WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE GET TOGETHER 185
What, then, is the bearing of this on life and youth to-day? Very real it is. If I were going to train a seal for a performance, I should not balance that seal on the top of a step-ladder. If I were going to train a billy goat, I should not put him in a tank—that is, I should place each in the surroundings that developed its peculiar powers, in which it is most at home; and thus I would get the best response out of each. That is my point. Because Woodcraft made man out of brute material in the beginning, it is the natural course to be followed in the development of the young. It utilizes the ready made energy of their instincts. It wins their interest from the beginning. The four well-marked stages should be followed—the physical, the all-round sound body; the mental, which was nursed in the form of hunter's cunning; the social, which began in loyalty to the gang and team play for successful hunting; and, last, the purely spiritual, which found its visible symbol in the fire.
These are the four departments of human development; and any educational plan that ignores any one of them is doomed to failure.
This is the whole doctrine of Woodcraft: aim at the foursquare character development in masterful contact with the world about us, with as much outdoor life as possible; remembering that to-day, as in the beginning, Woodcraft was merely overcoming the daily obstacles of ordinary life.
The Practice of Woodcraft
In actual practice, when introducing the Woodcraft idea to a new group of young people, the first thing is to establish a council ring with a fire, or at least a symbol of the fire, in the middle. If the leader sits as one of this council ring with all in it, then all are friends, and quickly respond, when called on to do their part; whereas, if the other plan of platform and audience is used, it establishes two camps, more or less hostile.
In the council ring, the decorum of debate is enforced. It gives dignity to the proceedings, and is, in itself, high training.