scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Summer camp experience
Don Schmidt (DonaldS812@AOL.COM
Mon Aug 14 2000 - 21:07:24 CDT
This may get a little long, but I think it speaks volumes about public
perceptions of Boy Scouts of America.
Mid June or so, I got a call from the Council office asking if we would
accept a guest for our week of summer camp. The boy was just turning 11,
AoL, and brand new Scout. His father works for the U.S. Dept. of Defense
school system at a base in Italy and would be on vacation stateside while his
Transatlanctic Council troop was at summer camp in Europe.
I discussed the situation with PLC and the adults who would be at camp that
week and we decided he would be more than welcome and I made contact with his
parents at the mother's hometown. She grew up in the southern reaches of our
council. This situation was also on my mind as I attended Strictly for
We made plans to meet at the Chartered Org's parking lot Friday before we
left for camp. They were planning to visit family in the neighborhood of the
camp and would bring the boy out on Sunday to meet the Troop and see the
I wish I could say the week was uneventful but homesick landed on him like a
ton of bricks Monday after the evening meal. By the most amazing coincidence
he met a boy in the Trailblazer program (designed to get a new Scout up and
running on various Scout skills) that he had attended four years of grade
school with in Germany. This may have precipitated or made more acute the
feelings of aloneness he felt.
The phone company serving the camp wouldn't take my credit cards, I couldn't
charge to my home phone because there was no one home and it wasn't my voice
on the machine, I didn't have a prepaid phone card, and the contact number we
had was listed with the phone company as not accepting collect calls so one
was not made. He finally made contact with a familiar voice Thursday and
spoke with his mother later that day, thanks to one of my Scouts who donated
a prepaid phone card for us to use.
His family (two younger brothers, mother, and grandmother) arrived Friday for
the evening meal. His mother told me he seemed to put the unpleasant parts
behind him as he was already talking about coming back next year and wishing
his younger brothers could take part as well.
Which brings me (finally) to my point. I have never felt to honored and so
humbled as when this lady gave her son to my care and keeping for a week
based on phone contact with the Council office, phone contact with me, a
short face to face on the church parking lot, about one hour while the Troop
set up camp and prepared for the swim test, and just maybe, the fact that I
was a Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America.
A question for my colleagues in uniform. How do you handle homesick? This
is the first time it has been my watch when the situation arose. I know
about keep them busy, but his major class session included the lad from
school in Germany. Please reply off line
SM Troop 244