From the Archives, June 18, 2017

Parnell Music Department

We recently told you about some of the updates to camp this summer. After a quick visit this week, we found one more that you probably need to know about. The expansion of Parnell continues…

While STEM continues in the Parnell Dining Hall, just down the road at the Trading Post another repurposing is taking place. The Boxwell Music Department is now housed here. As you can tell from the photos, it is fairly simple operation in some ways, but reportedly has had good numbers for the first week.

The centerpiece of the new Music Department is the Artiphon, an electronic instrument that connects to an iPad. From here, the instrument will play virtually any sound. As the instructors told me on Thursday, they had basically finished the merit badge and we’re going to have a big jam session on Friday. There were enough Artiphon’s for everyone.


A demonstration of the Artiphon

Parnell Music

Another view of the repurposed Parnell Trading Post

Parnell Music

The Parnell Trading Post repurposed as the Boxwell Music Department.

Remembering the Staff, 1950s

Camp has begun, so it is time to revisit our “Remembering the Staff” series.  Every week while summer camp is going on, we will make a post showcasing the staff of different decades.  Remember, of course, that you can find all of the staff photos here:

So, following tradition, this first week focuses the Rock Island staff.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a Rock Island Staff photo for 1957.  Last year, we didn’t have a 1956 staff photo, so we provided you with a welcome letter from the camp directors.  This year, we’ll provide you with a 1957 thank you letter from the Camp Directors Richard Parker and Don Starin. From the collection of Bob Alley.

Thank you

An end of season Thank You Letter to Bob Alley from the 1957 camp directors.

Website Updates

For the most part, we’ve been fairly quiet over here at  A few weekly postings, but nothing BIG.  Well, that’s because we’ve been busy!  So, as summer camp is now over, we can finally reveal what we’ve been working on.

There are several updates to the site, some large and some small.  There are two “big” changes, so we’ll touch on those first.

The “biggest” change (and we mean “big” because of the amount of work involved) is a total overhaul of the camp maps section ( Every map has been rebuilt from the ground up, each created from actual maps of Boxwell.  Thus, for the first time, the maps are actually shaped and proportioned to reflect the way Boxwell is actually laid out!  No more hand-drawn maps; these are the real deal.  New icons have been added and all new photos have been taken.  In short, just about every aspect of the camp maps has been redesigned and rebuilt to present Scouts and Scouters with a better layout of their camp.

The second “big” change will start on Wednesday.  We will be adding a new section to our blog and Facebook feed: From the News.  From the News will be articles from local newspapers (mostly the Tennessean and the Nashville Banner) about Boxwell and the Council.  In short, we will be providing “first draft” history of Middle Tennessee Council and Boxwell as it was being written.  It should be an interesting look at how things were “back in the day”!

As for the smaller changes…

We’ve updated the Staff Photos page.  We have new staff photos for Craig, Stahlman, CubWorld and the Reservation staffs.  Check this out at

As we do every three months or so, we’ve updated the banner image.  The new banner is a photo taken by Michael Seay in 1978… from the air!  The original photo is below.

We’ve also updated the “About Us” section (, conducted several interviews with past staff members (Ron Turpin, Larry Green, and Christy Willhite Bryant last summer and Jim Barr and the daughters of Ed Human this summer), updated the “Master List” for future reunions with almost 200 additions and corrections, and tried to track down an old time capsule.  It has been a busy summer!

We’d like to give a special thank you to a number of people who have helped make all of this possible.  To Russell Parham and Cameron Grady, who took photos for the new maps.  To Michael Seay, Eric Cole, and Chris Eckert, whose historic photos of Boxwell continue to find their way into “classic Parnell.” To JJ Norman, Noah Davis, Meredith MaGuirk, Jason Flannery, and John Kasper, whose contributions of staff photos in recent years keeps us current!

We’re still working on a variety of other long term projects.  Keep checking in to see what surprises await!

Craig Banner

Craig Dining Hall and original waterfront from the air, July 14, 1978. Photo by Michael Seay

Happy Boxwell Day!

Happy Boxwell Day

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.  Interestingly, this first July 5th pick up was ALSO a Tuesday! 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.

To that end, we ask for two things from you:
1) 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!
2) Take this opportunity to share your favorite Boxwell stories in the comments AND, if you are staff member, contact an old friend and reminisce about years gone by!

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

Happy Boxwell Day everyone!

Boxwell Day

Happy Boxwell Day! Join us in celebrating Boxwell in all its incarnations!