From the Archives, December 19, 2021

Pat Boone and Boxwell Reservation

We thought we’d end our posts for Boxwell’s Centennial year with a weird little footnote. Pat Boone, the native Nashvillian, was a popular singer and actor in the mid-1950s to early 1960s. His career has stretched much longer than that, but these years were arguably his most popular. Boone is generally known as one of the “crooners” of the mid-1950s.

On December 4, 1959, Boone (and his wife Shirley) returned to Nashville to hero’s welcome. Boone was named an honorary colonel by Governor Buford Ellington (later of Ellington Parkway fame), appeared on local television outlets, and attended a luncheon. Boone was actually in town to promote his latest film, Journey to the Center of the Earth, which got a special premiere at the Paramount Theatre on Church Street.

Why have the world premiere in Nashville? Well, it turns out Boone had been a member of Troop 99 in Nashville. 35 Scout troops and packs attended the premiere to support their hero. More importantly though, the proceeds from the evening would go to the Camp Boxwell Reservation Development Fund. If you recall, the 1959 Capital Campaign ended in June 1959 and construction had already begun in July. Nevertheless, Boone made sure he contributed to the mission of the Middle Tennessee Council.

As Boone explained, “Somehow, I feel a little kin to every Boy Scout, and I’m most happy to be here to help out the Scouting program. Personally, I feel that outside of the church there is no more important organization in American than the Scouts. Scouting is directly opposed to delinquency. It seems to me that the best weapons against delinquency is scouting.”

Happy Boxwell Centennial everyone. Enjoy the holidays. We’ll see you in 2022.

Pat Boone and Family
Pat Boone and family at the Paramount Theatre, 1959. _Nashville Banner_, December 4, 1959, pg. 12.

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:

On This Day, August 21

On this day–Wednesday, August 21, 1991–the Tennessean reports the return of Ken Connelly to the Middle Tennessee Council as Council Executive. Connelly had began as a professional Scouter in 1963, fresh out of college at APSU. He turned down a job offer for Quaker Oats and accepted a position as the District Executive for Walton Trail district, making $4200 a year. Connelly proved himself and rose quickly through the ranks of the professional organization, eventually serving as Council Finance Director and Assistant Council Executive under Ward Akers and then Hershel Tolbert. He became a Council Executive in his own right in 1979 in Gastonia, NC. In 1982, he moved up to become Council Executive of the Louisville, KY council. Upon his return to Middle Tennessee in 1991, he over the 1994 Capital Development Campaign that built CubWorld. In 1995, Connelly took over the position as Director of the Northeast Region and became Assistant Chief Scout Executive in 2001. Connelly finally retired in 2006 after a literal lifetime in Scouting.

Connelly Tolbert Willhite
Ken Connelly, Hersherl Tolbert, and Tom Willhite, sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

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 Pre-Order

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.

On reader of an early draft commented, “I will say that even though my family and I have no history with scouting, I found it to be a highly engaging exploration of how various moments in U.S. and local history during the last century are reflected through the lens of a local youth organization such as scouting.”

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