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Cell Phone at Summer Camp

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  • #61
    We don't allow youth to bring electronics to scout outing. We meaning pack, troop, or crew.

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    • #62
      We had a policy of leave the electronics in the vehicle in the Troop at one time. We gave up on that about two years ago. Haven't had any major problems, just a few minor irritations (mainly Scouts calling home to complain). If the scouts are involved in what we are doing, they don't want to look at the cell phone. A lot of our older scouts like to listen to music on their phones at night (using earbuds).

      I've found that you can allay some of the parent's fears (if you have cell service) by posting pictures to the troop facebook page. It makes them realize the boys are having fun and are safe, which is the concern of most parents.

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      • #63
        Our Troop policy is no electronics, period. But this rule hardly gets enforced. On the monthly outings, there aren't usually electronics (phones, mp3 players, etc.), but if they are brought, they tend to stay in backpacks, pockets, or tents. At Summer Camp, this rule is neglected even more, most Scouts will bring their phones. But it hasn't been a problem while I've been in the Troop. I have been to Summer Camp three years in a row (2011-2013) and not once have I brought a phone. This year I will, but I'll be there for 5 weeks with a week of NYLT stuck in the middle, because I'll be serving on Staff.
        Bottom line, it depends. Some Scouts can't handle a week alone (it's only a week, they should be fine...). I think first year scouts should not be allowed to have cell phones in order to avoid/prevent or keep from worsening homesickness, from calling their parents during camp. But 2nd, 3rd, etc., year Scouts could bring a phone if they want.
        In the end, it's the parents' decision.

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        • Twocubdad
          Twocubdad commented
          Editing a comment
          Yet your troop policy is making 'criminals' out of all these guys. Please see 18th Amendment.

          What your troop is settling into is what our troop's "appropriate use" policy states. If everyone is comfortable with the behavior, the policy should change to meet the behavior.

        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          The policy is more like "all electronics are discouraged."
          The Troop can talk all they want, but in the end, it's the parents' decision.

      • #64
        My take is that phones should not be allowed at summer camp by the boys. Adult leaders, as has been said before, have other responsibilities that require them to be in contact with the world beyond the camp boundaries. My reasoning is pretty simple- we are attempting to make confident, mature men out of the Scouts in our care. We live in a time when helicopter parents and bulldozer parents are creating a generation of soft and relatively helpless kids. The more we can get them to stop relying on Mom or Dad to fix everything and make every decision for them, the better we can do our jobs. The by-product of that is that they will have a better appreciation of being unplugged from the grid sometimes. They will enjoy the natural world, and will hopefully strive to help save it so that their children can enjoy it too. So, a no cellphone policy is really us as leaders paying it forward.

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        • #65
          For those of you that have stated you either allow your youth members to have cell phones, or know they break the rules, and as long as it's out of sight that's ok; here's a question for you: How are you monitoring what these scouts are doing on the phone, and the internet it grants access to? Don't we have a responsibility to monitor internet usage, and the general behavior of the scouts while in our charge? Two, or more, scouts alone in a tent with sleeping bags and cots can't get into much trouble. Two or more teens/adolescents alone, and unsupervised, with full internet access can get into a great deal of trouble.

          We have an obligation to look after these youth, and in most respects stand in the place of the parent when they are in our charge. How can any responsible adult think it's ok to give a group of unsupervised teenage boys open, and unmonitored, access to the internet?

          Comment


          • skeptic
            skeptic commented
            Editing a comment
            While your point is valid to some extent, it is not our responsibility to monitor the access on the internet; that is their parents' responsibility. They do that by having proper protections and barriers in place on these devices. After all, we are not able to watch the scouts every second to see if they are doing something they should not.

            But, the easiest way to deal with it is to have the parental cooperation in the first place. That would include assuring the phones and such are not taken to camp, or are only available on the way to and from, or if you really want to be lenient, under direct supervision during a specified time. The rest of the time, any devices would be locked away under the adults in charge supervision for emergencies or agreed upon uses.

            Ultimately, parents need to decide what is best for their kid. If they cannot work with the unit rules, then they need to consider going elsewhere. I think you will find that the majority will welcome a bit of support in restricting the devices.

            Just my viewpoint of course.

          • perdidochas
            perdidochas commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm with skeptic. The only complicating factor is that a lax parent can end up letting the children of stricter parents get away with stuff. I'm waiting until I see evidence of wrong doing before banning things.

          • Old_OX_Eagle83
            Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
            Editing a comment
            "While your point is valid to some extent, it is not our responsibility to monitor the access on the internet; that is their parents' responsibility. "

            Not correct Skeptic; for four reasons:

            1. The youth is in the charge and care of BSA/Unit/Charter Org at camp, the parents do not decide camp/BSA/Unit/Charter Org rules. Choosing to send the youth to camp, while being aware of the rules, is a decision to abide by the rules.

            2. Youth 1 online activities, in the privacy of his tent, are viewed by youth 2, whose parents may not agree with what youth 2 is exposed to. You have an obligation to protect both youth.

            3. A parent's lack of understanding of the technology involved, and how to restrict it's use, does not excuse you as a leader from your obligation to protect all youth in your charge.

            4. While at scouts activities scouts will show Scout Spirit, which has nothing to do with cheerleaders, but rather is living by the codes of scouting. It's your responsibility as a leader to ensure the scouts in your charge are abiding by these codes while at scout events ... not the parents.

            If a parent has an issue with this, their child does not have to attend camp.

        • #66
          One solution is to camp in locations where there is no cell service.

          One of the reasons for my own backcountry adventures is to be unplugged from the "real world". I find it difficult to truly appreciate my trip if I am connected to the outside world. I try to encourage this with the boys. Enjoy your adventure by experiencing what is around you. Share the experiences with others when you return with photos and stories.

          Comment


          • #67
            One of the problems with the no-phones policy is that they aren't just phones anymore. We have several families in our pack where the only camera they own are in their phones. Is it OK for the scouts to want to take photos of the fun they are having? Then they need access to their "phones". I was told about a scout in a troop that had a dozen nature and history books on his phone and used them to identify plants, animals and read up on the history of the area they are in.

            When you say "no-phones", to many scouts you are also saying "no cameras" and to some "no books". Like any tool, cell phones can be used improperly. I think the trick is to find a balance, not just say "no". What that balance is depends on your unit and scouts.

            Comment


            • EagleScout441
              EagleScout441 commented
              Editing a comment
              In our Troop there is always at least two adults taking pictures and the Troop library has books of all sorts, from field guides to Boy Scout "legends" (i.e. Lobo the Wolf).

            • Old_OX_Eagle83
              Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
              Editing a comment
              Rick, phones are not cameras, or books. You should have said "phones may be used as cameras or books"; an entirely different statement, with an entirely different meaning.

              There's two more things that haven't been added to the mix here:
              1. Expensive electronics don't do well in the wilderness. Phones don't float well, aren't good underwater, don't do well in the rain, don't do well in the mud, have issues with being smashed, have to have air flow, and can't get excessively hot of cold ... not ideal for camping.
              2. Phones undermine the "scout laboratory" that is the wilderness. Key concepts in this wilderness environment include: 1. Comfort trying new and different things; cameras undermine this. 2. Problem solving with limited resource access to force scouts to communicate and work together; answers are easily had on the internet. 3. Independence, figuring out things without mom and dad there to tell you how to do things, and what to do; if mom and dad are one button push away this will never happen. 4. use of tools and devices requiring logical thinking and eye hand use; electronics simplify these tasks. 5. Learning how to do things, what things are, and how they work. Internet access, and easy reference access shift a scouts mentality to "why memorize/learn, when I can just look it up when I need to know".

              Maybe I've got it wrong, we should just create programs to do the scouting, and send virtual badges to the kids game avatars, so other players can see how good of a program tr0!!d@ddx has.

          • #68
            how about setting up a ham radio relay with a leader or parent that isn't on the trip?
            The boys can send Morse code messages home so mom knows they are ok.
            it's a novelty
            they might learn something.

            Comment


            • Old_OX_Eagle83
              Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
              Editing a comment
              Here's someone who gets scouting!
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