For those of you who are curious about the ending of the camp experience, here is the rest of the story. Tuesday, after my son called from the camp infirmary, I called my husband and he went and found the little camper. He seemed fine, but my husband kept a closer watch. Wednesday was the parents' night and I did not attend because I knew that if I went my son would come home. Thursday, my son woke and demanded to come home. My husband talked him into going to rifle practice/gun safety, first aid, lifesaving techniques and woodworking. Once those courses were over there was little left to persuade him to stay. He came home.
I thought he would feel like he was a quitter, but I guess we were putting that on him because he didn't. He said everyone in his troop understood and respected his decision. I honestly believe they did. We are lucky that he was able to be accepted so quickly by his troop and that his troop lives the true scouting spirit of growth from where you are.
As he was telling his story, I couldn't believe he wanted to come home because it sounded like he was having such a good time. He did have trouble with some of the things I thought he would like finding and keeping up with his stuff. My husband was so proud of him even though he came home early. He said everyone liked him and he participated in the skits (so much for the theory that homeschooling provides little opportunity for socialization), he was willing and able to do his part (getting the camp area ready for inspection and as wait staff at meals), he was respectful to all the leaders and did as he was asked (the first request), and his skills improved dramatically (swimming, lifesaving and first aid).
I am proud too. My ten year old son, who has never spent the night with my parents who live 3 miles from here, stayed four nights in a tent with another little boy. He struggled with homesickness and beat it for four nights and five and a half days. He passed his swimming test (even though he had never proved himself to be a strong swimmer) and went on to receive his lifesaving merit badge. He now has his firearm safety certificate which is mandatory in Mississippi to get a hunting license (of course he is not old enough to get that yet). He interacted with others. He raised the flag in a formal flag raising ceremony. He fulfilled his duty (even though no one was there to nag or remind) by getting to the dining hall on time, setting up the tables, serving food, and cleaning afterwards.
All of the failure baggage was mine and my husband's. He didn't fail. He tried. Even a week before the camp, I didn't believe he would go. He said he wanted to go but that he was scared. Now, he knows what to expect and has the confidence to make it all the way through, next time.
Stay tuned, I may share "my failure baggage" and why I didn't want him to quit. I may also try to sort out everything I learned from this experience and see if there are any kernels of wisdom to pass on.