My son is a Tenderfoot in his troop, and has been stuck trying to rank up for several months. He has almost all of his 2nd Class and 1st Class requirements done - except ones that require camping.
He has been diagnosed with extreme anxiety issues and has been seeing a therapist for a few years now - as well as taking medication. In every aspect of his life - school, home life, athletics… things have improved. The only thing he has been unable to get over is his fear of camping overnight.
He enjoys scouts and genuinely wants to advance, but he cannot - due to a medical diagnosis - bring himself to camp overnight. He has participated in several campouts, but even those become a nightmare for him - as he has panic attacks (or has a great deal of anxiety about the next panic attack coming), and he has no fun because all he can think about is the looming anxiety attack. At every other event and activity, he enjoys himself.
The last campout he attended, early in the summer - he managed to spend Friday night with his patrol, but by Saturday afternoon the leaders were calling me to come pick him up, because he was having an anxiety attack (they thought it was heat stroke). I had to drive over an hour to get him, and now he refuses to even consider camping, because he’s fearful that he will have another panic/anxiety attack and the other boys will see it.
We’ve tried a million different bribes, tricks, and/or games to get him to feel comfortable, but nothing seems to work for him, and now he feels like he is falling behind his friends in rank advancement and is becoming very self-conscious about that too. Last night he said he wanted to quit scouting, because his friends finished their 1st Class rank and he still hasn’t completed 2nd Class. I plan to take a leadership role in his troop in the future - but for the next few moths I’m committed to be the Webelos 2 leader/Cubmaster for my younger sons’ pack, and I don’t want 4 more months to go by with my son feeling like he’s fallen behind his friends and becoming increasingly disheartened with scouting just because of this one issue.
My question isn’t how to get him past the anxiety - the therapist is doing her best to help with that - and her work with him has helped in every other aspect of his life so far. Between her help and my joining his troop as a leader in the spring, I think we’ll be fine long term.
Instead, my question is does BSA make concessions for boys with diagnosed anxiety issues like this. He really is a strong kid in every other respect - he’s a great big brother, a leader at school, and one of the stars of his baseball team… he just can’t handle overnight camping, and scouting is supposed to help kids build self-confidence and leadership skills - not tear them down and make them feel horrible about themselves.
I want to meet with his troop leadership, but I just need to be armed with any other concessions other troops have made for kids like my son - or to know if there is an official BSA policy regarding kids like him.
Thanks in advance for your help.