Sunday in a boys’ camp should be observed by the holding of a service in the morning, with song, scripture reading, prayer and a short talk. The afternoon is usually occupied by letter writing, Bible study, or reading, the day closing with a vesper service in the evening just as the sun is setting. Boisterousness should not be encouraged. Unnatural restraint, however, is contrary to the spirit of the day. The day should be different from other days. Many camp boys date their first real awakening to the best and highest things in life from a Sunday spent in camp.
Every real camper has experienced a Sunday similar to this one described by Howard Henderson. “A quiet Sunday in the deep woods is a golden day to be remembered for many a year. All nature combines to assist the camper in directing his thoughts to the great Author of all the beauty that he beholds. ’The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.’ The trees under which one reclines rear their heads heavenward, pointing their spire-like minarets far up toward the blue-vaulted roof. It inspires the very soul to worship in these unbuilt cathedrals with wilderness of aisle and pillars, which for elegance and beauty have never been equalled by the architects of any age. And the music of the trees combined with the notes of the bird songsters, give a joy which is unknown in listening to a city choir.”
The Bible becomes a new book to boys when studied under such an environment. As one boy wrote home to his father after a Sunday spent in a camp where Sunday was observed in this manner, “Dad, it is so different here, from a Sunday at home; I understood the talk and the Bible study was great; it was a bully day!”
The following Bible course was worked out by the author and has been used in scores of boys’ camps. These lessons were taught to groups of boys at eventide when nature seemed to quiet down and the boys were most responsive to good, sensible suggestion. The camp was divided into tent groups, each group being taught by their leader or an exchange leader, one group occupying a big rock, another the “Crow’s Nest,” or “Tree House,” another getting together under a big tree, another in their tent. No leader was permitted to take more than twenty minutes for the lesson. It is unwise to take twenty minutes for what could be said in ten minutes. The boys all had a chance to take part in the discussion. Each lesson was opened and closed with prayer, many of the boys participating in volunteer prayer. In teaching a lesson don’t spend too much time in description unless you have the rare gift of being able to make your scene live before your hearers. Talk plainly and to the point. Naturalness should characterize each lesson. Boys hate cant and apologies and lack of definiteness. Your best illustrations will be drawn from the life of the camp and from nature.
[Transcriber’s Footnote 1: Monotonous talk filled with platitudes. Hypocritically pious language.]