Form a Boy's Club
By Dan Beard
How to Form a Boys' Club, Build a Boys' Clubhouse, or Organize and Erect a Fort for the Sons of Daniel Boone.
No self-respecting lad wants to seek the assistance of older people when he desires to form a boys' club, and there is no reason why he should not go about it himself; but to do this a certain amount of knowledge of what is called parliamentary law is necessary.
Parliamentary law is the big name which grown-up boys have given to the rules for conducting public or private meetings. A little knowledge of these rules will enable any boy to start a club and run the meetings in an orderly manner, for every boy knows that when he gets a crowd of his fellows together to try to do anything they all shout at once. But every boy probably does not know that a crowd of men will act in the same manner, and consequently the men have made certain laws or rules to do away with the confusion of an unorganized mob.
In the first place the meeting must have a chairman to preside over it; he is known as the temporary chairman. As a rule, the person sending out a call or invitations to at- tend a meeting acts as chairman until the regular officers are elected. It saves time if the chairman immediately appoints a temporary secretary, known as the secretary pro tem., and furnishes him with the paper and pencil to keep a record of all the business transacted. It is customary for the chairman then to arise and tell why the meeting was called and what it is expected to do toward making a permanent organization. The next thing in order is the election of the permanent officers of the Club, Society, Stockade, or Fort.
Any one on the floor may stand up and name whom he pleases as a candidate for the presidency of the club, but it is not a nomination until the name is seconded by some one else on the floor. If there is no good reason to the contrary, the polite and gentlemanly thing to do is to nominate the temporary chairman for the presidency. But when there are a number of nominations made and seconded, the chairman must appoint two election officers called tellers. The secretary pro tem. furnishes the tellers with some blank paper torn or cut in slips, and the tellers pass these around to the members present, so that each one may write upon the paper the name of their choice for president.
The papers are then collected by the two tellers, who pass around their hats for the ballots, which are taken to the table in front of the chairman, unfolded, and sorted out in separate piles. Thus all the votes for Sammy Pretlow, for instance, are put in one pile, the votes for Eddie Ward in another, and the ballots for Sam Kyle in another pile. After this the ballots or votes are counted, and then the chairman raps on the table for attention and cries: "The meeting will now come to order and listen to the report of the tellers."
One of the tellers arises and makes the announcement in this manner: "There are twenty-three votes cast, of which Eddie Ward gets five, Sammy Pretlow eight, and Sammy Kyle ten. Sam Kyle is elected." As soon as the result is announced, it will be the "square thing" for some one of the boys who have voted for one of the defeated candidates to stand up and say, "I move that the vote for Sam Kyle be made unanimous." This should be seconded by another lad.
The chairman puts the motion in this way: "It is moved and seconded that Sam Kyle's election be made unanimous; those in favor say `Aye'; contrary `No."' When this is done all should say "Aye," so that the secretary may record the fact that Sam Kyle is unanimously elected president of the club.
After this the other officers of the club, usually a vice-president, secretary, and treasurer, are elected in the same manner.
When all the offices are filled some one of the boys stands up and makes a motion in this manner: "Mr. Chairman, I move that Lerdum Benton and Efef Woodall be appointed a committee of two to escort the president to the chair." When the motion is seconded the committee link arms with the new president, one on each side of him, and escort him to the chair; the temporary chairman and secretary stand up to receive him. The other officers may also be escorted to their chairs in like manner. Then three cheers may be given for the officers and the club yell for the organization.
A committee is now appointed by the chairman to draw up a constitution and by-laws for the club, to report at the next meeting, when the constitution may be adopted by the club, as written, or may be then altered as they may see fit. If the club formed is a Stockade of THE BOY PIONEERS Or a FORT OF THE SONS OF DANIEL BOONE, they may adopt the constitution as printed in the next chapter.
These are the newest and the most popular forms of boys' clubs, because they are not only out-door clubs, what-to-do-and-how-to-do-it clubs, but are also built upon such elastic lines that the members may be scholars, athletes, base-ball, foot-ball, or la crosse players, and hunters, fishermen, naturalists, or scientists, and in all these lines win honors in the organization. The Boy Pioneers or Sons of Daniel Boone are societies which not only appeal to the boys themselves, but have the unqualified approval of their guardians, parents, and teachers.
The grown-up people in our great country and in other lands have all sorts of mollycoddle societies, the members of which try to bolster themselves up and cover up their own shortcomings by relying upon what their ancestors did some time or another. But the Boy Pioneers and the Sons of Daniel Boone are composed of boys with all sorts of ancestors. The S. D. B. do not ask how your grandfather was born or what he did, his official title or the social position he occupied. Our clubs believe in allowing our old forefathers to personally have all the glory or all the disgrace to which they may be entitled, and our boys claim the same privilege far themselves.
But the Boy Pioneers or the Sons of Daniel Boone will never suffer disgrace, because they believe in the high ideals of such old-fashioned Americans as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and they also believe in the vigorous life that helped make these strong men what they were.
The clubs are composed of
Of course my readers know all about Daniel Boone, the mighty hunter, explorer, and builder of our middle western empire, and also about the other brave pioneers and woodsmen who, while hunting, fishing, trapping, and fighting Indians, prepared the way for the settlers and farmers in the wilderness, made new States, and added new stars to our flag.
All these pioneers knew how to use their hands, feet, brains, and their five senses. They were men who could do things and did do things; they were quick in thought and action. Had they been slow, dull, or incapable, their scalps would have decorated some Indian wigwam and their bodies been food for the wild beasts. There is perhaps no boy of any nationality, with red blood in his veins, who would not like to be able to do the same things.
Fortunately it is no longer necessary for us to fight Indians; our duty to the red man of to-day is to help him all we can; but there are still the woods, the fields, the forests, the streams, and vigorous out-door sport, and also thousands of delightful secrets of nature for us to discover.
The Sons of Daniel Boone play American games and enjoy the original sports described in this the Founder's book. They enter into athletic contests with other Forts and outside boys' organizations. They celebrate national and local festivals with appropriate ceremonies. They also parade in full costume, with all the regalia of the order, on the birthdays of the pioneers.
A Fort in the United States should be named after some celebrated early American hero, hunter, explorer, naturalist, or scout, and Forts in British-America should be named after some Canadian border hero. The Fort's name should appear at the head of all letters written on club business.
All club meetings should be held in some chosen place called the Fort or Stockade. The Founder fully describes in this and his other books how to build Forts to suit different conditions. Meetings should be conducted in accordance with parliamentary law.
Whenever a new member has been elected he must be made to stand up in the council-room and listen to the reading of the constitution by Davy Crockett. After initiation each newly-elected tenderfoot must stand and listen to Davy Crockett read the pledge (Article IX). When he has read No. 1, the tenderfoot must say, "I will," and so on down to No. 7. At the end he must say, "I will sign the constitution, and upon my word and sacred honor I will keep the pledge."
Remember, a newly elected candidate is a tenderfoot until he has proven himself worthy of being a scout and is voted on by a majority vote of the Fort. Daniel Boone can then confer the title upon him by calling him up before the council and congratulating him and saying, as he shakes hands, "I now confer upon you the full title of scout." After that each officer in turn congratulates the new scout, and following them the members do the same.
Notes and Suggestions
The librarian (Audubon) of each Fort should have in his possession a copy of this, the official book of the order.
It is advisable that the Fort gradually get together a small library of out-door books, such as the author's "Field and Forest Handy Book," "Outdoor Handy Book," "American Boys' Handy Book," and the " Jack of All Trades."
In small clubs the number of officers may be reduced to three, one member acting as President and Forester, a second as Secretary, Treasurer, and Keeper of the Tally Gun, and the third as Librarian.
In the Sons of Daniel Boone the charter members are all known as scouts. In place of saying "Mr. President," the Boone boys say, "Daniel Boone, I move, etc." Daniel Boone acts as President, Audubon, the librarian, as Vice President. The Vice-President, as the reader knows, acts as President during the absence of the latter.
Daniel Boone, on the field, ranks as captain, Kenton as first lieutenant, Davy Crockett as second lieutenant, Kit Carson as third lieutenant, and Audubon and Johnny Appleseed as aides-de-camp for Boone. The officers all together form the Board of Managers for the Fort.
Now that you know how to form a club for any purpose, a Stockade of Boy Pioneers or a Fort of S. D. B.'s, we must put our heads together and devise a plan for a private clubhouse, a Stockade, or a Fort, where we may hold our meetings without fear of interference from rank outsiders.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.