The Entrance to Boxwell
The recent road-widening construction on Highway 109 forced Boxwell to move its current sign. This got us thinking about the old entrance into camp and some of the history there. So, this week, we look at the hanging sign.
The hanging sign was not at Boxwell when the current location first opened, but it came along pretty soon thereafter (more on that later). The sign was on one of several steep embankments. There was an embankment on each side of Creighton Lane as you turned in, and of course, one across Highway 109 that is still there today. When you turned into Boxwell coming north toward Gallatin, the hanging sign was on the right hand side of Creighton Lane, just like the current sign is.
Of course, these embankments were prone to heavy erosion when the rain, er, Boxwell dews came. So, as legend has it, Stahlman’s Con-Yard Director, a White County teacher by the name of Tom Parker had a solution: the sttaff would plant kudzu on the embankments. The invasive nature of the plant species was not yet understood in the States, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Boxwell Staff planted a LOT of kudzu over several summers–one plant about every foot! Indeed, planting kudzu was even an SL activity for both camps; no one was spared.
As you can see in this photo from about 1970, the kudzu has taken root, both under the sign and across the highway. It is already quite thick in this photo, leading to periodic attempts to kill it. None were wholly successful!
The original hanging sign entrance to Boxwell Reservation, ca. 1970.
As hard as it may be to believe, Summer Camp 2018 is now over. Last week, Camp Craig closed down. Thursday, CubWorld followed suit. And then yesterday, Camp Stahlman and the rest of the reservation wrapped up their programs. Camp will be relatively quiet for week and then the National Guard will come out for week.
This week’s photo thus shows a small piece of the takedown experience. Here we see members of the CubWorld staff working on packing up the folding cots that camp uses to be stored for the off season. Nothing particularly remarkable here; just young people working hard to get the job done!
After take-down is complete, the staff gathers one last time to say goodbye. And then, just like that, camp is over and this particular staff will never be together again.
CubWorld staff folding up cots and packing them away for the off-season.
The VirtualBoxwell Team is sad to announce the passing of Billy Walker. While never a staff member, Billy had a long history in Scouting. In addition to attending the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell as a young Scout, Billy was spent a large chunk of his adult life with Troop 137 in Franklin and serving the Council in various capacities. In his life outside Scouting, he was the second generation owner of Walker Chevrolet in Franklin. For our purposes, he was the man responsible for creating Boxwell’s COPE, single-handedly financing the creation of the original project back in 1983. He passed away today, July 12, 2018.
Billy Walker at a gathering of former Staff Members and friends in 2010.
The current Billy Walker COPE sign
Here is our final installment of “Remembering the Staff.” Once we get the 2018 staff photos, we’ll upload those to the website. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at 2008. Carl Adkins was Reservation director and Steve Belew was the head ranger. Nat Hudson was Program Director at Stahlman, while Aaron Patten was Program Director at Craig. There were a slew of other programs by this point. Running the Boat Harbor was Michael Allen, at COPE Kyle Duckworth, at the pool John Kasper, and at the NRA Light Rifle Program was Pat “Old Soldier” Deugaw. Oh yeah, there was CubWorld too, though we don’t know who was in charge that summer (a glaring hole we’re working on fixing!).
Featured here are the staff photos for Stahlman, Craig, Cubworld, the Pool, and the Administrative Staff. Enjoy!
Camp Stahlman Staff, 2008
Camp Craig Staff, 2008
CubWorld Staff, 2008
Reservation Pool Staff, 2008
Reservation Administrative Staff, 2008
Camp Craig has now closed; Stahlman continues with one more week. At the end of this week, Stahlman will close and Boy Scout camping will be completely over for the 2018 season. It goes by quickly when you aren’t there.
There are lot of traditions surrounding the final camp meeting, but most aren’t documented with photos. If you would, share something your staff did as a take-down tradition.
As for the closing itself, it is not at all uncommon for Program Directors to give some to his directors. Ernie Ragsdale often carved something himself, something he had worked on all summer. For Parnell/Craig, during Jerry Barnett and Kerry Parker were Program directors in the 1980s and 1990s, if Dutch Mann were available that year, Dutch carved plaques for the directors at thier behest. Seen here is a Dutch plaque from around 1990 for Field Sports Director Pat Deugaw. Before he was “the Old Soldier,” Pat was known as “The Kool-Aid Man” because during staff week, he would drive around to the different work groups to give them a break with… you guessed it, a drink of Kool-Aid.
Field Sports Director Plaque for Pat Deugaw by Dutch Mann, ca. 1990