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To shower or Not to shower, That is the Question

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The necessity of showering after Lake swimming would depend on the particular lake. The lake (actually more of a pond) near my home is always full of algae, so I require my boys to shower after we swim there. I even made my son's friends shower when he had them over for swimming and a sleep over. I didn't want them going home the next day stinking of dried algae!

 

My parents' cabin in northern Minnesota is on a very clean and clear lake. People are amazed that they can still see the bottom of the lake when we're out to a depth of 5 feet or so. We never feel the need to shower after swimming. As a matter of fact, before the cabins got indoor plumbing, all the cottagers washed their hair and bathed in the lake!

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As a newbie ASM (just 18) I have noticed a couple of things:

 

1. Scouts, at the camps that I have gone to, wear their swimming suits if they feel the need to when showering.

 

2. the troop requires, by constant nagging of uniformed adults and boy leaders, to take showers at least Wednesday night and Friday night.

 

3. After an older scout, two years ago, went through Wednesday w/o showering then did his Ordeal for O/A and still didn't shower the scouts noticed it and showering hasn't been a problem since.

 

 

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As for brushing teeth, all I can say is

 

Lead By Example

 

Clydsdale 115

When I was in the Army, there were some of the guys I was with would hold there bowels till they had to go to the rear. They flatly refused to use a outdoor latrine. I never could understand this state of mind.

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Two years ago at Webelos resident camp, at which we arrived on Sunday, there was a huge ruckus on Thursday. Must have been everybody in camp stopped what they were doing to listen. All throughout the woods you could hear the voice of one of our kids coming out of the latrine - "It must have been 10 feet long!!!!!!!!"

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" a leader walks them to the shower house & waits outside until they have showered."

Oh dear.

" The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

 

I don't think walking Scouts to the shower house and waiting till they have showered is teaching them a darn thing.

I find myself agreeing with a lot of what SemperParatus posted.

I really do not expect to tell Lads of Scout age about personal hygiene, that's something I expect of them.

Before a long term camp I do tell them how important it is to check for ticks and rashes. When we look at keeping warm in the winter, we go over how being clean is warmer.

If Scouts are not taking care of personal hygiene you might want to look at the reason why?

Is there time set a side for them to visit the shower house?

Is the facility clean?

Is there too much horse-play and rough necking going on?

(Respect of privacy.

Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require.)

A Scout is clean is part of the Scout Law, we teach our Scouts why it is important, they promise to do their best.

Of course every now and then we get the little toad who thinks that it's cool to see how long he can go without bathing. Some do it for the attention, I don't know but I'm sure some think that they are pulling a fast one or the wool over someones eyes? I see it as a violation of the Scout Law and tell the Lad that not living up to the Scout Law is not in keeping with Scout spirit.

Before the 2001 Jambo, I had one Lad who just wasn't sure if he could go the entire Jambo without his hair gel?

This past one there were some Polish female Scouts, one little Lad wanted to go and trade patches with them. So after supper he showered and must have used at least half a bottle of cheap after shave (Axe??) You could smell him half a mile away!! I'm not sure why a Lad who doesn't shave who didn't know that there were going to be any girls in camp would bring after shave? But I didn't ask!

When I was a little fellow our nearest camp was Walton Firs National Camp site in Surrey. It only had at that time two showers in the shower house. To turn on the water you had to pull a chain, when you let go of the chain the water quit running. To this day I still remember standing under that shower head, with the chain in my hand knowing that as soon as I pulled that darn chain I was going to get hit with the coldest water I ever felt in my life. The memory brings goose bumps.

Eamonn.

 

 

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Eammon,

 

Your post reminded me of a summer camp I attended and at which I later became a counselor. Although it wasn't a scout camp, water conservation was highly promoted. We were all allowed a 2 minute shower! It's not quite as bad as it sounds, as that's 2 minutes of water time. We learned to turn the water on just long enough to get wet, then turned it off while shampooing and soaping up. Then we turned it back on for rinsing. I wish I could get my own boys to take such quick showers!

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Our council camps have "Polar Bear" swimming -this is a before breakfast "swim" - You've got to get wet hair, but you don't have to stay in. Every scout who does this gets a segment for their camp patch.

 

This gives every scout some time is a chlorinated pool every morning. Not perfect, but not horrible. It also gets the scouts going in the morning.

 

If a youth hasn't actually showered all week, and NEEDS to shower - the other youth will usually "gang up" on the scout until they shower - this is usually wedensday or thursday (Not perfect, but it is coming from the boys, not the leaders).

 

Going to camp as a youth leader, I made an effort to shower multiple times during the week (at least every other day) and will make the same effort and example when in camp for 2 seperate weeks this summer.

 

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Lots of good ideas. It is sad that we have to discuss this at all. In my opinion this is something the boys should be learning from their parents and we shouldn't have to contend with it.

 

Funscout sparked a memory of scout camp from the 70's when we had to shower with "sun heated" water so our showers were always quick!!

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I don't think walking Scouts to the shower house and waiting till they have showered is teaching them a darn thing.

 

Actually it teaches them a couple things.

 

1) Cleanliness

 

2) We follow our camp policy which is an adult from the unit must accompany a group of Scouts to the shower house.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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The older Scouts in our Troop like to shower at least twice if not three times at summer camp, and give the younger boys no choice in following their lead. When it's shower time, it's shower time, and that's it. As Scoutmaster, I have never said a thing. If some in your Troop are not showering, you might speak to the SPL and other older Scouts before summer camp and encourage them to ensure that all in the Troop shower at least twice. Having the Scouts take the lead in this may be a better way to encourage cleanliness than orders from adults.

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Showering has been a non-issue in our Troop since the first year we went to summer camp. That first year, we had a boy who wouldn't shower. The other Scouts assured he took a shower. Since then, when we put out our Summer Camp information, it states clearly that all the boys will take showers daily. We don't discuss it. A time is set and the entire troop goes to the shower house at the same time. The adult leaders wait outside and escort them back. That's all there is to it. We don't present it as an option, just as reality. They don't question it. (And we don't say it is BSA policy. :) )

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Last year was my first time as new SM taking the troop to summer camp. We did discuss ahead of time that they were all expected to shower during the week.

 

To my amazement, I never had to tell anyone to go shower. Each night, before lights out, they tromped off together in groups of two or three down the hill with their towels and supplies. Then, back up the hill they came, clean and fresh. Even my son, who I ALWAYS have to remind to shower at home each night.

 

I asked the SPL how he got the guys to go shower every night. He said it wasn't him. He said one of the first year scouts wanted to shower but no one wanted to go with him. So, one of the older scouts, who is really great with the newbies, said "let's all go to the shower."

 

That was the first night and they continued that every night.

 

Found out later that they even brushed their teeth. Now THAT is amazing!

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Be careful gwd, if you arent careful this boy lead stuff could get out of hand and before you know it, they will be leading meetings, planning events, having fun, being responsible...

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Ed,

Read what gwd posted and how they are doing things.

Then look at what is happening in your unit.

One way is the way it ought to be and one isn't.

Can you see the big difference??

Eamonn.

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