“If Only Parents Understood” (May, 1934)
I’m not a parent, but I still don’t really understand what this is about. I gather that camping is good, and parents think it isn’t?
“If Only Parents Understood”
by Frank S. Hackett
Former President, Camp Directors Association
OUT in the deep woods, under the stars, when boys on their beds of balsam boughs are at last asleep, and the camp fire is just glowing embers, the conversation of the leaders often turns to wondering how parents who have not had this experience could understand the full meaning of it.
Summer camping for boys or girls is chiefly a problem of interpretation. Those men and women who each year enjoy this supreme educational opportunity, realize that nothing else in our whole scheme of training holds such possibilities for permanent enrichment of body, mind, and soul as this experience. Imagine the situation — Eight or ten boys or girls; two vigorous men or women who enjoy camping out through knowing how to do it; the long trail by day through woods, along streams, or up mountains, away from the haunts of men; at twilight, each preparing for the night — tents up, beds down — everything shipshape; and then, the fire, and the meal with its tasty woods’ tang; after that the magic moment of quiet around the fire; the story; and at last, the cheery goodnight.
“The hopes and fears of all the years” come to the surface in this setting. Intimacies are formed which are not conceivable under other circumstances, and life values are established.
Typical of the finest phase of camping — that of “camping out” — this glimpse is the despair of any good camp director in that he realizes that it scarcely suggests similar situations in everyday camp life, through which the very natures of boys and girls are fed and warmed. Talking all this over by the campfire, every thoughtful leader wishes that somehow more families, rich or poor, could gather even a little sense; of how the whole camping experience touches the soul; and always the conversation ends on the same note —
“If only parents could understand”