Dan Beard, who was once famous the world over as the founder of the scouting movement in America, had a passion. It was to get boys off their duffs and into the outdoors. He realized he had to make the outdoors fun, to load it with activities and projects, to offer real-life solutions to real-life problems. He was as accomplished an artist as a writer, and in this clas-sic, probably his favorite among his many books, he takes boys on a camping trip and instructs them in the art of building a fireplace and lighting a fire, designing a campsite, cooking flapjacks (not to mention muskrats and por-cupines), packing a trail horse, pitching a tent and handling an axe. His texts were successful, and continue to be successful, because they threw boys back to their own devices, encouraged initiatives, and gave a convincing argument that the outdoors provided excitement and could be enjoyed by anyone who took the time to prepare. As Beard exhorted, "So, Boys of the Open, throw aside your new rackets, your croquet mallets, and your boiled shirts. Pull on your buckskin leggings, give a war whoop and be what God intended you should be; healthy wholesome boys. This great Republic belongs to you and so does this book." To which we can only say, "Amen!"
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