As Scouts get ready to head off for summer camp — some for the very first time — be mindful of how they’re feeling. Homesickness can affect many campers — most often younger Scouts.
Talk with your Scout beforehand to gauge how they’re feeling about being away from home. If they’re feeling anxious, you can go over different topics to help prepare them. The more prepared they are, the more comfortable they can feel in a new environment. However, even Scouts who say they’re looking forward to camp and feel plenty prepared might start longing to come home halfway through the week.
One way to help them know you’re thinking about them is to send a letter, card or care package. Before you do, though, check with the camp to see when they recommend mailing something to ensure it gets to camp mid-week rather than at the end. In some cases, you might need to send your mail before your Scout leaves for camp.
What to send
What should you send your Scout? Perhaps a comic book, a deck of cards or a pair of clean socks? Maybe a big box of goodies they can share with their friends?
One good idea is cash. Scouts can use a little spending money to buy souvenirs or treats at the trading post. But instead of mailing it, give your Scout an envelope with the spending money before they leave.
One item you shouldn’t send: a note saying how much you miss them. It can be tempting, but that sentiment might easily trigger homesickness. Instead, focus on how you’re proud of them and ask questions about what all they’re learning and doing. Keep the message upbeat and encouraging; it’ll help them focus on the fun opportunities. Adult leaders, both in your Scout’s unit and at camp, want Scouts to take advantage of what all summer camp has to offer during the week.
Another item you’ll want to check on with the camp or adult Scout leader beforehand is food. Your Scout might love to have snacks or candy on hand, but you’ll need to consider if insects or other critters might be attracted to sweet treats in your Scout’s bag.
Other ideas of what to send can include:
- Glow sticks
- Puzzles or a small board game
- An essential item your Scout might’ve forgotten to pack
- A journal and pen
- A copy of Scout Life magazine
What have you sent your Scout during past camps? What item did they say was most helpful?
Have you found that sending a thoughtful letter meant more to your Scout? Did you recruit other family members to send letters, too?
Or do you think sending a care package is unnecessary? After all, going to camp can instill confidence and self-reliance, plus they’re surrounded by a great support system in their fellow Scouts, adult leaders and camp staff.
Also, what are your ideas for Cub Scout day camp? Obviously, you won’t be mailing a care package, but maybe you can send something to put a smile on their face while they’re away. If you are packing a lunch for your Cub Scout, perhaps include a brief note that says, “Hope you’re having fun! Love you!”
Let us know in the comments your ideas for helping your Scout have an awesome time from afar.