The Other Boxwell Staffs
Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory Lake is the fourth camp to bear the name
"Boxwell." While the Old Hickory Lake Boxwell is undeniably the
longest running camp with that name (1960 to present), the other camps have
their own histories. And, of course, each camp had staffs that were unique
to that location and that period.
Camp Boxwell at Linton, 1921-1929
The staff at the Linton Boxwell was considerably different than modern Boxwell.
There were no youth staff at all. Most weeks, adults came out to Boxwell to
instruct on whatever was needed. As Scouts came to camp individually, adult
leaders did not come to camp and stay with their troops. Thus, leaders were
free from week to week to come as instructors if needed. Most of these names
are lost as they were volunteers for a week and then gone.There were paid
staff at the first Boxwell, though they were few in number. The Camp Director,
the Swimming (Waterfront) director, the medic, and the cook (and any assistants
he may have) were all permanent, all summer, paid staff. And of course Council
Executive William J. Anderson was out at camp every day. From 1923 onward,
Anderson usually served as the Camp Director. Other notables were Lallie Richter
(and his brother Boos) on the waterfont and Walter Whittaker, the camp cook.
Camp Boxwell at the Narrows of the Harpeth, 1930-1948
The staff at the Narrows Boxwell was similar in most ways to the Linton camp.
There were a handful of paid staff, but most of the instruction was accomplished
by weekly volunteers. Among the volunteers in this period were Scobey Rodgers,
Sr., Rev. Alonzo C. Adamz and Harry "Beany" Elam. The paid staff included
Anderson and Whittaker, but Richter was replaced by Talmadge Miller (who later
joined Anderson was an Assistant Council Executive).. Anderson experimented
with some other Camp Directors, but even if he handed over the formal reigns,
he was still there every summer. The big staff change at the Narrows was the
introduction of youth staff in 1932. Every summer, Anderson hired eight Eagle
Scouts--all of whom had Boxwell experience--to help run the camp. Among the
two most interesting people in this category were Edward Fitzwater and James
Gribble. Both were in the first cadre of "Junior Leaders" and both
returned as they grew up to serve in adult positions. Fitzwater returned at
the medic; Gribble became a professional--Assistant Scout Executive--and Camp
Director. Anderson retired in 1947; he was replaced as Camp Director by the
new Executive, Ward E. Akers.
The Rock Island Boxwell, 1949-1959
The Rock Island staff was very similar to the modern Boxwell Reservation camp
staffs. Instead of a "Scout school" that ran in the morning with volunteers
teaching whatever was needed, the "new" Boxwell offered a set slate
of merit badges taught in the morning and afternoon. To teach these merit badges,
a group of youth (mostly older teens) was hired as a summer camp staff to teach
in specific program areas, each becoming "experts" in their fields.
As a result, the Rock Island staffs, while only 30-40 people, were considerably
larger than the previous staffs. Among the most recognized youth staff were
Bob Alley, John Parish, Jr., John "Jack" Bouchard, Barry Goad, and
Bob Chaffin. Among the adult staff who served were Floyd "Q-ball"
Pearce, Chester LaFever, and Luke Gaffin. Further, the camp was usually--not
always, but usually--run by a professional Scouter. Akers served as Camp Director
the first year, but after that Richard Parker, Gene Tolley, and James Johnson
all served in the role and all were full time professional for the Middle Tennessee