This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
Camping for rural boys involves a few special problems. Planting, cultivating and harvest times have to be avoided. Home chores often represent a continuing responsibility-after all, cows must be milked and the stock must be fed. As a result the all-year short term camp near home and coming oftener is especially adapted. Camping may be by Tribe, Troop, Patrol, Father and son with a Lone Scout combination. Home place or wood lot camping by Lone Scouts has proven valuable and enjoyable. Camping and rendering service at county and state fairs offer double benefits.
The camping experience for the rural boys needs to offer novelty, a new experience-if possible, the chance for associations with others-health and safety and sanitation experience that may carry over into the practices of the farm-recreation is important- and relaxation as contrasted with much muscular activity. In this last particular, the country boy's needs are quite the reverse of that of the city boy. The camping program should reflect this. In large area councils where distances are great, district camps are necessary. To meet this distance problem, the camp on wheels has been developed to operate at one point, then like the old circus it packs up and moves many miles to serve another neighborhood of boys.
The camp program will vary with the locality, the experience of the leader and of the Scout group itself. Limitations of site and facilities will also influence program to a degree. Yet it is the business of the District Camping Committee to see that Scout Leaders are trained in camping so that there is a sound working minimum below which no Scout's camp experience will fall. The Handbooks and special literature of the Movement contains ample details for achieving this.
The following principles, however, seem worthy of constant re-emphasis:
1. THE CAMP PROGRAM MUST START WITH ITS CAMPERS-their experience, skills, interests, available .time with rural boys. It must start where they are.
2. CAMPING MUST BE ENJOYED. While it involves training, it must be made attractive.
3. CAMPERS SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN PLANNING, thus carrying the Patrol organized group philosophy into camp.
4. CAMPING SHOULD BE ADVENTUROUS YET SAFE, safety through skill-adventurously safe, through planning which foresees difficulties.
5. CAMPING SHOULD BE RESTFUL as well as invigorating. Its program should not be too strenuous and should be individualized as needed.
6. CAMP ACTIVITIES SHOULD BE PLANNED, that they may be balanced. They should include the ten items here cited: a. REGULAR HOURS designed for meals, sleep, work, free time, swimming and the Game of Scouting.
b. SWIMMING AND WATER PROGRAM which develops in boys skill, resourcefulness, responsibility and the ability to help others.
c. SCOUTCRAFT taught through activities instead of classroom method.
d. HANDICRAFTS applied to making useful articles and equipment that furthers interest in good camping.
e. NATURE LORE developed by actual field practice.
f. WOODSMANSHIP taught on hikes and outpost camps in a manner that gives practice in Second and First Class Scout requirements.
g. PATRIOTIC AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES in harmony with Scouting.
h. CAMPFIRE AND GROUP ENTERTAINMENT programs in which campers take an active part.
i. ROLL CALL or definite check-up twice daily.
j. DAILY INSPECTION covering health, sanitation, sleeping quarters, personal cleanliness, equipment and grounds.
While the District Camping and Activities Committee is responsible for the whole outdoor program of the district, under the council plan-yet the committee should keep clearly in mind that Scouts do camping as a Troop, Tribe or Neighborhood Patrol under council general oversight-but that Cubs do their "outdooring" and "back-yarding" at or near home under family and neighborhood auspices. This greatly simplifies the council's responsibility. As set forth in Cub Handbooks, day camping and outings are used, preferably under family direction.
Increasingly, the district has been developing District Rallies, Camporees, Merit Badge Shows, Circuses and other public events. For the large council embracing several counties, the district or county is the necessary unit because of the distance factor.
THRESHING WHEAT IN MICHIGAN
One of the duties of this District Committee on Camping and Activities is to develop an annual plan for special district events such as Rallies, Demonstrations, Anniversary Week Celebrations, Merit Badge Expositions or Shows, Camporees, Circuses-timing these into the district calendar. Certain of these might cover every year, some every two, some every three years as desired. The Local Council doubtless has available the special literature and suggestions for running such events, as issued by the National Service of Camping and Activities. (See Chapter XXVII (Community Events In Rural Areas).)
Civic Service is a third responsibility of this committee. It surveys civic service opportunities in the district as a means of encouraging Scouts to do things for their home, institutions and communities. The needs here revealed must be integrated with the Council-wi'de (Regional and nation-wide) service opportunities.
Such helpfulness in the case of a Lone Scout starts in his home, church and school-in his immediate environment.
For a Neighborhood Patrol, there are first the neighborhood opportunities. For a Troop, the sponsoring institution constitutes a natural initial opportunity.
The projects suited to Cubs probably will be restricted somewhat to immediate neighborhoods and homes.
This same District Committee should receive all requests for district service, dealing with these in consultation with the Area Council Camping and Activities Committee, and in accordance with the council-wide policies of that committee.
Another opportunity of a District Committee is to encourage the consistent effort of Scouts to do "Good Turns" as individuals in their every day contacts with the people whom they meet. This they can further through the training courses and through the District Commissioners' Staff in particular. (See Chapter XXV (Civic Service For Rural Scouts) -"Civic Service for Rural Scouts.")