Merry Christmas 2021

As has become a tradition around here, we present you with Tom Willhite as Santa Claus. DE Buff Groth is asking for gifts!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

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

Boxwell History Book Pre-Order

This is it! Pre-order on the first ever Boxwell History book, For the Good of the Program, ends tomorrow, August 31. Copies bought during the pre-order will be signed by the author.

Written by historian and former staff member Grady Eades, For the Good of the Program explores how a changing society led to changes in the Scouting program as delivered as summer camp. It utilizes a hundred years of newspaper articles and hundreds of hours of interviews and personal stories. It tells about the personalities who made the camp program happen and how Boxwell has changed over the last century.

Order your copy here:

From the Archives, August 29, 2021

Reservation Director Ron Turpin, 1997-2002

Yesterday, Saturday, August 28, 2021, the Council held a retirement program for Assistant Scout Executive Ron Turpin. Turpin is retiring after 43 years in Scouting and approximately twenty-five years with the Middle Tennessee Council on his second run. We thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute here as well.

Turpin originally joined the Middle Tennessee Council in 1978, after graduating from David Lipscomb. Unlike many professionals, he had a background in Scouting and was himself at Eagle Scout. He began in those first few years of Hershel Tolbert’s run as Council Executive, but stayed only briefly. He left professional Scouting, only to return to the program a few years later, but with the Great Smoky Mountains Council. Turpin hit his stride here, rising through the ranks and eventually getting his own Council, Westark Area Council in Western Arkansas (Fort Smith area) in the early 1990s. When the opportunity to return to Middle Tennessee Council opened up in 1996, he took it.

Turpin returned to middle Tennessee in September 1996 as the new Director of Support Services. For our purposes, he became the new Reservation Director at Boxwell. He came to the new job with a range of experience. In his previous positions, he had run the other council camps, including Buck Toms, Camp Pellissipp, Camp Orr, and Rogers Reservation. Turpin took this experience and began looking at the processes and organization of Boxwell. He hoped to modernize the camp in a number of ways. And, as the Council was still experiencing consistent growth in the 1990s, he hoped to bring more Scouts to camp.

A host of new procedures and programs were brought in by Turpin. The Ten Day Out meeting, assigned check-in times, Camp Kick-Off meetings, registration for merit badge sessions, and split shift meals in the dining hall all came from Turpin’s first summer. Over the following years, new showerhouses, a new waste water treatment plant at Craig, the High Adventure Area at Camp Light including the Parish High Adventure Building and the Pool, not to mention the Staff Centers and the group staff sites (with electricity!) all came about because of Turpin’s leadership. Those years also saw new sites built in Camp Craig, the Trading Posts converted to walk-around shops, and improvements to both the Davy Crockett (now Green Bar) program and the CubWorld program.

For the Good of the Program argues that “modern” Boxwell begins with Ron Turpin, and clearly for good reason. A large portion of how Boxwell operates today is due to new processes implemented when Ron Turpin came in as Reservation Director.

Of course, Turpin moved on. He became Director of Field Services in 2002 and in 2007 Assistant Scout Executive. Perhaps his most significant achievement during his second run with the Middle Tennessee Council was the development of what became known as the Latimer High Adventure Reservation. From developing program to recruiting groups to overseeing construction, Latimer has been Ron Turpin’s project and his crowning achievement. In recognition of his work, the Council announced at the retirement party that an amphitheatre will be built at Latimer and named after Turpin to honor his work.

Here are VirtualBoxwell, we rarely get an opportunity to recognize someone’s achievemens while they are still alive. We are pleased we are able to do so in this instance and wish Ron the best of luck as he enters retirement and leaves behind a legacy of which to be proud.

Photo from interview in August, 2015

Ron Turpin
Ron Turpin, Assistant Scout Executive. Photo taken after interview for VirtualBoxwell, August 5, 2015.

Want to learn more about Boxwell history? Buy the first Boxwell history book, For the Good of the Program, available for pre-order until August 31, 2021 here:

For the Good of the Program

For the Good of the Program: A Century of Middle Tennessee Scouting at Boxwell, 1921-2021

Have you ordered your history of Boxwell yet? The book contains history on all four Boxwell locations, maps, photos, and stories. As explained by one former staff member from the Willhite era who read an early draft explained, “Reading through these chapters has been a pleasure. No matter which generation you belong to, reading this book will feel like sitting around the campfire with others from Boxwell’s history to tell stories, share experiences and what it means to wear the red hat. “

The book is available for pre-order until August 31, 2021 here:

On this Day, July 5

On this day–Tuesday, July 5, 1921–the very first Camp Boxwell opened in Linton, Tennessee. The first Boxwell was located on just 4 acres, part of the family farm of Samuel S. Morton. It encamped 60 boys a week and ran for two weeks. It was named after the Nashville Council’s Camping Committee Chairman, Leslie G. Boxwell, who had been instrumental in finding and establishing the camp.

Linton Campsite
From _The Nashville Banner_ August 28, 1921. The caption reads: “The Scout Camp and One of the Troops which occupied it.”