Haluska Ed (edh@MAILS.IMED.COM)
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 11:25:40 CST
>... why would a parent force their child to go camping
> when they don't want to?
There may be a time for this. IF the Scout is emotionally ready to be
challenged by going camping, but is just a little afraid of trying,
he may need a little parental "encouragement." ;-). Sometimes a young
birds needs to kicked a little to help it learn how to fly. On
the other had, please don't send me a Scout that that is an emotional
wreck for a week-long campout.
In reply to my post Joern wrote:
> Homesickness occurs in very different forms. Some heavy cases I
> have experienced, are from our national patrol-leader courses
> where the scouts are 13-15 years old. They know a lot of camping
> etc. but only know 0-3 of the other participants. And its the
> very first time they are on camp/holiday without knowing the
> adults! In this case I don't think ghettoblasters, Mc. Donalds
> and other "city-reminding-tricks" would help. (I agree, it might
> help when we are talking younger scouts not used to camps).
I agree and disagree. The key point is that homesickness is brought
on by suddenly removing a Scout from his day-to-day culture and
exposing him to a new one, and can be treated by trying to reduce the
differences between the two cultures. (If you don't agree with this
point, you won't agree with most of my postings
on this subject.) This is what I called culture shock
in the first posting. Now Joern's Scouts were
already familiar with the culture of "going camping." So just going
from the physical culture of the city to the physical culture
of camping should not have triggered the homesickness. Now if
the _only_ main difference was that the emotional culture was
different, then Joern is probably right. Trying to help the Scout
temporarily reconnect to the physical culture of the city will
probably not help much, because the difference is between what the
Scouts usually experienced at a camp out, and what they were
experiencing at this one. Even calling parents may not help.
In this case, calling the Scout's camping buddies would probably
However... was this a new camp that the Scouts had never been to?
If it was a new camp, was the ecology or geology significantly
different from what the Scouts had experienced in the past? If so, try
to deal with this item.
Also, in my fist post, when I suggested a "radio." I had in mind a
small, personal unit, like a Sony Walkman, not a big boom-box.
But this difference in interpretation does raise a
warning flag! If I just tell a Scout that he may "bring a radio,"
he may haul along some over-sized unit. Best to be specific here.
> Edward A. Haluska wrote some other suggestions about visiting parents
> and regular phone calls home. I don't think this is always wise.
> Sometimes it is getting worse, when the scouts are getting in
> contact with the parents - and then you have to deal with the
> parents too...
A very good point! These problems can be minimized by talking to
the parents on the phone _before_ the Scout does. Warn them that the
Scout is struggling with homesickness, will probably cry, and will
probably beg to be taken home. Negotiate with them as to whether or
not this will be an acceptable option. I probably should have
included that in my first posting.
> Edward also suggest
> >5. Camp as close to home as possible.
> Well, yes and no, it might depend on the age group. But when
> you are far from home, it is somewhat easier for a scout to
> understand, that the parents can't visit him every now and then.
Rational understanding does little to help this emotional problem.
If it did, all you would have to do to completely cure homesickness
is tell the Scout "Hey, your home and family are still there, and you
will be back in a few days!" Knowing that the parents are too far
away to visit or rescue him may only make the Scout feel more cut-off
and make the problem worse.
> The best "cure" in my opininion, is to keep the scouts working
> together with his patrol, preferably to activate him with things
> he is good at. I remember a very homesick, but also very rational
> scout, who cried each night, but during the days where involved
> with activities, told long stories at the campfires and had a
> pleasent time.
Joern, your Scout still cried every night, so I have to question the
effectiveness of this suggestion for explicitly treating homesickness
(it is a good general goal for camping, though). What I think you are
seeing here is just the differences in the Scout's ability to cope
during different times of the day. I think all of us will agree that
homesickness is at its worst at night, especially at bed time. I
think that this is because the Scout can cope with the culture
stress when he doesn't have to cope with the stress of physical
exhaustion also. But when both the emotional stress of
culture shock and the stress of physical exhaustion
gang up on him, the depression comes crashing in, and the Scout
collapses into a case of terminal homesickness. So another coping
strategy may be to keep the Scout from tiring himself out. (I know some
of you are rolling on the floor laughing at the impossibility of
implementing that suggestion).
| | 1. The Scouts will show you what THEY really|
| Edward A. Haluska | want to do, but you will probably tell them |
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City