Re: Homesick scouts
Jonathan Dixon (dixonj@MIMICAD.COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 11:53:40 -0600
I guess I'll add my own ramblings to this topic. 8)
In my own experiences at summer camp and in the cases I heard from
others, the most effective method of dealing with homesickness is to
get the person interested and active in what is going on. Calls home
and such tend to just prolong the problem.
Personally, I never had much problem with homesickness, although that
might be partly because my dad was an ASM and attended pretty much all
the campouts for at least my first couple of years and also went to
the first 2 or 3 years of scout camp with me. Perhaps this could be
used for those scouts who have bad homesickness - have a parent come
on the first few campouts until the kid is used to camping. Granted,
this only has a chance of working as long as the parent is willing to
camp, but maybe it would help in some cases (anyone able to
confirm/refute this idea - I haven't actually tried it).
Otherwise, I think it is best to get the kid fully into the camp
program and active. Using the "culture shock" idea, most people I
know say that immersing oneself totally in a foreign culture decreases
the amount of culture shock experienced. I guess it's a matter of how
big a shock a person is able to handle at one time; but a big shock
all at once is over quickly and you can enjoy the rest of the time,
where gradually acclimatizing oneself you tend to be miserable for a
long period of time.
I think what is important in dealing with the homesick scout is just to
be supportive and help them through the shock. Part of that would be
judging how much a scout can take at a time. Another big part is
keeping the others from teasing about it, since that makes things much
worse. It is also good if you can encourage them to make friends (if
they are new and don't know many people) since it is a lot easier to
face things when you do it together. I think that allowing
consessions to home (calls home, radios, etc) in general will just
prolong the problem, or even worsen it (if a bad case of homesickness
will allow me to call home or listen to the radio, perhaps I'll have a
bad case of homesickness anytime I'm bored or feeling a little down).
Of course, all of this is IMHO and from my limited experiences.
ASM Troop 1046, Bowie, MD, NCAC
Eagle '85 Vigil '89
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City