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Recreation — play it safe

Here are some suggestions that can be used for family recreation.
They will help you plan how to have a safer, happier, ad more comfortable summer of camping or other outdoor activities.
Have fun in the sun.


SOON thousands of you will hit the highways and head for the beaches, the parks, the forests for just any postage-stamp size of public land you can find. You will be searching for a release from the ordinary routine of daily life. Whether you camp, picnic, swim, boat, cook out or just amble and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Creator's wondrous work, IT IS CHANGE you are after. You arrive home "dead tired" but rejuvenated physically, mentally, and spiritually — ready to face the week ahead and looking forward to the next outing.

No matter what the activity or where it takes place — in the backyard or a thousand miles away — you should PLAN it. Recognize how you can make it a delightful experience by being prepared. A few suggestions about camping, health, and safety are being given to help you plan ahead. Act on them and you will — BE COMFORTABLE — BE HAPPY — BE SAFE.


Plan Ahead

Those of you who have put real effort into planning your excursions know the rewards. You are repaid by the joy and tranquility of a wonderful experience — a time to be remembered.

Some of you did not plan and the end result was frayed tempers, turmoil, and a terrible time. Change this the next time by making a plan that would be dictated by such factors as: What is the purpose? Where shall we go? How long will we stay? How much will it cost? In other words, it boils down to your using a familiar Boy Scout formula of WHY, WHAT, WHEN, AND WHERE. Follow this formula and you are guaranteed good results.

Many families like to get out frequently and their planning starts early. They discuss plans and make a suggestion box for summer activities. During the winter months, they decide what they would like to do. A road map then becomes a valuable ally, not only because it shows the way, but also it suggests places to go. Circles of various radii (50, 100, 150 miles), depending on the amount of time available, can be placed on the map by using your home town as the center. Very often within these circles are found recreational areas, historical landmarks, zoos, museums or scenic sites. A great deal of information is available about such places if you are willing to seek it. (State and U. S. Information Agencies are good sources)

Finally, the place to go is chosen. This decision, of course, determines what you will need in the way of clothing and equipment. The only safe way to be certain that you have everything is to make a check list. Then USE IT! The fun ceases with, "Oh, NO, I forgot" — the food, matches or whatever other essential you may have left behind.

Successful and enjoyable activities are planned ahead of time. They do follow an overall principle found in the Bible — that things are to be done decently and in an orderly manner (I Cor. 14:40). Without order, the activity undertaken will probably end in near chaos. If you believe in and fear God, you will abhor harum-scarum, willy-nilly confusion because God is NOT the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33).

Even after advanced planning there are many things that can affect your trip. The following generalizations will be of value to your health, safety, and comfort.


How About Your Children

Your decision has been made as to where you are going. BUT WAIT. Arrangements for the children must be made. If they are poor campers or travelers and would cause no end of bother, you might think — why not leave them with Aunt Mary. NO! Don’t Do THIS, as God emphasizes the family unit throughout the Scriptures. Take them. Train them so that this unity is preserved. (Send for our free booklet, The Plain Truth About Child Rearing) Family projects can result in priceless memories and a close-knit, happy family.

Children are by nature inquisitive little explorers, so you must select a safe site for your activity. A place close enough for you to see and supervise over any dangerous condition. For instance, be close enough to a waterfront area so that you can see it. You will be able to see your child, and if he wanders toward danger, you can take action before it is too late. Incidentally, many waterfront areas are now composed of beach, broken bottles, and rusty tin cans. A wise rule to follow at an unfamiliar or unsupervised area is to wear an old pair of tennis shoes, especially when wading or playing on the beach.

Sleeping bags can be dangerous. If you have had the bag cleaned recently, it was probably done with naphtha. You should air the bag thoroughly because children often burrow into them and if the fumes are still present, they could be lethal. A few such deaths have been reported in the United States.

Another hazard to children is that of plastic bags. Due to their convenience, these are often used to cover suits, protect bedding, or as other protective coverings around a camp.


There is a tendency for them to cling to the skin — especially the face — just like a mask. Their advantages of being water-proof and dust-proof can harbor the hidden enemy of also being air-proof. Air will not pass through, causing a person to suffocate.

Children are drawn to them like "iron filings to a magnet"; therefore, don't keep them around. When you are finished using them, roll them up, tie knots in them, and discard them in a suitable refuse can.

Swimming is a wonderful and invigorating sport, but there are inherent dangers. A few precautions that should be followed are:

DON'T dive head first into unknown waters.

DON'T swim in water that shows dangerous currents.

DON'T swim for at least an hour after a heavy meal.

DON'T swim alone but use the buddy system of swimmers, being responsible for each other. Unless wisdom is used, fun could end in tragedy. DON'T let it happen to YOU.

A boating family should teach their children not to be afraid of water and how to wear a life jacket. This doesn't mean that the life jacket replaces the skill of swimming, but only that it should be familiar and comfortable when worn while boating. Caution — skiing should be carefully supervised as to water safety rules.

There are many and varied hazards around a camp or picnic area, such as fires, fuels, unclean water supply to name a few. However, these can be minimized by training the child to recognize them, avoid them, and to react instantly to the words No and STOP.



Fire Prevention

Through the ages, fire has been a great asset to man, giving him comfort and serving his needs. Don't let this valuable tool become a curse because you were not cautious and careful in its use.

The number one rule in the use of fire is to be sure that you have permission and that it is legal in your particular area.

A fire of any type should not be started until you have checked possible hazards above and around. The space above should be clear of any low hanging branches. A clearing of 6 to 8 feet around the site of the fire should then be made. It is essential that all ground cover be removed down to the bare soil, as this prevents the spread of fire along roots and leaves. Small precautions! Yes, but prevention is easier than fighting a holocaust.

In some areas, even though an open fire can't be started, fuel stoves and lanterns may be used. Do not light them inside tents or automobiles, as there is a danger of flare-up flash fires. This could be disastrous. Incidentally, if your tent should catch fire, collapse it. You can combat and control the flames as well as prevent the spread of sparks much easier when it is flat. Be sure everyone is out of the tent first.

Again let me emphasize, do NOT light heaters or lanterns inside a tent. Light them outside, adjust them, and then take them inside. Do put them outside or turn them off before going to sleep. Catalytic or vented heaters are a great deal safer for warmth.

Remember! A small campfire is as efficient and is safer than a large one. You should never leave a fire until you are sure it is dead out. Help preserve our forests. As Smokey the bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."