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severe homesickness at camp

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  • #16
    I think you and your troop should get a pat on the back for this. My troop does not take recent transfers or crossovers to summer camp for this reason. We like to get them used to camping in tents away from their family support throughout the year. Once a scout gets used to weekends away from home the week of summer camp is not so bad. I also use costco chocolate chip cookies when scouts have melt downs. I give the scout a cookie and sit then down next to the fire pit. By the time they finish with the cookie the world seems like a better place and they calm down.

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    • #17
      Just got back from camp.

      All 4 boys Webelos cross-overs this year. (brand new troop)

      Had camp's canvas wall tents.

      Had one shakedown weekend camping prior to summer camp.

      2 bed wetters.

      2 homesick

      1 1/2 hours from home.

      Parents of homesick boy #1 came up Friday and took him home just before the final campfire. No big deal, he'll still do fine. Parents have more problems than the kids.

      Parents of homesick boy #2 came up Friday and boy told them he wanted to stay for the campfire and ride home with the others. I guess the homesick treatment worked.

      All four boys unanimously voted to come back to same camp, same week, and same campsite next year.

      Nothing ever runs smoothly. Every leader should be prepared for things they never would have expected.

      If one thinks talking a boy down from homesickness is difficult, try talking them into Depends at night for sleeping.

      Stosh

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      • #18
        Our troop had one boy who was so homesick that his mom had to come get him on day 3. Ironically, his dad had actually been at camp and stayed after the boy left! The kid couldn't be apart from his electronics without withdrawal symptoms. He went to camp every year with his dad and every year went home early while the dad stayed. The day he turned 18, he left scouting without having advanced beyond first class or earning any merit badges. He didn't want to be in scouts, but his dad sure did. OTOH, my son went to scout camp having never been away more than one night in his life. After one week, they called and asked if he could stay a second week. When he came home, his first words were "When can I go back to camp?"

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        • #19
          Oh, and you should have a word with the bed wetter's parents. My oldest wet the bed till just about the time he had his first girlfriend We sent him to camp with a medication that suppressed urine output over night. At home, we'd wake him twice a night to go but we didn't want to broadcast his issues or, more importantly, put a burden like that on a volunteer, so our pediatrician prescribed a med. The camp nurse gave it to him at my request so that the SM and other adult leaders didn't know what he was taking. He just thought it was a med to help him sleep. He never had an accident at scout camp or on a sleepover.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by 5scoutmom View Post
            Oh, and you should have a word with the bed wetter's parents. My oldest wet the bed till just about the time he had his first girlfriend We sent him to camp with a medication that suppressed urine output over night. At home, we'd wake him twice a night to go but we didn't want to broadcast his issues or, more importantly, put a burden like that on a volunteer, so our pediatrician prescribed a med. The camp nurse gave it to him at my request so that the SM and other adult leaders didn't know what he was taking. He just thought it was a med to help him sleep. He never had an accident at scout camp or on a sleepover.
            We were not told up front about one of them. Meds didn't work for the other all that well. My ASM (female) had a discussion with the mom who didn't notify us. Not a problem now, we have extra depends on hand.

            After 40 years of working with kids, these kinds of things don't bother me any more.

            However, homesickness is effecting an ever increasing number of kids. 50% of the boys on this round? Way too many! I can handle it, but these kids are so totally unprepared to leave the home that I'm thinking that more than half of them will still be living in the parents basement well into their 40's.

            Stosh

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            • #21
              Our troop got home Saturday. No problems with homesickness except for the one scout. Our 3 crossovers had a great time, although one might have trouble explaining to his parents that all of his spending money went on candy. Had the usual amount of spider shooing and chipmunk chasing from tents (canvas tents on platforms), a mouse managed to find his way into the chuck box. Power went out a couple of times, no big deal except that the dining hall generators werent working and camp was not prepared for that. Oh yeah, huge storm came through on family night and cancelled all activities.

              My boy earned 5 merit badges, fire safety, safety, environmental science, emergency prep, and search and rescue. He was the only scout in his time period for safety so they did fire safety as well. He was well prepared as he had read all the merit badge books and completed all pre reqs. He made notes and answered all the questions in the workbooks so he was prepared for discussions.

              Regarding the scouts who have bedwetting problems. My son does as well, however, when he packs for camp he takes his "night time underwear" and deals with the issue on his own. He dresses in his tent while his tentmate is at the latrine or brushing his teeth. He puts them in a plastic shopping bag and discretely disposes them himself.

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              • #22
                Andysmom,

                Was this your son's first summer camp experience? I'm impressed by the combination of merit badges he took and successfully completed. He came to camp prepared and ready to go. I hope he also had some fun as well. His taking personal responsibility is impressive as well. Maybe this was a second or third year, but sounds like he's getting some great support and encouragement from you. He's got a great Scouting future ahead.
                No doubt over the thirty odd years I've been a SM attending summer camps, programs have changed to meet demand. Out of nowhere this year, my home camp seemed to be offering every merit badge in existence. How could they do that? You know how............

                sst3rd

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by sst3rd View Post
                  Andysmom,

                  Was this your son's first summer camp experience? I'm impressed by the combination of merit badges he took and successfully completed. He came to camp prepared and ready to go. I hope he also had some fun as well. His taking personal responsibility is impressive as well. Maybe this was a second or third year, but sounds like he's getting some great support and encouragement from you. He's got a great Scouting future ahead.
                  No doubt over the thirty odd years I've been a SM attending summer camps, programs have changed to meet demand. Out of nowhere this year, my home camp seemed to be offering every merit badge in existence. How could they do that? You know how............

                  sst3rd
                  Thank you for your kind words. It was my son's 3rd year at camp. My husband is is scoutmaster and I have been on the pack and troop committees since he was a tiger. We believe strongly in the scouting program and want our son to get out of it what he should. We are also aware that because we are so active in the troop there will be some that think my son "skates" by so we do everything we can to be sure he can prove that he doesnt. He is always extra prepared, poor kid. LOL We are at the troop meeting place an hour before the troop meeting starts every week so scoutmaster conferences can be done or our scouts can meet with merit badge counselors or get extra work on rank requirements so he does most of his "scouting" work then. My husband is at every campout and has to carry my son's epipen at summer camp so he is always nearby in case of a problem (Andy has special needs) but he stays back so Andy can become more independent.

                  I am stunned by some parents attitudes that I hear described here. If yous son still wets the bed for whatever reason, why wouldnt you make sure he was prepared to deal with it himself. Since when is it the troops responsibility to take depends on a campout and tell a scout he has to wear them. What life skills is that teaching the scout?? I am shocked by it, just as i am shocked by the parent who sent her son camping with us for the first time to summer camp and failed to mention that his 2 previous experiences with camp were failures.

                  As far as merit badges go, I am saddened by the number of merit badge fairs and "colleges" there are. In my mind it cheapens the process. It is what it is and I can't change it. What I can do is make sure the scouts that I counsle get out of it what I feel they should. Sure there are badges that are easier to get at camp, there always will be. It is our responsibility as leaders to these scouts to do the best job we can at what we have control over. Our camp does not offer the citizenship merit badges, family life, physical fitness, personal management and the like. They do offer cooking, but not one of our scouts completed the badge because they did not finish the prerequsites. Traditional shooting sports, waterfront and handicraft (basketry, leatherworking, wood carving) are most of the merit badges offered. If a citizenship merit badge were offered our scouts would be STRONGLY discouraged from taking them.

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                  • #24
                    yea i am with you on the bed wetting and parents not preparing the scout to handle that himself. I am always shocked by the amount of parents that think scouts are day car or paid professionals that are equipped to handle anything that gets thrown at us. My son is cub with special needs and I try to let him explore and be on his own to learn to be independent and handle situations but I am always around the corner to rescue the leader if things get harry

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                    • #25
                      This has been a great discussion of how to handle summer camp issues, some of them. I have mostly encountered scouts who pretended to be homesick in order to get out of staying. Fortunately the parent(s) were already prepared to deal with this and a quick phone conversation with their sons convinced them to stick it out.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by packsaddle View Post
                        This has been a great discussion of how to handle summer camp issues, some of them. I have mostly encountered scouts who pretended to be homesick in order to get out of staying. Fortunately the parent(s) were already prepared to deal with this and a quick phone conversation with their sons convinced them to stick it out.
                        "Sorry, Son, you can't come home, we rented out your room for the week. See you on Saturday."



                        Stosh

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                        • #27
                          Heh, heh, one of them really was, "We're in Greece on our way to a Mediterranean cruise. Tough Luck." I will never forget the look of shock on his face...priceless. When the week was over, grandma picked him up. He didn't look happy...I think she was a cheek pincher, lol. No lie, he had a smudge of dirt on his face so she licked a napkin and wiped him off. He was ready to crawl back into the tent to get away from that.

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                          • #28
                            Packsaddle, you think I'm kidding with that remark? That's the line my mother gave me when I went off to summer camp for the first time. If you knew my mother, it could have been very much true, I never tested the waters to find out.

                            My line is: "So, your're homesick? So am I. I'm so sick of home, I could spend my whole summer out here."

                            Stosh

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