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Evening begins in the winter camp at about 4:30 or 5:00.  After the day's vigorous activities in the open air, the warmth of the fire will make the boys drowsy as early as 8:30 or 9:00.  But the intervening hours between the finish of dinner and bed time must be filled.  No open-air council fire, with pageants and stunts can be held as in a summer camp, except occasionally on mild Autumn or Spring evenings. 

Entertainment must often be put on in limited area, a Troop cabin, or even in a tent.  Make the fire the center of the entertainment.  Feature songs, telling stories, and reading aloud.  

Winter equipment is usually so bulky that there is little opportunity to transport musical instruments.  Many Troops, however, boast of an artist on the harmonica, an instrument that adds little to the weight of pack.  This is one time his efforts will be appreciated.  

Do not make the mistake of planning nothing but entertainment, however.  In the hour after dinner, before the Scouts are too sleepy, encourage handicraft projects: carpentry, whittling , tin can craft, if space permits, improvised tools of various sorts that the boys' ingenuity will suggest, etc. 

This can be made a most interesting period.  Strong leadership will prevent rowdy behavior, which may develop following a day spent in the open, when vigorous young bodies are suddenly cooped up in limited space. 

Evening Variety 

It adds a great deal to the experience of camping when plans are made to have a different feature each night, holding certain things in reserve in case the camp should be weather bound for an entire day.  In all such programs, noise of some sort will naturally have a prominent place.  Noise, organized and skillfully used, will put some life back into the most dejected bunch of boys or men, and call back interest which has begun to lag. 

The most elementary form of noise is the "Scout Yell."  Snapping "Yells" made up to fit special persons and occasions are especially in order.  Cheer the cook after an unusually good meal, the Performers of a good stunt, the guests at special gatherings, the winners of Scout games and other anybody who is for the moment the central figure.  Don't yell just to make a noise but because the occasion calls for it. 

Singing also is popular around the fire, one voice or more will start up spontaneously and song after song will follow: the best of the current hits, the old favorites and nonsense songs with more sound than sense, gradually turning to "Swanee River" and other quieter songs with "harmony."   The Boy Scout Song Book is the camp leader's friend. 

One night may be devoted to a "stunt" program, each number being prepared in secret with keen rivalry as to the best and funniest. 


Various games and contests will prove interesting if carried on as a tournament from night to night or through out a stormy day.  Championships in checkers, chess or some popular board game may be decided the last night of camp.  

The campfire gathering is also the natural place for story-telling.  The boys enter with great zest into a story-telling contest, through which the Scoutmaster gains important and often unexpected information as to his boys' abilities and tastes.  The story is the best vehicle, excepting only force of example, for instilling proper standards of conduct and inspiring ideals. 

In preparation for the short-term camp, where a book might add too much weight to the pack, cut choice selections from magazines, and put in stout manila envelopes. Two or three of these are easy to carry. 

Good material for story telling can be found in the Grecian and Northern myths and hero-tales, the stories of King Arthur, Roland and other folk heroics, in such collections of American Indian legends as G. B. Grinnell's Black Feet Indian Stories and The Punishment of the Stingy, not to mention historical sources and the Arabian Nights.

See Also: 

William Hillcourt on Scout Yells

William Hillcourt on Story Telling

Ernest Thompson Seton on Story Telling

F. Haydon Dimmock's Good Story Telling

A. E. Hamilton's Stories by Firelight and Emberglow

Outdoor Night Scouting Games by Graham Thomson

Building Traditional Winter Cabins & Other Shelters

And Additional Links Below:






Additional Information:

Campfire Programs ] Handicraft ] Star Study ] Whittling ]

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Winter Games ] Snowball Warfare ] Skate Sailing ] Woods in Winter ] Snowmen ] Snow Statuary ] Ice Fishing ] Skating ] [ Evening Entertainment ] Winter Projects ] Advancement ] Polar Bear Swim ] Snow & Ice ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Winter Camp ] Activities & Recreation ] Food & Water ] Gear & Clothing ] Health & Safety ] Sleep & Shelter ] Travel & Navigation ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.