This was the idea of the development of the Senior Service Corps—to take men who are over military age and make them physically fit for whatever strain may come. It has resulted in not only making them physically fit, but in practically renewing their youth. The experimental (New Haven) company of a hundred, varying in age from forty-five to over seventy, in weight from 114 to 265 pounds, and in height from 5 ft. 4 in. to 6 ft. 4 in., after just completing ninety days’ training, marched at the dedication of the Artillery Armory over four and one-half hours without physical discomfort.
Now, war or no war, the man of over military age would like to be fit, would like to feel that glow of youth which comes even to the man of fifty when he is physically in condition.
Nine-tenths of the men over forty-five can accomplish this, and they can do it by the expenditure of only three or four hours a week if they will follow with absolute care the rules demonstrated by a scientific experiment upon a company of one hundred men over a period of ninety days. This company of New Haven professional and business men included the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the editor of the largest evening newspaper, the dean of Yale University, the director of the gymnasium, the president of Sargent & Company, the owner of the Poli Theater Circuit, the ex-mayor of the city, two judges, the treasurer of the savings-bank, the registrar of Yale University, four professors, three doctors, and many leading corporation officials.
At the end of this period these men were not only able to march for over four hours without discomfort, but without losing a man. Moreover, they all gained in spirits, recovered their erect carriage, and found themselves enjoying their tasks.
The plan developed by the National Security League, under its committee on physical reserve, of assuring physical fitness for the nation, is capable of endless possibilities in application and development.
The plan treats each as a separate unit and allows it to adapt the physical-fitness scheme to local conditions, favoring the appointment of neighborhood groups for instruction in physical drill and the “Daily Dozen Set-up,” assuring such conditions and applications of diet and hygiene as are particularly demanded by the individual community’s conditions and demands.
Every individual detail and local development is left to the committee which each mayor or town or borough official appoints, on invitation of the league.
[Illustration: Walter camp, president, and Joseph C. Johnson, secretary, of the original Senior service corps established in new Haven, Connecticut, in the spring of 1917]