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Scouts Who Don’t Enjoy the Outdoors

Jenny sent in this question

There is a cub in our pack that has no interest in the outdoors. He and I were talking about our upcoming family camp and he is dreading it. Our pack is quite small and his den only has 2 boys in it, so its difficult to have other boys get him excited about any of our outdoor activities. How can I help get him interested in being outdoors?

This is a difficult situation because so much of Scouting involves outdoor activities.  I think a good first step is to find out why the Cub Scout doesn’t enjoy being outdoors. Is he worried about the bugs? Too hot? Too cold? Can’t live without electronics?  OK with day activities but not so wild about overnight camping? If there is a specific problem and you can address it, then that can help the problem.

We had a Cub Scout who had a couple of unfortunate camping experiences as a Webelos. He crossed over to Scouts BSA and he was reluctant to do any camping. After talking to him and his parents, we learned that on one campout there was a bad rain storm during the night and on the other campout he got sick. The troop did a one night campout not too far from home to teach the new scouts some outdoor skills. We were able to convince him to sign up to go with the agreement that if it looked like there would be unpleasant weather he would skip it. He went camping and had a great time. So we are hoping some good experiences like this one will make him more eager to go camping in the future.

If there is no specific problem, but just a fear of the unknown, then enlisting his help to plan activities might work. If you can get him personally invested in something going on during the campout he might be more excited. What does he really enjoy doing? If you can work that in somehow and let him help organize that part then he will have something to look forward to.

Readers, what do you do with Scouts who don’t enjoy being outdoors? Add your comments below.


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