MoboReader > Literature > Camping For Boys


Camping For Boys By H. W. Gibson Characters: 11807

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


We knew it would rain for the poplars showed

The white of their leaves, and amber grain

Shrunk in the wind and the lightning now

Is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain.


Rainy days break the monotony of continuous sunshiny days. There is nothing that is so fascinating to a boy in camp as listening to the patter of the rain drops upon the roof of his canvas house, especially at night, if he is snug and warm in his blankets and the tent is waterproof. A rainy day is the kind of a day when the chess and checker enthusiasts get together. Games are rescued from the bottom of the trunk or box. Ponchos and rubber boots are now in popular favor. Thunder and lightning but add to the boys' enjoyment. What indescribable excitement there is in the shivers and shudders caused by an extra flash of lightning or a double fortissimo roll of thunder! There is also the delight, of playing in the puddles of water and wearing a bathing suit and enjoying a real shower bath.

To some boys it is repair day, rips are sewed up, buttons sewed on clothing, and for the initiated, the darning of socks. In camps with permanent buildings a big log fire roars in the fireplace, the boys sprawl on the floor with their faces toward the fire, and while the rain plays a tattoo[1] upon the roof some one reads aloud an interesting story, such as "Treasure Island," "The Shadowless Man," "The Bishop's Shadow," or the chapters on "The Beneficent Rain" and "When the Dew Falls," from Jean M. Thompson's book, "Water Wonders." It all depends upon one's viewpoint whether rainy days are delightful or disagreeable.

[Transcriber's Footnote 1: Signal on a drum or bugle to summon soldiers to their quarters at night. Continuous, even drumming or rapping.]

Surplus Energy

Boys are barometers. Restlessness is usually a sign of an approaching storm. The wise leader senses the situation and begins preparing his plans. If the rain is from the east and comes drizzling down, better plan a several day program, for after the excitement of the first few hours' rain, the boys begin to loll around, lie on the cots, or hang around the kitchen and develop a disease known as "Grouchitis." During the first stages of the disease the boys are inactive and accumulate an over-supply of energy, which must find an outlet. Here is where the leader plays an important part in handling the case; he provides an outlet for the expenditure of this surplus energy by planning games demanding use of muscle and the expenditure of energy and noise. The big mess tent, or dining hall, is cleared and romping games are organized.

The games suggested are adapted for rainy days and selected from a catalogue of several hundred games.


Few sports are better calculated than a potato joust to amuse boys on rainy days. It has all the joys of a combat, and yet, try as he will, there is no possibility for any boy to become rough.

Potato Joust

In the potato joust each warrior is armed with a fork, on the end of which is a potato. The combatants take their position in the center of the playroom, facing each other. They should be separated by not less than three feet. Each must lift a leg from the floor (see illustration, next page). The fighters may use their own discretion as to which leg shall be lifted from the floor and may hold it up with either hand they prefer. A small cushion placed under the knee will add materially to the comfort of the contestants.

The battle is decided by one of the warriors knocking the potato from his opponent's fork. Toppling over three times is also counted as defeat. If one of the knights is obliged to let go of his foot in order to keep his balance it is counted as a fall. Every time the battle is interrupted in this way, either of the contestants is at liberty to change the foot he is resting upon. If one of the warriors falls against the other and upsets him, it is counted against the one who is responsible for the tumble.

You are not likely to realize on your first introduction to a potato joust the amount of skill and practice required to really become expert in handling the fork. A slight turn of the wrist, a quick push and the practised knight will defeat the novice so deftly, so easily that you are amazed.

Move your fork as little as possible; long sweeping strokes are more likely to throw off your own potato than to interfere with that of your opponent.

The most dangerous stroke is one from underneath; always maneuver to keep your potato below that of your antagonist.

[Illustration: Handkerchief Tussle; Potato Joust]

Handkerchief Tussle

Study the illustration and see if you can discover a way for the boys to get apart. To make it really exciting, a number of couples should be set going at once, and a "second" on ice cream offered to the pair who get apart first. To separate, the boys have only to push the center of one of the handkerchiefs under the loop made by the other handkerchief when it was tied about the wrist, and then carry the loop over the hand.

Rough-house is the expression used by the boy of today when he is describing a general scuffle, and he always smacks his lips over the word. But rough-house has its disadvantages, as many sprains and bruises can testify, and if the same amount of fun may be had from less trying amusement, an amusement, say, which is quite as energetic and quite as exciting, the boy of today will certainly adopt it in preference to rough-house.

[Illustration: A Terrier Fight]

Terrier Figh

A terrier fight is exciting, and it is funny-it is also energetic-and victory depends quite as much upon the skill of the f

ighter as upon his strength. Furthermore a terrier fight is not brutal. No boy will hurt himself while engaged in this sport. Two boys are placed facing each other in the center of the room, hands clasped beneath the knees and a stick just under the elbows, as shown. Each contestant endeavors to push the other over; but as it requires considerable attention to keep the balance at all when in this position, the attack is no easy matter.

To give way suddenly is a maneuver almost sure to upset your adversary, but unfortunately it is very apt to upset you at the same time and only after considerable practice will you be able to overcome a man in this way. The pivot, a sudden swing to the right or left is safer, though not quite as effective. Always remember that the best terrier fighter invariably makes his opponent throw himself. Give way at some unexpected point, and unless he is a skilful man, he is sure to go over. Never try a hard push except in the last extremity when everything else has failed.

A terrier fight consists of three one-minute rounds, with thirty seconds' rest between each round. The one scoring the largest number of falls during the time set is accounted the winner.

Circle Ball

A large circle of players throw a lawn tennis ball at one in the center. The object of the player in the center is to remain "in" as long as possible without being hit. If he catches the ball in his hands it does not count as a hit. Whoever hits him with the ball takes his place. The player who remains "in" longest wins.

Leg Wrestle

Lie down on the back, side by side, by twos, the feet of each boy of a two being beside the other boy's head. At the word "Go!" each brings the leg nearest his opponent at right angles with his body and then lowers it. This may be done twice or three times, but the last time the leg is raised he should catch his opponent's and endeavor to roll him over, which is a defeat.

Hand Wrestling

Take hold of each other's right or left hand and spread the feet so as to get a good base. At the word "Go!" each one endeavors to force his opponent to lose his balance, so as to move one of his feet. This constitutes a throw. The opponent's arm is forced quickly down or backward and then drawn out to the side directly away from him, thus making him lose his balance. The one moving his foot or touching his hand or any part of his body to the floor, so as to get a better base, is thrown. The throw must be made with the hand. It is thus not rulable to push with the head, shoulder or elbow.

Rooster Fight

The combatants are arranged facing each other in two front, open ranks. The first two "opposites" at either or both ends, or if the floor is large enough all the opposites, may combat at the same time. The boys should fold their arms forward, and hop toward each other on one leg. The butting is done with the shoulder and upper arm, and never with the elbow, and the arm must remain folded throughout the combat. When the two adversaries meet, each attempts to push the other over, or make him touch to the floor the foot that is raised. When all have fought, the winners arrange themselves in two opposing ranks and renew the combat. This is done, until but one remains, and he is declared the victor.

Shoe and Sweater Race

The sweaters are placed at the opposite ends of the room. The boys start with their shoes (or sneakers) on (laces out). A line is drawn in the middle of the room; here the contestants sit down and pull off their shoes (or sneakers), run to the sweaters and put them on. On the return trip they put their shoes on and finish with both shoes and sweaters on.

Peanut Relay Race

Boys are lined up in two columns, as in ordinary relay races. For each column two chairs are placed a convenient distance apart, facing one another, with a knife and a bowl half full of peanuts on one, and an empty bowl on the other. At the proper word of command the first boy on each side takes the knife, picks up a peanut with it, and carries the peanut on the knife to the farther bowl; upon his return the second boy does the same and so on. The second boy cannot leave until the first has deposited his peanut in the empty bowl, and has returned with the knife. Peanuts dropped must be picked up with the knife. Fingers must not be used either in putting the peanut on the knife or holding it there. The side, every member of which first makes the round, wins.


You can't stand for five minutes without moving, if you are blindfolded.

You can't stand at the side of a room with both of your feet touching the wainscoting lengthwise.

You can't get out of a chair without bending your body forward or putting your feet under it, that is, if you are sitting squarely on the chair and not on the edge of it.

You can't crush an egg when placed lengthwise between your hands, that is, if the egg is sound and has the ordinary shell of a hen's egg.

You can't break a match if the match is laid across the nail of the middle finger of either hand and pressed upon by the first and third fingers of that hand, despite its seeming so easy at first sight.


Social Activities for Men and Boys-A. M. Chesley. Association Press, $1.00. 295 ideas, games, socials and helpful suggestions. A gold mine for one dollar.

Games for Everybody-May C. Hofman. Dodge Publishing Co., 50 cents. 200 pages of rare fun.

Education by Play and Games-G. E. Johnson. Ginn and Company, 90 cents. A discussion of the meaning of play. Contains also a number of good games, graded according to ages or periods of child life.

Play-Emmett D. Angell. Little, Brown and Company, $1.50 net. A very practical book, containing instruction for planning more than one hundred games, including eight games in the water.

[Illustration: "Hiawatha," Presented by the Boys-Camp Becket]

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top