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mrkstvns

A Strategy for Handling Bedwetting

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Planning for summer camp usually begins in the spring and often culminates in a troop parent meeting where the scoutmaster talks about how to prepare for camp, what to pack, how the logistics will work, etc.

One of the details that I  don't often hear scouters talk about is bed wetting.  

For most scouts, that will be a non-issue because the boys will have "outgrown" that common pitfall of youth. But all kids aren't created equal, and some kids will still be dealing with the occasional nighttime "accident". For first-year scouts, the stress of being away from home for the first time might trigger a recurrence.  

Scoutmasters can prepare themselves for camp by having a strategy in mind for dealing with this long before they ever get out to camp.  That can help them to help their scouts (and parents) and can set some worries to rest. The key for scoutmasters is to handle this quietly, respecting the scout's dignity and privacy. Don't make it a joke and definitely do not leave it to the patrol leader or SPL to handle their own way. Kids can be cruel and there's no reason to open up a scout to ostracism by his peers.

A strategy I'd use is....

  1. During the summer camp prep meeting, casually mention to parents that bedwetting might be a problem for some kids.  If it is, let's chat offline after the meeting.  If any parents come forward, recommend:
     - pack a pair of "Good Nites" 
     - have parents tell scout that if a bed wetting incident occurs, tell scoutmaster quietly
  2.  If you have 2 or more scouts with the same problem, suggest they tent together.
  3. During camp, if a scout tells you privately that he had an "accident", then:
     - advise the scout that he can take a shower in the morning, he should feel free to tell other scouts that he was sweating at night and wants to cool off
    - tell the scout to just go about his business (go to breakfast, merit badge class, etc.) and offer to "take care of it"
     - while scouts are away from site, quietly go to scout's tent and hang his sleeping bag out to dry and air out (advise scout that if other kids ask why, that he can say he had bugs in the sleeping bag and sprayed them with Off and now his sleeping bag smells like chemicals)  

The key is just don't make a big deal of it and don't let the scout become a target for humiliation.

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Posted (edited)

So far in my time, just one such camp incident and the camp staff handled it,  completely, discreetly,and  efficiently which included machine washing and drying bags and clothes. Cots and platform were also disinfected.  Other scouts  never knew.  Troop went to program . 

Many troops bring  one or two spare sleeping bags to camp and most camps also have spare bags. A blue tarp across tent platform floor comes in handy. 

Edited by RememberSchiff
removed blank line feeds

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20 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Other scouts  never knew.  

 

My nephew had this problem, but he chose to not try to keep it a secret. He didn't like the idea of making up stories and explanations.  It is sometimes easier for a boy to just deal with the truth than to try to keep it a secret.

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2 minutes ago, David CO said:

My nephew had this problem, but he chose to not try to keep it a secret. He didn't like the idea of making up stories and explanations.  It is sometimes easier for a boy to just deal with the truth than to try to keep it a secret.

Yes. Confronting a problem head-on is often the best way to deal with it.  Not every boy will have the personal courage to do that though.

I'm surprised that RememberSchiff had camp staff deal with the problem.  When I've been to camp, the camp staff have run activities, run the mess hall, run camp-wide activities, but never really involved themselves with the individual units and we rarely saw them around the troop sites. Units dealt with their own scouts. 

I also suspect that many scoutmasters might not run into the problem often because they haven't ever discussed it with parents and scouts, so the scout who does wet his bed at camp simply clams up and doesn't tell anyone. He'll just bite the bullet and sleep in a smelly, wet bed until it dries out (which may not be that long in 90 degree summer heat....)  I think this solution might be as acceptable as David CO's example of the kid who just confronts it head on.  Either way, the scout takes responsibility and deals with the problem his own way. He might not choose the path that I think is wisest, but it's his solution to his problem.

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This is not the only embarrassing nocturnal event that can occur at overnight scouting activities. I am sometimes surprised at how well (and maturely) many of our boys deal with these events. 

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13 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

...  When I've been to camp, the camp staff have run activities, run the mess hall, run camp-wide activities, but never really involved themselves with the individual units and we rarely saw them around the troop sites. Units dealt with their own scouts. ...

Our camp chaplain is pretty sharp and checks in with every unit at least once.

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