[Illustration: Striking the Colors]
CHAPTER XXIII—PACKING UP
THE LAST NIGHT
INSTRUCTIONS TO LEADERS
THE LAST WORD
Farewell, wild hearth where many logs have burned;
Among your stones the fireweed may grow.
The brant are flown, the maple-leaves have turned,
The goldenrod is brown—and we must go.
[Transcriber’s Footnote 1: brant: Dark wild goose of the Arctic having a black neck and head.]
The Last Night
The last night in a boys’ camp should be the best of all the nights. It is usually a night of reminiscence. Around the camp fire or log fire in the “Lodge,” all the campers gather and rehearse the good times of the days that have passed all too quickly—those days of close intimacy of tent life, where boys of different tastes, temperaments and dispositions were thrown together, where life’s great lessons of give and take were learned and where character was put to the test! Friendships have been formed which will last through life. The same group of fellows will never come together again. The director, perhaps as no other person, realizes the importance of making this night one of permanent impression, and his “good-by” talk to the fellows will reiterate the “why” of camping and emphasize the taking home of the spirit of good which has prevailed and the making it count for the best things in home, school, factory and church life of those boys who enjoyed the benefits of the camp.
All the favorite songs of the camp are sung, the leaders make “speeches,” and the boys have an opportunity of telling what camp life has done for them. As the fire dies down the bugler off in the distance plays “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”; silence—and then “taps.”
There is just as much need of system and care in breaking camp and packing up, as in opening camp. Chas. R. Scott at Camp Wawayanda issues to each leader the following letter of instructions, which may be of help to those in charge of large camps.
LETTER OF INSTRUCTION TO LEADERS
DEAR FRIEND—Will you kindly help me break camp by carrying out the following instructions:
1. Have all your boys return all books to the librarian not later than Thursday morning, and tools to the shop by the same time.
2. Encourage your helpers to loosen the side walls of tent early Friday morning, if clear, and fasten guy ropes so that canvas will dry if damp.
3. Take out all the pegs which fasten the side walls, clean off dirt and place in boxes at boat house.
4. Take down the board in your tent, take out all nails; straighten them and place in proper boxes in shop. Then take board to the boat house. Leave the rope over the ridge pole untied.
5. Take out all nails and screws in the upright poles of your tent and bunks, and place in boxes in shop.