in the pool–all in one centralized location. For summer camp, Scouts could be transported all to one location. It was a win-win.

The pool was 4000 square feet with zero depth entry access. At least initally, Swimming and Lifesaving Merit Badges would be taught there as well as instructional swim, BSA Lifeguard, and snorkeling. As time went on, some of these moved back to the waterfront areas, but the pool remained a powerful draw. It could be used by not only Boy Scout camps, but also the growing Cub and Webelos Resident camps. With the pool, a true High Adventure Area had emerged at Boxwell Reservation. It opened for its first summer in 2004.

(As a nice dose of serendipity, this final piece of the Millennium campaign was under construction in December 2003, 17 years, and the first run on Boxwell’s Winter Camp, which starts today December 27…)

Seen here is the Pool under construction as well as an overhead view from the Al Hendrickson COPE Tower.

Pool Under Construction
The Boxwell Pool under Construction, December 30, 2003.
Operational Pool
The DeBartolo Pool in operation, June 2017.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out there from all of us here at VirtualBoxwell!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

And, in what is now an official holiday tradition here, we give you this photo of DE Buff Groth (Camp Director at Parnell in 1980) sitting on the lap of Tom Willhite (Santa; Reservation Director, 1976-1994).

See you all again in 2021, the Centennial of Camp Boxwell. We have a few things planned…

Tom Willhite as Santa Claus as a Council Christmas party; 1980 Parnell Camp Director Buff Groth on his lap

From the Archives, December 20, 2020

The Millenium Campaign: High Adventure!

We continue our look at the Millennium Capital Campaign this month with some the crown jewels of the campaign. While the showerhouses and staff huts were clearly valued improvements, they were not the kind of improvements that really draw in the big donors. The campaign needed something more flashy, something PROGRAM related. Consistent with the growing trend in Scouting, the new program would focus on High Adventure, specifically, a High Adventure Area.

The Millennium campaign was the first true step in transforming a section of Camp Light into a High Adventure Area. COPE had been in the location for some time and the shotgun range had moved there in the early 1990s. The Millennium Campaign focused on taking these to the next level of development and usage.

First, the campaign improved the shotgun range. Instead of simply a range for shooting clay pigeons out of small trap house, the campaign made the range into a combo trap and skeet range. A larger house was built as well, making the range far more functional than it had been before.

Second, the campaign installed a brand new High Adventure building. The building’s major donor was John L. Parish, Sr., who was not only the president of Worth, Inc., known for its aluminum baseball bats, but a long time member of the Executive Board, son of Charles Parish (yes, THAT Charles Parish, former Council President), and former Rock Island Boxwell Staff Member. The Building was designed to be co-ed, complete with male and female bathrooms. It had rooms with bunks for overnights, a kitchen, and a large storage area. Outside groups and troops alike could rent the building for activities and then use both COPE and the shotgun range nearby. The building was a cornerstone for the Council’s expanded vision of High Adventure.

Seen here are both the renovated range and the Parish High Adventure building in 2003.

Renovated Shotgun Range
The renovated shotgun range as it appeared in July 2003
Parish High Adventure Building
The newly completed John Parish High Adventure Building, July 2003.

From the Archives, December 13, 2020

The Millennium Campaign: More upgrades

We continue our look at the Millennium Capital Campaign this month with some simple upgrades. Part of the campaign was making upgrades to the showerhouses. By “upgrades,” we mean tearing down the original showerhouses at Stahlman and Craig and building new ones. By 2001, all of the showerhouses had been rebuilt with new building that individual stalls (think closet) for toilets and showers. The only original showerhouses still on the Reservation are the buildings found in Parnell. Any remaining pit toilets in Craig were closed.

By the time camp started in 2002, Craig also had a staff building to match the one built at Stahlman. At Craig, the building did not take over an existing camper site, but instead a wholly new site was created on the backside of the parking lot, in the woods between the parking lot and the Athletic Field. The adjoining staff site also had electricity. The Craig Staff was now altogether in one place.

But perhaps the most important “upgrade” came to Craig’s Waste Water treatment. Anyone familiar with Craig prior to 2002 likely remembers open sewage in the dirt road leading out to the Athletic Field. Built directly across Craig Road from the Craig Cabin, a new Waste Water Treatment center was built a Craig forever eliminating this issue. For the first time, Craig had the same toilet and waste water facilities as the rest of the reservation!

Shown here is Craig’s Waste Water plant and the Staff Hut.

Craig Waste Water Treatment
Camp Craig’s Waste Water Treatment Facility
Craig Staff Shelter
Camp Craig’s Staff Shelter

From the Archives, December 6, 2020

The Millenium Campaign: A Scout is Clean

As we finished up the 1994 Capital Campaign, we realized that we have NEVER ONCE mentioned the Millennium Campaign. As the year comes to a close and Boxwell’s Centennial approaches, it is time to rectify that oversight.

The Millennium campaign launched quietly in July 1999 and then publicly in December 1999. It had a goal of $2.7 million which focused of improvements at Boxwell. It concluded in December 2000 just shy of its goal, collecting approximately $2,533,000 in pledges.

One of the major goals of the campaign was to improve the sanitation at Boxwell. At Stahlman, the showerhouses were 40 years old. Craig’s were newer, but of the same style complete with gang showers and toilets. In 2000, while the campaign was still going on, the first of the new Showerhouses were built, replacing the Main Showerhouse at Craig and Showerhouse 1 at Stahlman. There were individual stalls for toilet facilities and individual stalls for showers, but not complete mini-bathrooms in one spot. Eventually all six showerhouses at Stahlman and Craig would be replaced.

The other major construction project in 2000 was the construction of the Stahlman Staff Building. Tent platforms were moved close by and Stahlman’s Site 16 became the new Stahlman Staff Site. For the first time since the summer of 1975, the entire staff was back in one site… and with electricity.

Stahlman Staff Hut
Stahlman’s Staff Center, February 2001.
Craig's 2nd Main Showerhouse
Camp Craig’s Second Main Showerhouse, July 2001