From the Archives, July 14, 2024

The Pennant Pincher

This is a National Camp School pennant. At the start of every summer, a group of inspectors come to Boxwell and inspect the camp to insure the facility is following national guidelines as prescribed by the BSA. Today we call these National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) Standards. Camps still get a pennant when they pass the inspection.

This particular pennant is important because until just recently it was generally believed to be lost.

As it turns out, Pearl Schleicher, the camp cook from 1962 through 1995, liked to take the pennants. Mrs. Schleicher believed that the kitchen was the most important part of camp and even though these were not health inspections (that was a separate thing), she would often snag the pennant if she had the opportunity. Her kitchen director, a young Russ Parham, watched several such flags disappear in the early 1970s. Somehow, this particular flag ended up in the hands of District Executive Joe Keathley and with his passing, the flag has resurfaced. Just another twist in a camp personality!

Collection of Joe Keathley

1970 National Camp Inspection Pennant

National Camp Inspection Pennant from 1970

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, June 30, 2024

Jet Skis

Boxwell is an evolving entity. When the Boat Harbored opened, sailboating, motorboating, and water skiing were the order of the day. This was true with the first incarnation (the Ski Dock) from 1960-1975 and then again when the Harbor reopened in 1995.

Since the 1995 reopening, one of the additions at the Harbor has been the arrival of jet skis. Far more common now than they used to be, this (newer) water sport has its own skills and dangers with it. Thus, teaching youth how to properly operate one of these high speed vehicles is a perfect opportunity for Scouting.

Seen here are three Scouts on Jet Skis in the Boat Harbor lagoon in the summer of 2019. Ed Mason was the instructor for this session of approximately 10 youth.

Photo by Dakota Gordon, 2019

Scouts on Jet Skis, 2019

Scouts on Jet Skis at the Boat Harbor, June 28, 2019. Photo by Dakota Gordon.


From the Archives, June 23, 2024


The Roy Grindstaff Skilled Trades Center was dedicated on October 12, 2023. This means that even though the building was open and working already, this summer (2024) is the first summer of a completed Skilled Trades program with appropriate signage.

The Skilled Trades area in Camp Parnell utilizes a new building, which is part of the latest capital campaign, but it also uses the program shelters that were built as part of the 1994 capital campaign. There were three such buildings created in Parnell and two have remained unchanged. The third has been completely re-purposed with heavy plastic curtains, overhead lights, and individual stations all dedicated to the purpose of welding.

Seen here is a Scout experimenting with Welding at the dedication in October 2023. As with any good Scouting dedication, youth are on hand to demonstrate the new tools available and how amazing they are. Nothing says skilled trade adventure like sparks!

Photo by Grady Eades

Scout Welding

A Scout demonstrates welding at the Roy Grindstaff Skilled Trades Center dedication, October 12, 2023

From the Archives, June 16, 2024

Fathers’ Day

Believe it or not, Father’s Day did not become a permanent, nationally recognized holiday until 1972. Nevertheless, there have also been quite a few fathers who have worked on camp staff. We thought for this year’s Father’s Day we would make our first attempt at trying to recognize all the fathers and their children who have worked the Boxwell staff. If we’ve forgotten anyone (and we’re SURE we have), let us know.

The commemorate this list we have included a photo of Larry Jackson at a Friday Night Campfire at Parnell in 1970. Larry was the son of legendary Program Director Jimmy Joe Jackson.

Ward E. Akers; Ward C. Akers and James E. Akers
Michael Allen; Addison Allen
William J. Anderson; William J. Anderson, Jr.
Frank Arias; Greg Arias
Jim Barr; D. C. Barr
Richard Britnell; Stephen Britnell
Larry Carpenter; Craig Carpenter
Willie Claud; Brian Claud and Lori Claud Locke
Pat Deugaw; Dale Deugaw
Luke Gaffin; Chad Gaffin and Don Gaffin
Kent Galyon; Michael Galyon
Bob Garner; Chris Garner
Larry Green; Michael Green and Chris Green
Jack Holt; Joe Holt
Jimmy Joe Jackson; Larry Jackson
John Kasper; Megan Kasper
“Red” Kirby; Darrell Kirby
Jerry Keathley; Winn Keathley
David MaGuirk; James MaGuirk and Connor MaGuirk
Dutch Mann; Doug Mann and David Mann
Tom Parker; Richard Howard and Kathy Howard
Jim Patten; Aaron Patten and Sean Patten
Norman Patterson; Jeff Patterson
Doug Pelren; Eric Pelren and David Pelren
Chuck Pierce; Emma Pierce and Steven Pierce
Philip “Timmy Tenderfoot” Pratt; Emmaline Pratt
Mark Rodgers; Ted Rodgers
Bobby Smith; David Smith
Charlie Ray Smith; Scott Smith
Ralph Walker; Jason Walker
Rob Ward; Marcus Ward
Tom Willhite; Tommy Willhite, Mark Willhite, and Christy Willhite
Bob Younts; Cory Younts

Photo by Chris “Kit” Eckert, 1970

Larry Jackson, 1970

Larry Jackson, son of program director Jimmy Joe Jackson, at a Parnell Friday Night Campfire, 1970.