From the Archives, April 28, 2024

Brownsea II

This summer, the reservation is rolling out a program titled “Brownsea.” This is the newest incarnation of the First Year Camper Program, which dates back to 1993. This new version will be for both camps and the instruction in Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class skills (along with Scouting Heritage merit badge!) will be held at Camp Beany Elam, the old home of Wood Badge.

But Brownsea has historically meant something completely different. Throughout its history in Scouting, “Brownsea” has been a youth leadership training program. Now known as National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), Brownsea has often been held at Boxwell after the traditional summer camp season ended.

Seen here is one of the earlier versions of Brownsea, specifically Brownsea II (pronounced “Brownsea Double 2”). Several camp staff greats were involved with this incarnation at the same time, including Russ Parham, Jack Holt, and Perry Bruce. Seen here are Steve Eubank (left) and Jerry Barnett (right) as Scouts cross a monkey bridge of their own making.

For other Brownsea related posts, follow these links:

Collection of Perry Bruce

Brownsea II
Steve Eubank (left) and Jerry Barnett (right) at Brownsea Monkey Bridge, ca. 1982

From the Archives, April 21, 2024

The First COPE Tower

COPE today is full fledged program. It was made possible by the financial contributions of Billy Walker and the efforts of quite a few people, including Lance Ussery, Al Hendrickson, John Hickman, and Bill Freeman.

But before the Al Hendrickson Tower was built (the big one that stands today), rappelling was done on a much smaller tower. Lance Ussery describes this original tower as “Maybe 40 feet to the top. It may have been a 35 foot wall.” Open on three sides with only one climbing wall, the original tower operated throughout the 1980s.

Seen here is the original rappelling tower, located in the grassy area down from the compound before the Beany Elam Parking area. The tower is gone now, but if you look, you can find the stumps of the telephones that made up the corners. This image is from the 1984 Leaders’ Guide, the year after COPE became a full fledged program and not just a rappelling activity.

Collection of Russ Parham

Original rappelling tower, 1984
Boxwell’s first rappelling tower from the 1984 Leaders’ Guide

The Passing of Dominick Azzara

The VirtualBoxwell team is sad to announce the passing of Dominick Azzara. Dominick was an integral part of the early days of CubWorld. He joined the staff at CubWorld around 2000, becoming Camp Commissioner in 2001. He stayed in this position for a few years before becoming CubWorld Program Director in 2004, a role he served in through 2008. Dominick was brought to Boxwell by way of his sons’ involvement, but also the encouragement of Dutch Mann. He camped at CubWorld its very first summers of existence and helped developed the Cub Program, which at that time involved curriculum incorporating the play areas as part of the instruction. Dominick’s work at Boxwell brought his sons, Luke and Jonathan, to the CubWorld Staff as well. He was a founding member of the Boxwell Staff Alumni Association.

Of course, Dominick’s connection to Scouting was backward from many, arriving on staff much later in life. Born in 1947 in NY, the Eagle Scout was drafted in 1965 and served in the US Army for 5 years. Upon leaving the military, he settled in Clarksville and attended Austin Peay, eventually marrying in 1977. The couple went on to have three children, all sons. Dominick eventually worked for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Clarksville and continued his efforts there for over 20 years. Dominick passed at the age 76, leaving behind his wife Regina and his three sons, Nicholas, Jonathan, and Luke.

Dominick’s official obituary and funeral information may be found here: Services will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Thursday morning at 11am.

Dominick Azzara, November 9, 2019, after his interview on his time at Boxwell

From the Archives, April 14, 2024

Rock Island Flagpole

There’s a lot that has to be set up for summer camp every year. The flagpole though is generally one of those things you can count on to be the same every year. But not always…

At the Rock Island Boxwell, the flagpole in the main assembly area was just like everything else–it could be different from year to year. Some years the the pole may be physically put in the ground and other years, well, something differnet might be done.

Seen here is a truly unique flagpole. If you look carefully, you can see that the flagpole is actually suspended above the ground. Four posts create the bottom web and then guidelines keep the pole upright. The other vertical lines in the photos are creases in the actual photograph caused by curling. The photo was scanned at the 2014 Staff Reunion–approximately 60 years after it was taken!

Collection of Bob Alley

Rock Island Flagpole, 1950s
A suspended flag pole in the Rock Island Boxwell’s assembly area, 1950s

From the Archives, April 7, 2024

All Tied Up

Sometimes you just gotta tie someone up in rope. It’s just one of those things.

While hazing is frowned up today, it probably won’t come as a surprise to most that there was a variety of pranks pulled on individuals on the camp staff. Sometimes these were things that everyone could laugh at; sometimes they really weren’t. Pranks could often be dismissed as bonding or letting off steam. Whether the prank was “okay” or not really came down to the receiving party: how did they take it?

In this example, Robert Barnard is tied up in some manilla rope in the Activity Yard Staff site at Parnell in 1993. Judging by the look on his face–and the fact he was a fourth year staff member at this point–Barnard is taking one for the team. Sometimes just laughing it off is the best way to pull folks together.

Collection of Grady Eades

Robert Barnard all tied up
Activity Yard staff member Robert Barnard, all tied up. Camp Parnell AY Staff site, 1993