Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Fathers and Sons Outings, 1926

Fathers and Sons Outings, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 22, 2011

The Mormon tradition of Fathers and Sons Outings was solidified in the 1920s under the auspices of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association. Reproduced here is the full text of the 1926 manual (the photos in that manual, except for the cover, could not be reproduced – I have access only to a negative microfilm copy).

Have you been on many Fathers and Sons Outings? Are they as well planned, with goals as clear as those here? Comments on the eats? the songs? the activities?


Fathers and Sons outings offer great opportunity for fellowship and companionship between father and son. The great out-of-doors is a natural setting in which this purpose may be best accomplished. While the period is very brief, lasting perhaps from three to ten days, yet because of the close relationships which it brings – in sleeping, eating, hiking, playing, fishing, enjoying one another – great opportunities are offered for the formation of lasting friendships.

From reports submitted to our office, we are pleased to learn that presidents of stakes and others who have attended successful Fathers and Sons outings are unanimously enthusiastic in their approval of such gatherings. Every father and son in the Church should be privileged to secure the thrill and pleasure associated with these organized excursions.

The camp-fire period is a real opportunity for spiritual growth. Great care should be taken to make the program really worth-while. When father and son sit on the same log by the campfire, a warmth of real companionship is established. The hour is a sacred one for the person who is called to take part on this program. Of course, it is understood that there shall be opportunities for fun as well as for serious thought.

In these outings a father has many opportunities to become better acquainted with his son, to get a better understanding. It may be his privilege at this time to tell his son the great story of life, and counsel with him about the pit-falls that might prove dangerous and in some instances fatal, if warning and counsel have not been given. It may also give opportunity for a father to gain better cooperation with his son in relation to their home duties, the care of the farm or the business. The son may have a chance to tell his father of his great appreciation for his leadership and companionship in life. The outing may also give him an opportunity to counsel with his father and get his advice on many serious problems pertaining to his life’s work – his schooling, his courtship, proposed mission, his financial adventures, his vocation.

The idea of a Fathers and Sons outing is fundamental. Every boy has a natural desire to go to places, to see things, to get out of doors into the big world. This is the great environmental urge. It is the call of the open spaces, of the towering peaks, of the lakes and streams and the woods. it is the lure of the long trail, the desire to explore, the urge to discover God’s great wonderland!


“Oh, not merely that they keep your appetite appeased, your body clothed, and a few stray jitneys in your jeans – those are mere incidentals after all. Be thankful that you have a father who is counting on you to make good and backing you at every turn.

“You may think he is a bit severe at times and that he doesn’t understand, or even that he doesn’t care, but don’t fool yourself, for he does. He may be a bit bashful about talking intimate things with you, but that’s because you make it hard. Every time you do something worthwhile, he swells up with pride, and points and says, ‘My boy – some lad, eh?’ And every time you fall it hurts – oh, how it hurts! Get really sick once and you’ll see who walks the floor at night. Get into serious trouble once and see who’s your best friend, although you may not deserve a bit of it. Get broke once, when you just have to have a dollar, and see who it is that will assist you. Who wears his old duds so that you can wear new ones? Say, son, be thankful clear down to the bottom of your shoes that you have a father.” – Adapted from Cheley.

Every time a boy goes bad,
A good man dies;
Every time a boy goes right,
The whole nation profiteth.


“He is a person who is going to carry on what you have started.

“He is to sit right where you are sitting and attend to those things you think are so important when you are gone.

“You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they will be carried out depends upon him.

“Even if you make leagues and treaties, he will have to manage them.

“He is going to sit at your desk in the Senate, and occupy your place on the Supreme Bench.

“He will assume control of your cities, states and nation; your prisons, churches, schools, universities and corporations.

“All your work is going to be judged and praised or condemned by him.

“Your reputation and your future are in his hands.

“All your work is for him, and the fate of the nation and of humanity is in his hands.

“So it might be as well to pay him some attention.” – Boys’ Club News, Philadelphia.

A boy is like an iceberg, only a little of him shows; the real boy is out of sight waiting for some explorer. I am sure every father would like to be that explorer. Go on the Fathers and Sons outing this year. At some unexpected moment under the spell of the great out-of-doors you may make the great discovery. A little real comradeship is worth a library full of exhortations.


Invitation is extended to all fathers and sons. Each father is to bring his own son. he doesn’t need to be of any specified age. If he is old enough to endure the trip safely he is welcome. Fathers who haven’t boys of their own are invited to borrow a son, preferably one who has no father. A special committee should be appointed to see that boys who have no fathers and men who have no sons are provided with this companionship. Of course fathers are not confined to one boy, but are urged to bring all they have and all they can get without robbing another father of the privilege.

While some might think it would be a splendid thing to have mothers along, this one annual outing is being taken for those wholesome effects that can come only from the association of fathers and sons; and the Board suggests that this be exclusively a Fathers and Sons outing. Every mother should be happy to know that her son has the intimate companionship of her husband for a few days, sleeping in the same blankets, receiving his counsel and advice. The outing might be made part of a general stake excursion, as a special hike for fathers and sons alone; but in this case the hike should include an overnight together. We do not reach our objectives unless it is possible for fathers and sons to sleep together, cook together, play together and pray together.

This outing is to be essentially for our own people. Others may be invited but they should live up to the latter-day Saint standards, particularly in regard to the word of Wisdom. Old boyhood friends may group their sons around special units of the camp. This will give them opportunity to visit together while their boys play together in a group. The gospel offers opportunity for fellowship and companionship through many generations. it will be a great pleasure to see the boys of yesterday and the boys of today together. General Authorities of the Church, stake presidents and bishops should be made guests of honor.

Publicity committees should be diligent to see that all fathers and sons in the stake or ward are invited to attend the outing.

Our Goal – “Every father and son on an outing together each year.”


DO NOT GO TOO FAR – Select a camp site where all can get to it. Our canyons are full of glorious places. The best way is to send an advance party to the place and decide definitely upon the location, a place where there is good water, play space, drainage and plenty of fire wood; then advertise this location so that everyone will know beforehand just where the camp is to be.

Choose places away from resorts if possible. Resorts have a tendency to detract from the camp social spirit. Select an original name for your camp, construct a sign and erect it at the entrance. Make this a part of the camp ceremony.

The advance part should determine road conditions, parking space and in general look to the safety of the group.

In this western country there are many places of beauty and historical interest which will make ideal camp sites. Then there are the national parks, national monuments and the forests. There are historical places on the Pioneer Trail and the lakes and fishing streams. Permanent camps have been built by some organizations and there are the M.I.A. Summer homes and the Boy Scout camps. Certain organizations living in rural communities have made their outing include a trip to the larger cities, visiting religious, industrial and commercial places of interest, camping enroute.

Where you go will, in a large manner, determine the interest taken in the outing, so this selection should be carefully determined.


Set the date early. Avoid the busy season. Committee should consult with prominent men of the community and select a date which is best suited to all concerned. Weather conditions should be studied to avoid the rainy season. The Board suggests also that we do not go on the national holidays, but reserve them for civic and community celebrations.

The duration of the outing is left to the decision of the stake committee but it is recommended by the General Board that it be at least three days. Every extra day that you stay increases the joy of the outing that much more. In any case the outing should include an overnight stay.

Sunday should not be used for travel and should be avoided unless the outing is an extended one, in which case the Sabbath should be observed with proper program.


Transportation committees have a great responsibility and the trip to the camp can be made an enjoyable feature if all is in readiness and goes over smoothly. There should be a careful study made of menus and rations. Travel light. Do not overload with unnecessary equipment. Often the luggage of a group may be loaded on a small truck and then the others can ride in comfort in their touring cars. Give attention to overhauling equipment for cars and remember:

Good brakes are more important than good engines.

Obey the forest regulations. avoid destruction of property, trees, flowers, etc. always leave the camp better than you found it.

Good organization is essential to efficient camp management and morale. We suggest the following committees:

1. Chairman. Superintendent of stake Y.M.M.I.A., president of ward Mutual or person selected by them because of his special ability to organize the outing.

2. Camp Director. Under direction of chairman, eh has general charge of camp. A real leader. Chairman and director may be the same person.

3. Commissary Committee. Has in charge cooking instruction, menus, provisions, fires.

4. Sanitation Committee. Has in charge inspection of camp, and is held responsible for cleaning of camp, establishment of latrines, etc.; should select a sanitary squad made up from members of different troops or divisions.

5. Camp Fire Committee. Has charge of the evening program. Should be composed of men and boys who can lead out in songs, cheers, stories, stunts, plays, etc., in a real vigorous fashion. Stories and jokes should be wholesome and clean. don’t permit even a suggestion of anything else.

6. Program Committee. – For Activities of the day. Has charge of all play and recreation. This committee should include men who can answer questions on birds, flowers, trees, shrubs, animals, rocks and stars.

7. First Aid. Doctor or good first aid man. Has headquarters. All sickness, accidents, etc., should be reported to him. May be head of sanitation committee. Associated with the doctor should be someone capable of saving life in the water.

8. Committee on Camp Site and Parking. Lays out camp, assigns positions, locates places for horses, wagons, cars.

The different groups may be re-grouped into three or four committees according to the size and requirements of the campers.


Each person should provide the following articles: haversack, knife, fork, spoon, metal plate, cup, soap, towel, comb, extra pair of socks, two woolen blankets rolled in canvas, fishing tackle and kodak, when possible.

Each group of ten should provide equipment as follows: A camp kettle, two frying pans, two granite saucepans holding at least four quarts each, dish cloths and towel, flash light, matches, two tablespoons, can opener, one small water bucket, one wash basin, first aid kit, axe and tent. Each wagon or truck must carry a pick and shovel for use around camp.

All persons making the trip must agree to be governed by the rules and regulations of the camp. The taking of firearms is absolutely forbidden.

The things suggested as necessary to take, of course, should be governed by the length of the outing, the climate, and the mode of transportation. For helpful suggestions on camp equipment see Handbook of Scoutmasters, pages 370-430. these pages include suggestions on daily programs, sanitation, camp fire, swimming, menus, camp site and stories. Be sure you have a copy of this book in camp.

Committees should provide the following: First aid kit, community song books, flag, axe, tent, bugle and bugler. Play materials: horseshoes and stakes, volley balls and nets, indoor baseballs and bats.


Good food is essential to health and morale. Napoleon once said: “An army travels on its stomach.” It is equally true that a successful camp must be a “well fed” camp. Competent cooks should prepare the food. Eating between meals is both unhealthful and unnecessary.

Much of the food could be provided in advance, and of a type which does not require too much preparation, in order to save time for activities which will encourage companionship of father and son.

Do the cooking right. Don’t be sloppy about it, just because you are camping out. Camp sanitation is outlined in Scoutmaster’s Handbook, pages 391-393. This is important. Be up-to-date. Be clean!

Suggested Menu.

Cream of wheat, or oatmeal, one egg, bacon, bread and butter, cocoa.

Salmon, cheese, bread and butter, raisins, and nuts.

Potatoes, chipped beef, or fresh meat or fish, gravy, beans, bread and butter, syrup.

Rations for Ten Men for Three Days

Potatoes, 20 lbs.
Butter, 4 lbs.
One large can syrup.
Flour, 1 lb.
Eggs, 3 dozen.
Pressed beef, 2 large cans.
Crackers, 5 packages assorted.
Sugar, 5 lbs.
Pepper, 1 can.
Pork and beans, 9 large cans.
Bread, 20 large loaves.
Salmon, 12 small cans.
Chipped beef, 3 lbs.
Condensed milk, 24 small cans.
Bacon, 4 lbs.
Raisins, 3 packages, seedless.
Cream of wheat, 2 packages.
Cheese, 2 lbs.
Salt, 12 small sack.
Pancake flour, 2 packages.
2 home-made cakes.


After camp is established it is best to have a daily routine of definite things to do, so that all will move in harmony. the things we do together give us unity, and while some might feel that when they are on an outing they should be permitted to do as they please, they will discover that the great results will come from pulling together and all putting over the big events.

There should be very few rules, but they must be adhered to for the common enjoyment and protection of all. Rules and regulations have their place. if the rights of alla re to be respected and the camp made safe, there must be certain stated limits to the campers’ freedom on certain occasions. Conduct in boats, absence from camp, regular hours for swimming, canoes, firearms, and fire, must be regulated by stated rules about which there can be no misunderstanding and from which there will be no variation. these should be made and read daily by each camping party.

Camp sanitation is essential and all should feel a common interest in doing this part of the service right. Be clean. Be good campers. Police the camp ground and leave it in good order.

Divide the work of the camp among all, and when much manual labor is required, change the personnel often. All work of the camp should be considered honorable, and therefore should not be assigned as punishment.


6:00 a.m. – Reveille, flag raising (this may be made a part of the assembly exercises), wake up drill, morning wash up.

6:30-8:00 a.m. – Breakfast, air blankets.

8:00-8:30 a.m. – Assembly, pledge to flag, scout promise, prayer, instructions for the day.

8:30-9:00 a.m. – Sanitary and health inspection.

9:00-11:00 a.m. – Games, hikes, fishing.

11:00-11:30 a.m. – Bed-making and camp cleanup.

11:30-12:-00 m. – Swimming – 209 minutes.

12:00-1:00 p.m. – Dinner and camp inspection.

1:00-2:00 p.m. – Quiet hour.

2:00-4:00 p.m. – Scout games, hikes, exploring trips.

4:00-6:00 p.m. – Swimming – 20 minutes’ preparation for supper.

6:00-7:00 p.m. – Supper and clean-up. evening colors.

7:00-8:00 p.m. – Preparation for night.

8:00-9:00 p.m. – Campfire stories, stunts, community singing, prayer.

9:45 p.m. – Tattoo.

10:00 p.m. – Taps. All lights out and quietness.

Singing. Have plenty of singing; let the campers originate many and varied words to familiar tunes. Have one good “Camp Song.”

Neatness. Awards have practical effects; give a banner daily to the neatest tent.

Assembly and evening colors. This part of the program is the only formal part of the outing, and will aid very materially in the discipline of the camp, and make this part of the day’s exercises very impressive. This should be in charge of some responsible, live person, who will study all about the flag customs and ceremonies, forms of respect due it, and put it over in a dignified, impressive way.



Morning Period – 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Organization of the entire company into groups for contests. Arrange these groups so that every person present is an active participant with his team in the game which he likes best. Those who are unable to play because of physical disabilities should be made officers of the teams, scorekeepers, etc. The following games are suggested:

Horseshoe Pitching, hit Pin Baseball, Valley Ball, Indoor Baseball.

Name the teams after animals, or birds, or flowers and arrange a round robin tournament. Make diagram of the tournaments and post them where all may see.

HORSESHOE PITCHING – For rules, send to the Utah Farmer, Vermont Bldg., Salt Lake City, Utah, and a copy of the Official Rules of the National Horseshoe Pitchers’ Association will be sent to you free of charge.

1. Pegs should be 40 feet apart and eight inches high.

2. The earth around the peg should be loose to prevent sliding in.

3. Shoes should not exceed 2-1/2 lbs. weight; calks not over 3/4 of an inch high, and shoes not to exceed 7-1/2 inches in length and 7 inches in width, outside measurements.

4. Pitchers will be permitted to stand anywhere within three feet of the stake. It is suggested that pitchers do not stand nearer than one foot to the stake as that helps to maintain loose earth around it.

5. For ordinary purposes a game consists of 21 points. In national meets 50 points constitutes a game.

6. Ringers count 3, doubles 6. Leaners count only one point as the near shoe.

7. Ringers topped are tied, and the next near shoe is the one which counts.

HIT PIN BASEBALL – A soccer ball or volley ball is used. Mark out a diamond as large as the gymnasium will permit, or field, as is thought best. Make a circle of three feet radius for home base, and one foot squares for the other bases. Stand an Indian club, or bottle, in the center of each base. Mark a pitcher’s box as in indoor ball. There is no batter’s box.

The batter stands in front of the club on home base and kicks the pitched ball. The pitcher uses an underhand throw, usually called a “toss,” rolling it along the ground and trying to knock the bottle or club down which puts the batter out. Balls and strikes, fair and foul hits, are the same as in indoor ball. If four balls are called, the batter has a free kick.

When the batter makes a fair hit he must try to make a complete circuit of the bases, running outside the clubs and not knocking them down. to put him out the players in the field must pass the ball to first, second, third and home bases in order, unless the ball so passed reaches a base before the runner passes it. In doing this the players passing the ball must have a foot on the base. If the ball gets ahead of the runner and a club ahead of him is knocked down with it, he is out. he is also out if he knocks down a club or runs inside the base. Other rules and details of play as in indoor ball.

INDOOR BASEBALL – Equipment: Indoor or playground baseball and bat. Rules: Same as regular baseball except that ball is pitched underhand, diamond is smaller and ten men or more can play on a side.

VOLLEY BALL – The field is on the order of a basketball court being somewhat smaller, not to exceed thirty by sixty feet. A net eight feet high is stretched tightly across the middle of the court. A regular team consists of six players, but a larger number can play and ten or twelve on a side is better when learning to play. The game begins by a play called serving, in which one player takes the ball, stands with both feet behind the back line, at the right-hand back corner, tosses the ball up slightly and then bats it forward toward the net. A player serves only so long as his side wins; when it fails to win the point it is “out,” and the opposing side serves. The players rotate and serve in turn as they get successive innings, the one with the highest number serving first, and so on down to number 1. Rotate around clock-wise. A served ball must not be touched by another player of that side, but must go over the net without touching it and fall in the opponents’ court; otherwise, the serve is lost and the ball goes to the opponents, who serve in their turn. The ball is batted back and forth until it hits the floor or goes outside of the court.

The ball may be relayed in the game for men and larger boys, with the following limitations:

1. A serve may not be relayed.

2. A player may not play the ball twice in succession without its being touched by another player.

3. The ball may be hit only three times by the players of one side before it goes over the net.

Only the serving side can score and scores one point for each successful serve when they succeed in knocking the ball to the floor in the opponents’ court.


First Day
Bears – Coyotes
Wolves – Lions

Second Day
Bears – Wolves
Lions – Coyotes

Third Day
Bears – Wolves
Coyotes – Lions

Team having highest percentage of games won is the champion. to calculate the percentage, divide the number of games won by the total number of game splayed.

ELIMINATION TOURNAMENT – Pair off the players by lot and make a diagram showing each pair. The team which loses is eliminated and the others are paired off for the second series and so on. Winners go on to the finals. In case pairs do not come out even, one team may draw a bye in the lots.

Afternoon Period – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

SHORT NATURE HIKE – Hike to some definite place. Pick out a famous or interesting spot which is accessible to everyone. Work out a program for various stops along the trail, stories, legends, etc. Persons may be stationed along the trail to appear in costume and tell a story, such as Indians, Trappers, Sheep Herders, Prospectors, or anything which will add imaginative color. There might be Robin Hood’s Band, Rip Van Winkle, etc.

Evening Period – Campfire Program

This first evening is designated FATHERS’ NIGHT. The program of the camp fire is arranged and presented by the fathers. Sons are guests for the evening.

Fire Lighting Ceremony. Oldest father present is selected to light the fire. The whole company gather round the fire and stand in silence until the blaze appears. Then at signal from leader, all cheer, and take seats.

Community singing (songs from this folder).


Song contest, using old familiar songs. Group the crowd into two or more sections.

Harmonica contest. Each section selects its representative who chooses his own selection and a harmonica is presented to the winner.

Story. A big story with a real message told by an expert. Such a story as “Jacob Hamblin,” as found in the Junior manual for this year.

Special musical numbers from individual fathers or groups.

Fathers’ Treat. Something simple and inexpensive. A surprise for the sons.

Toast, “The men of tomorrow,” given to the sons by one of the fathers.

Community singing.




Morning Period. Extending throughout the entire forenoon, and on into the afternoon.

THE BIG HIKE – Note: This is to be an extended hike or it might be well to carry a light lunch along.

Hike to some high point where a big view of the country can be secured; the top of a mountain or the rim of a canyon. Get to a place where the thrill of the great out-of-doors grips you; where you may see the glories of God’s great wonderland.

Here is an opportunity for a great spiritual message. This is also an opportune time to erect a monument of stones and name a prominent point which may remain permanently as an incentive for future hikes. Put the names of all present in a bottle, or register, and leave it at the monument.

Afternoon Period – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

tournament continues in Horseshoe Pitching, Hit Pin Baseball, Volley Ball and Indoor Baseball.

Note: This is the second of the series of games in the Round Robin.

Evening Period – Campfire Program

The second evening is designated as SONS’ NIGHT. The program of the camp fire is arranged and presented by the Sons. Fathers are guests for the evening.

Fire Lighting Ceremony. Son who has distinguished himself for service during the day is selected by the Camp Director to light the blaze. A council ring is formed and the regular fire lighting ceremony is demonstrated to the fathers by the boys.

Community singing. Stunt songs.


Boys’ stunts and stories arranged by the boys.

Kazoo concert.

“My Most Thrilling Experience with My Father.” Select a number of boys to tell this experience.

Harmonica contest. Use the same grouping as previous night, except that this night the boys will be chosen to represent their groups.

Toast, “Our Fathers – They’re Real Fellows,” by a boy.

Response, given by a father.

Community singing.

Taps. Benediction.


Morning Period – 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

TREASURE HUNT – Four trails should be laid previous to the morning of the hunt. These should lead the groups to places of interest. The method is to divide the company into four teams, and then to give each team a piece of paper telling where the next information is to be found, such as “Go to the big pine at the mouth of the left gulch, near the creek. There you will find a tomato can. Open the can and you will get some news which will delight you.” When the tomato can is found, in some unique spot at the tree it will contain a message such as, “Congratulations. You have succeeded in covering the first lap of your journey. If you will follow the trail, there is a great treat in store for you. But you must be alert. Keen eyes will be needed to discover the treasure. Now follow up the creek to the pipe line intake, turn to the right at the crossing and you will see a large granite boulder. There is an important message waiting for you in a bottle.” And so on until you come to the end of the trail. All trails end at the same place, a romantic spot where the treasure is hidden. The treasure may be watermelons, peanuts, or something which will be enjoyed by all. the treasure should be cached in some place where a stunt will be necessary to recover it, such as scaling a cliff, climbing a wall or a tree, crossing a creek or something difficult but not dangerous. When all have found the treasure the morning period is concluded with mass games or stories, and Indoor Baseball.

Afternoon Period

Tournaments finals, Horseshoe Pitching, Hit Pin Baseball, Volley Ball.

Evening Period
Campfire Program – Guests of Honor Night

Fire Lighting Ceremony. Guest of Honor selected to light the fire. The ceremony is same as previous nights. This could be made the big bonfire.

Community singing. (This should include the singing of some good hymn.)


Erect a stage on a flat hayrack or some elevated spot and produce a program of informal or formal dramatics; such a play as “Scouting and Wool,” which was published in the Improvement Era, January, 1924, or some other play for all male characters. See Bulletin No. 5, page 108.

Pantomime, such as “Scout goes on an overnight hike, comes to a running stream, catches a fish and cooks it;” or “Scout makes camp, prepares batter and cooks a hot cake.” This may be made a contest between boys.

Best stunts selected from the groups for presentation.

Brief spiritual talk by one of the guests of honor.

Community singing. A Hymn.



Community singing. Songs on Fathers and Sons, from this folder.


The success of the outing depends so much upon the recreation program that you can’t afford to wait until you get to camp to work it out. Do not forget to take balls, nets, bats, horseshoes, etc., along. Select leaders for this committee who are familiar with games and know how to put them over. It will be well to begin early on program material and have dramatic and music numbers prepared before hand.


(Tune: “Old Oaken Bucket”)

How fondly I gaze on the scenes of my boyhood,
As memory’s “movies” presents them to view.
The days when I passed from the meekness of childhood
To the time when I thought that I everything knew.
The castles I built in my mind for the future;
The jolly good times that our gang always had;
The yearnings I felt for a closeness with nature;
And then the great outings I had with my dad.

The long-wished for outings; the joy-giving outings;
The heart-clinching outings I had with my dad.

I’ve been with good fellows, and some that were “yellows,”
Been thrown midst the lure of the tempters of men;
But there was one lever, that held me up, ever,
When I might have fallen again and again.
The thought of my mother – yes, there was another;
It’s presence o’erwhelmed me; when memory compelled me,
To think of the outings I had with my dad.

The long-ago outings; the heart-clinging outings;
Those soul-saving outings I had with my dad.

– Dr. George H. Brimhall

Tune, “Smiles”)

There are dads who made us happy,
There are dads who make us blue.
There are dads who are so very busy
Making “cash” for boys like me and you.
There are dads, and how we always love them,
Who have time to come if we just call.
It’s the dad who thinks enough of his boy
To take the time for a game of ball.


There are boys who make us happy,
There are boys who make us blue.
There are boys who raise a lot of thunder
If they’re asked to do a thing or two.
There are boys who sing and smile and whistle,
Some who grouch and frown and make us sad.
But the boy who’s surely on the right track
Is the boy who sticks close to Dad.

(Tune, “Perfect Day”)

When you come to the end of a Boy Scout day,
And you sit in the camp-fire light,
And the sky has turned from blue to grey,
With the shades of the coming night,
Do you think what the end of a good Scout day
Can mean in a real boy’s life,
When the bugle blows and the flag comes down,
And there’s peace in a world of strife?
Well, this is the end of a Boy Scout day,
And his soul is full to the brim,
For his heart is clean and his thoughts are big,
And the whole world smiles on him.
And so ‘twill be till the end of time,
When you’re out ‘neath the heaven’s blue
In the flick’ring light of the camp-fire bright
with your friends drawn close to you.

(Tune, “Annie Rooney”)

He’s my father, I’m his pal;
Never parted, never shall’
Soon I’ll grow up, handsome and fine,
Going to be just like him, that Pal of Mine.

Tune, “Sweet Adeline”)

O dad of mine (O dad of mine)
Dear dad of mine (dear dad of mine)
We’ll stand as one (we’ll stand as one)
In rain or shine (in rain or shine)
Each night and day (each night and day)
I’ll always say (I’ll always say)
You’re the best friend in the world
O dad of mine (O dad of mine)

(Dads sing, “O lad of mine,” etc.)
(May be sung with “Lad” or “Pal”)


Ham and eggs, ham and eggs,
I like mine done nice and brown,
I like mine turned upside down.
Ham and eggs, ham and eggs,
Flip ‘em, flop ‘em, flip ‘em, flop ‘em,
Ham and eggs.


What’s the matter with Father?
He’s all right.
What’s the matter with Father?
He’s all right.
He’s a prince of a fellow as all can see,
He’s full of pep and vitality.
What’s the matter with Father?
He’s all right.


There isn’t a boy in the world – not one
But longs to be big like you,
who thrills at the sound when you call him “Son”!
And copies the things you do.
Whose shoulders braced to the world’s demand,
Are broad and squared and strong,
As yours are squared when you take his hand
and lead that boy along!

There’s isn’t a boy on the wide flung map,
But longs for your manly pace,
Who chafes at the years and the long-grown gap
Till he stands with you face to face –
A kingly giant in miniature,
Evolving might on might –
A god to be, just as true and sure
As you lead that boy aright!

– Bertha A. Kleinman.

(Tune, “Every Little Movement”)

Round the gleaming campfire, when the evening sun sinks low,
Cheery song and laughter ringing in the twilight’s glow;
Tales of risk and daring thrill us;
Thoughts of life and beauty fill us;
Round the glowing campfire when the darkness closes round.

Round the glowing campfire when the darkness closes round.
Voices hushed and softened as we thrill at every sound;
Tales of love and friendship told us,
While night’s blanket soft enfolds us;
Round the glowing campfire when the darkness closes round.

Round the dying campfire when the embers feebly glow,
Human voices silent, but the Infinite sings low;
Whispering winds in pine trees playing;
Souls attuned in silence praying;
Round the dying campfire when the embers feebly glow.

– O.E. Howell.

(Tune, “Marcheta”)

Our Father in Heaven, this morning (evening) we ask Thee
For guidance in our daily task;
May virtue and manhood grow stronger among us,
And lead us to honor, we ask.
the Scout oath – The Scout Laws,
Their lessons unfolding,
And glory revealing each day,
Our Motto – Our Good Turn,
May we live and teach it,
Great Spirit of Scouting, we pray.


In the Summer have you ever
Heard the wildwood’s urgent calling
With its vibrant melody?
Heard the summons as it travels
On the wings of mystery;
Heard its calling as it echoes
Surging, throbbing, through the pulse
And the souls of boys, red-blooded?
Heard its pleading? Heard its crying?
Have you heard it?
Have you answered?

Issued by the
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah



  1. Ardis, this only reinforces my belief that the Father’s and Son’s outing is a dying relic in the church here in Southern California.

    The outings of my childhood weren’t as elaborate as outlined here but they were real events. Most of the men in the stake participated, whether they had sons at home or not, and it was always a stake activity. It was always up in the mountains and we would plan a great camp meal with our dad. We had a big bonfire and a program on Friday night. Saturday after another great camp breakfast we had races, tug of wars and other contests. We went on hikes, we did things until the mid afternoon. The culmination was a watermelon bust, a pickup truck loaded with watermelons would arrive and you could eat as much as you wanted.

    Contrast that to the outings I’ve experienced as a father in the last 10 years. We used to alternate between ward and stake but no more, for the last 7 years it has been strictly a ward affair. Only the fathers of younger boys attend, no grandfathers, no older men, usually no older teenagers. Most arrive after work around 6pm or later, most arrive with fast food bought on the way there. We usually have it in a park on the fringes of the city. We have a small program and a small campfire. Most of the boys have organized sports with Saturday games so some of the fathers leave as early as 7 am. By 9 am everyone is gone.

    Every year it gets more abbreviated and less interesting. Every year I wonder how much longer we can give lip service to something that no one really wants to do.

    Comment by KLC — June 22, 2011 @ 8:18 am

  2. 3-10 days?! Oh my Heck! Overnight is more than enough these days. Or maybe it would be good to be in a simpler, less-hurried time, even for very organized, extended, “environmental” activities.

    In the early 60s, my experience was that Fathers and Sons were a bit more organized than today – even if only a two-day and one night activity. And they were a big Stake estravaganza. A highlight was the Disney films shown in the evening, at least in the East Seattle Stake where we had a church “ranch” to go to that had electricity.

    I really wonder how many of these well-organized, extended camps were actually held in the 1920s? And then did the extreme financial disaster of the 30s kill them? or at least limit them to an overnighter?

    I was also interested to see that there was not a real strong conection to Boy Scouts the “activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood.” The Scouting movement was in place in the church by then, and there is clear reference to it in this schedule, but the YMMIA clearly seems in charge, not Scouting. Nowdays, in my experience, Fathers and Sons is tangentially connected to count as a Scout overnighter and an opportunity for 11-year-old scouts and Webelos to camp where their dads, are required, or a borrowed adult male to sub which is very strongly promoted here in 1926. But probably not the time or place to get into the interesting relationship between the church and Scouting.

    And “Ham and Eggs” is the only song I recognized. And the major activity of modern Fathers and Sons seems to be all the boys playing with sticks in the fire. At least in the old days they expressly prohibited firearms. Something uniquely male going on with that stuff.

    Comment by Grant — June 22, 2011 @ 8:37 am

  3. I’ve been on many such outings over the years but they were never this structered or regimented, and never longer then a single night. I found it interesting that the authors/HQ folks wanted the outings to last 3 plus days, I’m not sure such an outing would be possible for a lot of people today dued to work schedules and such things.

    I liked that the manual said that men without sons and sons without fathers in the home should be teamed up and encouraged to go. The Stake we just moved from in Utah stopped calling these outings “Fathers and Sons” outings about 10 years ago for this very reason. They called them “Priesthood outings” because they thought that this sounded more inclusive for those without a father or son in the picture. Having no sons most of the time I was there, I always took my daughters. A few other men, including a couple of the Bishops in the Stake, did as well. The stake leaders never officially endorsed the practice, but they never condemed it either.

    I had 3 Bishops while I was there, one of them, who only had daughters, actively encouraged the men in the ward to take their daughters with them. One said that he wouldn’t promote the practice as it was not offically/HQ approved to do so, but privately he was okay with it. The third one was a really old fashioned, law and order, by the book type and he did discourage us from taking our daughters, he said it was against the rules, inappropriate, etc. At the same time he realized that others in the stake were doing it and he would not be supported if he tried to force us to stop so he did not.

    I’m curious, have there ever been “Mother Daughter” campouts? The women inn my family are as into camping, hunting, and fishing as the men.

    Comment by andrew h — June 22, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  4. The YWMIA used to sponsor catered mother-daughter dinners (usually only in the ward cultural hall, but at least the mothers and daughters didn’t have to cook, serve, and clean up), but I’m not aware of any large scale camping activity for LDS women beyond the standard girls’ camp.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 22, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  5. Our ward does an unofficial Daddy Daughter campout every year.

    Comment by KLC — June 22, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  6. I was in a ward a few years back that had Father/Daughter campouts which bothered me a lot. Maybe I was overly sensitive, but I had just been released as a bishop from yet another ward where there were certain fathers I would not want to see camping with their daughters (or mine). And I’ll stop right there.

    I think the reason we had it in that one ward was that we had a bishop with seven daughters. But, still, it creeped me out even though I went faithfully with my daughter. Sorry.

    Comment by Grant — June 22, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

  7. “9:45 p.m. – Tattoo”???

    What’s that?

    Comment by Paul — June 22, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  8. Paul, on this wiki page there is both the sheet music for Tattoo (think of it as the first bell in Sunday School, with Taps being the second bell) and a button to click for an actual sound recording of the tune.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 22, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  9. The whole tradition of father-son campouts is yet another thing that makes me very, very happy that i have only daughters.

    @KLC (#1): I think that whether father-son (or any other) campouts are regularly done in an area is also a function of urbanness. In Southern California, i’m guessing camping just isn’t a thing everyone does—i know that growing up in the urban east, the concept of camping was really just kind of a bizarre thing some people who liked to hang out in West Virginia a lot did. Here in Alaska, on the other hand, the moment you leave Anchorage (and before that, even) you’re way more likely to ever find a campground than even a really, really run-down motel—so camping is simply what people do.

    Of course, the whole tradition of boy scouting in the Mormon Dominance Area means that campouts are probably more likely there than one would expect, given the degree of urbanization in place.

    @andrew h (#3): Some wards do, in fact, do mother-daughter campouts.

    @Grant (#6): There are quite a few guys i wouldn’t want camping with anyone’s daughters or sons. Doesn’t keep us from trolling the bottom of the barrel for men to hang out at youth campouts, though.

    Comment by David B — June 22, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  10. I’ll second what David said, there is a reason why Young men/scouts have to be in seperate tents from the leaders. If someone will commit those kind of acts, no youth is safe from them male or female.

    We need to be cautious and protect everybody, but I’d hate to seea whole program killed because there are scumbag preadators out there.

    Comment by andrew h — June 22, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  11. This is kind of awesome. I would totally do something like this.

    I note, however, that like pioneer trek reenactments, such an event done poorly would definitely cause noticeable damage to a stake/ward, but such an event done well would provide a noticeable spiritual lift.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — June 22, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  12. I also thought the 3-10 day thing is overkill. Kind of like Pres. Benson’s 10-day scout camps when he was scoutmaster. People just must have had more time back then, or something.

    Growing up near Boise in the 1980’s, My dad and I went to a Fathers and Son’s outing (lasting just one night) every year. They were typically well organized, and were at fun spots: hot springs, sand dunes, etc. We’d leave Friday afternoon and come back Saturday evening.

    Currently, our ward in Springville (UT) holds F&S intermittently (maybe 4 times in the seven years I’ve been here) and match KLC’s description in comment #1. It’s just a few miles up the canyon, about 10 dads come, and everyone is gone by 9 am Saturday. The “campfire program” consists of a short (5 minute) thought by the bishop. BUT, my boys love camping, and camping with their friends nearby is even better.

    Comment by Clark — June 22, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  13. I think the decline of the F&S outing is due to a number of factors that would be very difficult to reverse:
    1) Most people don’t have time.
    2) A sizable percentage of people don’t like to camp, or don’t have the skills and equipment.
    3) Lack of locations. At least along the Wasatch Front, every developed group campsite is booked by ward after ward, every single weekend. Holding the event in May or June isn’t a possibility usually. Moving to undeveloped sites requires significantly more planning (water, bathroom facilities, group cooking and eating area etc.) Distance also decreases the number of people willing to attend.

    In our ward, it’s fairly common for dad to bring their kids up for just the evening, then sleep in their own beds. When the HP Quorum is in charge of breakfast, they come up in the morning and cook (usually served at 7:30 so they can get on with their day). This year, it looks like the F&S has been converted and renamed into the “Ward Campout.”

    Comment by Clark — June 22, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  14. While the bulk of this manual is the mechanics of how to run a group campout, I think the most important bit is part of the opening section — Why Have a Fathers and Sons Outing?:

    In these outings a father has many opportunities to become better acquainted with his son, … counsel with him … gain better cooperation with his son … The son may have a chance to tell his father of his great appreciation for his leadership and companionship in life. The outing may also give him an opportunity to counsel with his father and get his advice …

    While the attention is placed on having a great adventure, I think the purpose the YMMIA Board had in mind was to give fathers and sons enough time in a setting far enough removed from daily routine that ordinary daily barriers break down and fathers and sons can talk, and see each other not as breadwinners and disciplinarians, not as the kid who teases his sisters and fights against doing his chores, but as men.

    Doesn’t that take a certain amount of time to occur? Does that happen on a quick pick-up-KFC-and-head-to-the-park outings? Did it ever really happen during classic fathers and sons outings? Is there something in modern life that has taken its place, that gives fathers and sons the opportunity to just be guys together, and to say things that don’t get said in daily routine? Or is that something that fathers and sons even want?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 22, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  15. Male-only activities are dying out in the Church. Whether or not this is a big deal is anyone’s guess.

    Comment by queuno — June 22, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  16. My memories are of doing this for one night, and not so elaborate, but always on a stake basis when I was growing up. With my sons, when we still lived in Utah, it was more or less an every other year thing with just our ward. Since moving to Washington, I haven’t seen much of it, other than one ward in our stake does an overnight “Men’s Retreat”, which includes all the men and the YM from 12 on up.

    I always enjoyed these, both as a son and as a father, and didn’t mind that it was not so elaborate as this. Fun reading the old manual, and it reminds me of the Campcraft manual for the YW from when my wife was YW president in our ward.

    Comment by kevinf — June 22, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  17. I mean, our stake does one. But you can go just for the evening campfire and drive home, or else get there early enough for the breakfast. No actually camping required.

    Comment by queuno — June 22, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  18. Most memorable F&S camp memory from raising our sons in the Midwest: waking at 1:00 a.m. (of course, I didn’t really “wake” because I had never been asleep. Is it possible to really sleep on the ground in a tent?) to the sound of a heavy wind, looking outside the tent and seeing counter-clockwise rotation in the clouds and realizing that a tornado was forming right over our heads. By then it was raining buckets and we just picked up the wet tent containing all our gear, folded the whole mess over enough to fit in the trunk, and drove off as fast as we could.

    Our stake does a pretty god job. It’s just Friday night and Saturday, and people are often setting up their tents in the dark because dads don’t get home from work until 6 – 7 o’clock, and many of them do just buy a pizza or KFC on the way out of town. But the breakfast is usually a big deal, with all the dutch oven afficionados trying to outdo each other, and the stake provides hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch for our big meal as a group.

    I don’t see much communication between fathers and their sons, though. Mostly the boys are roaming around the countryside in packs and the adults are standing around together telling war stories.

    Comment by Mark Brown — June 22, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  19. Sorry for the blasphemous typo in the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph. Of course it should say _good_.

    Comment by Mark Brown — June 22, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  20. I could correct that for you, Mark, but it’s too much fun to leave alone.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 22, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  21. I have been fortunate enough to go on 19 consecutive F&S outings. My boys love them, as do I. I take the day off, yank them out of school, and head to the mountains. They know that our outing together is a high priority.

    For us it has been a great time to bonding, learning, and doing “manly stuff”.
    But, 10 days would leave me jobless, homeless, and the kids expelled.

    Comment by MMM — June 22, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  22. I don’t want to get too far off point or preachy, but in response to your question about fathers spending time with boys, I do think it is very important and extremely helpful for the relationship to promote positive good. My best memories of my Dad are when he took us on Scout outings. That’s why I accept those callings now, and try to do them in spite of my sometimes bad attitude. Fathers and sons activities are good to give a chance in that regard, but unless you’re out in the woods for 3-10 days, I’m not sure it’s enough in and of itself.

    And I’ve learned, in part from my dad, that dad’s should interview their children. I had teenagers when I was bishop and as per usual, teenagers sometimes have “issues.” On one occasion my wife woke me up to talk to my daughter and in my waking confusion I was wondering if I needed to talk to her as her dad or her bishop. It came clear to me that it doesn’t matter. Fathers have every right and responsibility to deal with anything a bishop should – and take them to the bishop if necessary. It wasn’t in this case. We have father’s interviews every Fast Sunday. I know of another family that interviews their kids with both mom and dad. To each his own, and mothers usually have a closer connection with their kids, but the perspectives and potential connections are sometimes different and appropriately so. I have been amazed at what my kids have been willing to share with me. And we have become better friends because of it. Sorry for another long ramble, but yeah, I think it’s important for dads to spend time with sons and daughters.

    Comment by Grant — June 22, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  23. I remember the F&S outings as a kid — one night affairs, but tent or cabin camping, good eating and organized Dad/Son activities. One year a home teacher took me because my dad was away on business. One year (the one I remember the most) I spent the entire time with my dad because he was so busy with work and his stake assignment that I rarely got to spend time with him.

    I have attended a few with my boys in our Michigan stake — also well planned, but less structured. But my favorites were with my youngest son in our ward in Taiwan where we did it on a ward level. Small group, quite informal. Cool chatting at the campfire and the bishopric-prepared breakfast were great.

    Comment by Paul — June 23, 2011 @ 5:30 am

  24. I didn’t get any chipped beef at my last F&S campout. Feeling now like I really missed out.

    Comment by iguacufalls — June 23, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  25. Long time no hear, iguacufalls! Glad to see you here again, even if we don’t have chipped beef for refreshments. Would you settle for a truffle?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 23, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  26. My father had all daughters, but loved camping. He would attend the Fathers and Sons trips, but would feel like he was “missing out” when he couldn’t bring his children along. To make up for it, we would have camping trips as a family all the time during my youth, but every time they would announce the Fathers and Sons trip over the pulpit I could tell my father felt excluded.

    Comment by Mellina — June 24, 2011 @ 12:56 pm