Congratulations John Zumbro

We wanted to give a shout out to Assistant Ranger John Zumbro today. John will be leaving Boxwell as he has landed the Head Ranger position at the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch in the Long Peaks Council in Colorado.

Pictured here is Ranger Rob Ward (left) and John (right, in truck) in 2018. John was not only a former Stahlman staff member, but as we have showcased before, he was married on Boxwell Reservation property!

Congratulations and good luck to John and his wife Paula from the VirtualBoxwell team!

John Zumbro

Rob Ward (left) and John Zumbro (right) at Stahlman Dining Hall, 2018

From the Archives, July 7, 2019

2014 Reunion: James Akers does the Ham-bone

This weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the last staff reunion, the one in 2014. The 2014 Staff Reunion was the fifth Reunion for Boxwell staff and the best attended. Though to be fair, the attendance likely had something to do with the set up of the Reunion.

Unlike the previous four Staff Reunions (1983, 1989, 1999, 2009), the 2014 Reunion was basically free. The Reunion Staff sought out donors to sponsor the event and were able to bring in enough donations to cover the primary costs of the event. The primary costs were mostly wrapped up in a dinner and a t-shirt. So, if you pre-registered for the event, dinner and a Reunion t-shirt were paid for by sponsors. If you just showed up… well, you had to pay a little.

The 2014 Reunion was slightly different in other ways too, though these differences were likely not all that important to most attendees. The Reunion had an “archiving” component: Danny Waltman manned a audio booth to record camp stories and Michael Seay had a scanning booth to scan old camp photos that people brought with them. The audio booth had a few takers, but the scanning booth quickly had more material to deal with than a one-person operation could handle!

In most important ways though, the 2014 Reunion was very similar to most of the other reunions. It occurred during camp so that old staff members could visit program areas and stomping grounds as well as take their families to camp activity areas, like the waterfront. There was a dining hall program and group photos. The Reunion also concluded with a meal, awards, and a campfire. In short, it was a lot like the camp experience, except condensed into a much smaller window!

This week’s photo is a highlight from the event. At the end of the dinner program, James Akers, son of the late Ward Akers, climbed up on a table and “ham-boned,” a skill he had learned from Ike Davis, the African-American cook at Rock Island Boxwell. You can’t make up those kind of moments.

[If you’re a former staff member, start tracking down your old staff friends. Work for 2021 Centennial Reunion is about to begin!]

James Akers

James Akers, son of Ward Akers, performs the ham-bone at Craig dining hall for the 2014 Reunion.

Boxwell Day, 2019

Happy Boxwell Day!

On July 5, 1921 the VERY FIRST Boxwell opened in Linton, TN.

A truck picked up Scouts going to camp at the intersection of the Belle Meade and Harding Road at 10am and 4:30pm.  Camp only ran for about three weeks at the time and cost less than $6 a week!

We are hoping to start a new tradition, not just here at VirtualBoxwell, but across Middle Tennessee Council by celebrating BOXWELL DAY–a day commemorating the opening of the first Boxwell.

To that end, we ask for two things from you:
1) Share this message far and wide.  If you use social media, share the post.  If you are looking on the website, share the link.  Spread the word so that everyone knows this is a new Middle Tennessee Council holiday!
2) Take this opportunity to share your favorite Boxwell stories in the comments AND, if you are staff member, contact an old friend and reminisce about years gone by!

Thank you to all the professionals, volunteers and staff members who have worked for almost 100 years to keep Boxwell alive and flourishing!

Happy Boxwell Day everyone!

Boxwell Day

Happy Boxwell Day! Leslie G. Boxwell surrounded by the four camps bearing his name. Boxwell was located at Linton, TN, the Narrows of the Harpeth, Rock Island, and Old Hickory Lake.

Interview Transcription Project: Thank You

The campaign has achieved its goal! You made it happen!
To all of you who contributed to my GoFundMe Campaign, thank you. To those who have supported VirtualBoxwell over the last (almost) two decades, thank you. To those who continue to put up with my mild obsession with Boxwell, thank you.
As I prepare to move into the formal writing stage of the history of Boxwell, I want to pause for just a moment. Over the course of working on this Boxwell project, I have met and conversed with the most incredible people. Some were camp legends, some were personal legends. All were legendary.
I’ve heard the most fantastic stories. Stories that have made me laugh; stories that have made me think. I’ve heard stories that have made me sad and stories that have made me cringe. Every conversation was unique and amazing in its own way. Oral histories are people’s lives and I’m thrilled to have captured so many.
Through doing this research, I walked into the lives of people I wouldn’t have met for any other reason, but I would now call you friends. I’ve been surprised and proud to earn the support of individuals who are part of social circles I would never have dreamed of being connected to in any way. And of course I deeply appreciate those friends who have come forward to assist, some camp related from youth, and others from adulthood who have never even set foot on Boxwell soil.
If you can excuse the expression, it has been one hell of a ride so far, and I have loved it.
It has been such an indescrible joy to be part of this story throughout my own life. To know that people are counting on me to write this communal story–a story that has never been told–is mind-boggling and humbling. I am overwhelmed in the best way possible.
So, to everyone who has been a part of this in any way, thank you for making this happen. It has been an incredible journey so far. There are still quite a few miles to go, but I have renewed confidence I can complete the journey in time for the Centennial in 2021!
Grady Eades

Eades, 1994

This is me, Grady Eades, as Activity Yard Director in 1994. Tom Willhite was still Reservation Director and he referred to the Activity Yard as the “AY Yard,” something we all laughed about!