Who’s more nervous about that first night sleeping in a tent: the Cub Scout or his mom or dad?
In some of our Scouting families, the answer is both. That’s where you come in.
As a seasoned Cub Scouter, you can help calm that anxiety by following these five tips from Jennifer Mooney, camping director with the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Ore. Mooney was the guest on the December 2015 edition of CubCast, the monthly podcast for Cub Scout volunteers.
Here’s what she recommends:
1. Encourage families to do their research
“That might be going out and visiting the camp,” Mooney says. “In our council, there’s a lot of events at those camps throughout the year. So if they’re wanting to understand how the camp looks like or how it’s set up or where they might sleep or eat, that’s an opportunity for them to see it before camp so that they can prepare their kids and say, ‘Hey, you might be sleeping here this summer.'”
2. Anticipate and answer questions
“There’s all sorts of questions,” Mooney says. “Do I have to bring a cot, or is there a place to sleep? Do I need to bring food, or are we going to be fed? Simple questions like that, it makes them a little bit more easy when they actually attend camp.”
3. Start a mail system
For camps where the parents aren’t there the whole time, Mooney recommends a camp post office. “Most of our camps have a mail system,” she says, “so we encourage the parents to provide a little fun book or a candy bar or something to give them and a letter from home so that they feel that there’s still that contact there.”
4. Check with your council
“It’s important to check with the local camping department of the council,” Mooney says. “Ours is very versed in all of our camping programs, and they usually have some kind of resource — whether it’s the camp director’s information, a leader’s guide or just knowing the facilities that are there.”
5. Just go
“It sometimes is a commitment away from work or a commitment to drive if the camp’s far away, but the more that they get exposed to it, they realize that it’s a safe place,” Mooney says. “Whether they’re campers or not, it gives them a chance to see the program in action — understand it better.”