The Woodcraft Laws
The laws for the Woodcraft Boys (and for the leaders as far as possible) are:
- Be Brave. Courage is the noblest of all gifts.
- Be Silent while your elders are speaking and otherwise show them deference.
- Obey. Obedience is the first duty of the Woodcraft Boy.
- Be Clean. Both yourself and the place you live in.
- Understand and respect your body. It is the Temple of the Spirit.
- Be the friend of all harmless wild life. Conserve the woods and flowers, and especially be ready to fight wild-fire in forest or in town.
- Word of honor is sacred.
- Play fair. Foul play is treachery.
- Be Reverent. Worship the Great Spirit and respect all worship of Him by others.
- Be Kind. Do at least one act of unbargaining service every day.
- Be Helpful. Do your share of the work.
- Be Joyful. Seek the joy of being alive.
When brought into some new group such as the school or club, one is naturally anxious to begin by making a good impression on the others, by showing what one can do, proving what one is made of, and by making dear one's seriousness in asking to be enrolled. So also those who form the group; they wish to know whether the newcomer is made of good stuff, and is likely to be a valuable addition to their number. The result is what we call initiation trials, the testing of the newcomer.
The desire to initiate and be initiated is a very ancient, deeplaid impulse. Handled judiciously and under the direction of a competent adult guide, it becomes a powerful force for character building, for inculcating self-control.
In Woodcraft we carefully select for these try-outs such tests as demonstrate the character and ability of the newcomer, and the initiation becomes a real proof of fortitude, so that the new boy is as keen to face the trial, as the Tribe he would enter is to give it.