Website Updates

For the most part, we’ve been fairly quiet over here at VirtualBoxwell.org.  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 (http://www.virtualboxwell.org/camp.php). 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 http://www.virtualboxwell.org/staff.php.

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 (http://www.virtualboxwell.org/about.php), 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!

From the Archives, July 3, 2016

New to Boxwell, Part III

For those who are unfamiliar, CubWorld works on a slightly different schedule than the Boy Scout Resident camps.  Whereas Stahlman and Craig have sessions that are a week long, CubWorld’s sessions are only a few days.  Thus, they see two completely new sets of Cub Scouts per week.  That’s a lot of turnover during the summer!  Still, CubWorld is very much a part of the Reservation’s summer program and thus we take a look at what is new there this week.

CubWorld always has some “new” aspect.  Primarily this is because of themes.  Each year they have a different theme upon which the staff bases the summer.  Of course, just like the other camps, there are other changes as well.

The big change for CubWorld this year is the addition of a boating area.  The boating area is found below Sites 8 and 9, not far from the location known as “the Hole” in the days of Camp Murrey.  It is a small area and not a formal waterfront, but still a new activity for Scouts this summer!

Cubworld Canoe

CubWorld’s new Canoeing area, located just down from Site 9. For “old timers,” that translates to “just down the Path from the Hole.”

From the Archives, June 26, 2016

New for 2016: Parnell STEM

Perhaps the biggest “new to Boxwell” in 2016 is the change at Camp Parnell.  If you haven’t been following, Parnell’s last summer was 1998, which means that camp has basically been dormant for over 15 years!  This year though, that status changed.

This summer Camp Parnell, or more specifically, the dining hall at Camp Parnell, reopened for Scouts.  The dining hall has been re-classified as the Parnell STEM Center.  For those who don’t know, STEM is the newest fad in the world of education and is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.  A STEM emphasis is designed to put training in fields that will most help students compete in 21st century society.  For Scouting, this means the merit badges of Engineering, Digital Technology, Electronics and the like.  (You can find the specifics behind the BSA STEM program here: http://www.scouting.org/stem/Awards/BoyScouts.aspx)

So, what does this mean for Parnell?  The Parnell STEM Center is the dining hall transformed into a STEM Merit Badge center.  There are four teaching areas and a conference space. The STEM Center offers merit badges in those mentioned above as well as Robotics and Nuclear Science (and more!).  In many ways, the STEM Center is another way to attract older Scouts to what Scouting has to offer by using a dedicated space for those merit badges, not unlike COPE or the Boat Harbor.  What is different is that  there are computers everywhere!

The photos below give a glimpse of the STEM Center is like.  There are lab coats for the Scouts.  Kits to practice electronics.  Little robots to program.  Desktop Computers as far as the eye can see.  And, of course, Parnell Dining Hall being used again for the first time since the summer of 1998.

STEM Robotics

One of four teaching areas inside Parnell Dining Hall. This one is dedicated to Robotics and Nuclear Science.

STEM Robot

One of the programmable robots that Scouts use at the STEM Center.

STEM Programming

Kerry Parker checking out one of the four teaching areas inside Parnell Dining Hall. This one is dedicated to programming.