Scout camp nurses are the ultimate givers, dispensing aspirin for headaches, dressing wounds, handling bee stings and occasionally dealing with serious injuries. But as Britt Flather learned last summer at Camp Tiak in Mississippi, a nurse can also gain a lot from the Scouting experience.
Flather, a registered nurse who has worked with the Red Cross, was facing a stress-filled summer. Her husband, an Army major and military policeman, was serving his fourth deployment. After that the family, with two small children, would be stationed in Hawaii.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get through that last month of his deployment, worrying about the move and all,” Flather says. That’s when she learned of the opening at Camp Tiak, about 30 miles south of Hattiesburg, Miss. It sounded like just the medicine she needed. After online training and staff training, she moved into the camp’s health lodge ready to do her part.
“It was just amazing all around,” says Flather. “Not having been a Girl Scout, I wasn’t too familiar with Scouting and its foundation, but I was so impressed. It was great seeing the troops come in every week, seeing them learn knots and chemistry and going fishing. I really enjoyed the rapport between the campers and the staff. And helping them out sure made that last month go fast. Those boys, without knowing it, made that one of the most enjoyable times of my life.”
As for the medical part, Flather didn’t face much more than a few pesky ticks and some twisted ankles. “I did a lot of talking about drinking water and putting on sunscreen,” she says. “And there were only a few kids who got homesick.”
Flather’s 7-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout, and her 5-year-old son will start Cub Scouts next year. Knowing the family will face more moves with the military, she believes Scouting will help give the kids a firm foundation. “No matter where we go, there will be Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. They will immediately have a bond and form friendships.”
Flather, now living in Hawaii, has one other takeaway from Camp Tiak: her nickname as “Nurse Butterworth,” a camp tradition. “I think something was said about me being as sweet as syrup,” she says with a laugh. “I do like to smile, and I had a lot to smile about during those weeks.”