Anthony J. Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Wed, 1 Jul 1998 00:08:02 -0400
Peter Murphy made several observations about homesick Scouts that were right
on the mark. While I have had the luxury of not having to deal with parents
who are willing to throw away $135 just because of a few rain drops, I have
had the opportunity to deal with several homesick Scouts in my career. I
think it is important to remember that the symptoms of homesickness are
usually different from Scout to Scout. Some Scouts tend to become a little
beligerent, while others withdrawl completely. Some may shed tears and some
may latch onto a convenient adult (or staff member). The most successful
treatment I have come up with for homesickness is to show concern and keep
the Scout active. This has served me well during three Jamborees, a troop
adventure camp, seven troop summer camps, and four years on camp staff.
Granted, there may be times when a Scout NEEDS to call home. For some
Scouts, just knowing that home is still there in their absence is enough to
snap them out of a case of homesickness. In these cases it is important for
the Scoutmaster (or other adult) to speak to the parents first. Letting the
parents know that there is no need for them to come to camp to "rescue" the
Scout can get the parent on your side. Usually a few short minutes of
talking to mom or dad are enough to reassure the Scout and get him back in
Older Scouts, staff members, and even younger Scouts can be very helpful in
getting a Scout through homesickness. They can also make things worse. It is
important to explain to the Scout's peers that teasing will not be
tolerated. I usually use the "how would you feel if it was you?" speech.
Explaining the situation to the other Scouts, and asking them to help out by
getting the homesick Scout active can go a lot further than a bunch of
adults talking. Staff members usually don't have the time to deal with
homesick Scouts, but they are often willing to spend a little time getting
Scouts involved in the program. Above all, compassion is necessary when
dealing with homesickness. Letting the Scout know that homesickness is a
normal thing, and that home is really not that far away can do wonders in
relieving the stress and getting him back in the program.
Anthony J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
"Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop Theme!"
Great Trail Council - Akron, Ohio
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City