WHY BOBBY DOESN'T GO CAMPING
DON'T LET BED-WETTING COST YOUR TROOP A GOOD SCOUT
edited by MaryAnn Gardner
Mike O'Hara noticed Bobby's enthusiasm the first night he visited Troop 240 as a
Webelo. From the day he joined, Bobby was always first in line for a Saturday morning hike
or a day-long fishing trip. Mike wished all his Scouts would meet the popcorn sales with
Bobby's eagerness. Mike expected to see Bobby advance quickly through the ranks to First
Class. Then, he changed his mind. At a troop meeting, Sue Johnson, the troop records
keeper came to Mike with a disturbing observation. Her records showed that Bobby had never
spent a single night camping with the troop.
"I remember other Scouts like Bobby," Mike told Sue. "They seemed so
eager at the beginning. Then, they skipped campouts. It wasn't long before they stopped
attending the troop meetings, too. Nothing I tried could get them interested in camping. I
never could figure out why."
Sue, who is a pediatric nurse, offered a possible explanation. "Maybe Bobby has a
physical condition that keeps him from camping overnight."
"But the parents fill out medical information forms when a boy signs up. I don't
recall Bobby having any allergies, or asthma, or anything that would impact his
Scouting," Mike protested.
"Maybe they don't want it in his records because they find it embarrassing. Maybe
Bobby has a bed-wetting problem," Sue said.
How do I recognize
Just how serious
is this problem?
How does it
impact a child?
How can the
problem be solved?
"MAYBE BOBBY HAS A
Sue went on to explain that while it may seem reasonable
to expect parents to talk about a condition as common as bed-wetting, many are reluctant
to seek medical attention because they are embarrassed, or they dont understand why
their child wets the bed, or they are frustrated by the limited choice of treatment
options offered by healthcare providers, or they simply don't know that in most cases the
problem can be easily treated.
Sue offered to get some literature from her office about bed-wetting. After Mike read
it, he spoke with Bobby's parents after the next parent committee meeting. He told them
how much he enjoyed watching Bobby's enthusiastic approach to Scouting and the potential
he displayed. Then, he explained his concerns about Bobby's not being able to experience
the entire Scouting program. He asked if Bobby had a physical condition that kept him from
joining the troop on overnights. They seemed a little embarrassed but confirmed that Bobby
had a bed-wetting problem. Mike reassured them that this was common and gave them Sue's
Bobby's mom took the first step suggested in the literature and talked with Bobby's
doctor to learn more about bed-wetting, and available treatment options.
HE ALWAYS WET THE
Until he received treatment, Bobby never went camping
with the troop because he always wet the bed. Bobby thought he was alone with his problem
and was afraid the Scouts would make fun of him. After all, the teasing and taunting was
close to home.
"My brothers made fun of me, and I felt my whole family thought there was
something wrong with me," said Bobby.
There are approximately five to seven million children in the United States over the
age of six just like Bobby. They suffer from primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE), more
commonly known as bed-wetting. While most children outgrow bed-wetting by age six, and
another 15 percent of older children stop wetting the bed each year without treatment, for
some it can continue on for years. This can potentially cause embarrassment and undeserved
shame that may in turn restrict social interaction and development.
No Scout wants to hang his sleeping bag up to dry for all the guys to see. If he leaves
the wet bag in his tent he risks his tent mates complaining about the smell. Either way,
he will likely become an object of ridicule in his troop at some point. So he simply stays
For the most part, the majority of families understand bed-wetting for what it is
unintended and unwanted in short, an accident. Unfortunately, however, up to
35% of children who wet the bed are punished, which can compound the problem.