Diapers at Camp

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Dbannn

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For those of you who wet the bed or were incontinent while attending a summer camp, how do you/your parents/camp handle it? Were you sent with diapers? Did the camp supply them? Were you able to keep it private?
 

BigKid25

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To be honest, I've never experienced this scenario considering I'm not incontinent, so take my words with a grain of salt. However, I have worked as a camp counselor for a few years at a boy scout camp, so I can give you some insight from my point of view. Sorry if you were just looking for stories and experiences to compare (I don't have any) but I still feel like my insight could give you counselor's point of view on the situation.

First and foremost, unless you're going to a summer camp which caters to special needs or a REALLY young age group, the camp will not spend money on diapers. They have loads of other issues to deal with, so the added expenditure of disposable diapers is highly unlikely. With boy scout camp, most everything was handled by the adult leaders of the troop, which means the counselors weren't even aware when kids had incontinence problems. I would imagine it's entirely on a need to know basis, and if there is a medical issue such as incontinence, it should be discussed prior to the child coming to camp which would again point towards it being the parents/child's discretion on what to do. There are storage spaces in the med-lodge for all types of medical needs, so I would imagine kids who needed diapers would be able to keep them with the camp medic and get them when necessary. That would alleviate concerns on keeping those with personal belongings.

In terms of privacy, there wasn't much at scout camp. Sure we had individual bathroom and shower stalls, but the cabins were all pretty much open, making it really difficult for a kid to hide diapers anywhere. In that instance, keeping diapers private must have been a hassle for any incontinent or bedwetting child.

One of the biggest difference I would imagine between scout camps and regular summer camps would be that in boy scouts, an entire troop would come up to the camp together, meaning the kids would all be fairly familiar with each other. So, I would imagine if there were issues with bedwetting or incontinence, it would have already been dealt with before summer camp on other outings. It would take a REALLY brave kid who was afflicted with incontinence or enuresis to go to Summer camp with a group of kids they've never met before, or never camped with before.
 

cm90210

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I didn't have this problem at camp. But like BigKid25, I've been a camp counselor for a few summers.

Only once did I have a camper who was incontinent. In his case, he was severely disabled in a number of ways and actually brought with him a caretaker for the week. I remember the first time I was introduced to her. She told me her name, explained to me that she'd be with this camper all week, and would make sure he was safe, change his diapers, etc... I hadn't been told he was in diapers before that and was shocked by her 'matter-of-factness' about it. This was as part of the intake process -- and not an announcement made in front of other kids
All week, she came in and out of the cabin and did just that. The bathroom REEKED of stale poo all week. Whenever the two of them would emerge from it, it was unbearable. She was kind enough to dispose of the disposables in the outside trash but still. ICK! He wore some kind of plastic pants because she hung them to dry on the towel rod in the bathroom -- and there was pretty much a whole case of diapers in the cupboard in the bathroom that she brought. So certainly by 1/2 way through the week, the other kids in the cabin knew. But each of them were disabled in their own ways so it didn't seem to be a big deal.
(It was a camp for all kids but that particular week was a special week for kids with medical/disability issues)


On several other occasions at that same camp, I had kids in my cabin who were bedwetters. I'd say about 1/2 of them brought pullups/goodnites and snuck them into the bathroom each night to change. The other 1/2 weren't sent with any protection at all -- just an extra sleeping bag. I never could figure out why a parent would do that to their kid. All the other campers would immediately ask why that student had 2 sleeping bags. It was hard to come up with an excuse.
And then when he would inevitably wet one at night, it'd be hard to get it laundered and not have other kids see it... Some counselors at the camp would have ALL the kids lay their bags over the railing on the cabin outside to "air them out" as a way of making sure kids with wet ones would get dry. Kids seemed to never question this even though it's kind of odd. In general, counselors seemed to be incredibly sensitive about this issue and tried to keep it a secret for the affected kid. As someone who LIKES diapers, I was always mystified as to why kids came to camp as known bedwetters but without some kind of protection. So lame.
 

WBxx

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Had a cousin who wet almost every night that attended a summer camp. Don’t know if it was in conjunction with Boy Scouts. And this was years ago, long before Goodnites and the like. He and I never talked about it, but I overheard grandmother tell my mother how sad it was. Apparently every morning he with the help of a friend hung his wet sleeping bag outside to dry.
 

KimbaFoxNatsume

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Seems kinda gross to just let kids sleep in the same urine-soaked sleeping bag night after night without washing it...
 

Dan09

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I never had any sort of bedwetting issues, but I did go to weeklong scout camps for years and years on my way to eventually becoming an Eagle Scout.

While I didn't have any friends that had to deal with it, from what I remember of scout camp, it would be really REALLY difficult to deal with a bedwetting problem at a camp similar to the one I went to. Everything was done in groups, and there was absolutely no privacy in any way imaginable. I couldn't imagine how someone could manage to keep something like that a secret for any length of time. Even with the help of a scout master or camp staff. That would be a heck of a dilemma.
 

JOCKMAN

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I went to camp at age 11, but had not had an accident since I was 8 / 9 and wet the bed at my best friend's house. I had to wear protection to sleepover there again but his mother made me feel better about not soaking the sheets and actually being comfortable at night. One of my cabin buddies did have an accident one night and after some teasing by one kid, the counsleor told him to shutup or he would toss the kid out of the cabin that night and make him sleep in he woods with the snakes (that ended that and there was no more talk of it the rest of the week). In college when I had to wear protection at night again it became matter-of-fact to me and several college relationships that knew of my condition (felt it best to inform them of the situation when sleeping with them at night) told me of how there were times when camps allowed wet kids to change into diapers / plastic underpants in the shower stalls and rinse them out (I never saw this at my camp). When I asked about wet rinsed undergarments the next night they told me they had several fresh sets to use during the week. Still, if you wet each night you would need at least six sets of diapers and several plastic underpants back then; that is alot of bulk to hide. Today I have been informed that Goodnights, etc are a mainstay and alot of kids wear them at camp and dispose of them quietly as needed and it is no big deal anymore.
 

Llayden

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I was a consumate bed wetter until late in my teens. I attended every summer camp, scout jamboree, or any other camping trip or sleepover that I could when growing up. I never wore anything for protection, and did not really discover protection products, other than my plastic mattress cover, for people that were not babies until after I stopped wetting the bed. Growing up with this it was always made clear to me that there was nothing to really be ashamed about, it was not my fault, and that if I were to have an accident I would take care of things for myself. Of course, I was not exactly open about this to the world. I was just not so overly concerned or anxious about it, and if I was it never lasted long.

That system works well at home where I can change and wash linens and underwear at will, but not as easy to deal with away from home. Of course, the first thing that happens is that the facility, organization, guardians, counselors, or friends parents would need to be notified. Sometimes I was around when that happened, or saw it on the forms that I turned in to the organizations. This was the most embarrassing part. While sleeping away, I actually had an extremely good track record for accident free nights, but of course it was inevitable. I always made sure to take the highest bunk, so that I could change quickly with more privacy in the morning of an accident. I would then let the counselor know privately and either they or I would take care of my clothing and sleeping bag while everyone was at breakfast.

That was if we were lucky to have a permanent wooden bunk structure in the cabins. If we were sleeping in cots, things became much more difficult as the cot its self would become wet. Most cots are surplus or OD green military style cots, and I can assure you a wet spot shows very well on that material. I would usually take care of my clothes and bag as described above, and then spray cleaner and wipe the spot while leaving a spare towel over it to hide it. That is, if there was no chance of leaving the cot outside or replacing it.

The easiest camp situation to deal with though, is in a tent. At least in the environments that I camped as a kid it was. In the PacNW it is usually fairly chilly and damp out in the mornings, meaning that it is quite damp inside of a warm tent and everything can seem a bit wet. In this case, I would just make sure that I was the last one out, change, wipe down the tent floor with some cleaner, and take care of my bedding as I could.

To those of you that kind of make a face at the thought of sleeping in a wet, or formerly wet bag, or going to a place without protection, I wonder if you could have handled such a thing so well? What is a hyper-active outgoing young boy to do? Do we bedwetters let this become an overwhelming burden in our lives letting it control out social abilities? Or, do you face the problem with as much fortitude and responsibility you can manage? I know that for quite a few of our members here it might seem implausible, but I can assure you that most older child or teen type protection is fairly new. Without something as large and bulky as cloth diapering, what else was there for older children?

And I know that it may sound gross to sleep in a bag that has just dried, but not been washed sounds gross. It is. That is something that we bedwetters have dealt with out whole lives. We wake up early and cold in urine soaked bedding at home constantly. Do you really think that a previously wet bag that has been dried but not washed is going to keep us from sleeping in it again? No, especially as you are with a group of your peers and friends. You do everything you can to fit in. Which means that this was something you largely ignored if you could, and handled it with speed, efficiency, and secrecy when things were wet.

Sitting here writing this, I can remember well the feeling of the material of my sleeping bag. I can remember how heavy it seemed to get when wet, and how hard it was to take care of it. I can remember the material of that bag if I slept in it the next night after only drying it. I can remember that slightly grainy, itchy feeling of the material and the odor that would waft out form time to time. I also remember how happy I was that it was dry, that I was not going to have to try and sleep in a damp or still wet bag.
 

tall2826

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I never went to camp but I have wet a bed at friends house when I spent the night one time. Luckily it wasn't too bad and nobody found out I believe and his mom did laundry the morning we got up so I think I'm safe for nobody finding out.
 

HushedSnow

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Personally, just dont go. stay inside. like i do, its fun in here, i mean i got pizza and mountain dew...and......AND YEAH thats basically it. its a blast!
 

Luca

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Oddly, I have a relevant story; even though I was never a bed-wetter. From my living memory, I think I can recall wetting the bed once around the age of 7 or 8. My parents were lovely, dealing with it rather well and sensitively from what I can recall. My dad after all was a bed-wetter till 9 or 10.

However, I did have one very very close call, that could have been so very embarrassing had things turned out even slightly differently.

I was camping as a cub scout around the age of 9. I was seconder in my troop, and as such was at the far end of the tent, away from the entrance. The sixer was placed at the entrance, with hindsight I'm assuming for safety purposes. Once we'd arrived, rumours of the Scout leader's son wetting the "bed" the previous year circulated amongst us. We laughed and joked about it, and did what kids do. Then it was forgotten.

Later that night, after lights out, I woke up with the most desperate urge to pee I'd ever felt before. Obviously, my subconscious had somehow taken in that story about the leader's son, and was trying to make it a reality! I paused for a moment trying to consider my limited options. This en-coupled with having to navigate the five boys in between the exit and myself, meant that by the time I got to the final boy I'd lost control. I'd wet myself, and then managed to stop the flow. Not only that, I'd wet myself over the sixer, and even though there was very little light, I was pretty sure I'd covered him. Panic gripped me. I paused for a moment, no one woke up. I dashed to the toilet to get rid of the remaining pee, and came back. I changed my pyjamas into my only fresh pair, buried the soiled pair in my rucksack, and eventually fell back to sleep.

Luckily no one found out. There was no mention of the obvious smell emanating from the sixer the next morning.

I count myself as incredibly fortunate. Oh how differently that trip could have ended.
 

RJDodger

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A couple years ago, I was working at a Boy Scout camp. I found out later in the week that my tentmate wet the bed. We were getting a major storm one night, so I went to our tent to tie it down and store my stuff. He had left some clothes on his cot, so I thought I'd put them away for them, since I didn't think he was coming back. So I unzipped his duffel bag and found some plain white pullups inside, just near the top. Needless to say, I was surprised, but I tried not to investigate any further. I did notice a tied-up plastic bag, so maybe he kept used ones in there. I thought about it for awhile, and realised a few signs that made sense. After putting out the lights in our tent each night, I noticed he'd shift around in his sleeping bag for a few minutes, which I assume was him putting them on. Also, they were really old canvas tents, and at some point I made the off-hand comment that it smelled like piss (which it did, I've used those tents for several years). He kinda stammered out a panicked response, that its because a lot of people live, sweat, and store dirty clothes in them, but I just said its because they're old. Beyond that, I never confronted him or anything, but I never noticed until over a week after we started camp, so I guess he pulled it off somehow. We met again at a similar function, but we were staying in a high school gym with a bunch of other people. I admit, I kinda observed his behavior getting ready for bed. He changed into his pyjamas in private (over 100 other guys there, and he was one of less than 10 who did). I saw a spare pullup in his pillow case, and thought I caught a quick glance of his pullup's waistband. So I guess people find ways for it to work, and you'd only notice if you knew and had an idea of what to look for.
 

cm90210

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Seems kinda gross to just let kids sleep in the same urine-soaked sleeping bag night after night without washing it...

To those of you that kind of make a face at the thought of sleeping in a wet, or formerly wet bag, or going to a place without protection, I wonder if you could have handled such a thing so well? What is a hyper-active outgoing young boy to do? Do we bedwetters let this become an overwhelming burden in our lives letting it control out social abilities? Or, do you face the problem with as much fortitude and responsibility you can manage? I know that for quite a few of our members here it might seem implausible, but I can assure you that most older child or teen type protection is fairly new. Without something as large and bulky as cloth diapering, what else was there for older children?

And I know that it may sound gross to sleep in a bag that has just dried, but not been washed sounds gross. It is. That is something that we bedwetters have dealt with out whole lives. We wake up early and cold in urine soaked bedding at home constantly. Do you really think that a previously wet bag that has been dried but not washed is going to keep us from sleeping in it again? No, especially as you are with a group of your peers and friends. You do everything you can to fit in. Which means that this was something you largely ignored if you could, and handled it with speed, efficiency, and secrecy when things were wet.


Kimba - I agree, it is gross.

And Sad.

As Llayden said, kids who have lived with this often feel powerless in their situations. They just do what they can to cope and go on with life -- try to act normal and have a good time. The kids at my camp who would sleep in wet/unlaundered bedding did so because they didn't want to ask for help (or didn't know how) -- and they didn't want anyone else to know about their issue.

Thinking back on it, I feel empathy for them. How horrible to have no control over your body, have no privacy, and be subject to sometimes brutal social norms. It's sad and terrible. It grates on a kid's whole system of worth and self-confidence.
 

tdlrfootedpjs

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I didn't go to sleepover camp, but I went to summer camp at the YMCA. They had monthly sessions (I think) and during the session they had a sleepover night where they did something special like an amusement park trip or something similar to this.

If you were a bedwetter or had some medical issue there was a seperate room that you slept in that had a few of the counselors to monitor the room and help in cases of accidents or issues. If any of the other kids asked about the other room they were just told there wasn't enough room in the main area where all the other kids were sleeping so we were sleeping in the other room.

At the time I never really put it all together that the people who were in the room with me were probably all bedwetters or had some medical issues that needed to be monitored. I was more concerned with no one finding out my secret and I'm sure others were doing similar stuff.
 

SpAzpieSweeTot

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Let me tell you about camp ASCCA! That stands for Alabama's Special Camp for Children & Adults. The way they got around the embarrassment factor was to have everyone who wore typical undies pack 11 pair of undies per week. It was understood that for disabled folks, accidents happen. Those who needed diapers, simply packed them, & if you had an unforeseen need, the nurses (plural, how neat, compared to most camps, that are lucky to have 1 nurse.) had more. You could stay for up to 2 weeks.

The nurses' unspoken rule was, "Everyone must poop at least once a week." After 4 days, they'd have the cafeteria workers give you prune juice, but took care not to mention who had & hadn't pooped. I had the world's worst public bashful bowel, so, I always needed a suppository.

Anyway, my first year at camp was so cool!:shades: We had walkers & non-walkers, talkers & non-talkers, people from all over the autism spectrum, all sorts of health issues, special diets, at least 1 girl was tube-fed, even burns & amputations, & it didn't matter! I can't walk without a walker, but I went zip-lining! Inner-tubing while pulled behind a motorboat is awesome! They have fishing, which I like, & swimming, although I prefer splashing, as I'm waaaay too good at sinking like an anchor, & darn near drowning!:lol: I hear they have bocce! They have riflery, skeet shooting, & archery. Who the heck would let me hold a weapon?! It was also my first time back on a horse sense I aged out of Special Equestrians, again, awesome!

That settles it; I'm going back ASAP, in spite of the horrible mattresses. I shall bring my memory foam mattress topper, a spare comforter, folded in half, to go under it, and my pillow-top mattress protector! I shall also make darn sure I go during the right time. No more team sports camp! Perhaps I'll even grow a spine & bring diapers! Beats the pants off smelling like pee.

My second year, my, "wicked :censored: of the south," grandma sent me on the wrong week, and it turned out more team sports oriented. I hated it, & cried every night to go home. That year, my bladder leaked a tiny bit, but I was too afraid my grandparents would find out if I had worn, & I'd be looked at like I was bad, to knuckle under and wear. I didn't have to worry about the campers caring one way or the other. There was a sense that everyone would rather get the, "You know I smell it; just tell me where it's coming from," speech, than rat me out. That was the only cool part of my second year.

At week's end, it was so late by the time I got my suppository, I was offered a diaper to sleep in. I had this, "Oh good heavens, they know," :blushie: feeling, without having words for what they knew, so, I declined. I did poo, in the toilet, thank goodness, but only a tiny bit. Praise Yahweh, I made it home without a bowel blunder.
 
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stanley19802

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Hello all,

I had only been to camp once. It was when I was 12. Just before the bed wetting started thank god. But that's not to say I didn't have close calls. But it was only my second time away from home. My other issue was they didn't have private showers. All the boys showered together. So yes, gross, but I would pretend to fall asleep before shower time so I didn't have to shower in front of everyone. I have always been self conscious. I never noticed anyone else having any bed wetting problems. But honestly I wasn't really watching the other kids. When my bed wetting days started at 13 I stopped going to sleepovers or camp or anything. But these days I don't mind a sleepover and such. But as a kid, like many, I thought I was the only kid in the world still wetting the bed and wearing diapers. So I was afraid someone might find out about it and make fun of me.

It's really sad as a society we have so much stigma about people having a incontinence problem or wearing a diaper past the age of toddler. So many people seem to think bed wetting a day time accidents are a babyish problem that shouldn't happen past the age of 2-4 and that anyone still having accidents is considered to be acting like a baby. A good example was 2 years ago when I was in the hospital for a few days. I was unpacking my bag and the nurse saw me take out some diapers. She said "Diapers! Aren't you a little old to still be in diapers?!" I could see the comment from the run of the mill person. But hearing it from a nurse who should know full well about incontinence, and that it can happen at any age was a bit of a shock. Maybe one day we can reach a time when no one has to be embarrassed about being incontinent or wearing protection.

-Stanley
 

SpAzpieSweeTot

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. . . A good example was 2 years ago when I was in the hospital for a few days. I was unpacking my bag and the nurse saw me take out some diapers. She said "Diapers! Aren't you a little old to still be in diapers?!. . .

From a nurse?! She should've been fired! Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry!:hug::grouphug::cheekkiss:
 

stanley19802

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Hello,

I doubt they would have fired her over it. Probably just would have told her not to make such comments in the future. And honestly, although I was shocked to hear it from a "nurse", I was more shocked than upset by it. And I am guessing her schooling clearly didn't cover incontinence. Because any nurse should know that incontinence can happen to anyone any age. And also that diapers are pretty commonly used to manage incontinence. Be it pull-up or tape on diaper. In the end, even if I reported it, nothing would have come from it even if I wanted her fired. I have reported abuse by staff before and nothing has happened. My last stay I came home with my arm in a sling, nothing was done about the staff member who hurt my arm. So I don't even bother going through it all to make a report because nothing ever comes from it. Not once. But thanks. :)

-Stanley
 
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