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CUB SCOUT CORNER ‘I Wanna Go Home!’ How to head off homesickness before, and during, resident camp.


several ways you can minimize the dif- ferences—or at least the surprises.


Surprises Are Bad Try, if possible, to visit the facility before camp starts. This could be at a pre-camp meeting or open house, but it could also be during another council event or even on a pack campout. Boys who know their way around camp will be more confident when they arrive for summer camp. At the very least, parents should


THE ROAD TO HOMESICKNESS is paved with good intentions, as James Feuerstein discovered last summer at Akelaland, the Cub Scout camp he directs for Pennsylvania’s Minsi Trails Council. “We had a boy who was doing


great,” Feuerstein says. “It was about Wednesday, and his grandparents sent him a collage where they spelled out ‘We Miss You’ with pictures of his pets and his grandparents and all of his cousins and everyone. As soon as the boy opened it up, he burst into tears and had to be taken to see his grandparents.” While most boys have a great time


at Cub Scout and Webelos Scout resident camp, Feuerstein’s story demonstrates that homesickness can lurk behind every tree in the woods. Fortunately, you as a den leader, Cubmaster, or parent can take simple


18 SCOUTING ¿ MAY•JUNE 2013


steps to ensure that smiles are more plentiful than tears among your Scouts. First, explain this rule to families:


No “We Miss You” collages! That doesn’t mean that mail is


bad, though. When Steven Straub ran the Lincoln Heritage Council’s resident camp program in southern Indiana, he installed a mailbox in the camp office where leaders could deposit letters brought from home. But he emphasized in pre-camp materials that family members should express pride in their Scouts rather than write anything that might encourage homesickness. “Say, ‘You’re going to have a great experience; I’m glad you’re having this time away,’” he says. Of course, the “away” part can be


a challenge for some boys since very little about camp is like home. But Straub and Feuerstein say there are


figure out how to get to the facil- ity, because some camps can be hard to find. “If you’ve got the time, MapQuest it and drive out,” Straub says. When boys know what to expect—and parents know how to find the camp—everyone’s stress level goes down. Feuerstein encourages packs with


younger boys to visit the camp facility in the offseason. “Sometimes moms and dads have this terrible idea of what camp is going to be like,” he says. “Camp has changed a lot in the past few years, so parents’ experience of camp is not necessarily reflective of what Scout camps are like today.” Especially if Mom or Dad won’t


be attending resident camp, as is often the case with Webelos Scouts, it’s important that boys spend some nights away from home, even if it’s at a grandparent’s house or with a friend down the street. “They’re getting a chance to see somebody else’s house, live somewhere else, spend a little time away from their parents, and


FIND MORE advice for Cub Scout leaders at scoutingmagazine.org/ cubscouts.


DAVE WHEELER


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