Last week, listeners heard about the first Citizens' Military Training Camp in North Dakota, at Fort Lincoln in 1928. It was attended by 525 boys from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. On this date, they were settling in and making great use of the area.
In preparing for the camp, the committee, set up by the Association of Commerce was concerned about ways to entertain the boys for a whole month. F.H. Waldo, chair of the committee, said "Every resident of Bismarck will be asked to join hands as one big committee in working for the success of our first summer camp for boys." He added that the citizens of the area felt "a personal pride in this establishment, for the residents of Bismarck have given both their moral and material support to the enterprise."
Myron Atkinson made arrangements to allow the boys to use the municipal swimming pool, and transportation to and from was arranged by Frayne Baker. Dances were also planned, but since the number of boys was so large, these dances could only be attended by one "company" of boys at a time.
Baseball games were played each evening, and volleyball was also on the agenda, as well as tennis, horseshoe pitching, track, and boxing, among other activities. Movies were arranged to be shown at the post gymnasium on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings; however, army appropriations did not cover the full cost of the films, so a minimal admission fee was necessary.
And apparently all that still wasn’t enough. An additional program of entertainment included band performances, mass singing, amateur stunts, readings, minstrel shows, boxing, and wrestling. A trip to the Badlands was considered, but instead, 300 of the youths headed off to Lake Isabel, packed into the cars of 60 Bismarck residents who had volunteered to transport the boys. Once at the lake, they enjoyed an army dinner picnic, went swimming, and participated in athletic contests.
Bismarck clearly made sure the boys had plenty of fun to balance out their studies.
Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker
The Bismarck Tribune -
August 27, 1928, p8
August 10, 1928, p6
April 12, 1928, p3
August 12, 1928, p5
July 25, 1928, p3
February 23, 1928, p12
July 30, 1928, p1