Jim Holman (HOLMAN_JIM/OMGATE_OA@GATE.US.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Mon, 25 Oct 1993 11:04:36 -0400
I'm happy to report that my all new troop made it through the camporee
with flying colors. The 8 mile hike with pack was a lot more rigorous
than I would have liked, but we made it with few complaints and not
too much whining. We were one of the 3 out of 14 troops that completed
the entire course and were greeted enthusiastically by the rest of
the camporee as we pulled into camp (all troops following us were picked
up by van and missed the last 2 miles of cross-country hike).
The kids loved the skill stations. Although they are obviously lacking
in scout skills so far, they attacked the problems with enthusiasm and
ingenuity and managed to complete them all. They liked the challenge part
of the hike -- the part on back roads they thought was 'boring', but the
up hill and down ravine and figuring how to get through the swamp without
getting too wet was great.
We all learned something... the kids learned why we have been stressing
some of the 'boring' skills such as knots and lashings and have decided
that we'll devote some troop meetings to those now. When it comes time
for the winter camporee, they want to be ready. We adults learned a
little about organization and making sure the kids are better prepared
with their equipment.
The ASM and I did most of the work and cooking since this was the first
campout for some of the kids, but we insisted that the kids following
a duty roster helped us with everything and we stayed in 'instruct mode'
from site selection to tent setup to cooking and cleanup. Pretty soon
they'll be able to handle it themselves.
One of the most positive aspects of the experience, however, was that
we gained respect from the rest of the troops there. As the "new troop
in town", we weren't expected to be or do much, but they found out that
we were as for real as anyone else. I got LOTS of compliments from the
station leaders for the attitudes and attention the kids displayed. I
think that helped my credibility as the leader as much as it did for the
kids as a troop.
One problem I hope the wisdom of this group can help with. One kid,
the oldest chronologically but biggest baby otherwise, got VERY
homesick and kept everyone else awake both nights crying. I don't mean
whimpering or sobbing quietly, I mean SHREIKING at the top of his
lungs "I'M SICK AND I WANT TO GO HOME". The first night we FINALLY
got him calmed down and asleep, but he kept waking up and disturbing
all the other kids. The second night he was worse, so I ended up
driving him home around midnight. Talking and reasoning with him didn't
work, threats (If you can't be quiet, we'll have to move you off in a
tent by yourself), didn't work; he was determined to get his way and
go home. I decided that rather than ruin the weekend for everyone else,
I'd give in. ((He's an only child and extremely pampered....He screams
at home to get his way and it works)). On the way home, he admitted
that he wasn't really sick, but he started coughing when his mother
opened the door (first cough all weekend), so she believes he had a
cold and needed to come home for treatment. He understands that his
dad needs to come along on the next campout since "it will be his turn
as a parent to help us". So how do you handle homesick boys?? Most kids
his age wouldn't mind crying in front of others if they were really hurt,
but would rather have a foot cut off than to make such a scene just because
they missed mom (this was one thing he yelled: I WANT MY MOMMY). I don't
want to lose him because I think he needs the program, but I can't have
him making everyone else miserable either. Ideas??
Jim Holman, I used to be a Bear
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City