From the Archives, September 13, 2017

“The Year of the Rain” as recounted by Eric Cole

This one was actually before you [Grady Eades] came, my first year, 1989 – The Year, well, let’s see, how do you want to call it? It was the Year of the Mulch. It was the Year of the Rain. It was the Year of the Mud. ‘Course they were all related. I called it the Year of the Mulch because its all I saw – mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch. So, I’m sure if you get responses from people that were there that time, sure you’ll get a lot of stories about rain and mulch and things like that.

I’ll tell ya, it was just another night. I don’t even know why I came back, geez. Thinking about it, I don’t even know why I went back to camp after that. Gosh, what did we do for four weeks, probably? At least. It just rained every single day. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. I mean, you couldn’t teach your normal classes. That’s when I did Orienteering and Wilderness Survival and all those classes. And our Wilderness Survival class, I think the first three weeks, they were not able to stay out there. They would go out, build their little things and we’d always have to go get them ’cause there’d always be a huge, awesome storm that would come in that we couldn’t leave ’em out there. Ah, anyway…

It was that year. I was in the [Parnell] AY of course – the AY staff site down there across the little cross-tie bridge. And, so, we’re sitting in there and it’s dark and it’s raining again. Of course, I’m like a freshman to camp ’cause its my first year. So, I’m sitting around the table. There aren’t a lot of us down there. I don’t know everybody else was, but I was kind of homebody. Sittin’ around the table, rainin’ and thunderin’, and we’ve got a lantern on. And you know when you’ve got a lantern on, you can’t really see everything, outside the circle of the lantern.

Well, we starting seeing this movement, comin’, you know, through the field up there to the showerhouse down toward the path. It was the wierdest thing because there were these two white lights and then a red smaller light, like down at the bottom. SO the three lights were making a triangle. Two white lights on top and then down the bottom in the middle, was a little red light. It was just bobbin’ up and down and that’s all you could see. These three lights, about head level or so, just comin’ through the darkness toward us.

We’re all kind of like, I think everybody there at the time was, were all newbies so we’re all kind of like “What in the world is this?” We’re kind of like, you know, kind of concerned. So, it gets up to right outside the edge of the tent and the tarps and all that junk. You still can’t see anything with the lights and we’re hearing this noise, this rustlin’ noise and stuff, the gravel, you know. There’s something on the gravel walkin’ our way.

And all the sudden BOOM! Come bustin’ in. Pow. pow. pow. Tarps flyin’, and everything and its like big, big rain poncho. Flips the hood back and it’s Jerry Barnett. It was the weirdest, funniest lookin’ thing.

I don’t know if you ever saw these or ever heard about ’em, but somebody had given him a pair of glasses to wear that had two lights, like flashlights on the sides of the lenses, so that he could walk on the trails at night with the light. And the lower red light was his ever present cigarette. So, it was like this ghost thing flying through the woods. It was all you could see was these three lights and all the sudden he busts up in there. Pow. He was like some creature off Star Wars or something. That was really funny, ’cause you know, we didn’t expect it. He was Jerry Barnett, the big man, you know, we didn’t know him yet. That was pretty funny.

From the Archives, September 10, 2017

Post-Rock Island

When is a Scout Camp no longer a Scout camp? When a Boxwell is no longer a Boxwell, what happens to it?

In the case of Linton, the Council simply stopped using the property. The Linton Boxwell went back to being what it was: someone’s private property.

For the Narrows, the Council held on to the property for some time. From 1947 to 1978, the Narrows of the Harpeth property was no longer Boxwell, but it was Middle Tennessee Council property. Given its location, canoeing and overnight camping was still quite popular.

For Rock Island, the property is still owned by the Council, but not surprisingly, the camp has had difficulty defining itself. The property wasn’t as developed as the new Boxwell, but still had developed components. It didn’t have the excitement of the Narrows, but was still on a river.

The photo here from the mid-1970s shows a camp trying to find its place. Note the baseball cage to the left and to the right looks like the remnants of the Trading Post. The Parish Reservation holding Camp Tubbs was still used, but clearly, it was a Scout camp trying to find its identity…

Rock Island

The Rock Island Activity Area long after Rock Island Boxwell was no longer Boxwell

From the Archives, September 3, 2017

Alternative Hillsboro Road Location

As we’ve explored before, there are always “what could have been” scenarios at camp. The same holds true for the Council itself. For our purposes today, let’s look at the Council Office.

Part of the 1972 Capital Development Campaign that built Camp Craig was to build a new Council Office. The location at Hillsboro Road was initially owned by someone else. Their idea was to build a multi-level building (perhaps a 12 story building), give the Scouts two floors, and then rent out the other floors. This would be a win for both partners. This was an idea that Ward Akers explored and entertained.

In fact, here is evidence from February 1972 of the idea in practice: a rough building design with a parking garage attachment. This isn’t how things played out, but it is an interesting “What could have been”!

Hillsboro Road

What could have been the Jet Potter Center….

From the Archives, August 27, 2017

1960 Annual Report

Every year the Council issues an Annual Report and has done so all the way back to 1921. Annual Reports are an attempt to be transparent about how the non-profit works.

Therefore, not surprisingly, there is a section on finance. There are reports of the Council’s major committees, such as the Camping Committee and the Health and Safety Committee. And, of course, there is always a page on properties.

This 1960 report from the Building and Finance Committee discusses the newly occupied Boxwell Reservation. As you can tell, not all of the plans worked out quite the way that they had hoped!

Annual Report

A page from the 1960 Annual Report