From the Archives, May 30, 2021

Staff Pranks: The Repost Round-up

The general rule of thumb amongst the staff is “Staff Stuff Stays Staff Stuff.” As caveat to that is, “The names have been changed to protect the guilty.” In other words, there are a lot of shenanigans that the staff have gotten into over the years. Most of the stories will never be told here as we try to honor the Staff Rule, but there are a few that have gotten out over the years. As summer camp is about to begin, it seemed like a good time to do a repost round-up on those stories.

The Crippled Crab Rolled in Toilet Paper ||
The Beaver Story, 1987 ||
The Bread Cure ||
M-80 Devilment ||
The 1987 Craig Electrical Corps ||
Truck in Parnell Dining Hall ||
A Gift of Firewood, 1985 ||
Inflatable on the Roof ||
Ode to the Milk Crate ||
See Rock City ||
Car in Parnell Dining Hall ||

The Staff Reunion is almost here. Get together with your friends to relive these stories and more!

2021 Staff Reunion T-shirt
Design for the Reunion T-shirt

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out there from all of us here at VirtualBoxwell!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

And, in what is now an official holiday tradition here, we give you this photo of DE Buff Groth (Camp Director at Parnell in 1980) sitting on the lap of Tom Willhite (Santa; Reservation Director, 1976-1994).

See you all again in 2021, the Centennial of Camp Boxwell. We have a few things planned…

Tom Willhite as Santa Claus as a Council Christmas party; 1980 Parnell Camp Director Buff Groth on his lap

From the Archives, October 18, 2020

Washing the Dishes

If the scene you see here look a little foreign to you, it is probably because this is not scene you would ever see at a modern Scout camp. At the first Boxwell at Linton, however, this was a common sight. In fact, it happened three times a day!

When Scouts came to camp in the 1920s, they had to bring a mess kit with them. And while there was a cook who prepared all the meals, the Scouts chose from among their own to serve (like a monitor) and then everyone was responsible for cleanign their own kit.

The caption on this photo read, “Washing dishes after the noon meal. After the boys wash their plates in the river they are required to scaled the plates in boiling water. Sanitation is stressed.” This was summer camp in the 1920s!

“Boy Scouts having a great time at Camp Boxwell,” Nashville Banner, July 2, 1929, pg. 13.

Washing Dishes at Linton
Scouts Washing plates in the river at Linton, 1929

From the Archives, August 30, 2020

Box Tops

This week we look at a little program game. Every week, single serve cereals were a common component of breakfast. And on top of those little plastic containers? Removable branded squares of aluminum back joy: box tops.

Box tops were an internal staff game that spilled into dining hall program. A staff member would stand up, present an incredible story of need or want, and explain that the only way that X staff member could achieve this goal was by collecting box tops.

For instance, Jason Shumaker would stand up and tell a tale of woe and opportunity. Jason Bradford needed to go to college. General Mills promised him a scholarship if he could collect 1000 box tops by the end of the summer. Before you know it, Jason Bradford is swarmed by young Scouts every morning with boxtops in hand. Usually, Jason Bradford did not know this was coming until he was too late. After a morning or two, he may retaliate with a box top challenge of his own.

As the summer wore on, the stipulations to the challenges may get more extravagant. Only Golden Grahams box tops could be accepted. Only box tops that were not ripped were accepted. The box tops were for helping someone buy a boat or maybe someone needed some new Scouts socks. Once, they were used to sponsor a cow. Don’t ask, we don’t understand either.

Quite prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, the box top may have existed earlier than the 1980s, but we haven’t found mention of it. It also may have continued beyond the 1990s, but again, we haven’t seen a mention of it. It seems to be a program experience unique to the Willhite years.

Seen here is a Golden Grahams self-serve container found on Sadly, we have no photos of this exquisite phenomenon.


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 100 summers to keep Boxwell alive and flourishing!

Happy Boxwell Day everyone!

Boxwell Day, 2020