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Camping For Boys By H. W. Gibson Characters: 17804

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Better to hunt on fields for health unbought

Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.

The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;

God never made his work for man to mend.



A boy should be examined by his family physician before going to camp in order that he may receive the greatest good from the camp life and be safeguarded from physical excess. An examination blank like that shown on the next page is used in many of the large camps. When the boy arrives in camp the physician or physical director examines the boy. Take his height, weight, lung capacity, condition of heart, lungs, condition of muscles, whether hard, medium or soft, and state of digestion. For this purpose you will need a wet spirometer, measuring rod, stethoscope and platform scales. A second blank with carbon duplicate, is kept of every boy.

[Illustration: Wisconsin Boys' Camp Physical Examination Record]

Give dates of first examination on arrival and final examination before departure from camp. The original is given to the boy to take home and the carbon copy is retained by the camp, filed in alphabetical order. Most remarkable gains have been made by boys, particularly in lung capacity, height, and hardening of muscles. The active life of the camp is not conducive as a rule to great gain in weight.

Each tent leader should be given the important facts of the examinations of the boys in his tent, so that there may be intelligent cooperation between the physician, or physical director, the tent leader, and the boy in securing health efficiency.


(Compiled from the measurements of 5,476 school children.)

--Lengths (Inches)-- Age Weight Height Height Span of Breadth Breadth Breadth Sitting Arms Head Chest Waist 16 116.38 64.45 33.55 66.25 5.95 9.85 9.15 15 103.29 62.25 32.15 63.15 5.90 9.30 8.65 14 87.41 59.45 30.70 60.00 5.85 8.95 8.25 13 78.32 57.10 29.60 57.50 5.80 8.70 7.95 12 72.55 55.25 28.95 55.30 5.80 8.50 7.70 11 64.89 53.10 28.20 53.40 5.75 8.25 7.45 10 61.28 51.55 27.60 51.20 5.75 8.00 7.20 9 55.15 49.55 26.80 49.10 5.70 7.80 7.10 8 50.90 47.75 26.00 47.00 5.65 7.65 6.95 7 46.85 45.55 25.20 45.00 5.65 7.45 6.75 6 42.62 43.55 24.20 42.60 5.60 7.25 6.55 5 39.29 41.60 23.30 40.35 5.60 7.15 6.50

Girth Strength

Age Chest Girth of Chest Lung Right Left Vitality

Depth Head Expansion Capacity Forearm Forearm Coefficient

(cu in) Strength Strength

16 6.60 21.55 3.45 191.40 73.28 65.22 35.58

15 6.30 21.45 3.30 161.00 63.47 54.30 26.09

14 5.95 21.30 3.35 140.12 55.81 50.70 21.97

13 5.65 21.10 3.25 123.58 49.69 45.07 18.28

12 5.60 21.00 3.05 111.33 43.29 40.56 15.55

11 5.45 20.85 2.90 100.74 39.09 36.30 13.33

10 5.25 20.60 2.75 90.02 32.42 30.94 10.84

9 5.20 20.65 2.55 81.03 28.91 25.90 9.34

8 5.10 20.55 2.35 70.43 23.38 20.96 7.34

7 5.10 20.45 1.80 60.48 20.19 18.78 5.05

6 5.05 20.25 1.65 50.89 15.36 12.53 4.02

5 4.90 20.15 1.35 40.60 10.76 10.38 2.61

Copyright by Wm. W. Hastings, Ph.D.

Hospital Tent

If a boy is ill (minor aches and pains which are frequently only growing pains, excepted), isolate him from the camp, so that he may have quiet and receive careful attention.

[Illustration: Hospital Tent at Camp Couchiching]

A tent, with fly and board floor, known as the "Hospital Tent" or "Red Cross Tent," should be a part of the camp equipment. There may be no occasion for its use, but it should be ready for any emergency. The physician may have his office in this tent. Boys should not be "coddled;" at the same time it must not be forgotten that good, sympathetic attention and nursing are two-thirds responsible for speedy recovery from most ills.


A spring cot, mattress, pillow, blankets, a good medicine cabinet, alcohol stove for boiling water, cooking food, and sterilizing instruments; pans, white enameled slop jar, pitcher, cup, pail; a table, a folding camp reclining chair (Gold Medal Camp Furniture Company), and a combination camp cot and litter (Gold Medal Brand) will make up the equipment of the tent.

The information and suggestions given in this chapter are the accumulation of many years' experience in boys' camps. The technical information is vouched for by competent physicians who have examined the manuscript.[1]

[Transcriber's Footnote 1: This chapter was written in 1911. Many observations and suggestions are obsolete, if not dangerous or illegal.]

Pulse Rate

Every man in charge of a boys' camp should have a knowledge of certain physiological facts, so as to be able to make a fair diagnosis of pain and disease. The pulse, taken at the wrist, is a fair index of the condition of the body. In taking the pulse-beat, do so with the fingers, and not with the thumb, as the beating of the artery in the thumb may confuse. Pulse rate is modified with age, rest, exercise, position, excitements, and elevation. High elevation produces a more rapid pulse. The normal rate of boys in their teens is about 80 to 84 beats per minute. An increase not accounted for by one of the above reasons usually means fever, a rise of 6 beats in pulse usually being equivalent to a rise of 1 degree. Often more important than the rate, however, is the quality of the pulse. Roughly, the feebler the pulse, the more serious the condition of the individual. Irregularity in the rate may be a serious sign, and when it is noticed a doctor should be immediately called. Failure to find the artery should not necessarily cause uneasiness, as by trying on himself, the director may see that the taking of the pulse is often a difficult undertaking.

The Tongue

The tongue is a very misleading guide to the patient's condition, and no definite rule about its appearance can be laid down. Other signs, such as temperature, general conditions, localization of pain, etc., are more accurate, and to the total result of such observations the appearance of the tongue adds little.


The normal temperature of the human body by mouth is about 98.4 degrees. Variations between 98 degrees and 99 degrees are not necessarily significant of disease. A reliable clinical thermometer should be used. Temperature is generally taken in the mouth. Insert the bulb of the thermometer well under the boy's tongue. Tell him to close his lips, not his teeth, and to breathe through his nose. Leave it in the mouth about three or four minutes. Remove, and, after noting temperature, rinse it in cold water, dry it with a clean, towel, and shake the mercury down to 95 degrees. It will then be ready for use next time. Never return a thermometer to its case unwashed.


Pain is an indication that there is something wrong with the body that should receive attention. Some boys are more sensitive to pain than others, particularly boys of a highly strung, delicate, nervous nature. Most people, however, think too much of their pains. Most pains to which boys fall heir are due to trouble in the stomach or intestines, or to fevers. Many pains that boys feel mean very little. They are often due to a sore or strained muscle or nerve. A hot application or massage will often bring relief.

Sharply localized pain, except as the result of external injury, is not common among healthy boys, and, if found, particularly in the well-known appendix area, and if accompanied by other disquieting signs (temperature, pulse, etc.), should receive medical attention.

In a general way, any abdominal pain that does not yield in 24 hours to rest in bed with application of external heat, should call for the advice of a physician. Any severe attack of vomiting or diarrhea, accompanied by temperature, and not immediately traceable to some indiscretion in diet, is cause for study, and if improvement does not soon show itself, a physician should be called.

Pains in the extremities, particularly joints, if not clearly showing signs of improvement in two or three days, should also be the object of a physician's visit, as a fracture near a joint, if not correctly treated early, may result in permanent deformity.

The camp physician, or director, if he himself assumes the medical responsibilities, should enforce the rule that all boys who do not have a daily movement of the bowels see him, and he should always be ready to receive such cases and give them the necessary treatment.

The drawings by Albert G. Wegener illustrate in a general way what the trouble is when one feels a distinct, persistent pain.

Among healthy boys, in camp, thoracic pains, other than those due to muscular s

train, are uncommon, but when severe, especially if accompanied by a rise of temperature (over 99.5 degrees) and not readily succumbing to rest in bed, should be investigated by a physician.

[Illustration: Sites of Pain.]


The accompanying diagrams indicate what ailment may be looked for if there is a persistent pain. (Adapted from Butler; Diagnosis.)

1. Disease of bone. Tumor or abscess in chest. Weakening of the aorta. Stomach trouble.

2. Catarrh [1], or cancer or ulcer of stomach. Disease of spinal column. Inflammation of pancreas.

3. Lack of blood. Neuralgia of rib nerves. Pneumonia. Enlarged glands. Disease of chest wall. Disease of back-bone. Shingles.

4. Liver disease. Weakness of abdominal aorta. Heart disease.

5. Disease of diaphragm or large intestines.

6. Heart disease. Large intestines. Locomotor ataxia [2].

7. Pleurisy. Violent vomiting. Coughing.

8. Colic. Gravel. Movable kidney. Enlarged spleen. Dyspepsia. Lack of blood. Debility.

9. Sharp abdominal pains indicate the following: Ulcer or cancer of stomach Disease of intestines. Lead colic. Arsenic or mercury poisoning. Floating kidney. Gas in intestines. Clogged intestines. Appendicitis. Inflammation of bowels. Rheumatism of bowels. Hernia. Locomotor ataxia [2]. Pneumonia. Diabetes.

10. Neuralgia. Clogged intestines. Abdominal tumor. Kidney colic. Tumor or abscess of thigh bone. Appendicitis if pain is in right leg.

11. Lack of blood. Hysteria. Epilepsy. Disease of bladder. Nervous breakdown.

12. Foreign substance in ear. Bad teeth. Eye strain. Disease of Jaw bone. Ulcer of tongue.

13. Nervous breakdown. Epilepsy. Tumor or break in brain. Cranial neuralgia. Disease of neck bones. Adenoids. Ear disease. Eye strain. Bad teeth.

14. Spinal trouble.

15. Disease of stomach. Weakening of aorta.

16. Hand and arm pains indicate: Heart disease. Enlarged spleen. Clogged large intestines.

17. Nervous breakdown.

18. Eye strain. Disease of nasal cavity. Lack of blood. Dyspepsia. Constipation. Rheumatism of scalp. Nervous breakdown.

19. Bad teeth. Ear inflammation. Cancer of upper Jaw. Neuralgia of Jaw nerve.

20. Bad teeth. Neuralgia of Jaw nerve.

21. Clogged large intestines. Ulcer of stomach.

22. Lumbago. Neuralgia. Debility. Fatigue. Weakness of abdominal aorta.

23. Girdle sensation indicates disease or injury of spinal cord.

24. Disease of testicles. Excessive sex abuse. Ulcer or cancer rectum. Piles. Disease of hip-joint. Neuralgia. Sciatica.

25. Kidney disease. Neuralgia.

26. Intestines clogged. Cancer or ulcer of rectum. Locomotor ataxia. Abscess in back. Sciatica (if in one leg only).

27. Cramps due to over exercise. Diabetes. Hysteria.

[Transcriber's Footnote 1: Catarrh: Inflammation of mucous membranes in nose and throat.]

[Transcriber's Footnote 2: Ataxia: Loss of coordinated muscular movement.]

Typhoid Fever

The epidemic chiefly to be feared in summer camps is typhoid fever, and boys coming from cities where that disease is prevalent should be carefully watched. Care in sanitation minimizes the likelihood of such a disease springing up in the camp. Other infections, such as mumps, conjunctivitis, etc., should be carefully isolated, and all precautions taken to prevent their spread.

A fairly common event may be toward evening to find a boy with a headache and a temperature perhaps of 102 degrees. This will probably be all right in the morning after a night's rest and perhaps the administration also of a cathartic.

The Dentist

The importance of a visit to the dentist before coming to camp cannot be over-estimated. Every one knows the torture of a toothache, and realizes how unbearable it must be for a boy away from home and among other boys, sympathetic, of course, but busy having a good time, and with only a few patent gums to relieve the misery, and the dentist perhaps not available for two days. Parents cannot have this point too forcibly thrust upon them, as by even a single visit to a competent dentist all the sufferings of toothache may usually be prevented.

Surgical Supplies

The following list of surgical supplies will be found necessary. The quantity must be determined by the size of the camp, and the price by the firm from whom purchased.

Surgical Supplies

One-half dozen assorted gauze bandages, sizes one to three

inches, 10 cents each.

Two yards sterilized plain gauze in carton, 20 cents a yard.

One roll three-inch adhesive plaster, $1.00.

One paper medium size safety pins, 10 cents.

One paper medium size common pins, 5 cents.

Four ounces sterilized absorbent cotton in cartons, 20 cents.

One-half dozen assorted egg-eyed surgeon's needles, straight to

full curve, 50 cents.

One card braided silk ligature, assorted in one card (white), about

30 cents.

One hundred ordinary corrosive sublimate tablets, 25 cents.

Small surgical instrument set, comprising (F. H. Thomas Co.,

Boston, Mass., $3.50).

2 scalpels






One Hypodermic Syringe, all metal, in metal case, $1.50.

One Fountain Syringe (for enemata and ears).

One one-minute clinical thermometer in rubber case, $1.25. Get

best registered instrument.

One number nine soft rubber catheter, 25 cents.

Small bottle collodion[1] with brush.

One-quarter pound Boric acid powder, 25 cents.

Four ounces Boric acid ointment, 50 cents.

One-quarter pound Boric acid crystals, 25 cents. Carbolic Acid,

95 cents.

Hypodermic tablets, cocaine hydro-chlorate, 1-1/8 grain, making

in two drachms sterile water or one per cent solution. (To be

used by Physician only.)

Alcohol, 80 per cent.

Sulpho Napthol.

Iodoform gauze.

Chloroform liniment.

[Transcriber's Footnote 1: collodion: Flammable, colorless or yellowish syrupy solution of pyroxylin, ether, and alcohol, used as an adhesive to close small wounds and hold surgical dressings, in topical medications, and for making photographic plates.]

With the above list the ingenious man can perform practically every surgical operation that he would care to undertake.

For "First Aid" demonstration work you will need a number of Red Cross

Outfits. 25 cents each. (31 cents postpaid.)

Medical Store

(Tablets to be used hypodermically should be used only by a physician.)

Quinine Sulphate, gr. 5. Useful in malarial regions. Give 15-20 gr. at time of expected chill. Better stay away from malarial country. No place for a camp.

Calomel, gr. 1/4, 200 at 10 cents per C. Take one tablet every 30 minutes or every hour, for eight doses in all cases where bowels need thorough cleaning out.

Phenacetine and Salol, of each gr. 2-1/2, 100 at 50 cents per C. One tablet every four hours. For headache and intestinal antisepsis. Dangerous as a depressant to heart.

Dover's Powders, gr. 5, 100 at 50 cents per C. Two tablets at bedtime, in hot water or lemonade, in acute colds. One after each meal may be added.

Dobell's Solution Tablets, 200 at 25 cents per C. One as a gargle in one-half glass hot water every two to four hours in tonsilitis and pharyngitis.

Potassium Bromide, gr. 10, 100 at 25 cents per C. For headache. Best given in solution after meals. May irritate an empty stomach.

Aspirin, gr. 5, 100 at $1.25 per C. One or two every four hours for rheumatism, headache, or general pains and aches.

Compound cathartic pills, 100 at 21 cents per C. Two at night for constipation.

Epsom Salts, four ounces, 5 cents. Two to four teaspoonfuls in hot water before breakfast.

Compound tincture of opium (Squibb), 4 ounces, 50 cents. Teaspoonful after meals for summer diarrhea.

Baking soda. Teaspoonful after meals for "distress."

Morphine Sulphate, gr, 1/4;

Strychnine Sulphate, gr. 1-30; for hypodermics, used by physicians only.

In addition to the above everyone has a stock of "old-fashioned" home remedies. Some of these are described under "Simple Remedies."


"Backwoods Surgery and Medicine"-Charles Stuart Moody, M. D. Outing Publishing Co., New York, 75 cents net. A commonsense book written from experience. It is invaluable to campers.

"Home Treatment and Care of the Sick "-A. Temple Lovering, M.D. Otis Clapp & Son, Boston, $1.50. Full of helpful suggestions.

American Red Cross Abridged Text Book on First Aid (General Edition). American Red Cross Society, Washington, D. C., 30 cents net. Reliable and comprehensive.

Annual Report of the United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps (Free). Office, World Building, New York City. Contains many hints and suggestions.

Boys' Drill Regulations. National First, Aid Association, 6 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 25 cents. A mass of information concerning setting-up drills, litter drills, swimming drill on land, rescue and resuscitation drills, etc.

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