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: https://mtcbsa.doubleknot.com/event/a-century-of-middle-tennessee-scouting-at-boxwell-1921-2021-book-pre-order-cc120/2832417

Remembering the Staff, 2010s

Boxwell in 2011 was in its third period of great stability. Carl Adkins had been Reservation Director since 2004. Longtime staff members Michael Allen and Kyle Duckworth ran the Boat Harbor and COPE, respectively. Steve Belew was Head Ranger. At Stahlman experienced reigned. Danny Waltman was Program Director with Steve Eubank as Camp Director and Tod Burnham as Commissioner. At Craig, more long timers ran the camp. Ian Weir served as Program Director, Tony Turner as Camp Director, and Rick Moore as Commissioner. CubWorld saw Jonathan Azzara and Jakes Jones as Co-Program Directors, Brian Wolfensberger as Camp Director, and Rob Ward as Commissioner.

Camp Stahlman Staff, 2011
Camp Craig Staff, 2011.
CubWorld Staff, 2011

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: https://mtcbsa.doubleknot.com/event/a-century-of-middle-tennessee-scouting-at-boxwell-1921-2021-book-pre-order-cc120/2832417

Remembering the Staff, 2000s

The 2001 Boxwell was looking a lot like today’s Boxwell. There were 10 Day Out meetings, meals were in shifts, Stahlman and Craig was open and Murrey was gone, replaced by CubWorld. Ron Turpin was the Reservation Director and Bill Freeman was the head ranger. At Stahlman, Andy Verble was Program Director with Christ Doughtrey as his Camp Director and Chris Hubbard his Camp Commissioner. At Craig’s Program Director was Mac Barnes, the Camp Director was Carl Denton, and the Commissioner was Markus Lukas. CubWorld was led by Jenny Forsythe (Program), Ben Parker (camp), and Dominick Azzara (Commissioner). COPE was led by Lance Ussery and the Boat Harbor was open, but we don’t know who the director was. We have staff photos for Stahlman and Craig, but not CubWorld.

Camp Stahlman Staff, 2001.
Camp Craig Staff, 2001

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: https://mtcbsa.doubleknot.com/event/a-century-of-middle-tennessee-scouting-at-boxwell-1921-2021-book-pre-order-cc120/2832417

Remembering the Staff, 1990s

The Barnett-Ragsdale Era came to a formal close in 1991. Ernie Ragsdale skipped the summer of 1990, but could have returned. Then, suddenly, he passed away at the end of October, 1990. Ralph Walker became Program Director at Stahlman for single summer in 1991. Tony Reynolds was his Camp Director and Andy Whitt his Camp Commissioner. At Camp Craig, Jerry Barnett continued his run at Program Director. Mike Kaufman served as Camp Director and Tom Chaffin as Camp Commissioner. Christy Willhite ran Murrey and Willie Claud still served as head ranger. Tom Willhite was in his 15th summer as Reservation Director.

Camp Stahlman Staff, 1991. The cook staff are the non-uniformed individuals in the middle.
Camp Craig Staff, 1991.

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: https://mtcbsa.doubleknot.com/event/a-century-of-middle-tennessee-scouting-at-boxwell-1921-2021-book-pre-order-cc120/2832417

Remembering the Staff, 1980s

We realized when the 2021 Boxwell Staff photos were published that we had not been keeping up with our series “Remembering the Staff” this summer. The Reunion and the book have completely consumed our attention! We will rectify that oversight now.

In 1981, the second major period of stability at the Old Hickory Lake Boxwell began. The first period had been in the 1960s under the leadership of Chester LaFever and Jimmy Joe Jackson. Starting in 1981, a “Silver Age” began. Ernie Ragsdale was Program Director at Stahlman with Andy Hindman as his Camp Director. At Parnell, Jerry Barnett began his run as Program Director with Larry Green at his Camp Director. Murrey was run by Gladys Roberts, who had been heading that camp since about 1973. Willie Claud was the Ranger. And of course, Tom Willhite was Reservation Director.

Despite this stability, no one remembered to take staff photos. There is no official staff photo for Stahlman Staff. Parnell’s staff photo (seen here) was literally taken after take-down had concluded on the last day of camp.

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: https://mtcbsa.doubleknot.com/event/a-century-of-middle-tennessee-scouting-at-boxwell-1921-2021-book-pre-order-cc120/2832417