From 1958 (MT-1) through 1974 (MT-17) Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge was taught during a seven-day encampment running from Saturday to Saturday. In 1975 (MT-18) the course was offered in a series of three weekends. The first began at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning and ended at 4:00 PM Sunday afternoon. Two Friday’s later, which was always the Friday after Labor Day, the second weekend began at 7:00 PM Friday evening and ended at 4:00 PM Sunday afternoon. The third and final weekend began two weeks later at 7:00 PM on Friday evening and concluded with the final ceremonial campfire at 9:00 PM Sunday evening. Week-long as well as weekend courses were held in 1992 (MT-35 and MT-36 respectively) and 1999 (MT-43 and MT-44 respectively). The final Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge course was held during the spring of 2001 (MT-46) under the leadership of Scoutmaster John Sain. Other than Beany Elamwho served five times as Scoutmaster only one man, Tony Turner (two times), has served as Scoutmaster more than once.
The first Course at Boxwell Reservation was held in the field between Camp Stahlman and Camp Parnell. The Quartermaster issued food and supplies out of a large tent. MT-2 (1959) through MT-46 (2001) were held adjacent to the present day Cope Course at what was to become Camp Beany Elam. After four or five courses were held at Beany Elam, a Quartermaster’s shed was built. In 1985, the Learning Center shelter was constructed adjacent to the Quartermaster’s shed. The Scoutmaster that year (1985, MT-28) was Tom Neal. There is a plaque commemorating Tom displayed on the front of the Quartermaster’s shed. There is also a poem honoring Beany Elam and a carved ax in a log housed in a shadow box attached to the front of the Quartermaster’s shed. This carving and poem are the work of MT-38 Scoutmaster Dale Driscol.
Prior to one of the early courses, Beany Elam brought wooden shingles off his chicken house and built a covered bulletin board just across the gravel road from the Learning Center. Sometime over the years, no one remembers when, one of the numerous Eagle Patrols attached a cast eagle to the end of this bulletin board. Since that undetermined date, this bulletin board has been known as the Eagle Bulletin. That bulletin board became a Wood Badge “shrine.” Over the years, dozens of hours were spent repairing the original bulletin board. In 1994, Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge staff received the blessings of MT-30 Scoutmaster and MT- 39 Advisor Percy Dempsey to replace this bulletin board with one of similar design and construction. Percy originally went through MT-3 under Beany Elam as Scoutmaster.
MT-40 Scoutmaster George Ferhmann built the replacement Eagle Bulletin Board off site at his farm in Stillhouse Hollow near Franklin, Tennessee and it was erected on Friday just before the 1994 Course (MT-38) began by George Ferhmann and tent mate Charlie Robinson. The cast eagle adorning the original bulletin board had been broken the previous year and George took it to the shop at his factory where it was reworked. Sometime thereafter, an unknown person removed it from the bulletin board. The “shingle’ (sign) for the scribe, the Gilwell Gazette, and the current eagle Bulletin Board are made from shingles off the original Eagle Bulletin Board. The replacement Bulletin Board built by George is still at Camp Beany Elam where it served as the sole written source of Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge information and announcements from 1995 until the last course (MT-46) was held at Beany Elam during the spring of 2001.
All but the shingles used to make the MT-47 signs were burned in the MT-38 closing ceremonial campfire. Ashes from this campfire were collected and placed into the final ceremony campfire at MT-39. This practice continued until MT-46. The ashes collected from the MT-46 final ceremony campfire were placed into the opening campfire of this course.
1958, over 2,000 Scouters have attended one of the 46 Boy Scout Leader
Wood Badge courses offered by the Middle Tennessee Council. The Middle
Tennessee Council is on of a handful of Councils that enjoys adequate interest
and leadership to have held at least one Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge Course
each year. It is one of three or four Councils that have held a Boy Scout
Leader Wood Badge Course every year since 1958. With the implementation
of Wood Badge for the 21st Century (MT-47, SR-500), the Middle
Tennessee Council continues its uninterrupted chain of courses.