From the Archives, November 18, 2018

First Day on Camp Staff

Some camp staff experiences are surprisingly universal. Regardless of which camp you worked at or which year you worked, that first day of the first summer seems to be a remarkably similar experience for most.  Read the brief story below from John Cyril Stewart; does this sound familiar?

1st Day on Camp Staff – June 1965

I first attended Boxwell Reservation Boy Scout Camp when I was 11.  That week, and the next year were exciting times.  I got to be with my best friend Brad and, although I didn’t realize it then, I was in awe of the older boys who rapidly became my mentors.

During a scout troop meeting our District Executive, Earl Tatum, told me that I should apply for camp staff.  I told him that I had looked into that and the minimum age was 14 and that I would only be 13.  He said I should apply anyway.  At several times in my life people have given me words of encouragement that radically changed my life.  This was one of those times.  Our conversation was probably only two or three minutes but it has had a lifelong impact on me.

The Scout Office was on 23rd Avenue North, in an old house that later became a downtown home for Loretta Lynn.  I still remember timidly and fearfully walking up the broken front step and sitting for my interview.  I don’t remember many of the questions but I do remember them asking why I wanted to serve on staff.  Among the other reasons I gave, I told them that I wasn’t sure that I could pass the swimming and lifesaving merit badges required for Eagle without extended time at Boxwell.

They hired me and I was to report to Camp Stahlman, where I had never been before.  “Staff Row” was a double line of tents along a rocky road below the dining hall.  I’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon when my mother and father dropped me off, setting my footlocker on the rocky road, and drove away.  I remember the most extreme, immediate level of homesickness, standing there, watching them drive away, tears streaming down my face.  I didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know what to do.

By dinner I had found a tent, new friends and a home at Boxwell.  Over the next seven summers I would have adventures and experiences that would stay with me for the rest of my life.

My Mother and Daddy never talked about that time but I have to think they were probably as moved by my leaving for the summer as I was.  Life was never the same.

Story submitted to Boxwell Staff Anecdotes Project, March 2018

From the Archives, October 28, 2018

Akers Lake Fish

We thought we’d go for something light-hearted this week. Back in 2001, Kerry Parker was trying securing an interview with the first ranger Coleman Wright. He was never able to get Wright to commit to a recording, but some phone conversations led to a couple of interesting stories, which Parker did record for posterity. This week, an interesting story about Akers Lake… and fish. Story by Kerry Parker, September 2, 2001. Edited for clarity.

Round about the time camp opened, when the Wrights first came to camp or some time at least in the early 60s, [Old Hickory Lake] had backed into Akers Lake. And somebody came up with the idea that they were going to stock Akers Lake with a particular kind of fish. I think bass and catfish is what the plan was. And, so they went down and took a chemical which removes oxygen from the water. Now he told me what that chemical was, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name [of] it.

And they went down, and if I understood it right, there was drums of this chemical. Of course Akers Lake is a big lake. And so they dumped this chemical into the water. Tom Parker was involved with this scheme to cleanse the lake of all the fish that were in it presently. And so they dump this chemical into the water, thinking that they would go down and pick these fish up. When they suffocated they’ll float to the top of the water of course.

Well, this got to be quite a debacle. They dumped the chemical into the lake. Fish started to die and come to the top. More and more and more of the fish died and came to the top. The last one to come up if I understood it right was a catfish…

And then he said it got so bad you could smell it all the way out to Highway 109. But of course as time went on, they deteriorated and the smell went away. I’m not sure exactly how long it took to do that. And, but he said there was dump truck loads of fish. I’m not sure how many of them they got out and tried to dispose of, but there was way more than they could handle.

And then they restocked the lake. And they restocked that lake with bass and catfish. And, so that’s an interesting little story.

Akers Lake

Akers Lake from Percy Dempsey Camporee Area, December 2015

From the Archives, July 15, 2018

Cubworld Take-down

As hard as it may be to believe, Summer Camp 2018 is now over. Last week, Camp Craig closed down. Thursday, CubWorld followed suit. And then yesterday, Camp Stahlman and the rest of the reservation wrapped up their programs. Camp will be relatively quiet for week and then the National Guard will come out for week.

This week’s photo thus shows a small piece of the takedown experience. Here we see members of the CubWorld staff working on packing up the folding cots that camp uses to be stored for the off season. Nothing particularly remarkable here; just young people working hard to get the job done!

After take-down is complete, the staff gathers one last time to say goodbye. And then, just like that, camp is over and this particular staff will never be together again.

CubWorld takedown

CubWorld staff folding up cots and packing them away for the off-season.

 

From the Archives June 17, 2018

Some Camp Stories I

A few months ago, I solicited former staff members for some information about their time on staff. Now that camp is up and running, it seems like a good time to publish a few of those!

From Rick Ehler, Stahlman, 1974, 1975, 1985; Boat Harbor, 1995-1998, 2009-2016
“When the boat harbor reopened in 1995 we lived in tents down at the harbor. We would adopt stray cats to stay with us to help with the raccoon problem. Every night one of the cats that have become extremely fond of me would jump on my bed and sleep next to me. One evening I felt the cat, jump on the bed around one or two o’clock in the morning. After shifting in my sleeping bag I realized that what had jumped on my bed was not a cat but a raccoon. I quickly grabbed my flashlight and a tennis shoe and scared the raccoon off.”

From Walter Person, Stahlman Waterfront, 1996 to Present
“June 1999 Jeremy McCraw was the water front Dir at Stahlman. Swim checks were taking place on a Friday morning for the staff. “Remo” came down in jeans and shirt. Jeremy said, “you can’t take the swim test in jeans.” Remo said OK and ripped his jeans and shirt off. Mccraw said not in your White tides. As Remo walked toward the water, Remo said, “OK as he ripped his undies off and proceeded to the water with his Birthday suit on as Jeremy SCREAMED NO YOU CANT TAKE A SWIM TEST TODAY AT ALL!!! BOY WERE WE LAUGHING!”

Notice

Hello All,

We’re taking a small hiatus.  We’ll be back the first Sunday in June with regular postings.  Enjoy the nice weather and see you in two weeks with some more Boxwell history!

The VirtualBoxwell Team