From the Archives, August 27, 2023

Preserving History

Preserving and collecting historical artifacts is an interesting gig. Sometimes you collect hings you know are old, but you don’t really know how–or if–the pieces fit together.

Seen here is a collection of growing artifacts at the STEM Center at Parnell. Over the last several years, items that are believed to be Parnell related are collected in an attempt to preserve the history of the camp, which closed in 1998.

Some of these artifacts go together, some don’t. The Parnell Trading Post sign and the square tables are probably kindred spirits, though the table are likely older (1960) than the sign (1973). The glass bottles could be from any period, but likely date to the soda machines at the Trading Post in 1970s. The Freedom Shrine sign though comes from Camp Craig and not Parnell. But if you don’t know, you don’t know!

Parnell Memorabilia Table
Camp Parnell Memorabilia Table, 2021

Boxwell Staff Alumni Association

Boxwell Staff Alumni Association Kick-Off is September 30. Mark your calendars! Details coming soon.
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From the Archives, August 20, 2023

The Single “Shift”

It’s hard to see from the modern perspective, but the split shift feeding style used as Boxwell is not the way meals have always been done. In fact, the split shift can be dated specifically to arrival of Reservation Director Ron Turpin in 1997. Anticipating larger attendance, meals were moved to shifts to better accommodate the numbers.

Before 1997, whether using cafeteria style or family style, meals were done in one “shift.” The entire camp ate together for each meal, enjoying program and songs and… announcements with an energy only a large group can bring. It also allowed more time, making post-meal activities that involved staff vs. leaders (baseball, volleyball) easier to accomplish.

Seen here is Stahlman Dining hall in July 1960. It’s a single shift, using family style feeding. With the food already on the table, this meal would be over in about 30 minutes!

Stahlman Dining Hall, July 1960
Mealtime in Stahlman Dining Hall, July 1960

From the Archives, August 13, 2023

Rock Island Life

Rock Island Boxwell was, in many ways, very similar to Old Hickory Boxwell. The general program approach was the same, with specific program areas taught by program area staffs. Family style feeding started here as did troop campsites.

The photos here from The Tennessean in August 1950. Not only do they give a great snapshot of Rock Island Boxwell’s activities, but they also feature some important Council figures when they were young.

Rock Island Life, 1950
Captions, Left to right. Top Row, Panel 1: John Bouchard Jr. of Nashville, right, camp counselor, gives instructions in the proper use of a scout ax. Scouts are a beneficiary of the Community Chest. Panel 2: ROTC Sgt. Andrews, standing, instructor at West high school, was lent to Camp Boxwell by the army to supervise marksmanship practice with .22 calibre rifles. Panel 3: A session on artificial respiration is instructed by George Rutledge of Nashville, with Fritz Cane of Columbia acting as subject Bottom Row, Panel 1: “A scout is reverent.” Before eating, scouts bow their heads as the table host asks blessing in keeping with one of the laws of scouting. Panel 2: At a troop leaders’ council, activities of the day are outlines. Left to right standing are Reeves Little, camp director, Bill McWhorter and Barry Goad of Nashville, John Parish of Tullahoma, Craig Ayers of Columbia, district scout executive, Tommy Cox and Clinton Pearsons of Nashville. Seated at table are Jim Shackelford, Gary Cohen and Charles Bonney, all of Nashville. Panel 3: Scouts, in blue jeans and T shirts, head for a ditch on the campsite, carrying a bridge they have constructed.

From the Archives, August 6, 2023

The Amphitheatre

The flag poles at the top of the hill and the Weaver Amphitheatre are old hat today. With a sound booth and electric lights, the Amphitheatre is used every year, if not at summer camp, then at one of the fall or spring events. The flag poles fly three flags all summer long.

But it wasn’t always this way. Both are additions made during the Willhite era. The Amphitheatre was a 1985 OA project in honor of Bill Weaver. In addition to a long history in Scouting, Weaver was also the chairman on the 1972 Capital Development Campaign. The flagpoles joined the reservation landscape in February 1981, a gift of the Nashville Freemasons.

Here are both seen in the summer of 1989. There was no sound booth yet and the trees had not yet grown. Down the hill and even out to Explorer Island were still clearly visible. The view was still quite spectacular!

Weaver Amphitheatre, 1989
Weaver Amphitheatre, 1989