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The Movement Takes Shape.

Editorial: Will Camping Lead or Follow?

Organized camping continued to grow in the 1930s. By 1933, there were 3,485 private and organizational camps, the majority still located in New England. Public opinion was generally positive toward camp, and people were beginning to recognize camp's benefits. Camps were concerned with defining themselves and their role in the educational field.

In 1935, the association officially changed its name to the American Camping Association, Incorporated. For the next several years, the national office was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As a recognized educational agency, organized camping appears to have come of age. Whereas in the past, educators have pointed to the educational possibilities inherent in the scheme, today they are acclaiming it as a successfully functioning institution. Public opinion is for the most part in accord with this view - the recent awakening of wide-spread interest in camping on the part of the public generally is motivated not only by a recognition of its educational contributions. There is a marked demand that these benefits reach a larger percentage of youth. The stage is set as never before for an unprecedented expansion of camping both in numbers and in recognized standing as a vital educational agency.

At first blush the camp director receives these compliments with a glow of satisfaction, a feeling of self-sufficiency, and a confidence in what the future will offer in his cherished field. At second thought, however, the situation becomes sobering - it is fought with many far-reaching questions.

Will camping trail along in the educational field, aping the methods and philosophies of the schools, or will it lead out in the creation of significant approaches of its own which will constitute an original contribution to education?

To date, camping has largely played the role of follower. In the early days, it mimicked the teaching methods of the schools and the administrative and constructional methods of the army. Of late the progressive education movement has found many enthusiastic exponents in camping, and under their leadership the regimentation and compulsion characterizing the camp of yesterday have given way. For the most part, however, this has been an applying to camp of a procedure developed in progressive schools.

It is an accepted fact that the camp setting offers many unique advantages over the existing educational agencies. In the actual lifelike characteristics of the situation, it stands out in delightful relief from the artificiality, formalism, and make-believe of the typical school. The educational opportunities are correspondingly more pronounced. Given such an ideal situation for learning, is it not conceivable that an original and unique philosophy and methodology of education might develop that would form a pattern for other educational agencies? Is it not conceivable that camping might lead in the creation of an educational approach to which others would look for guidance? Indeed, possessed as it is of advantages and opportunities that are denied other agencies, this seems more than conceivable; it seems that such should be the expected result.

New points of view and innovations in technique often await the appearance of a great mind to give them form and expression. However, three conditions are necessary among the rank and file of camp leaders if such a contribution is to be made, and the lack of these have caused educators to fear that organized camping may very easily muff its opportunity:

1. Camp directors who are as uniformly prepared for their educational tasks as are the superintendents, principals, and head masters of schools for theirs.

2. A permanent and complete machinery for research, and an attitude for research on the part of camp directors.

3. An open-minded, progressive, creative attitude of mind on the part of camp directors a dissatisfaction with the old ways, an experimental attitude, and courage to try the new - a buoyant, flowing, youthful, growing attitude of mind.

Organized camping is just beginning to evolve, yet already there are signs of institutionalism and crystallization, all of which means premature stagnation. Smug complacency and self-satisfaction are the first symptoms of stagnation, and stagnation is a characteristic of old age. Youth is growth.

This article first appeared in the January 1937 issue of Camping Magazine.


by "Doc Experience"

* Next season, plan for a series of talks to youth campers on health. Include such topics as: Importance of Posture, Calories and Vitamins, Bathing, Sleep, Training for Life, Energy, How the Brain Affects the Body. Condense each talk to three minutes. Three minutes after the morning meal devoted to these talks would start the day right.

* Physicians generally advise but one swimming period of twenty minutes. Much of the "tired feeling" is due to being in the water too often and too long each day.

* Nature's three disinfectants are soil, sunshine, and fire. Burn out garbage cans by spraying with kerosene, then apply the match.

* Unclean dish towels are a camp menace to health. Well-organized camps now have mechanical washing machines and dryers. This is in line with good health.

* Utensils used for milk should first be rinsed with cold water, then washed with warm water and washing powder, and finally rinsed with scalding hot water, thoroughly drained and allowed to become cold before being filled with milk.

These tips first appeared in the November 1930 issue of Camping Magazine.
COPYRIGHT 1999 American Camping Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes related article on camping health tips; reprinted from January 1937 issue of Camping Magazine
Author:Mason, Bernard S.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 1999
Previous Article:The Emergence of the Camping Movement.
Next Article:Camping in the War Years.

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