The Boy Scout movement has appealed to me from the very first as a long step in the right direction. It stands for an organized boyhood on a world-wide plan. It has in it the essentials for a stronger and better manhood, based on character building and physical development. Clear and clean thinking and self-reliance are its fundamental principles. Its weakness has been and is the difficulty in securing leaders, men with an understanding of and sympathy with boys, who can give the necessary time to active work in the field with the patrols, and who are themselves sufficiently versed in the lore of the woods and fields.
For years, before ever the Boy Scouts were organized, I had dreamed of a woodcraft camp for boys, a camp which in its appointments and surroundings should make constant appeal to the imagination of red-blooded, adventure-loving boys, and which should at the same time be a true " school of the woods " wherein woodcraft and the ways of nature should be taught along much the same lines as those on which the Boy Scout movement is founded.
In this and succeeding volumes, " The Boy Scouts on Swift River," " The Boy Scouts on Lost Trail," " The Boy Scouts in a Trapper's Camp," I have sought to portray the life of such a school camp under Boy Scout rules. " The Boy Scouts of Woodcraft Camp " has been written with a twofold purpose: To stimulate on the part of every one of my boy readers a desire to master for himself the mysteries of nature's great out-of-doors, the secrets of field and wood and stream, and to show by example what the Boy Scout's oath means in the development of character. Many of the incidents in the succeeding pages are drawn from my own experiences. And if, because of reading this story, one more boy is led to the Shrine of the Hemlock, there to inhale the pungent incense from a camp-fire and to master the art of tossing a flapjack, I shall feel that I have not written in vain.