Website Update, July 12, 2024

2024 Staff Photos

We are pleased to publish the 2024 Staff photos.  Please visit http://www.virtualboxwell.org/staff.php and chose whichever camp you’d like review.

Or just check out the photos here.

Thank you 2024 staff for all you did for Scouting in the Middle Tennessee Council!

Craig Staff, 2024

Camp Craig Staff, 2024. Collection of Gavin Nixon.

Stahlman Staff, 2024

Camp Stahlman Staff, 2024. Collection of Ed Mason.

CubWorld Staff, 2024

CubWorld Staff, 2024. Collection of Jason Flannery

Reservation Staff, 2024

Reservation Staff, 2024. Collection of Jason Flannery.

From the Archives, June 16, 2024

Fathers’ Day

Believe it or not, Father’s Day did not become a permanent, nationally recognized holiday until 1972. Nevertheless, there have also been quite a few fathers who have worked on camp staff. We thought for this year’s Father’s Day we would make our first attempt at trying to recognize all the fathers and their children who have worked the Boxwell staff. If we’ve forgotten anyone (and we’re SURE we have), let us know.

The commemorate this list we have included a photo of Larry Jackson at a Friday Night Campfire at Parnell in 1970. Larry was the son of legendary Program Director Jimmy Joe Jackson.

Ward E. Akers; Ward C. Akers and James E. Akers
Michael Allen; Addison Allen
William J. Anderson; William J. Anderson, Jr.
Frank Arias; Greg Arias
Jim Barr; D. C. Barr
Richard Britnell; Stephen Britnell
Larry Carpenter; Craig Carpenter
Willie Claud; Brian Claud and Lori Claud Locke
Pat Deugaw; Dale Deugaw
Luke Gaffin; Chad Gaffin and Don Gaffin
Kent Galyon; Michael Galyon
Bob Garner; Chris Garner
Larry Green; Michael Green and Chris Green
Jack Holt; Joe Holt
Jimmy Joe Jackson; Larry Jackson
John Kasper; Megan Kasper
“Red” Kirby; Darrell Kirby
Jerry Keathley; Winn Keathley
David MaGuirk; James MaGuirk and Connor MaGuirk
Dutch Mann; Doug Mann and David Mann
Tom Parker; Richard Howard and Kathy Howard
Jim Patten; Aaron Patten and Sean Patten
Norman Patterson; Jeff Patterson
Doug Pelren; Eric Pelren and David Pelren
Chuck Pierce; Emma Pierce and Steven Pierce
Philip “Timmy Tenderfoot” Pratt; Emmaline Pratt
Mark Rodgers; Ted Rodgers
Bobby Smith; David Smith
Charlie Ray Smith; Scott Smith
Ralph Walker; Jason Walker
Rob Ward; Marcus Ward
Tom Willhite; Tommy Willhite, Mark Willhite, and Christy Willhite
Bob Younts; Cory Younts

Photo by Chris “Kit” Eckert, 1970

Larry Jackson, 1970

Larry Jackson, son of program director Jimmy Joe Jackson, at a Parnell Friday Night Campfire, 1970.

Remembering the Staff

The Other Boxwells, 1924-1954

As we do every year, when summer camp begins, we take a moment out each week to remember former camp staffs–the ones who make the program possible. Without the summer camp staff, there would be no summer camp program.

In 1924, Camp Boxwell opened for its fourth summer, still at the small 4 acre farm in Linton, TN. William Anderson, the Council Executive, served as Camp Director. To the best of our research, it was approximately this year that Anderson instituted his “Training School” approach to summer camp, utilizing a scout-led council, where the scouts made the rules to govern camp.  Camp opened on June 16th. Raymond Hurt was the Swimming and Activities Director and of course Walter Whittaker was the head cook. All other staff were adult volunteers. There were no staff photos.

In 1934, Camp Boxwell was in its 5th year at the Narrows of the Harpeth location. Camp was back up to about six weeks this summer, running from June 18 to July 27. Anderson was again out at camp and Talmadge Miller served as the waterfront director. Walter Whittaker was, of course, the head cook and other volunteer adults ran the rest of “Scout School.” Rev. A. C. Adamz was among these adults. Future Camp Director James Gribble was among the eight Eagle Scouts who helped run the camp.

10 years later, in 1944, the United States was in its third full year of World War II. Anderson was out at camp, as always. James Gribble were involved in the war effort and Miller, now Assistant Council Executive, was not at camp.  Walter Whittaker was now completing his 23rd summer as camp cook. Camp ran from Monday, June 19 to Monday, August 28.

By 1954, Ward E. Akers was Council Executive and Boxwell had moved to Rock Island. The Council had already purchased property near what would be Old Hickory Lake. By July of 1954, the Corps of Engineers produced a map of where Old Hickory Lake would rise to, allowing planning for a new camp to begin in earnest.  At Rock Island,  Professional Scouters Gene Tolley and Richard Parker were Camp Directors and the camp was run primarily by youth staff. Among the familiar names working the 1954 staff were John Parish, Barry Goad, and Bob Alley.

The only staff photo we have is of the 1954 Rock Island Staff, collection of Bob Alley.

Rock Island Staff, 1954

The Rock Island Boxwell Staff, 1954. Collection of Bob Alley

From the Archives, May 12, 2024

From the Archives, May 12, 2024

Johnny Roe Remembrance by Pat Bray

The following is a remembrance by Pat Bray (Parnell 1963-1968) of his friend, fellow Parnell staff member Johnny Roe, who recently passed. The photo here by Jerome Terrell is of the group mentioned below. the photo was taken at Latimer Reservation in 2018. The story on Johnny Roe was given by Pat Bray at the 2024 Eagle Recognition night.

Johnny as Fire Builder and Fire God Medicine Man

The 1960s were the Golden Age of Boy Scouting in Middle Tennessee. A significant number of teenage boys participated in scouting back then. In 1960 Boxwell Reservation moved to the banks of Old Hickory Lake. This “new” Boxwell was a vast improvement over the old camp in every respect: size, facilities, programming, and staff.

Staff selection was especially rigorous. There was no place for a well-connected teenager hoping to lounge about all summer with his buddies and get paid. The new camp director, Mr. Johnson, aka “Foxy” behind his back, was a stern leader who didn’t tolerate laziness or poor performance.  His often-repeated message to the staff was, This is no vacation for you!” Of course, we mocked that (again behind his back), but we knew for sure that he was dead serious.

Because the staff was hired based on demonstrable scouting skills, Johnny rose to the top. The core competencies necessary for hiking and camping were taught in the Activity Yard where Johnny soon became the director. In the mid-1960s the Activity Yard staff consisted of Johnny, John Bryant, Jerome Terrell, Wes Frye, Bobby Fike, Mike Ingram, and yours truly. These guys plus other Boxwell staff including Greg Tucker, Phil Roe, and Mike Rice would remain Johnny’s friends for 60 years! Johnny would become the prime mover for our annual reunions in recent years.

As expected, Johnny was given responsibilities beyond his day job at camp. The content of the Sunday night and Friday night campfires was expanded to become more fun and purposeful. Johnny was given a starring role in the Sunday night production.

But first there was the essential task of building the campfires. The fires had to be large enough, bright enough, and last long enough to accommodate the lengthy programs at two different locations. Johnny oversaw the building of both the Sunday night and Friday night campfires.

His trusty crew over time included me, John B., Jerome, and Wes. Wood had to cut and lugged to the two different locations. Power tools were not allowed. Each campfire was built on a limestone pedestal about three feet high. The firewood was then stacked another three feet in the shape of a pyramid.

Here was the engineering challenge: under no circumstances was the fire ever to roll off the stone pedestal. Rumor was that should that ever happen, then the fire builders—Johnny et al—would be fired. But Johnny’s fires never rolled; his record was perfect!

Perhaps others could have done this, but Johnny’s contributions were not limited to behind the scenes. He took center stage as the opening act on Sunday nights. At twilight the scouts would silently take their seats on railroad ties in the campfire area. At this point the campfire was not lit. Without introduction Johnny would emerge from the woods in complete Native American regalia including a full-length feathered headdress. The entire costume was the 1960s Hollywood ideal of what an Indian chief should resemble. Looking back, I suppose it was a rather clumsy form of culture appropriation. His elaborate attire was that of a Plains Indian and was not remotely authentic to what the Native Americans of Middle Tennessee wore!

But the boys bought into it and so did we (what did we know?). The willing suspension of disbelief was in full swing as these theatrics were quite convincing. At first Johnny would face in three directions away from the audience and shout some mumbo jumbo to the Rain God who gives us rain and the Earth God who…and so on. Finally, he would face the crowd and in his loudest and deepest voice exclaim, “Hail to the Fire God who gives us fire!”

And then suddenly from high above his right shoulder a ball of fire the size of a softball would come streaking down at a 45-degree angle and strike the firewood which would immediately burst into flames! This dramatic effect never failed to get a bunch of oohs and aahs from the boys and their Scoutmasters!

Despite having seen this spectacle countless times we on the staff were always impressed even though we all knew the trick. I am tempted to not reveal it and let you, gentle reader, go ahead and just believe in Johnny’s magic. But here goes: High up in a tree was a staff member disguised in dark clothes holding a kerosine-soaked roll of toilet paper. When Johhny gave the exhortation, the roll was lit and sent down a wire to the kerosine-soaked firewood which instantaneously became a huge fireball. QED!

Back then Johnny was full-scale Baptist, so we had to tease him about being such a natural for this pagan ritual. Of course, he was very good-natured about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if right about now the Good Lord might be enjoying one of Johnny’s command performances. I know for this reason and many others I will always smile whenever I remember Johnny, my dear friend.

PB

1965 Parnell Group

Top row L to R: John Roe, Mike Rice, Congressman Phil Roe, Bob Fyke, Judge John Bryant, Dr. Pat Bray
Bottom row L to R: Wes Frye, Greg Tucker, Skip Dow, Jerome Terrell

Round Tuit for May

If you are regular Round Tuit participant, be aware that May 2024’s Round Tuit has moved! Instead of the regular 3rd weekend, Round Tuit will meet on the 2nd weekend. That means Round Tuit will meet this Saturday, May 11.

As always, meet at Crab to get started. The day will run from 9am to 3pm. If it is your first visit, you get a red hat like the one seen here.

Round Tuit Hat