All the major habits of life are formed during the teen period of life. If camping teaches a boy anything it teaches him the habit of being systematic. The day’s program should be built upon a platform calculated not only to keep the camp running smoothly, but to develop within the boy and man those qualities requisite for a good camper, viz., truth, sincerity, self-control, courage, energy, skill, mental capacity, justice, patriotism, stamina, efficiency, executive power, consideration, kindliness, cheerfulness, self-reliance, good temper, good manners, tact, promptness, obedience, helpfulness, and cooperation. Camping has as good an effect on a boy’s character as it has upon his health. It teaches him to be self-reliant, to look after his own wants, and not to be abnormally self-centered. It is marvellous how much more tidy and considerate a boy becomes after he has had a season in camp, looking after himself and his own belongings, as well as sharing in keeping his tent neat and clean, and having his part in the day’s work. From “reveille” at 7 A.M. to “taps” at 9 P.M. the day’s program should be definitely planned. In order to make this chapter of practical value the different periods of the day and its activities will be described very fully and enough suggestions given to make the day purposeful, educational, recreational and attractive in either a large or small camp.
Seven o’clock is usually the hour of beginning the day, although some camps make the rising hour six-thirty o’clock. The first morning in camp boys want to get up around four o’clock, thinking it about three hours later, on account of the sun streaming into their tent. After the first morning boys who wake early should be expected to keep silent and remain in their tent until “reveille” sounds. Consideration should be shown toward those who desire to sleep.
When the bugle sounds “reveille” everybody turns out in pajamas or swimming tights and indulges in a brisk ten-minute setting-up exercise. This should be made snappy, giving particular attention to correcting stooping shoulders and breathing. Boys should not be excused from this exercise unless ill. At the end of the exercise the flag is raised and the campers salute the stars and stripes as they are flung to the morning breeze. A small cannon is fired in some camps when the flag is raised. The honor of raising the flag may be given to the boys of the tent having won the honor tent pennant of the preceding day or to boys specially assigned. The spirit of patriotism is fostered by respect to the flag.
Flag-raising is followed by a dip in the lake. It should be understood that this is to be a dip or plunge and not a swim. Five minutes is sufficient time to be in the water. Place some responsible person in charge of the dip. A safe rule is never to permit boys in the water unless supervised. The boys should take soap, towels and tooth brushes with them when they go for the dip. A good morning scrub of the teeth with a brush saves many hours of pain. Boys are woefully negligent (because ignorant) of the care of their teeth. Saturday is “scrub” day in many of the large camps when all are required to take a “soap scrub.” Marvellous how the “tan” disappears after this scrubbing period!