From the Archives, March 31, 2024

The Shotgun Range

As part of the Centennial Capital Campaign, the shotgun range in Camp Light’s High Adventure Area received a major upgrade. A shelter was built. Individual throwers were installed. It’s a nice facility. But it came from humble beginnings.

There was a time when the shotgun range was little more than a portable pigeon thrower located between Stahlman and Parnell. By 1991, the “range” had moved to it’s present location. By “range,” we mean the mobile launcher was moved and a tarp was raised over a picnic table. But the evolution continued…

The 1994 capital campaign brought the bones of the current set up, courtesy of the Maddox Foundation. The lower traphouse was installed as well as the flagpole and the concrete pad for shooting. The photo here shows this new set up in February 2001–before the pool, before the Josh Sain Gateway, and before the High Adventure Center. You can see the range “in action” in 2004 with a fence here:

Collection of Kerry Parker

Maddox Shotgun Range, 2001
The “renovated” shotgun range in Camp Light, 2001. Permanent improvements courtesy of Maddox Foundation, 1994.

From the Archives, March 24, 2024

Schiff Reservation

This week we take a look at a slightly larger picture than Boxwell or even Middle Tennessee Council. From the early 1930s until 1979, Schiff Scout Reservation was the National Training Center for the Boy Scouts of America while the National Headquarters was in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Schiff was located nearby in Mendham, New Jersey.

The first Wood Badge course in the US was held here. Green Bar Bill tested out Scouting ideas here.And as a training ground, any Middle Tennessee professional who received any sort of national-level training went to Schiff.

Seen here is the official Schiff Scout Reservation patches from the 1970s. Collection of Jerry Barnett.

Schiff Scout Reservation patch, 1970s
Schiff Scout Reservation patch, 1970s

From the Archives, March 17, 2024

The First Women

To our knowledge, there have been several “firsts” concerning women and Boxwell’s program. The first woman on staff at Boxwell Reservation was cook Norma Cardiff (1960 and 1961). The longest serving female staff member was cook Pearl Schleicher (1962-1994). The first woman on Parnell staff was Judi Eubank, serving as Kitchen Director in 1974. The first female program director was Elizabeth Nicholson at Camp Murrey (1960). The first female area director was Diane Gregory, Field Sports (1997).

But the very first female on Boxwell Staff appears to date all the way back to Rock Island. Nashville Banner “Scout correspondent” Louis Hine reported in June 1951 that two women had joined the Rock Island staff. Mrs. Jean Murdock and Mrs. Tom Pedigo joined cook Ike Davis and dish-washer Jim (possibly Davis). The two women were considered “Senior Staff” and planned the camp’s meals. Murdock in particular was a dietitian.

And that’s all we know. We don’t know their full names. We don’t know how many summers they served. We don’t know what they looked like as we have no photos of them. All we know for sure is they appeared in this article in the Nashville Banner and appear to be the very first women on Boxwell staff.

Louis Hines, “100 Boy Scouts Enjoy Activities at Scenic Boxwell Reservation,” Nashville Banner, June 28, 1951, pg. 15

From the Archives, March 10, 2024

Greater Camp Parnell

Some things at Boxwell have just disappeared, but they too have stories. Seen here is the sign that used to hang at the entrance to Camp Parnell, just by the Program Directors’ cabin. The sign reads:

You are now entering

Why “Greater” Camp Parnell? Before cell phones, radios, and even cabins, hard line telephones connected the camp office tents to the Crippled Crab, where a switchboard was located. According to former Stahlman Camp Director Ron Oakes (1964 & 1965), one day he was called by a Parnell Staff member. Not knowing who it was (no caller ID then!), Oakes answered with a light-hearted “Greater Camp Stahlman!” The answer upset the Parnell staff member and word spread. Oakes explains that the back and forth between the two staffs reached such a fevered pitch, the two groups gathered in the Athletic Field behind Parnell to have a physical altercation. Program Directors Chester LaFever and Jimmy Joe Jackson were able to bring down the intensity, but from this point forward, Parnell began referring to itself as “Greater Camp Parnell” and the sign was born from here.

This photo from 2002 was the last known sighting of the Greater Camp Parnell sign. It has since disappeared into history.

Collection of Kerry Parker

Greater Camp Parnell Hanging sign
The now lost “Greater Camp Parnell” Hanging sign. The test reads, “You are now entering Greater Camp Parnell Welcome”

From the Archives, March 3, 2024

Cow Testicles

It is well-known by this point that Boxwell Reservation had a working farm. The farm ran from 1960 to approximately 1976 and engaged in cattle, hogs, tobacco, and various row crops. But, what is not always well understood is that generally most of the staff did not work on the farm. Maintaining the farm was primarily the job of the rangers.

Still, connection with the farm came in mysterious ways. As Stahlman staff member George Burrus explained such a situation earlier this year, “You were not allowed to go anywhere near the farm. The only interaction that I had with the farm was I had a trot line to catch fish out off of the Stahlman, down stream from the waterfront, and I needed something to bait my trout line with. Farmer Bush gave me a gallon tin can of cow testicles. I caught more catfish on cow testicles than anything else. and they stayed on the hook, too.”

There you have it: fishing with cow testicles from Boxwell’s farm. You can’t make this stuff up.

We have no photo of this momentous day, so instead, here’s a photo of Stahlman Friday Night Campfire area in 1971. To the right of the campfire area would be right about the area where Burrus was doing his fishing.

Collection of Michael Seay

Stahlman Friday Night Campfire Area, July 1971
Stahlman Friday Night Campfire Area, July 1971. Collection of Michael Seay.