[Transcriber’s Footnote 2: Sentinel’s challenge. On the alert; vigilant.]
Inspection is conducted during the absence of the boys. While the inspectors are making the round of tents, the boys should assemble either in the permanent building of the camp or under some big tree, to listen to a practical talk by the camp physician, a demonstration in first aid work, the reading of a story, or to something equally educational in character. This is a valuable hour when occupied in this manner. (See chapter on inspection, awards, etc.)
Rather than depend upon “sunset” as the time to lower the flag, it is much better to set an hour for “colors.” Promptly at this hour the bugler blows “colors.” No matter where a camper may be he should stand erect, uncover and remain attentive until after the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and firing of the cannon. The flag is lowered very slowly during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and camp should be a place of silent patriotism. Those who have witnessed this ceremony in a boys’ camp will never forget its impressiveness. The flag should never be permitted to touch the ground, and should be carefully folded and in readiness for hoisting the next morning.
Supper hour cannot come too promptly for active boys. The announcement of the day’s inspection should be made at the meal and the honor pennant or flag presented to the successful tent, and accepted by one of the boys. This occasion is usually a time of rejoicing, also a time of resolve-making on the part of tent groups to “do better tomorrow.” The record of each tent is read by one of the inspectors, and at the end of the week the tent having the best record gets a special supper or “seconds” on ice cream day.
About this time, with the going down of the sun, nature seems to quiet down, and it is the psychological time for serious thought. Many camps devote twenty minutes to Bible study (for suggested lessons, see chapter on Religion and Moral Life). Tent groups under their leader study thoughtfully the meaning of life and the great lessons taught by God through nature. Night after night the boys consciously or unconsciously acquire through this study the requisites of a good camper mentioned in the first part of this chapter.
Campus games, boating, preparation for the bonfire, etc., will occupy the time until dark. Every boy should be engaged in some recreative play, working off whatever surplus energy he may have at hand so that when the time for “turning in” comes, he will be physically tired and ready for bed.
The evening program varies. Some nights there will be a minstrel show, other nights a camp fire, or mock trial, an illustrated talk, or “village school entertainment,” or a play, or a musical evening or “vo-de-ville.” Leave about two nights a week open. The boys prefer to have occasional open evenings when they are free to loaf around, and go to bed early. Plan the evening “stunts” very carefully.