Grrr*Summer Camp told DD to go to the bathroom in the woods - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Grrr*Summer Camp told DD to go to the bathroom in the woods
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 08:30 PM 08-18-2010
Tonight we went out to dinner. My 8 yr old went to the bathroom and was gone a while, which isn't typical, so I wondered if she was sick. She said she had a stomach ache, and I asked if she was going to the bathroom while at summer camp.
She said that she didn't want to go because they (the counselors) were telling kids to go in the woods because they weren't enough counselors to take them to the bathroom.



I wrote an email to the director and will call in the morning but I was rather annoyed.

While I am ok with my child in an extreme emergency going in the woods, this is not their choice to make and I really feel it was poor judgement. I worked at this program years ago and I know it is a pain in the butt to take several kids to the bathroom but sheesh, my child shouldn't feel that they can't go because it is inconvenient to the counselor.

philomom's Avatar philomom 08:57 PM 08-18-2010
My teenage son is helping at nature camp this summer. One of his main jobs is escorting kids back down the trail to the bathroom at the nature center. Maybe your camp is short-handed?
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 09:04 PM 08-18-2010
The usually have a good ratio, so this wasn't the norm that I am aware of.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 09:09 PM 08-18-2010
If they don't have enough staff to take the kids to the bathroom, they don't have enough staff to be open and they should refund your money.
mamadelbosque's Avatar mamadelbosque 09:12 PM 08-18-2010
sounds reasonable to me depending on how far away bathrooms are. What exactly is 'wrong' about asking/tellingi a child to goto the bathroom in the woods when out camping?? I worked at YMCA camps for years in highschool/college and I honestly have to say... I don't get it.
philomom's Avatar philomom 09:17 PM 08-18-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
sounds reasonable to me depending on how far away bathrooms are. What exactly is 'wrong' about asking/tellingi a child to goto the bathroom in the woods when out camping?? I worked at YMCA camps for years in highschool/college and I honestly have to say... I don't get it.
While I agree with you in theory... an 8 year old girl most likely does not want to get partially naked with other kids in the vicinity.
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 09:43 PM 08-18-2010
It was the "being naked in front of other children thing" and while I am ok with digging a hole in the woods to go, I rather doubt that is what they were asking the kids to do.
amcal's Avatar amcal 10:01 PM 08-18-2010
I think it's one thing to go to the bathroom in the woods when you're camping with your family and a completely different thing to go in the woods when you're out with a bunch of peers.

If she was uncomfortable with it then, it's not ok.
CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 01:42 AM 08-19-2010
How far away from the bathrooms were they? Why do 8yo's need to be escorted to the bathroom? What about at evening/night when I'm guessing they were closer to the bathrooms.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 02:20 AM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
How far away from the bathrooms were they? Why do 8yo's need to be escorted to the bathroom? What about at evening/night when I'm guessing they were closer to the bathrooms.
LOL... I was wondering that too.
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 02:49 AM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
How far away from the bathrooms were they? Why do 8yo's need to be escorted to the bathroom? What about at evening/night when I'm guessing they were closer to the bathrooms.
Well, they are in the woods.
People in my homeschool group are mostly really relaxed but the parkdays in the woods, one of us will escort the eight and under crowd to the bathroom.
My dd is a year younger and I wouldn't feel comfortable with her walking alone in the woods.
AllisonR's Avatar AllisonR 03:12 AM 08-19-2010
If you are so far out in the woods than an 8 yo cant find their way back to the toilet by themselves, then the closest tree seems like a reasonable option to me. It doesn't mean the whole group will come over and watch her pee, I'm assuming they have better things to do.

I don't get it either. She is out in the woods. Thats where people have been going to the bathroom for the last 3.999 million years. It's only in the last 20 years society has developed this notion that it isn't ok. That doesn't make the last 3.999 million years wrong.
carmel23's Avatar carmel23 03:25 AM 08-19-2010
Some kids just don't pee outside easily.

My dd is 3.5 and really will only pee on a tree in an extreme emergency. She *hates* and always has. She has been potty trained since 2, and never really liked it, and we camp and hike a lot, so it isn't like she hasn't had a chance to do it.

I'm hoping by the time she is 8 she won't be bothered by it, but some people are... and I think we should respect that and the OP's DD.

My boys love to pee outside, but probably would not if they were with a bunch of kids at camp. They would with us, but : I don't see why they can have everyone walk to the bathroom at a certain time for break.
mamaofthree's Avatar mamaofthree 03:46 AM 08-19-2010
yeah i am thinking if they are that far out then maybe going behind a bush is the best option. maybe reminding your dd to go before they get on the trail will help? that way it is out of the way before they get out there and get busy hiking.
or if they can get a group to go at once. i know it would be a HUGE PIA to hike back and forth taking one kid at a time to the toilet.
h
azgirl's Avatar azgirl 04:11 AM 08-19-2010
Huh, I always went to summer camp in the woods and I NEVER would have so much as peed in the woods even though I did go in the woods when I was camping. Summer camp in the woods is not necessarily camping which might be a weird distinction if you haven't done both? That feeling of not being able to fall asleep without trekking to the bathroom and having to ask someone to go is seared in my memory. We just had to go in pairs, if I remember correctly...hmmm. Kids have varying degrees of bathroom comfort, maybe other kids don't mind and you can have your daughter tell the counselor that she doesn't want to go in the woods, I bet someone would go with her if she asked. Well, now that you have talked to the director for sure! It does not seem weird to me that your 8 year old holds it rather than going in the woods. You might not have sent her to summer camp if you guys didn't think bathroom facilities would be available. It sounds like you had reason (past experience) to believe she would be able to go in a bathroom.
choli's Avatar choli 06:31 AM 08-19-2010
Wow, I always thought that was part of the fun of camp.
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 08:01 AM 08-19-2010
My DS doesn't have any problem peeing in the woods (though it's easier for boys--more private and no need for tp) but I don't know how he'd feel about it if in a group of other kids. I know he wouldn't be down with going number 2 in that scenario (and like your average 8 year-old daycamper is going to dig a hole--do they carry shovels?).

So my son would probably come home that day with a stomachache too and I would definitely complain. If going in the woods is how they do it at that day camp then you needed to know that beforehand.
waiflywaif's Avatar waiflywaif 08:54 AM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Thats where people have been going to the bathroom for the last 3.999 million years. It's only in the last 20 years society has developed this notion that it isn't ok. That doesn't make the last 3.999 million years wrong.
People have only been frowning on outdoor urination since the 1980s? Then why were toilets, latrines, and Roman urinals invented so much earlier?
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 09:57 AM 08-19-2010
As an aside, this is a licensed summer camp run through a daycare, so there are many regulations they must follow and access to a bathroom is one of them. Second, we are talking needing to have a BM which is a bit different than peeing. Third while I don't have an issue with your child choosing to pee in the woods, she is in care, and it is their job to take care of the children.

I do have a problem with a child who holds her needing to have a bm because she didn't feel comfortable going in the woods and they were told they were short staffed. I also don't believe my child should have to specify what she needs to do in the bathroom in order to use the bathroom, she has a right to privacy.

As far as walking in the woods by herself, again there are regulations that specify if and why a child can be left alone or unescorted. So, whether I would let my child walk in the woods alone isn't up to me to decide, she is in care and they are required to follow certain rules.
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 11:11 AM 08-19-2010
Update- Just spoke with the director and she said this situation wasn't "OK" and she would speak to the staff. She apologized that it even happened.


My children have never had to eliminate anywhere other than the bathroom. I don't have a problem with digging a hole and going if that is what you do, but we have never been in a situation where we needed to go. I have friends who will let the kids pee in the woods/field but it is generally an emergency situation or because they are on a hike and can't get to the bathroom.
CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 01:32 PM 08-19-2010
Maybe I should have specified this in my earlier post.

did they sleep in the woods with no bathroom(or outhouse) available & the ONLY option was going in the woods or did they go back to a camp area where there were bathrooms there?

There are so many different versions of what a camp is.

When my kids were in guides they went to camp & had outhouses(I think) to go in. They would go on walks in the woods but they always came back to the main area for sleeping so those bathrooms were available. It was the same when I was in guides. I would go to one in the summer where the guides & older(8-9 and up) would sleep in tents. Our bathrooms were down a path & around a corner from where we were sleeping. I wouldn't go at night but I would have gone first thing in the morning or right before we went to bed. The younger kids slept in the lodge.

My 11yo just came back from "camp" It wasn't a traditional camp, it was a conditioning camp. They were at a private school in flat land saskatchewan, not alot of woods around.lol
GuildJenn's Avatar GuildJenn 04:30 PM 08-19-2010
I'm glad they are resolving it to your satisfaction. I agree that just arbitrarily telling her she couldn't go to a washroom wasn't going to be a teaching opportunity.

I also think being able to go in the woods is a good life skill and best taught at camp. It might be something to teach if you go camping with her or have an opportunity.

I love to camp but hate using the woods, but I am really glad I feel that I can - once or twice in my teens it came in handy when at parties in parks or on beaches, where it probably was way more safe to go off in the woods than to try to get to a washroom (cars and beer were involved, with being picked up by someone sober hours away).
ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 06:22 PM 08-19-2010
I'm glad you got a satisfactory response. I personally have no issue with kids peeing in the woods at camp, but that's irrelevant. If you and your child don't want her to pee in the woods rather than be escorted to the bathroom, than she shouldn't be made to feel like she has to. But I also think it's a good skill to have--to be able to pee outside.
journeymom's Avatar journeymom 06:23 PM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I'm glad they are resolving it to your satisfaction. I agree that just arbitrarily telling her she couldn't go to a washroom wasn't going to be a teaching opportunity.

I also think being able to go in the woods is a good life skill and best taught at camp. It might be something to teach if you go camping with her or have an opportunity.
Yes and yes!

Had they all been instructed about doing their business in the woods prior to that? Or was she simply told to go poo somewhere? At 8 y.o. I would have not done that, I'd have held it.

I chaperoned dd's science camp. The hiking guides gave us all, kids and parents alike, a pep talk and pointers on how to pee and poop in the woods. It made all the difference in the world.

For one thing they pointed out that you need to find a spot away from trails, so future hikers don't stumble upon anything nasty.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 06:56 PM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeress View Post
Update- Just spoke with the director and she said this situation wasn't "OK" and she would speak to the staff. She apologized that it even happened.


My children have never had to eliminate anywhere other than the bathroom. I don't have a problem with digging a hole and going if that is what you do, but we have never been in a situation where we needed to go. I have friends who will let the kids pee in the woods/field but it is generally an emergency situation or because they are on a hike and can't get to the bathroom.
I'm glad the director agreed that it was a problem. IMO, if kids aren't going to be allowed to go to the toilet someplace private with handwashing facilities, that needs to be very clear when kids are enrolled. Frankly, I would have a problem with kids being told to go in the woods as a matter of course because it's not hygienic, either for people or for the environment-- there's a reason people dig latrines, and if a camp full of kids is going on the ground all summer that can have significant impact. Is this public land?
buttercup784ever's Avatar buttercup784ever 08:58 PM 08-19-2010
If she's getting a stomach ache I assume we're talking about pooping, right? Yeah, NO WAY would I ever poo in the woods, and I would never expect my kids to do that either. I would hold it until I exploded. I hope I'm never that far away from a bathroom.

I wouldn't expect my kids to pee if it made them uncomfortable, but I would teach my daughter the 'right' way to pee just in case. It takes a little know-how not to pee down your own leg. Even if my daughter couldn't stand the idea of doing it, I'd still show her how it's done. It's one of those life skills every girl should know.
carmel23's Avatar carmel23 11:00 PM 08-19-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Frankly, I would have a problem with kids being told to go in the woods as a matter of course because it's not hygienic, either for people or for the environment-- there's a reason people dig latrines, and if a camp full of kids is going on the ground all summer that can have significant impact. Is this public land?
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MommaMoo's Avatar MommaMoo 04:44 PM 08-20-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I'm glad the director agreed that it was a problem. IMO, if kids aren't going to be allowed to go to the toilet someplace private with handwashing facilities, that needs to be very clear when kids are enrolled. Frankly, I would have a problem with kids being told to go in the woods as a matter of course because it's not hygienic, either for people or for the environment-- there's a reason people dig latrines, and if a camp full of kids is going on the ground all summer that can have significant impact. Is this public land?
Uh, yeah. I assumed that the OP was talking about poop, not pee, which is totally different. Absolutely not OK, for the kids or the environment. It is disgusting to have piles of cr*p all over the place, and how are those poor kids going to wipe? So you either have kids with upset tummies or kids with itchy butts and poopy hands. Gee, sounds like fun!
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