From the Archives, July 7, 2024

Scout Circus

Every April for about a decade–1954 to 1962–the Middle Tennessee Council held a Scout Circus. A Scout Circus was enormous event, open to the public, showcasing Scouting. In effect, the Scouts of the Middle Tennessee Council put on an enormous stage show at the state fairgrounds in Nashville every night showcasing Scouting. It was a promotional event to top all promotional events.

The circus changed some from year to year, but included many of the spectacles one would expect to stay. The first circus opened with a parade of 10,700 uniformed Scouts with approximately 5000 participating in the twelve sections, or “events.” Cubs had a section playing different characters, depending on the theme, and also clowns! A section was devoted to demonstrating Scoutcraft and another to an emergency services demonstration. There was also an “Indian show” as well as a patriotic or reverential closing. The program began at 7:30 p.m. and ran approximately 90 to 120 minutes. Scouts sold tickets to the event.

Seen here in an image by _Nashville Banner_ staff photographer Bob Ray are four Cub Scouts rehearsing their parts before the big event in 1958. There were 8000 Scouts who participated in the program that year, making it one of the largest on record. According to the caption in the published photo, Monday, April 21, 1958, “John Foley and Philip Daugherty become a two-headed lady, Bill Hunt is transformed into a clown and Mike Spore becomes a strong man as Pack 45 of Christ the King Church gets ready for the Boy Scout Circus” (pg. 8).

Collection of John Cooper & Ernie Ragsdale

Cub Scouts prepare for the 1958 Scout Circus, April 1959. Photo by Banner photographer Bob Ray.

From the Archives, January 14, 2024

The Bugle

Before Scout Shorts, before Jet Trails, before even Smoke Signals, there was The Bugle. The Bugle was the first official newsletter of the Nashville Council, with the first issue published in October 1938. The closing of summer camp–Boxwell at the Narrows–was the lead story, reflecting the importance of the camp to the program at the time.

The newsletter had a staff of about seven volunteers. Remember, the Nashville Council was quite small at this time, employing around five people. Many of the contributors to the newsletter were Scouts. In fact, two names we’ve discussed before. James Kilgore, who made the film A Day At Camp Boxwell, and O. E. Brandon, a Junior staff member, were part of this editorial staff. The publication was irregular and (to our knowledge) only six issues have survived, ending in December 1940.

Seen here is the page 1 of the very first issue. The first article on Boxwell is to the left and the Montgomery Bell tunnel graces the center of the page. The “newspaper” was sponsored by Burk & Co., which was the official outfitter of Scouting merchandise and uniforms in the days before there was a council Scout Shop. Burk & Co. got a full page advertisement on page 3!

Collection of Jimmy Stevens & Beany Elam

_The Bugle_ October 1938
Page 1 of the first issue of _The Bugle_, October 1938

Skilled Trades Center Dedication

Thursday, October 12 was a big night for Middle Tennessee Council, Boxwell Reservation, and our own Jason Flannery. The Roy Grindstaff Skilled Trades Center was dedicated at Camp Parnell. On hand were Aubrey Harwell, John Cage, The Pfeffers, and of course Robin Grindstaff Hurdle. A Skilled Trades Center was part of Jason Flannery’s vision for Boxwell even before he became Reservation Director. And now, Boxwell is the only Scout camp in the nation with such a facility. Congratulations to all involved for making this dream a reality.

Roy Grindstaff Skilled Trades Center, October 12, 2023

Boxwell Day, 2023

HAPPY, HAPPY Boxwell Day! TODAY IS BOXWELL’S ANNIVERSARY!!

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.

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!

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

Boxwell Day, 2020