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Herms

To shower or Not to shower, That is the Question

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Three years ago, our first summer camp, all of our scouts were first years. The shower facility was an open shower with 6 or 8 shower heads. There were lots of problems. Older scouts harassing younger ones. We ended up having to walk them up there and stand outside to monitor any issues.

 

Two things have happened since then. First, the camp has put in shower stalls. This has been a tremendous improvement. Second, we have older guys now now. The older ones look out for the younger ones. I don't think any adults walked up with them last year.

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A Scout is Clean

 

 

We rarely have any problem getting the Scouts to shower. For the most part, our Scouts are a pretty clean bunch.

 

Since most camps have some kind of shower facilities, there's not much reason not to shower. We deliberately picked a camp and campsite this year with hot showers right in the campsite.

 

The only issue we have had in the past is Scouts not wanting to take cold showers. Most camp swimming pools have hot showers.

 

 

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We rarely have a problem with old scouts staying clean. It's the newbies. It's the 11-12 years old scouts who are shy or for some other reasons do not like to shower. So ... we came up with a plan three years ago for our new scouts! "You have several choices of merit badges but there is one that is required ... depends on your swimming abilities, you will either 1) take the swimming merit badge or 2) take swimming lessons at summer camp!" They would be guaranteed of a good wash down with chlorine water! So far, we have gone to summer camps with swimming pools!

 

1Hour

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At the camp I go to, they used to have the locker-room type shower, where everyone could see everyone else. I noticed that if people were uncomfortable with nudity, they would just shower with their suit on. Some Scouts wouldn't shower, but their patrol members or tent mates would make them. The SM announced at the beginning of the week that eveyone had to shower at least twice, and he threatened to hose 'em down if they didn't (there was a hose in the site for firefighting and latrine washing). This past year, everyone was more willing to shower I noticed, because they built a new shoer building, with separate, lockable rooms, not just curtains. Some Scouts even showered every day, and one of them in my patrol got up every morning to shower just because the water was warm and it was cold outside.

 

At the camp I work at, most of the cabins have 2 showers in the bathroom with a curtain separating the bathroom and the showers. However, the first year staff (myself included) had to walk up the hill to the shower building (just like the new one at the other camp... separate rooms) Well, one of the SECOND YEAR staff was in the cabin, and we had to force him to shower... He just didn't shower, and we didn't know why... it wasnt' an "uncomfortable" issue, because the showers were all separate... Kind of annoying, because he stunk up the cabin

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I generally don't worry about it unless it becomes a real hygene issue, (the kid stinks). At that point, I tactfully suggest a shower, with the appropriate YP guidelines of course. With the pool, and other waterfront opportunities at camp, it's never been an issue for me.

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I've gone from being a first year, to an SPL at summer camps, and I can't figure out why first years won't shower.

 

For some, maybe it's the fact that they're not used to showering in stalls, maybe they are uncomfortable (even though we shower with swim trunks). I've tried and tried to get them to shower, I always hear the "I'll do it after dinner" excuse, yet when push comes to shove, they're down at the lake throwin sticks at eachother.

 

I guess they just grow out of it, realize how dirty it is. For most, it's their first taste of being a man, being away from their families, and sooner or later they will learn that not taking a shower is gross.

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We encourage our scouts to shower in swimsuits. Change in camp. Hit the showers. Change in camp after showering. Quicker with busy showers. Use buddy system for going to showers.

 

How to tell if they actually did? At summer camp we use the duty roster where as an adult works with X number of boys, on the way back into camp they stop by that adult for a head smell check. One will usually slip through until about Tuesday or Wednesday then has to find a buddy to go to the shower. The first years get with it pretty quick and we usually don't have a problem.

 

We like to tell them the story of my son (now Eagle) who didn't think he needed to shower because he was in the lake everyday. His scout buddies escourted him to and from the shower after a point in time at his first summer camp. Don't know exactly all the details as first year kids aren't allowed to bring parents to summer camp. After that first summer camp he had a different attitude to showering at camp.

 

About the bathroom thing at camp we require them to drink a container of fruit juice at breakfast each morning and haven't had 1 with a belly ache lately. Seems to help. Who ever has dining hall duty sets x number of juice on the tables.

 

Going to summer camp in a week we will see how it goes.(Always an adventure)

 

Kbandit

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Just back from this years encampment, and pleased to say there was only one stinky one and that was resolved after he was "ew" found to be stinky in a walk by. ( Stinky was intentionally trying to go the whole week; powder is good but it's not that good especially when everyone else is actually clean.)

 

We simply made it clear that a nightly shower was expected, and anyone turning in a stinker would be rewarded. 1 shower every 24 hours was the minimum.

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The SPL and PLs are responsible for troop hygiene. The shower house at Camp Shenandoah was rebuilt a few years ago with individual stalls to meet the Youth Protection program rules. The lake does not count as it is usually high in algae and goose poop. We rarely have any problems.

 

I also setup a Coleman shower tent and a shower head in camp. It is cold, but it does feel good at three in the afternoon. They can also use it to change clothes if two of them do not want to change in the same tent.

 

Ed

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We're heading out in about a month. Since we camp in Outpost, on the other side of the lake from camp, some was smart and bought the troop a propane heated shower unit. It's about a 3/4 mile hike to the nearest showerhouse. Nice thing is we know when they use it and when they don't.

 

It's a bear regulating the heat on the thing, to little water its too hot, to much, it's cold. Also we remind everyone to turn on the flow of water before firing up the thing, otherwise you hear a lot of screaming from the surprised showeree when the hose coupling blows from the pressure buildup. Thank God, no one has yet to be boiled alive.

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We're heading out in about a month. Since we camp in Outpost, on the other side of the lake from camp, some was smart and bought the troop a propane heated shower unit. It's about a 3/4 mile hike to the nearest showerhouse. Nice thing is we know when they use it and when they don't.

 

It's a bear regulating the heat on the thing, to little water its too hot, to much, it's cold. Also we remind everyone to turn on the flow of water before firing up the thing, otherwise you hear a lot of screaming from the surprised showeree when the hose coupling blows from the pressure buildup. Thank God, no one has yet to be boiled alive.

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Back from summer camp and pleased to report that boys followed the SPL's rule that everyone showers every night. They tromped off together in twos and threes and hit the showers. Most of our campsites now have their own shower houses, but the site we use still has the old eight head open shower room for the boys. This year, I heard the SPL comment to the guys after the first night that they must put some soap down their swim trunks and scrub it around front and back when they shower. I did not see the demonstration, of course, but heard him in the cabin say "see, like this." I certainly got a good chuckle from that.

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As Scoutmaster, I don't regulate showers, bowel evacuation, urine disposal, calorie consumption, sleep time, etc. What I do provide is the opportunity to bathe in peace (no horseplay), clean latrines, meal choices, quiet & lights out times, etc.

 

Every Wednesday we make a big deal that it is tent partner appreciation day! After getting the kids (mostly first year kids) hyped up on it, we explain that being kind to your tent mate includes proper hygiene (i.e. take a shower, lakes don't count).

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I picked my son up from camp where he is working last week so he could go to Philmont. He is working at a remote program (1 1/2 mile or so from base camp, no showers) so he is showering twice a week (night off and Sat night). Not too bad, except that he is working at a blacksmith forge every day. I picked him up Tues noon, after a day and a half working at the forge with no shower. He was covered in coal dust - normally blonde hair several shades darker than normal, smudges on his face, and his off-white shirt and pants were mostly black down the front.

 

Of course, he put up his arms and gave me a big hug.

 

His clothes are now off-white again, with some stains, after 4 trips through the washer. His hair, however, was still darker than normal when I sent him off to Philmont - I think it will take a few more showers at the end of the summer to get all the coal dust out.

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Yep, gotta learn the benefits of cleanliness, which, if not 'next to Godliness' is oft times next to impossible.

 

Recommend the movie/video:

 

"NO MORE BATHS" (1998) by Feature Films for Families

 

The kids band together to force a moral issue by refusing to take baths until the adults in the community 'do the right thing'. Kinda like a "Our Gang" with a deep thought.

 

 

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