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Phone Cards at Camp

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Eamonn -- It's an interesting question. "Where do we get off making rules?" It's also a very valid question. I'm not being sarcastic in the least. When I was a Scoutmaster, I had a few rules (more traditions than formalized rules) that I carried from traditions in the troop I grew up in. No electronics was a big one. Remember, at the time, electronics meant the little AM radios all us us kids seemed to have.


Did the troop committee or scoutmaster have the right to make that rule? I don't know. Usually, when asked about a troop "rule" or any other unit, I'll run it by the chartered organization. If it's not a unit rule, but one imposed by the chartered organization (such as not camping over Saturday night. It's not just the LDS that don't) I'll suggest another troop the boy might want to join that's more in line with the parent philosophy. If it's a BSA policy violation, it becomes very easy. Either they can or they can't. Most of the time, unit rules become philosophical issues. Such as the debate about phone cards and cell phones. I haven't found any national policies either for or against them.


Sometimes we have to remember that recommendations based on experiences are only recommendations. Should or should not is different than can or can not and even more different than may or may not. If they were all the same, we'd only have to learn one phrase. Ya gotta love the glories of the english language! :)


Experience is a wonderful thing. It can help to make what we perceive as good advice. But experience is also a very personal thing. We relate differently to the things we know and hear.


For example: if someone who bought a lottery ticket every week for 50 years and never won were to see a young man buying his first lottery ticket, he/she might say, "Young man, I've been buying lottery tickets every week for fifty years, you'll never win."


There are several reactions a young man might have, based on his own experience and thought processes. Some might think, "I don't want to be an old fool like this one," and not buy the ticket. Others might think, "That's your bad luck, I might win!" Others still might think, "Well, the odds are against me, but it's only a buck!"


Ya pays your money, and you takes your chances. I don't tend to buy lottery tickets. I've only bought one lotto ticket in my life. I'm nut much of a gambler when it comes to money.


I've gotten off on a bit of a tangent, so I'll try to string myself back. If you've allowed cell phones, phone cards, etc. on your campouts, then banning them at summer camp isn't prudent. I think I've seen good advice from many corners in this thread. I also think that some very experienced Scouters have warned of the possible harm in allowing them. My own stance was to regulate them a little bit. We're talking advice here and not policy. Take it or don't. Advice is never any substitute for personal judgement -- it's just an excuse to say either "I told you so!" or a reason to say, "You told ME so."


If Scouting didn't count on the judgement of it's unit leaders, there would be a written test on the application and not the approval of the chartered organization, the committee and the acceptance of the Scout Executive or designee.


That not only means that we have the ability to trust our judgement (and the annual approval process called rechartering,) in my view that means we have an obligation to use our judgement, along with the policies and guidelines of the chartered organization to make (within the system) rules and use our judgement for the betterment of the boys and the Scouting program.



Devil's Advocate was a game I played in college, but I can't afford to toy with it anymore. I'd like to hear some different philosophys, or your philosophy. I won't necessarily respond unless it's grossly against the rules.




BTW -- phone cards and cell phones aren't against the rules. Perhaps against conventional wisdom, but not in violation of any rule on a national level.



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Some where, some place, I have a presentation, that shows how people have changed and how attitudes have changed with different generations.

Needless to say, my generation is the one that questions everything !!

While we "Old Fogies" (Well me at any rate)May not like and at times, may not understand, the things that some of our parents and youth are doing. This is the way things are.

Our Youth do not learn the way we did, and are not taught the way we were.

Yes I remember the small radio, that I smuggled into camp, in order to listen to the then Pirate Radio stations, broadcasting from the North Sea.

Yes I have driven the Scout Van, With a young Scout, who had one of the early Cassette players, with only one tape which he played and played, and it didn't get any better as the batteries grew weaker (The song he kept playing was :Your the one that I want from Greese - I hate that song.)

Yes, I stood behind a little chap, at the Jamboree, he was on the phone telling someone everything - Yes everything, from what he was doing, to what he had for breakfast and how often he had been to the bathroom - All I was doing was trying to do was buy a house.

Yes We nearly missed the only train to Nottingham, because OJ, found an internet phone, and "Had" to check his E-mail.

Yes I was the one who said to the Jamboree Troop, that there would be no CD players, but gave in when the PLC, made a valid arguement for taking them. (I was wrong - It happens !!)

Our kids / Youth, live in the 21st Century.

These Guys and Gals, will not and do not take kindly to rules, that no matter how well intented, do not make sense to them.

One of my pet peeves, is pop vending machines at camp sites. I think that they look ugly and are out of place. Do we really need to have pop available 24/7 ? Ok so I'm not a pop drinker. I can think of lots of valid reasons not to let my Scouts use them.

But I don't have the right.

If we are in the business of helping young people to make ethical decisions, what sort of an example are we setting when we make tyrannical rules ?

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Every leader's different, every troop's different, every Scout's different, every environment's different.


If cell phones, phone cards, playing cards, whatever item that isn't on the personal overnight gear but also isn't on the contraband list either (the "grey area"), is presenting a problem or a distraction, make it so it isn't a problem or a distraction. Don't create false dilemmas though, and don't broad brush to the point where everyone gets punished for the next 50 years because of one mistake, misjudgement, or indiscretion by one person two generations ago.


I've had much better luck trusting and treating them like young men...



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Let's look at this from the tryanical rule perspective.


In my council, there is a rule of no liquid fuel stoves or lanterns at council camps.


At the summer camp I attend there is a rule that states no personal firearms or bows allowed in camp.


In my office there is a no smoking rule.


The street I live on has a speed limit of 25 MPH.


Are these tyranical? Could be considered so. Do these rules help us make ethical decisions? Not really.


If a Troop has no rules in place how is a Scout to learn where the boundries are? That's what rules do. Set boundries. They tell us what we can & can't do. There are rules we don't like but we still must follow them regardless of who made them. So when someone suggests we as leaders out out of line when we have rules like no phone cards or you can't call home unless there is an emergency that really chaps my shorts.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I am surprised Ed. Didn't you set the 25 mile per hour speed limit? After all it's your car and your street, so I assumed it was your rule.


I only suggest that because you have told us that it's your troop and your in charge so you set the rules.


Of course where I live the sign is on the street where I live and the rule was set by the rules of the community I chose to live in and the rules are set by a governmental council whose members I elected.


So in the troop I serve (not my troop), the rules are set by the scouting program I chose to join (the Oath, the Law, the Outdoor Code) and a committee of elected representatives (the PLC). But that's where I live. Thank goodness


Bob white

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Dsteele, great suggestion about the bank.

Who makes the rules - in our troop the plc and they have a rule about electronic stuff. and their rule is that the rule is determined by the outing. As for cell phones, the older boys have a problem with the younger/new scouts. Why, the experience factor of homesickness. The older boys realize it is easier for the scouts not to have complete and total access.


On a side note here, to Bob White. A scout is courteous, kind and cheerful. Scouting is a brotherhood, composed of dedicated people, even folks like evmori. While I do not always agree with him, I also do not always agree with you BW either.

Your Sanctimonious and Hyper Critical and sarcastic ways are not scoutlike nor very christian.

It is easy to hide behind rules and regulations, and it is my hope that folks who have a diverse opinion are not scared off of this post by Mr. I am always right. It comes across as cheap and petty

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Color me crazy or any other term you want. But I have this silly notion that scout leaders should try to follow the scouting program. Go figure. I have great respect for sincere leaders and greater patience with folks looking to learn and do their best. But I don't pull punches with leaders who pretend to be in it for the boys but then deny the boys the real joys of the program. Or those who use scouting as a political platform, or to boost their own ego because it's one area in life they get to be "in charge".


The vast majority of posters here are trying to do the right thing for their scouts and the program. But there are a few who despite their training or experience continue to present a very disturbing version of what should be a very fine program.


I admit that I have a shorter fuse for some than I wish I had, but it truly angers me when I see the damage done to local units and community scouting when these folks get a strangle hold on a unit. Then they compound it by presenting their version on line as if it were the actual scouting program.


I share what's in the program resources and I'm accused of having my head buried in the book. At least it's the scouting book and not one I wrote as I went along. And at least it's in a book. I (a scout is courteous so I will not go further with that).


I don't know any of the other leaders from Adam except for what they write. I thought one scouter was way off base until he wrote that he just played devil's advocate. But then he made it clear that that was a deception. He actually does the things he says on this board. If it werent for the uniform I wouldn't recognize it as a scouting program.


I'm very friendly in real life but not with scouting pretenders. I take the responsibility of providing a wholesome learning environment seriously but the scouts and scouters I serve have fun.


There is lots of room for customizing and creativity among units and among leadership styles. But let's all play by the same rules for the sake of the kids.



You don't mess with policies..period. You dont'choose to not follow the prescribed methods, and you leave the uniform and the advancement program alone.


That's all I have defended here. If that bothers you that's not my problem. I tried to be subtle with the off-base ones in the beginning. I tried to coach and counsel. But they are set in their ways and I'm set in the scouting ways, and they are not the same. I didn't manufacturer the program I follow. I just gave my word to follow it. Leaders are welcome to "run their troop" any way the parents of that unit will allow. But others need to know how different the real program is, and that there are more units that operate the scouting way than not.


respectfully submitted,

Bob White



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Never questioned your intent, just your delivery. If you are dropping down to a level of "baiting", are you no different then folks that do not follow the program?

"Let he with no sin, cast the first stone"

I respectively point out that you are jumping and judging a person unprovoked in this thread. Pointing out the invalidation of a person argument is helpful, but i think you have veered into a personality conflict with some folks, i.e. evmori. He may or may not be right, there is only the postings, we do not have face and observation in action.

I fully understand citing chapter and verse. It is a welcome breath of air to some arguments. But as I read the posts, I see an extemism at times that is applied to the minutia or small problems that become overblown. While the argument, for either side, whether uniforms, NSP etc are valid. I do believe that they have become overblown between evmori and yourself.

In reading some of your other posts, there was a bit of vindictivenes (my opinion) on another poster, to the extreme of contacting scouter to find out that persons ISP address.

One thing that scouting teaches is that there are many different ways and approaches to achieve the aims and means of scouting. If you take offense to my pointing out what I percieve as unscouting like behavior, that is your problem. As to a published manual about treating other people and judgement, I would refer you to the Bible. i do not think you need it, as I do believe your motivation is to be helpful and to provide the references to specific published manuals. I am not judging evmoris program, nor am I saying that yours in the standard to behold. I am only pointing out that you have become personal in your attacks. Your posts suggests that anyone not following the BSA program as interpreted by Bob White should be thrown out of the program. I believe that the program is inherently designed to be adaptable to diverse culture that it serves.

Sometimes it is better to be kind, than right.

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"If you are dropping down to a level of "baiting",


Where did I bait? I did not ask if the poster was playing deveils advocate, another poster asked. I did not answer for him or change his answer, he did.


"In reading some of your other posts, there was a bit of vindictivenes (my opinion) on another poster, to the extreme of contacting scouter to find out that persons ISP address."


I did not! That is what the poster said I did, but that is not what happened. He used foul (pornographic) language regarding female scouters, and had reason to believe he was posting under two names in violation of the rules of the board. Did I ask the board if they wanted to look into the language and dual posting? Yes as was one of the posters who inquired. The board moderators discovered the IP addresses were identical.


"He may or may not be right, there is only the postings, we do not have face and observation in action."


I agree we only have his words as to what he does and whether or not he does what he says. That is all any of us have. You have no problem judging me by what I write even though your evidence so far has been innaccurate. I admit to being protective of this program, I believe it's methods work even in the minutia.


"am not judging evmoris program"


And there in lies the rub. "Evmori's program" It is not Evmori's program. It is the "BSA's program" and we each signed our name and promised to follow it. I have never said scout my way, I have said "you are scout leaders, lead the scouting program". Lead a scout troop not "my" troop. Follow the scouting rules not "my" rules, lead "the" scouts not "my" scouts.


"nor am I saying that yours in the standard to behold."


nor have i asked you to, simply because I have not offered "my program" I have what the BSA program is and how I have seen it used successfully by me and by others.


I joined this board after watching from afar for several months and just could not stomach the misinformation and program bashing that was the mainstay here. Do I get passionate? Yes. Do I let my anger out in print to some posters? Yes. But I try really really hard not to. I have been supportive and tried to be helpful and accurate to most everyone here. But there a couple "trained" leaders here who are spouting some real tripe about what scouting methods and policies are.


"Your posts suggests that anyone not following the BSA program as interpreted by Bob White should be thrown out of the program.


NEVER! I have pointed out when appropriate that sp[ecific actions according to the BSA policies can result in expulsion, but I have never threatened to or took action to have anyone removed. You are not in my son's troop or the council I serve.


"I believe that the program is inherently designed to be adaptable to diverse culture that it serves."


I believe the program works in diverse cultures if the leader adapts to it. It should not be the goal of scouting members to change the program, it is the goal of the scouting programs to change its members.


Bob White

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Ed,I have done a lot of stuff over the years, some good, some not so good, and some that I'm not very proud of.

But this is the first time ever for me. "Short Chapping !!"

The real question, is not about Phone calls or Phone cards.

My problem is with "We as Leaders make Rules."

If it was the PLC, who made the rule, we are in a different ball park.

But much as many leaders do not like to hear it, you just do not have the right to make such rulings.

As a Scoutmaster, you are there to serve the Troop.

At times we all need to take time and reflect on what our role really is. The idea of Servant Leadership, is not a new one. "Leadership By The Book" Written by Ken Blanchard, is worth the time and does help to put Leadership into perspective.

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Cheap shot even for you.


Yes, Bob it is my Troop but the SPL is in charge. You are really good at seeing stuff that isn't there.




I do serve my Troop. We follow the rules of Scouting. The PLC in my Troop also developed rules that are not defined in the rules of Scouting. Actually, these are more like guidelines.


The summer camp we attend has a rule that all Scouts who use the pay phone must have an adult from their Troop present. Good rule. Made by adults.


Who or what tells me I don't have the right to make such rules?


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10


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okay, so not only do we have the boy scout police on board here, but also the english venacular patrol.

i write in context, not to have stand alone sentences disected.

Does anyone else see the irony here, that when the mirror is faced at BW, his reaction is that of the folks he "


As for baiting

your quote "I am surprised Ed. Didn't you set the 25 mile per hour speed limit? After all it's your car and your street, so I assumed it was your rule"

Can you explain to me exactly how this is not baiting, how this is not unprovoked? Could you point out to me in this thread how evmori has lain down a challenge? Exactly who elected you judge and jury?

The difference tween us, BW, is that when it is pointed out how I may have the incorrect line of thought, I acknowledge my mistake. i do not then cheapen my admittance by addinga "but" to continue to justify my argument.

As for the program, it continuously evolves, does it not? Arguments are necessary for this change and the program adapts for the different folks, not the other way around. The program is set up with aims and missions, published guidelines are available, and training reinforces this notion.

your argument that the diverse cultures adapt themselves to the program is not how the program is presented in the N.E. Region, nor supported by the speech from the National Commissioner.

A further example of this is the adaptation and creation of the Venture Program. The BSA program was changed to fill the need of not only older scouts, but went to the limit of making it co-ed. How did all these venture folks adapt their diversity to the BSA program? they didn't.

As for theNSP and 1st year scouts. I sit on the sidelines with this experiment, for that is what it is. It seems to promote so many good arguments. Personally, I have seen this program implemented a couple of different ways, eithe NSP patrols or incorporation into existing patrols. I have seen it suceed both ways and seen it fail both ways. So to me, the jury is still out on this one. Brand me the heretic, but I can stand the heat and will remain firmly planted in the kitchen...

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Guys, do you think that maybe we've pretty well worn this one out?

Don't recall seeing pistols at dawn in my copy of the G2SS but sounds like that's where this is heading. Back to your corners please!

Have a great Memorial Day holiday, and don't forget what it's about

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I will be happy to defend the scouting program on this board but I see no need to continue to defend my posts.


The question is on the New Scout Patrol and First Class Emphasis. You say it is an experiment and the jury was still out. How long before the jury decides? The reason I ask is both these program are now over 15-years old, and they were field tested across the country proir to that. Just how many years should it take before a leader incorporates an element of the BSA into the program for the scouts?


One more thing I guess, Venturing is a modified version of Exploring, it is aimed at the identical demographics that Exploring was. And the Exploring program was co-ed as far back as the late 60s early 70s. So it's not like Venturing reinvented the wheel of scouting.


The change came not from units violating scouting membership policies, but from controlled tests program designed and opersted under the BSA. So yes, the program evolves but how about letting the the BSA do the evolving?


I have no problem with people who disagree with me, and I have never pretended to be infallible or denied wir when I was wrong. I do have a problem however with leaders who misuse or misrepesent the program. Not as judge and jury, I have never sentenced anyone. But as a volunteer who knows when a bad leader chases a boy from scouting it has a ripple effect that reaches us all directly or indirectly.



Bob White

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If you don't need to defend you posts then neither does anyone else on this board. Levels the playing field. But it seems you are the judge & jury & if the posters don't agree with you they are wrong. Well guess what, we aren't! We are discussing the Boy Scouts of America not the Bob White Scouts of America. And while you are probably the most knowledgable one on this board, your opinions & certain interpretations are out of line.


If you think I am "baiting" you like you did me, I'm not. I am just expressing my opinion.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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