A widespread practice on our campgrounds which is not only detrimental to health, but which also has a demoralizing effect upon all health habits, is the promiscuous eating of candy bars, popsicles, ice-cream cones, cookies, etc., all during the day. When these articles are offered for sale by the camp store, the children and youth, who are generally given considerable freedom from parental control during the camp meeting session, frequently transgress the laws of healthful eating by indulgence between meals in these confections to an extent greater than is allowed them at home or school.
Teachers in our schools are to be commended for their efforts in teaching health habits and practical hygiene. Our health journals are also doing excellent work in presenting principles of healthful living. The parents of our youth are in many cases earnest in their endeavors to instruct their children by precept and example. Nevertheless, the pernicious practice here referred to is seen each year on our campgrounds. It is obvious, therefore, that redoubled efforts will have to be put forth in instructing and training our youth in the practical principles of healthful living.
Would it not be proper and helpful, by way of augmenting our efforts in education, if steps were taken to surround all on the campground with influences that will be conducive to observance of their health habits? Much could be accomplished by attractive posters tersely stating certain principles; by health talks and demonstrations; and not the least effective means would be refusal by the camp-store management to handle many of the confections, bottled drinks, and other products known to be either unhealthful or of poor food value. Furthermore, it would have a very salutary effect if the ice-cream and confection counter could be open for business only during the established meal hours.
The argument is heard that the camp store may as well sell these articles, because if it does not, the children will buy them anyway at the corner grocery or from a vendor across the street. We believe this argument is unsound, for even though some children and youth, and some older ones, too, find a way and a place to get what they want, yet the conference committee and the camp-store manager have no jurisdiction over what the corner grocer does, but they do have a very definite responsibility for what the camp store offers for sale to our people and their children. Our camp stores will bear a positive, effective testimony, and will give point to the counsels of our speakers on health and the instruction read from the Spirit of prophecy, when the sale of "knickknacks" is discouraged—when in their place wholesome, healthful, tasty foods are substituted, and the reasons for doing so are stated. From "Counsels on Diet and Foods" we read this pertinent instruction:
"Light has been given me in regard to the foods provided at our camp meetings. Foods are sometimes brought onto the campground which are not in keeping with the principles of health reform. . . .
"Our children should be taught to deny themselves of such unnecessary things as candies, gum, ice cream, and other knickknacks, that they may put the money saved by their self-denial into the self-denial box, of which there should be one in every home. By this means large and small sums would be saved for the cause of God. . . .
"Let not foods or confectionary be brought upon our campground that will counterwork the light given our people on health reform. Let us not gloss over the temptation to indulge appetite, by saying that the money received from the sale of such things is to be used to meet the expenses of a good work All such temptation to self-indulgence should be firmly resisted. Let us not persuade ourselves to do that which is unprofitable to the individual under the pretext that good will come of it. Let us individually learn what it means to be self-denying, yet healthful, active missionaries."—Pages 329, 330.
We feel confident that conference officers will respond to this counsel and will seek to bring about reforms in these matters. We are neither consistent nor effective in our teaching when we fail to combat practices that are the direct antithesis of our teaching.
H. M. W.