From the Archives, March 29, 2020

Elizabeth Jackson

Two nights ago, we reported on the passing of Elizabeth Jackson. Thus, we thought this might be a good time to give a little information on here. In a period when “feminism” was either unheard of or a bit of dirty word in Scouting circles, Jackson was a program director at Boxwell.

Kathy Howard, the Murrey waterfront director, described Jackson a short and stocky, very physically fit, with short blonde hair. Well into her 30s and early 40s at the tiem, she was still a swimmer too. Vivian Connelly recalled getting to know Elizabeth well the summer she stayed at Murrey when her husband Ken was camp director at Parnell. According to Connelly, Jackson was liked by everyone, was very outgoing and very fair. She was the type of manager who ran things so smoothly, no one even realized anyone was in charge. Things just got taken care of. Jackson made it happen.

As for Elizabeth herself, we caught a bit of her on tape when interviewing Jimmy Joe Jackson in 2002. “I remember lots of things about Boy Scout camp,” she recalled. “I loved Boy Scout camp. I loved Boy Scout camp because there were not telephones down on Murrey side. There were no telephones. We had campfires at night time down there, out in the middle and all of us would come down out of tents, our four man tents and the two man tents on the side of them and talk. And we’d talk and we’d have more fun down there.”

In terms of photos, we only have one contemporary image of Jackson from her last summer at Boxwell, 1970. We posted the story three years ago. Here is the link, but the photo is reported here. Elizabeth was the blonde woman in the passenger seat.

Humans, Jeep, 1970

The Human Sisters in the Boxwell Jeep with Audry Manis and Elizabeth Jackson outside the Cripple Crab, summer 1970

Website Updates, January 2020

Happy New Year!

2020 is an important year for Middle Tennessee Boy Scouting.  This is considered the centennial of the Middle Tennessee Council.  The Nashville Council was organized in March 1920 and this was the predecessor to the Middle Tennessee Council. (If you are interested in the Council’s Centennial events, go here: https://www.mtcbsa.org/anniversary). Happy Centennial everyone!

While we do have some centennial events planned here at VirtualBoxwell, we have some more immediate concerns: website updates.

We have a new banner image.  Shown here is Camp Stahlman on January 31, 2010 after a good snow.  The photo is by Steve Belew, head ranger at the time. See below.

2019 Staff photos for Stahlman, Craig, the Reservation, and Boat Harbor have been added.  Unfortunately, we have no staff photo for the CubWorld Staff at this time.

All copyright dates have been updated to reflect 2020.

Have a great year everyone!  We’ll see you soon!

The VirtualBoxwell Team

Stahlman snow

Camp Stahlman Dining Hall in the snow, January 2010

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 2020, the Centennial of the Middle Tennessee Council.  We have a few things planned…

Santa

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

From the Archives, December 8, 2019

Getting Hired, 1965

Camp Staff interviews were held this weekend at Boxwell Reservation, specifically at the John Parish High Adventure Center. In honor of this event, we thought we’d share a story about getting WAY back in the day to show how the process has changed. This following is from a recording Kerry Parker made in November 1998 about getting hired in 1965. Kerry was 18 years old.

I went down and the Scout Office at that time was at 207 24th avenue north. That out off West End there and, right before you get to Centennial Park. It was in a two story brick house. And, it was about, well the first house on the street there. There was a filling station there next to it. And, this parking lot, it’d been made in the back. You walked in the front door and when you walked in, you walked into the Scout Shop basically, which was a little foyer about 8×12 or 10×12 or something like that… But anyway, on past that was a set of steps that went up to the left and I went up, they directed me up those steps and I went up. And they told Mr. Johnson I was there.

When you got up to the top of the stairs there you entered into a room. And to the best of my memory, there was a desk to the right and a desk to the left and on straight forward was Mr. Akers’ office. Way back in the back to the left at the top of the stairs, two or three desks back, kinda on a porch that had been built on to the house was this desk where Mr. Johnson was [the Reservation Director].

Well, somebody directed me back there and set me down in a little chair beside the desk and Mr. Johnson came back. He started talking to me. And he asked me how old I was. I told him. What rank I was. I told him. Talked to him and talked to him. But didn’t talk to me very long. Matter of fact, it was a fairly short interview. And, he said, “Well, can you swim?” And I said, “Yes, I can.” And told him what all merit badges I had and everything like that. And he says, “Well, yeah, we can use you this summer. We can probably use you on the Waterfront this summer. If you are on the Waterfront, you’ll have to go to National Camp School.” Because at that time, everybody that worked on the waterfront went to National Camp School. But also National Camp School was at Boxwell – years and years it was at Boxwell.

So, I [said] yes, I’d like to do it. And he said, basically, well, you’re hired. We’ll let ya know. So, I left. You know, felt real good. He didn’t make a lot out of it, just said you’re hired, you know, we’ll let you know.

So, I left, went home, told mom, dad. “Yeah, I am going to work out there.” I gotta make arrangements with [my boss in town] to take off another week to go to this camp school. So, I went and talked to him and he said, “Yes, you can do that Kerry. That’s not a problem.” So, there I was.

I waited about a month and no word. Got out about two weeks, about a month from camp. Maybe three weeks from camp, hadn’t heard a word. And so, we was sittin’ at the kitchen table one night and I told ‘em “Well, I hadn’t heard anything. Its right here time for camp to start. “ I says, “I guess, maybe, maybe I didn’t make the grade on that.” My dad says, “Well… they’ve changed some changes down there. I’m gonna be down at a meeting at” and he was involved in Scouts at that time, says “I’ll ask ‘em, you know, if you’re still supposed to come to camp, or something, but that you haven’t received anything.”

So, he went to the meeting. I guess it was a district meeting or something. He came back that night and it seems that Mr. Johnson had left and Bruce Atkins, who came to be a real mentor of mine… had taken over. He told my dad, he says, “Yes! You have him come out there on a certain date.” So, dad came home and told me about it and I was excited about it, you know.

Sure enough, a day or two a letter wrote that I needed to report there and I needed to have this gear and that gear and I’d be there for camp school, for so many weeks, and so forth and so on. I also at the first meeting, they had told me, I think they had told me I’d be making $25 at the first meeting, at the interview meeting… which was unheard of this time. It used to be, you’d start the first year, ‘course most people were younger, you didn’t get anything. But to start on the waterfront, to start at $25 a week would be like starting for $100 a week now.
“Getting Hired” by Kerry Parker
Recorded self-interview, November 5, 1998